Sunset here is the distant roar
of motorbikes, and down Pacific Street,
I hear the enormous rage
that fills the mosquito’s head. Flies still circle
the day’s unalterable groove. A gull pierces
the distance like a sail needle. Summer’s
already gone with its squalls and king tides,
quarrels between breakers and shore.
In the palm fronds, a windy shootout —
a cockatoo firing gun-metal screeches
into the dusk. At the marina, boats called Insolence,
Betrothal, Party Girl, Gypsea, Liquidity
bob in the swell, their masts tip
like competing violin bows —
those principal instruments
which must be heard above all others.
On the headland, motels light up
like bright perfume bottles selling sex,
headlights flare like shoals of jellyfish,
then cruise away. On the beach’s far end —
pylons in tight barnacle socks, pelicans lumbering
where a few old men hold fishing rods and all evening
listen to the irascible abrading of their reels
along with the crickets in the marram.
Youths throw bottles into the surf —
they know the fast language of money
is spoken only in the casinos
and restaurants and by those who own
the shopping malls and boats.
They listen to the tide struggling
over the sandbar, their eyes coined
in the beer bottle glass
breaking along the rocks with the force
of their curses. Now a few gulls, like last season’s
junked fliers, peel away in the wind, and
the moon writes its graffiti in silver glyphs
across the hoarding of the cliff.
- 96: NO THEME IXSUBMIT NOW with M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHCOMING SOON with M Takolaner 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