Before the broken edges of an old city’s coast;
before the waves breaking on the wharves;
a city lost in the fog tumbling in from the ocean,
in snakes of fog sliding down from the mountains,
I’m tumbling through skins to my origins.
I am tumbling and my skin’s shade is changing;
I am the television virus, my skin is brightening;
I am from the land of ether, of foamed milk;
I am the loved one, only ever the one, the one loved for being one;
I am the one writing with all my weight.
A trail of footsteps across the stars;
I’ve scratched away footsteps one by one,
each step burnt a field, a mask, a dormant carbon mass;
I’m nothing but masks with eyes of furious sulphur;
I am a moon in search of a planet in search of a moon.
If I was in love it was with a woman becoming a man;
if I was loved it was by a world becoming a woman.
I was never loved by the grumpy old goanna;
I was never loved by the wings of the circling goshawk;
if it was love it was a chain of grumpy old ions going senile in the galactic mirage.
I have been loved, but only on occasion,
and I am loved, but only by staggered occasions;
staggering past hollowed buildings: empty teeth,
screwing them hollow for my filthy heap,
the fact is none would love me if they could see inside.
As a living thing I am growing outwards, spreading;
as a living I am fattening, spreading outwards, phoning;
as a dead heart growing;
as a dead heart sprawling over tarmac
while the black skins of the bitumen places sizzle underneath.
For my living I am ripping off their rhythms;
I am ripping off skins, buying the hearts of places;
I’m spreading cancer thick like a famous yeast;
this strange old city tumbling down in granules;
cancer is dancing in the memories of my metal cells.
So come to me on a lonely night when I least expect it;
come to me on the one night I most deserve it;
come to me, roll to me over the lonely hakea and the singing she-oak;
look for me, come to me, hold me and learn me,
we’ll meet by the edge of this crumbling city’s dreams.
For left alone I ferment into lonely flora;
I become the stench of the alcoholic plagues;
I reach out and devour the seeds of places;
I gain weight and lose it immediately in their throats,
my stinking ferment causing them atrocious choking spasms.
You’re coming to me in the night furthest from my origins,
we’re walking down the most sacred, cobblestoned streets;
I’ve taken your hand and your hurtling music
and I’m rolling slowly over your bleeding tongue,
for I am the gum plague, the gases crushed in the star burning furthest from reach.
- FREE: 20 Poets anthology
- 92: NO THEME VIIISUBMIT to C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow, coming soon! 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 Fiona Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith Vladimir Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith Judith Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith Keri Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with Dan 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 Pam Brown 52.0: TOIL with Carol Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with Luke Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with Bonny Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with John Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with Tracy Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with Corey Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with Michael Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with Felicity Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with Jan Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with Derek Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with Kent MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with Ann Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with Gig Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with Duncan Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with Kent MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with Libby Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with Sarah Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with Sam Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with Astrid Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with Sean Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with Alan Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with Jill Jones
- Review Short: Iris Fan Xing’s South of Words
- Aidan Coleman Reviews New and Selected Poems of Anna Wickham
- Ivy Ireland Reviews Ali Whitelock’s and my heart crumples like a coke can
- Editorial to AFRO AUSTRALIAN
- 4 Works by Guled Abdulwasi
- The Platonic Split
- you have no idea how far i swam
- To the still
- Garden of Grace
- Bloody QnA
- The Physics of Self
- Life Poem
- go ahead, call it magic
- Chalk to Charcoal
- (un) learning
- 3 Sisters
- Blood Fuel
- Raelee Lancaster Reviews Alison Whittaker’s Blakwork
- Alex Creece Reviews Marion May Campbell’s third body
- Ivy Ireland Reviews Steve Armstrong
- Magan Magan Reviews deciBels 3
- Claire Albrecht Reviews Manisha Anjali’s Sugar Kane Woman