Log Illustrated - a publication from the Physics RoomLog 15 - the X issue
Log 15 - the X issue

Transpresence; the Angels' Share
Cameron Bain



...i had an idea for a cycle of poems i want to write (some already written), to be called, "the angels’ share". "The angels’ share" is the term given to the whisky lost to evaporation during the maturation process, when the whisky is still in the cask. But naturally it could serve as a metaphor for many things: your songs that never came up on the jukebox, the lacunae in Sapphic and Archilochine fragments, the ruins of Elgin Cathedral (leadlight wind, transparent walls / and vaulted sandstone air / evaporated / the angels’ share...), the kiss that broke too soon (the stolen kiss, the breast just brushed, barely cupped), a brilliant conversation that fizzed like a sparkling synaptic constellation, but was lost in its entirety in a heavy dipso fog (such are the meterological vicissitudes of liquor)... The past, (x), of each of us is what we have relinquished, gifted to the angels for safekeeping. We retain traces of it, like the sweet, peaty fumes of the vanished whisky, but its liquid substance is elsewhere, weighed on infinitely more subtle palates... not only all this, the merely past, is the angels’ share, but also everything ever on the exquisite brink of existing: transpresence (is this too easy, too glib a coinage?), that existence/state of consciousness that confuses itself between: is, nearly is, IS!, was, oh fuck, couldn’t we just... An absence which is manifestly present: memory, ghosts, that exact point/instant (note the coterminous nature of space and time here) when the fruit or leaf is severed from the tree by the cells of the abscission layer (we: the / earth, the sky: / abscission layer). The exact point when the choice is made, the moment lost, the possible alternatives claimed as a tithe by six-winged seraphim...

...i left that historyless place, that city always half-disappeared, half-built, then erased in the orbital emptiness of motorways (the river stoned, had to smuggle itself under the main road). But wherever i was on the face of the globe that yawning mirror seemed to loom everywhere, especially in the daily blue under construction, jetstreams golden sonic girders... i always thought, "i could live here", but was never really anywhere, the transient ghost tourist...

...i was entranced by the snail trails on the steps of the mausoleum, glistening like seams of some rare, ectoplasmic mineral, strung like the score of some silvery, lilting, distracted music...

...late into the night, our bodies gently irradiated by coffee, the car mysteriously held to its course. The road seemed soft and receiving as the closing eyelid, like wax and gossamer and rubber... we drove to many lonely places together, remote coastal settlements, lakes in winter, so that we would understand one another’s ghosts. We stayed in many unfamiliar rooms and made them ours for a matter of hours, or days. We would drink wine and whisky, eat fish and chips or pizza in small towns, or pies and coke when we stopped to gas up in the gelid pools of fluorescence in sevice station forecourts. In cities we would eat out, eat well. We would dine. Back in the room we would watch television, even if we did not understand the language. Sometimes we would make love. We took many photos to keep a record of our searches....

(brief poignant interlude:

-i just want the love to flow between us...

-do you mind if i open the curtains?


...the city, of course, always has its own subdued thunder, borborygmus, something brewing in the night: freight, consignments, direction (taut like muscles seized by tetanus, rails and roads) some sinister purpose, or maybe just going home. But if you’re already there, home, listening, the purpose, outside, elsewhere, is always sinister. The neighbours upstairs are fucking. No good will come of it....

here, by the way, are some the poems for the aforementioned, putative ‘cycle’:

(from an island)

let the purling fingertip

springs anoint, moisten

wet-cornered page

is blown over page print’s shifting sands

wood sings in taut grain, asthmatic

ribcage pale


harp cascades

in hazy garlands trees float

the creaking rigging

of roots strain

cliffs pages at full sail...

(pohutukawa flowers; auditory hallucination; traces of Hiroshima Peace Park, 1988)

undrunken the weight of pacific

blooms coax whirring machine

bees (transparent industry)

and geckos’ tongues

slender nibs dipped

in nectar glistening

invisible ink sets,

a feathery infinite alphabet

rose, a half-read breeze

swims in lines

of bright

seeing incandescent arcades

gold skeleton dome

crowns burst zero

concrete tomes

recorded decaying

background activity,


there is crystal rubble

in your eyes, ears,


the exposed

mineral glistre

of phonoliths...

(the sharing of the cup)

lift upwards your spent air

and moisture

april wilfully may

expunge sunny verdure from leaves

unveil autumn’s splendid mendicant tones

a splash of whisky, with fatal accuracy

strips pale taste and lustre

x-rayed fire-water-stone

the tip of your tongue is my flickering home

the balanced absence of wind

between branches

in raw space

the twilight suffused with a deciduous

skeleton’s mellifluous blush

and the silken chill

that slips between clothes...


"....his childhood ambition to be a starship captain having been cruelly disappointed by the space program’s woefully inadequate technological progress, cameron bain is now resigned to being a ghost..."


Log Illustrated - a publication from the Physics Room