Boo and I have an odd relationship. The relationship in the Social Cloud began with the poet and artist’s inability to sleep, and my irritation with the abundant wisdom given him on insomnia. The nonsensical pillow talk thrown over the fence by grey hair gentlemen and well wishes only frustrates my scientific brain – no no no, and no! So it was in the Cloud the scientist met the dreamer.
Boo is an agnostic, kind with the temperament of my German puppy. We don’t know whether it’s the food he’s consumed or a mutating gene enhancement, he stays up through the night in frustration and mesmerising obsession, conjuring women of all lines and curvature through charcoal, ink, and acrylic. The basement would be pungent with the scent of thinning spirit and turpentine. Upon her portrait, the casting of dawn, he discards the emptied cups of coffee, puts on a collared shirt for a day inside a more pragmatic digital cloud. The digital cloud grounds him in materialistic servitude impossible to escape but provides him with the means for a foundation of nurture. Boo is the parental boulder of certainty with straight A off-springs on a see-saw of art and literature; there’s no prouder patriarch.
The days drifted along for Boo like so. He finds himself in Starbuck staring from beneath his ebony lashes, the women in his lucid midnight dreams – Westward, an embrace in fallen leaves. Then he’s there surrounded by the writers, the poets, sipping Macallan, his feet light as air on the frozen pavement. Something about a book cover, an article about his paintings, wrapped in the ordinary heart of the proletariat? – M, translate this for me. He would message me at three in the morning. The proletariat half-asleep shocked awake, pondering how she has managed to survive higher education to work in a dispensary. The proletariat and the poet turning fifty are a little confused; she is once again reacquainted with her mother’s language and begs daily for the poet’s work. It was where I had found Boo’s darkest clouds shifting endlessly, but never heavy enough to break into the rain. The fluffy grey ever-present hovered. It drifted with him into the next illustration, brush strokes, the crosses, the lopsided church steeples, and “em” somewhere praying – “take me to church”. It was my privilege to be there with him sometimes in those grey clouds.
A fluffy pink cloud drifts by at dawn, and Boo is a little giddy – I want to live simply M. In whispers of pinks and blues he spoke of her or was it, without her. The fleeting moments of Boo in the baby pink clouds in the sunrise were enough to lift you on butterfly wings. Upon the wings of a poet, wisps of the colour of an artist, always in the clouds. In the clouds, Boo carries with him, the heart of an idealist.
Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm, the blogger, poet, and translator, was born in 1971 in Phu Nhuan, Saigon, Vietnam. The pharmacist currently lives and works in Western Sydney, Australia.