for Philip Salom
He is lying sprawled within one of the spaces
between the spaces,
dreaming of a perfect seven-eyed pavilion
in burnt sienna, at rest
behind bars under a gun-grey broth drinking
the Rome air naked.
In his dream he computes a pert little flowerpot
in the one unblinded window
at his back, and he conjures an enchanted cable
slung across the chasm
from his terrazzo to those blushing geraniums,
which he will pluck
and offer to her, the lovely principessa of the Dish,
imprisoned for epochs
behind a bravado of bricked-up oval apertures
and cruelly lorded over
by this lurid deconstructed meccano mushroom,
terrible, toxic and grotesque.
But how will he then clear the second precipice
(given a safe return to balcony)
to broach her? Another tightrope? In his reverie
he scans the skyline’s horizon –
perhaps that corner ledge like a leftover stub
is a clue, a sign, a foothold;
yet even if he managed to overleap that limbo
and grasp the cornerstone
and writhe up onto the deck – will she still
want him? And what if
he slipped, plummeting headlong into the waiting
unknown abysses below?
Or – what if he’s captured by the gloating molester
and strapped for all time
to that rusty scaffold, or nestled and riveted,
a modern Prometheus,
into its curvature, to rotate like a rock staring forever
into naked dreamless space?
In response to Rooftops by Jeffrey Smart, 71.6 cm x 100.4 cm,
Joseph Brown Collection, National Gallery of Victoria.
- 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