Description: The head is small but with
a long beak, somewhere between
an ibis and a toucan. The body is
a coiled spring, feet long
Movement: A jaunty, fairground
rhythm with a little hop like
someone preparing an awkward kick.
Diet/favourite offerings: Smooth
twigs twisted slightly at one
end. Marriages, especially first
ones. Childhoods, especially
first ones. Sounds/cries:
Difficult to describe, but suggestive
of the word ‘disconsolate’.
2: Visits from wild animals
There are crocs outside in great numbers.
Now and then we shoot some
to keep a decent distance. The sensation
is like cracking a prawn or crayfish
with your thumbs.
There’s a lion
half-tamed who pauses as you open
the door for him. He sniffs something
below the reach of human nostrils
and comes back in, lies
down for a chin scratch.
Hot baths can’t equal
the rough pleasure of his tongue.
3: Visits from extinct animals
And once a thylacine came. Something wolfish
in its long head, its fur thick
and rough. Something hyena-like
in its knowing eyes. It knew
it was extinct because of us
(one pale human looking
much like another) so we worried
when the kids wanted to stroke
its long jaw, mimic its drunken
walk. It was like meeting someone
whose suffering you’d heard about,
someone excluded come out
of the past. It could almost have been
a person disguised or a sleazy god
in an old myth, hidden in a skin.
It had the look of someone condemned
who knows he’s innocent and has something on you.
Another household creature, quieter
being, the sphere, whose movement
is a circumambient flowing,
who seems to feed on nothing, or quietly
on itself, diminishing imperceptibly.
It’s mostly hollow centre,
an emptiness to revolve around.
Not some crude male imagining
of the female as lack, but something
before gender, that will outlive
all animals, everything weak enough
to need to move. It is utterly prior
and patient, runs kaleidoscopic
shapes across its skin. It’s
billions of years before the wryneck.
- 94: EARTHSUBMIT to M Takolander 93: PEACHCOMING SOONwith 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