the night is young
because your hand is on my knee
resting surely as seventeen conversations
warble around us.
whose birthday is it anyway?
i’m busy falling in love
with this couple sitting across the table
waxing on about
Gilgamesh, clutching axe and nightshade
at the rim of the forest
and he’s good, Enkidu, but he dies
and Gilly G wanders the wasteland
baying for his ghost.
as i watch you listening
in your eyes we are them
but in mine Enkidu’s absence is only his.
when I look at you
I find it hard to remember
we were ever
that we were in a place
where love rang out
and you could not get away from it
the back then unseaming the now, our bodies
leaching light in unravelled rows
the stars falling in dizzy waves
up and up
the lip of this world.
could it be i’m still waiting
for the banquet doors to open
could it be the burnished first look
at someone hot entering the room
that undoes it all.
and how the feeling now
escapes through the throat,
instead gathers all around me like weather.
in dreams I am a multitude of ghosts
whirring in concentric circles, passing
right through your chest like gamma rays
in attempts to kiss your ashen mouth.
it’s no use. jagged knife-lust
is replaced by a soft cavernous want
not a train slicing itself into the city
but a diaphanous ringtone filling the room.
i know now,
while your body is turning into tomorrow
i will remain a speck of dust.
i will remain containing
your offerings and songs
and in the quiet of the blue night
I leave the room, a tomb,
pass by your solemn body
resting there, unmoving limbs repeating
yesterday’s words as iridescence
knowing I will miss
the way you hold the light
on your skin so effortlessly.
hence I’m tramping down Parramatta Road
to seven eleven for a donut, for something sweet,
and I see lit by block light Gilgamesh, vape-smoke streaming
out of his mouth, dead and pink and alive.
he says without words (only the smell of blueberries)
“When you walk back up the street
the home you have just left will be cold,
thick with dust, the bed empty, the room barren.
You know this already, so?
Want a puff?”
I’m kissing him to pieces now
in the curve of a neon glow,
traffic light leaking onto the side of the road
my body lurching, ecstatic,
in the blinding brightness
of a sugar rush.
- 108: DEDICATIONwith L Patterson & L Garcia-Dolnik 107: LIMINALwith B Li 106: OPENwith C SLowe & J Langdon 105: NO THEME 11with E Grills & E Stewart 104: KINwith E Shiosaki 103: AMBLEwith E Gomez and S Gory 102: GAMEwith R Green and J Maxwell 101: NO THEME 10with J Kinsella and J Leanne 100: BROWNFACE with W S Dunn 99: SINGAPOREwith J Ip and A Pang 97 & 98: PROPAGANDAwith M Breeze and S Groth 96: NO THEME IXwith M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRICAN DIASPORAwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones