Can you convince the wind to change
direction? The Opera House dishes in their rack
are browning again. The government wants them whitewashed
by massive, shock-jock-endorsed horse-racing ads.
It’s nearly summer and November’s going loopy.
The sky turns ochre, orange to some, amid purple-greys—
depends on the screen you see things through
and whether or how you recall the dust-red dawn
of 2009 that loomed over the Blue Mountains
from the southwest like something sci-fi,
how it crept in the early hours into the city in slow motion
the way a red container ship now glides as if on ice
over choppy waters under the Harbour Bridge.
Today’s another ‘scary fire day’. People are out and amongst it,
spending everything on Xmas, dealing with the trauma
of a year’s overload. The sun’s not a sphere,
it’s a funnel that sucks the world’s energy up like a vacuum,
spits it back out in shards of light or in hard
slabs of heat the size of continents.
Wind drags dust from inland out through the heads,
Country in its teeth. When the dust-red dawn
dwarfed Sydney it was much redder than this
orange-grey haze people are dissing on the tweets
like it’s nothing, like there aren’t still tonnes
of it settling on every windowsill, millions
of airborne specks turning sinuses to rage.
As a two-year-old, Evie was afraid of specks;
couldn’t comprehend them. She used to point and scream
at any tiny fleck invading her bath-time and -space—
they were alive, could morph into other forms.
Or maybe she understands them too well, how our bodies
are always morphing. She’s been watching
Alice in Wonderland—‘a big girl now,’ not a dot
inside a tummy anymore, and difficult to allegorise,
given our background in colonial poiesis.
The sound of an invisible cannon-shot thunders
and echoes from the sandstone and concrete
beneath the bridge on the northern side of the harbour,
dragging me back to the steering wheel I’ve drifted off behind
on the southern side as I take a break from deliveries.
Twenty more bangs go off and, with each, a further
twenty echoes are delayed by what seems
two hundred years or more. Sky turns maroon.
Through the windscreen, a dirty rainbow.
On the road, red’s caked in the puddles of this morning’s
rainshower. How do I talk to my daughters
about all the tiny beliefs being part of the big ones,
about tipping points that have already been breached,
about the version of history they’ll inherit
that can’t go back to time immemorial and that’ll
probably soon completely cease reverberating
through the future’s waters? The car shakes. Wind
lifts the sedan, spinning me up to the palm tree canopies
and for a moment we’re all doing helicopters—
fronds, hair, car, heads, arms (I imagine my daughters
airborne too)—dispersing dust, trying to shake it off.
I return to land, watch the specks we picked up
get whisked over Gadigal and out to sea,
tiny flecks of red and black subsumed back in-
to the ongoing fallout and wash-up.
- 108: DEDICATIONwith L Patterson & L Garcia-Dolnik 107: LIMINALwith B Li 106: OPENwith C SLowe & J Langdon 105: NO THEME 11with E Grills & E Stewart 104: KINwith E Shiosaki 103: AMBLEwith E Gomez and S Gory 102: GAMEwith R Green and J Maxwell 101: NO THEME 10with J Kinsella and J Leanne 100: BROWNFACE with W S Dunn 99: SINGAPOREwith J Ip and A Pang 97 & 98: PROPAGANDAwith 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: AFRICAN DIASPORAwith 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