I am not so brave as Elliot, could never lay out
a candy path for hungry, lost forms to follow
through the dark backyard to my bedroom door.
I’m in awe of this pale, awkward boy peddling
hard in little red hoodie, riding his bicycle across
the blue moon through crisp pine-needle night,
with the brown heart-shaped head of his small
alien friend blanket-cloaked in the basket up front,
pursued by sirens and uniforms, buoyed by love.
Often, you are alien to me. When our fingers touch
there’s spark. You lift me over landscapes but I’m
afraid you’ll let me fall. I have allowed the wrong
ones to carry me before. Let’s just lie here on our
backs now, pedal each other’s feet above the floor.
Together we must escape the Earthmen who land
stern as politicians in the driveway to set up
quarantine in space suits — an adult intervention
so sterile and inhuman, it turns us both white.
You’re killing him! Elliot shouts as E.T.’s heart
slows and stops in his small chalky chest.
The flowers droop and the body bag is zipped
and it’s cold as frost but the corpse glows red.
If you are sick and I can’t cure you, then we are both
sick. If you need family near you, I want them close
too. If sadness drifts in to settle ashen across your
face, then I must brave the boats, seek the mothership.
There will be times you will feel extraordinarily
lonely on this blue planet if you stay, my alien friend.
You’ll see the broken father of a washed-up child
and understand that nature failed with human hearts.
- 96: NO THEME IXSUBMIT NOW with 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: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith 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