stasis, the state of balance or arrest brought about by the relation of opposing forces, is the point of this poem’s commencement. Following the grudging but determined motion of an individual in an environment of unceasing activity, the dominant sound strand originates from injury: narrating the agitation a fallible body so accustomed to mobility that the stillness and silence of even temporary rest is anathema. In stasis, the body is substituted by the sound of crutches descending a staircase—posing the question of how the body, particularly the frail body, is aurally signified. The hesitant progress of the crutches conveys the difficulty of adjusting to even temporary permutations of physicality and identity. The second sound strand of the poem is a more fluid yet mechanical track of city traffic that often overwhelms, even at a distance, the cautious movement of the individual. At other times, the metallic ring of the crutches harmonises with the vehicles, the clamour and heave of their horns and exhaust,through which human voices may or may not be heard. The space the unconventional body occupies in society is suggested through the interplay of the sounds, referencing the approach of the physicist Bohm, whose concepts of space refer to the sensation of the body. Accompanying the combined soundscape are spontaneous digital snapshots captured during a similar exercise in restricted movement. Largely unrefined, the photographs appear both random and sequential, drawing forth the tension inherent in stasis and the compulsion to overcome it—to exercise movement, even haphazardly.
Dr Kathryn Hummel (@katscratchez) is a writer and researcher whose creative and scholarly works have been widely published/presented/translated/anthologised/recognised. Currently, she edits non-fiction and travel writing for Australia’s Verity La. Kathryn’s fifth volume of poetry is forthcoming with Singapore’s Math Paper Press and her sixth and seventh with London’s Prote(s)xt Books.
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