I will summon again the wise, unreliable counsel of what remains
of childhood memory, to make what I can from the times
I saw myself in the eyes of the animals who lowered or turned
their heads to me. I was curious, and while not without fear
I wanted to be close, if not to touch, then to inhale
and understand, my senses tactile and raw. When a goat came to
the end of its rope where I was waiting on my knees on a carpet
of thistledown and the bones of sticks from a dying cottonwood
it looked at me, its breath like bits of wind off a wet paddock.
When it put its face to mine in a gesture I saw as curiosity
and welcome, its eyes contained black slashes, as though identical
cuts were still healing, then it stepped back and chewed sideways
before my forehead was printed and opened by twin mounds
of horn. I was laid out cold on my cousin’s farm by a head-butt
from a goat called Cobber. Years later, my father told me
that Cobber had been led by his rope to be prepared, then served
with beer and salad to cricketers by the Bendemeer River.
I can still see myself in a small way, leaning forward in my need
to be nuzzled and accepted into that eaten-down world.
I can imagine the shape of my mouth before the country light
went out, it was trying to make all kinds of sounds for hello.
- 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