See how the Fates their gifts allot,
For A is happy; B is not.
At Maud Cahill’s bookshop I produce a list
of books I’d sooner sell than keep on seeing
on my shelves. It’s time that dust returned to dust.
I know the story, otherwise: they’ll stand
together, till the final purge of all, when heirs
will toss out Kees and Bishop, Pope and Sappho
in the same box with this sad lot who have hung out
on the sidewalks of the mind to beg for cash.
Perhaps their trash is others’ treasure. Maybe
there are people who, determined to have
one of every book that has been printed,
dream of making life-sized pyramids of paper:
who can say? Clive James composed a psalm
of joy to see his enemy’s book remaindered.
I’ve more charity, took pity on the homeless,
brought them in until they nudged aside my friends.
I tell Maud, strike out the ones you never wish
to see. She goes, predictably, to those
I first set down; Ronald, Lynda, Steven, Di,
you others: be advised, the Great Recycler
is at hand. Not for you the antiquarian
dealer, nor suburban op-shop bin. There are more
ways to cure depression – mine, or any future reader’s:
you shall be made one with nature, part
of that infinitude of atoms whence you came.
Your fractured dactyls will go flapping to the earth
to keep down weeds rank as yourself; you boys
who entered like a military band performing Sousa
will go out like that last horse’s tail that leaves
with its last flourish nothing but the scent behind.
- 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