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DO YOU HEAR ME NOW?

…HISSSSSS…
(FADE IN FROM WHITE NOISE):

in the shade someone
turns
a knob
with a satisfying

*click*

causing a small beacon of light and sound
to spread within this room.
A lightbulb behind the dial.
Four glass vacuum tubes inside a Bakelite shell.

A woman’s warm voice from the valves,
a writer, reading verse about
humans becoming angels the hard way,
music beating behind her like wings through the house;
the beeps on each hour;
the bird every morning
singing from the magic box atop the fridge.

*click*

Do you hear me now?

If
there was a microphone
and
I spoke
who now would hear me say:

Close your eyes and forget the foamy white noise of the breakers,
close your eyes and feel the swell that lifts you,
Up you go,
and down…

now,
without looking, see the next wave nearing, and
as you rise with it see the one behind it,
and the next,
and the rest,
a procession of gentle waves
refracting around you,
lifting you.

Now-
see:

splash your hand on the wave and smaller ripples spread
in all directions from your radiance,
a signal riding up and along on the
smooth series of sine waves.

See
clouds in the bright blue casting fat drops wide onto the water,
each drop broadcasting ripples,
each drop the centre of expanding circles
that become lost in the noise of the ocean.

Kick
the depths.
Stroke
the surface.
You swim in broad frequencies.
Look
up at the hill.
The transmitter tower,
there.

Swim
for shore.
Time for home.

*click*
Do you hear me now?

Shelter
from the sun-shower under a corrugated iron roof.
See
the world outside wet and bright,
holes torn in the clouds where
the single visible point of radiance is blinding.
Up on the hill, the radio transmitter pushes swells into the air,
a radiance unseen to biological eyes
making great spherical onion layers around itself,
a series of smooth sine waves
carrying splashes and ripples coded for voices and music;
they fly straight through the iron and wood and the feature wall,
and you, not lifting you

but

in the shade someone
turns
a knob
with a satisfying

*click*
causing a smaller beacon of light and sound
to spread within this room.
A lightbulb behind the dial.
Four glass vacuum tubes inside a Bakelite shell.

A woman’s warm voice from the valves,
a broadcaster who recalls:
“slipping between the peaks and troughs,
a whisper in the whines and crackles
of the cosmic microwave background.”

The bakelite box hums to itself.

“Is this thing on?
Do you hear me now?”

Pause. Hum. Another voice says:
“Thank you, we’re coming up to the news at 9-”
but she murmurs:
“If my lips brushed the microphone would you hear
i love you
within the hiss and pop of
the dying down of the birth of the universe?

Do y-”
*click*

Get
me a microphone,
I want you to hear me say:
let my waves lift your body,
let my waves lift your soul, while
radiant angels splash in the medium of space/time and
throw voices into the ear…

(Fade out to white noise)
…hissssssssssss…

Aaron Compton, July 2021

Special thanks to Ro Darrall from Retro for supporting local creatives through Gizzy Local. This radio is currently for sale at Retro, 8 Ballance Street, Whataupoko. You can follow Ro on Instagram @retro.ro.gisborne or on Facebook.

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