After John Tranter
They burn the radio, they listen to the blue.
The okapi farmers whisper
at their meetings, and skirt the gardens.
Their articles revel in a cultural effect.
A multiple connection is enough,
I suppose; it’s a way to influence cool.
They want ordination in that religion
practiced by Bolivians. If they
retreat too soon from danger, they’ll be
unable to explain magic. And any
attraction is important: it’s a kind of high.
Smooth groups of comrades criticise
their elders’ speech, so full of faux pas –
superiority provokes confidence.
The automobile industry makes sense
when you’re smoking joints in the dunes.
Your decision to get breakfast at the café
overlooking the beach was a good one.
We’re flanked by metallic heat and sound –
don’t push it. You set yourself against
your family, it leaves you feeling light,
and elusive as fish. I’m against it,
but supportive. Cloud ships over, and then
rain stains the wall of the rock that we
descend into the lagoon-side quarry.
I meant to say what you needed to hear.
Everything usually goes unsaid.
I needed a family, but found none.
The drunk swindler falls from the bus,
a happy impact. His briefcase of ethics
readings was featured in the newspaper –
his GP and lawyers weren’t happy.
But isn’t the conscious desire to change stupid?
Assuming everything has purpose, as if
expecting a film to improve with viewing?
How soon the city turns into a national economy.
That’s how it worked in the book, with its
estimations that flit from topic to topic, isn’t it?
Or is it still stupid, though you love its capacity
for morality, while that pissant turd, affecting
honour, looking down your top as the bus
pulls up, becomes painfully enamored of you?
We laugh at ourselves with some difficulty,
but it’s not impossible to create a system
to analyse our later moods. The photograph
we stuck to the fridge was removed
by the visiting International Socialist.
Time’s incisions cut across your deepest thoughts,
and inevitably a complex answer builds up
from our conditioned methodology.
We hold and burn next year’s calendar,
the chemicals warp from the photos
and the lost dates appear again, valuable,
capacious. Love is nothing but today. This
pursuit of loss chews at my paragraphs.
Through the fast later years, we know we’ll know less.
The woman falls in love’s slow reduction.
Except for the window, all is movement
through winter’s fog. It grows dark,
so they donate a baptismal.
Compressed time is a sad mother
who calls in at your mental home.
Mate, these women just pounded around
the power station in the downwards dark;
and have you seen the girls who preen themselves
nervously in the heat? We’ll have ‘em squealing.
The bandits fall in with fanatics, but they
want only to pet the animals suffering
in the Caribbean dirt. Rain is soft,
it inclines tenderly – your harem of weather stops.
Does being the subject
of innumerable paintings
mean the child is weighted
down by arts administrators?
You need to make a call.
The train moves the boy
shifting his entire sky,
which is only history.
A soldier intones the wind
as he takes another train
to deplorable borders,
to reveal what it is to punish –
the lesion revives, and the boy hides
in the completed painting of the sky.
The edge of the afternoon returns
to itself. Winter disfigures the ground
with its fallen matter, the strange
tired flippancy of corruption.
It is worn-out before it started,
but presses further, an introspective child.
The radio blurts vague, waffled policy,
reserved for people satisfied
in the sick and blackened cities,
as, at last, they turn over the rocks
beached along the shore. There’s.
a feeling of increase in the stations,
ascending then gone. He thinks:
when he swims, he’s really there.
They are courageous, even if it is induced.
Your fellow passengers climb down
the scales of water as you work through
from childhood to deviation.
That old requirement goes too far.
If you deploy the whole of memory,
you might sleep, though it’s the source of un-
restricted pain. However you press on,
death’s inside that promise, too: the gauge
is overheated, we’re too detached,
everything is a bad film where we worry
away our wealth on simplicity, where the light
gets stranger, somebody writes, lights up,
and our time with the bottle turns so wrong.
- FREE: 20 Poets anthology
- 94: EARTHSUBMIT to M Takolander 93: PEACHCOMING SOONwith 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
- Submission to Cordite 94: EARTH
- NO THEME VIII Editorial
- ‘A means of resistance’: Susie Anderson Interviews Alison Whittaker
- 10 Works by Richard Bell
- Shipwrecks in Modern European Painting and Poetry: Radical Mobilisation of the Motif as Political Protest
- 4 Self-translations by Danijela Trajković
- Brutalism: Poems by Alex Creece
- Imperfect Growth: a Travel Log
- 4 Translated Kim Seung-hee Poems
- Residence: Dwelling with The Shards (an essay)
- The Shards
- in yr swimming pool
- Sonar for Conception
- The slow clock
- nanny on the water
- Vernal Funks & Bluffs
- I’d Have Called Her Sooner
- Call of Summer
- Sunday, call me a squid
- Mother Bird
- The Wrong Colour
- Milk River
- House fitting : surprisingly