our whole world is a third world,
a step-sister left behind in the galaxy’s
ugly cousin earth spinning on her heel,
raging at the cosmos’ beauty.
defective pieces of swept-up stardust
from factories that abuse labouring angels, we
offal from a flourishing inter-galactic trade, we
who want nothing more than to be saved
and nothing saved but us.
our unwatched backs, our shaken wombs, we
like all rejects, spill mother’s secrets
to anyone who listens.
anyone holding out his arms,
anyone who promises toffee and lies
about how nice we look.
mesmerized by their metal and muscle, we
ask strangers to swing an axe
into the sun’s gut.
at night, we whisper to each other – we
were not made weak and small for nothing, we
can slide into mother’s cracked skin and hide
inside her burn-red belly until it’s over, we
are fated to drink the sap in her marrow, we
can grow a tangle of nerves and veins until
each one is inside each one
and no one can live without killing
and no one can kill without dying.
thus, we can survive.
flowers in armpits, we fantasize
about another galaxy.
no factories, no fence-sitting angels
with halos of barbed wire.
no greater muscle than ours.
we pour yellow and black and red earth
on our eyes until the dream is solid
as earth’s bones.
we cry for this place,
tucked behind the knees of the galaxy,
gurgling in the crook of the sun’s elbow,
a place scorched clean. in her sleep
our planet grinds her teeth.
- 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