Flannery O’Malley: Bitter William

26 November 2005

The first born's a nong and yet they give him
the hat and stick and jacket. Now golf's easier
than tennis, than anything I've tried, than all the ars

combined, and easier than memory — what colour
were your eyes, your hair — I speculate on your underwear.
You're vanishing, or the thought of you is less indelible,

the image of your form in the lab now a sunlit
shimmer — soon only a name, a half-remembered
gesture, my hand on your vulva between classes.

Still my brother's the better man — more domestic
than feral, suburban not dilettante — a glamourless,
blameless middle. Saturdays he carts the attack

all over the park; he shines as though all the shims
and wedges of the mighty were exerted at his whim;
how he wields the earth! And I'm laconic in the stands,

expectant as an aged passenger, static and seething,
where once I was unencumbered as a eucalypt. So we live
up here tethered at the whip-end of a steaming coil

of asphalt looped around the mountain — bachelor
captives on a hillside dairy where the buried forebears
set up a ceaseless chatter. Were I to go far from this place,

I'd miss the cows' gentle lowing, the town shopping strip
there below, the amateur theatrical society, Sunday mass,
the idiolect. In the manipulative sky, the implacable faces

of the angels decry my several murders, uncomposed, alone.

Flannery O'Malley was born in 1971 in a slab hut near Sassafras in the Turpentine Range. He attended the local school at Nerriga, but left at 15 after getting a job with a ride operator at the Braidwood Show. He then toured the state working at all the big shows — Bathurst, Dubbo, Cobar. He was killed tragically last year when a hydraulic ram failed on the Crazy Mouse Spinning Coaster at the Mudgee Show. This poem was found in his papers.


As reported on Cordite News Explosion, we're moved and astonished to admit that we didn't pick Cordite's founding editor Adrian Wiggins as the author of this poem.

This entry was posted in 24: CHILDREN OF MALLEY and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

About Adrian Wiggins

Adrian Wiggins is a Sydney poet, and a founding editor of Cordite.

Further reading:

Related work:

Comments are closed.