We live in the suburbs of a concrete paradise,
and this is not a country evening, but an abandoned animal
with eyes all over its gray and brown body.
It blinks, trying to see me better through the knotted, matted hair.
Here, after 9 p.m. the moon is boarded up with yellow planks,
and there is a heavy padlock on the gate to the Milky Way.
A bat gives a squeak: a clock-faced owl
has grabbed the poor one in its claws.
Tiny windows are blind with dirt,
and look like black and white icons with octopuses in them.
Tall weeds grow on the roof, and the porch is
a wooden playpen, two thirds of which are rotten through.
A dog’s barking sinks like a screw bolt in a bottle of
kerosene and purple magic.
Melancholy is like a piece of a polished rail that hangs from a star:
you bang and bang your head against it, but quietly,
without much swishing and swooshing. It’s so good,
it’s so good to live and die
to just live and die quietly,
without actually living or dying,
among the crippled and disappearing wildlife.
Look, here’s a coin, but of what epoch? The dirty tail is unreadable.
What epoch? What empire?
A human life is not much more valuable than a matchbox or a packet of salt.
Burn and cry, slowly, until morning, year after year,
under the shoe-polish-colored sky.
The childhood of the animal has passed here, and here is where it was forgotten.
It was chained to a ship, but both the chain and the ship have turned into dust.
Here is the place where you take off the wig of civilization
from your bald pink brain
and don a nimbus of burs, of sunflowers and sparrows,
and then the animal wakes up. It’s almost blind, it screws up its eyes,
but it recognized you,
and wags the tails of a tractor rut.
It’s dawn with the smell of hay, and motherland, and manure…
- 109: NO THEME 12with C Maling & N Rhook 108: DEDICATIONwith L Patterson & L Garcia-Dolnik 107: LIMINALwith B Li 106: OPENwith C Lowe & 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