Landscapes, with Poem

By | 1 December 2022


The first vision: it was prehistoric,
the gargantuan ferns reflected in what he called
a billabong. We didn’t know what it heralded,
wider than the promise of platypus
the arresting half-risen stumps of drowned giants,
when on we gingerly picked through mud
in our ill-prepared shoes
I had wanted to visit the lake for years
for years I had been alone, on the misty drive to Forrest
had braved the unsealed road only once
and then only halfway, afraid of being a girl Where is Yugoslavia?
without reception, and all that Past the curatorial intent.
It can dwarf you.
The light hardly reached. The rainbow horizon
had closed in, where we had wound up from the breakers,
the unrelenting open-mouthed dominion of surf
into which we could

Always be afraid. Awe
that is what lives on this continent, not small things:
the footprint of a megasaur, among whose reeds
a duck.


Echuca: the barges are busy with incantation.
The word spiritual drops from the mouth of a woman
for the first time, into the river.
It sinks, upon this scratchy red-gum churning course
with its load of goods, with memory Where are the bags of flour?
of its load, of goods, when Bush was Frontier. Past the curatorial intent.
Spirit is the frontier. I am not Australian.


A windowpane of light above the descent of evening
I know there is memory in that, grasped in the outline of trees,
the white peaks of waves in the distance beyond the pier
in echoes I must now explain in words, for poems
stuck to windowpanes, where Christos left a tiny shark
hanging from the hook of his fishery, the globe of its right eye
a dead glass encased in gelatine. Here is the poem,
this self-reflexive patterning. He was ousted by the market
driven past the day’s catch, and we – readers of line-work, augurs
who stopped for those taped-up faded handwritten
notes of ascent Where is it written?
stop now for our reflection. It shows us real life Past the curatorial intent.
the strain of offices, coffee, catastrophe in the mouth.
Down by the swing bridge, the estuary cuts, cuts the sand
continually rewriting the moon.


“If one no longer has land but has the memory of land
then one can make a map”

All this whiteness makes me cry.
I seek succour in a Vietnamese fabric store,
that conjures a land adjacent to another adjacency In the dot and the line
and so on, riding a carpet that might take me closer that say to me, Nothing.
to the places adjacent to my dreaming.
In Magic Dollar I say to the woman, You have everything
东西, that lie between East and West.
Her door is interval, sluice gate, through which my heart
predates concepts, nicely rounded out.
Somewhere مرجان is the name of a girl
mounted on a plinth. I am waiting, like the stolen,
for a handful of earth in my coat.

东西 = dōngxī (thing), composed of the Chinese characters for East (东, dōng) and West (西, xī)
مرجان = Marjon/Marjan (Farsi)
Section iv epigraph is a quote from an unnamed source at the Jewish Museum of Australia, St Kilda

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