1. Siple Dome
After three years of drilling, we reached
bedrock, two-thirds of a mile under
the humpbacked bulge of winter.
Each season, six fresh inches of ice
put us closer to Jesus on one side,
machinery to whatever else on the other.
Sometimes the scientists gave us trash
chips to splash in our gin & tonics
— you could hear bubbles of air & ash,
dust that’s fifty thousand years old crack
& pop. There’s so much pressure at bottom,
it squeezes a whole century into an inch-
thick wafer of time. Neanderthals roamed
Europe. Homo sapiens still hadn’t left
African plains when that sliver of core
was last exposed to the pale, thin light.
Now pieces break off the Antarctic cap
at rapid rates & float out to sea. Coastal
cities could be swamped in just a few
centuries. Sure I was drunk, but one
afternoon after work had stopped, wind
sliced through the rigging, & I’d swear
I heard singing. It was the last day
before the end of what passes for summer.
We’d soon leave for home. I spit a nickel
I’d kept warm in my mouth down the shaft
& wished. With every hole that’s opened,
we fill, or hope something will come out of it.
2. The Whale Gospel
Whales have run aground off Cape Cod again.
What if God created them for us as metaphor?
How like us they are, beached and prostrate,
sand shifting under them with every wave
from heaven. Bloated and murder to move,
they slowly rot in the blurry sunshine, victims
of distress we can’t fathom. All we can think
to say is beware the giant squid, the seaquake,
beware sickness in your leaders. Beware the dark-
eyed shark, sonar’s ping and Japan’s traditional hunger.
The rusty bows of ghost ships
are singing through the water.
- 99: BROWNFACESUBMIT NOW with W S Dunn 98: SINGAPORECOMING SOON with A Pang and J Ip 97: PROPAGANDACOMING SOON with 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: 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