What did I know of consequences?
The game delighted, so I played
like a child, heedless, unaware
of the migration of senses.
First, my eyes, translating the world,
drifted into yours, layering sight,
mirror-mazing perception. Was it my face
then, or yours, that I looked upon?
Then, my skin stretched – the whorls
on my fingers like galaxies, the lines
on my palms like rivers across sand
dunes – and my body grew beyond
itself, beyond yours. With our left
hand I reached up to drape a fine
cirrus sky shawl across my shoulders.
With our right, I stroked the wind.
Our Siamese legs straddled distances.
I breathed your breath, you thought
my thoughts, both of us configured
into the folds of one space. Who was
I then? What were my thoughts?
Where did I stop and you begin?
Yes, once there were no boundaries,
and we were both lost, adrift on land
extending in every direction as far
as shimmering hallucinations could
rise – the directions merging,
indistinguishable; the space around
us vast and thirsty; our words
emptying into it like the last drops
from a canteen, rivulets drying out
as they were spoken. Reckless,
I promised water, you promised
shelter when there was none –
and we cupped trust in our hands
and made-believe. Without boundaries,
we shrivelled in the heat;
the earth’s crust scorched our feet,
the unremitting sun burnt our skin.
I wilted in a haze of silent recrimination:
shamed, overcome by so much space.
I/you/we do not occupy this space
alone. Place an ear against the stars
or on the ground, let your skin tingle
as if a storm approaches, pay heed
to the movement of ants. Resonances
multiply: a tension in the air, a low
hum, a faint vibration. Who built
this cairn of rocks? What spirit watches
over this place? What does this hill,
that tree, these boulders signify?
What other markers are strewn about
this land that you and I cannot see?
Out of grief I drew a line in the sand,
raised a fence, tried to explain
that you would find me always
behind it, that you could come
and visit me here as often as you
want, on the understanding that
after each visit you would leave again –
so that I could grow back into myself,
my small body, my hands; so that
I could touch your cheek and know
that it was yours; so that I could be
outside the tears in your eyes.
- FREE: 20 Poets anthology
- 91: NO THEME VIIISUBMIT to C Gaskin 90: MONSTERwith N Curnow, coming soon! 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
- 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
- Review Short: Simeon Kronenberg’s Distance
- Review Short: Judith Beveridge’s Sun Music: New and Selected Poems
- Melody Paloma Reviews Keri Glastonbury
- Submission to Cordite 91: NO THEME VIII
- Judith Bishop Reviews Phillip Hall’s Fume
- Bella Li on as Associate Publisher
- Alex Creece on as Production Editor
- Review Short: Diane Fahey’s November Journal and Carmen Leigh Keates’s Meteorites
- Review Short: Vahni Capildeo’s Seas and Trees and Jennifer Harrison’s Air Variations
- To Outlive a Home: Poetics of a Crumbling Domestic
- ‘The Rally Is Calling’: Dashiell Moore Interviews Lionel Fogarty
- Jackie Ryan: Teaser to Burger Force 3
- Dispatch from the Future Fish
- Introduction to Cordite 89: DOMESTIC
- 7 Portraits by Ali Gumillya Baker
- Selections from 3 Yhonnie Scarce Series
- Kathy Acker and The Viewing Room
- To Live There: on ‘Dispatch from the Future Fish’
- The Wild Workshop: The Ghost of a Brontëan Childhood in the Life of Dorothy Hewett
- Externalising the Symptom: Radicalised Youth and The Membrane
- On Deep Breaths and Friends Forever: Im/materiality and Mis/communication in Happy Angels Revisited
- Letter to Anne Carson: Work of Remembrance and Mourning
- Translated Extracts from Chantal Danjou