You’re walking Lovers Lane, paperbarks
warp and woof overhead. The poodle
is at your heal, a cloud of impossible white.
Seeding clouds in the outback,
gramps and gran were gluttons for punishment.
The poodle’s coat is dreadlocked with long-grass,
between her hind legs blood fresh and wielding.
The bush is in heat, the smell of broken leaves
burning your sneakers. You didn’t want to return a murderer.
She’ll need a mate, gran said. So she’d sit on a stool.
Sit there for hours, wait for a royal mounting.
And you remember you’ve seen the red
between your mother’s legs, dark rivulets
mapping her inner thighs, her blonde pudenda so unlike
your brown, hairless skin when you washed with her
in the shower. The same heat. The same red.
The white cloud would be for the silver cloud.
The white cloud would yowl, it made you curious, this pain.
Gran became goddess of conceptions,
patience and silence, orchestrating litters
from here to eternity. The border collie would lurk
on the sideline, waiting for gramps to call her up to the ute
so they could round up the sheep
he’d shave and take to Goulburn, ending in scarves
noosing necks from here to London.
He hollers at you, you and his dog to hop in the back of the ute.
Speeding past and ducking into the yaw of lightning rod
eucalypt down to Dead Sheep Gulley, the back-burned underbrush
bares skulls of sheep that lost their way,
the collie expectant, its face stretched
as far forward as the fast ute. You’re a flying banshee,
this is what it is to be a banshee —
Flying on the back of the red ute.
Gramps knocks on the rear window,
so you pretend to oblige momentarily
holding on, your hair tied back by the wind. Banshee.
The dam’s drying up, the yabbies are still biting,
breathing holes punctuate life’s insistence
at the cracked edge. This country is carved by hoof
and bone, cliffs of dust… The whole erosion.
You got drunk at the wake, crawled
into the scrub beside the pub where you slept
most soundly. You disappeared on Hal’s Hill,
sitting there wet-faced searching the cold light
that disturbed you with its infinite.
This is where the demented flock roam,
this desert country in your deserted head.
This parched youth. This outgrown youth
that tracts then inside now, there inside here.
You burn in a plot of glowing silence,
your mother calls for you, you cannot tell her
when she embraces you she is embracing a stranger.
- FREE: 20 Poets anthology
- 91: NO THEME VIIISUBMIT to C Gaskin 90: MONSTERwith N Curnow, coming soon! 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 Fiona Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith Vladimir Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith Judith Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith Keri Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with Dan 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 Pam Brown 52.0: TOIL with Carol Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with Luke Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with Bonny Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with John Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with Tracy Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with Corey Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with Michael Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with Felicity Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with Jan Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with Derek Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with Kent MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with Ann Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with Gig Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with Duncan Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with Kent MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with Libby Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with Sarah Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with Sam Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with Astrid Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with Sean Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with Alan Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with Jill Jones
- Alex Creece Reviews Marion May Campbell’s third body
- Ivy Ireland Reviews Steve Armstrong
- Magan Magan Reviews deciBels 3
- Claire Albrecht Reviews Manisha Anjali’s Sugar Kane Woman
- Review Short: Simeon Kronenberg’s Distance
- Review Short: Judith Beveridge’s Sun Music: New and Selected Poems
- Melody Paloma Reviews Keri Glastonbury
- Submission to Cordite 91: NO THEME VIII
- Judith Bishop Reviews Phillip Hall’s Fume
- Bella Li on as Associate Publisher
- Alex Creece on as Production Editor
- Review Short: Diane Fahey’s November Journal and Carmen Leigh Keates’s Meteorites
- Review Short: Vahni Capildeo’s Seas and Trees and Jennifer Harrison’s Air Variations
- To Outlive a Home: Poetics of a Crumbling Domestic
- ‘The Rally Is Calling’: Dashiell Moore Interviews Lionel Fogarty
- Jackie Ryan: Teaser to Burger Force 3
- Dispatch from the Future Fish
- Introduction to Cordite 89: DOMESTIC
- 7 Portraits by Ali Gumillya Baker
- Selections from 3 Yhonnie Scarce Series
- Kathy Acker and The Viewing Room
- To Live There: on ‘Dispatch from the Future Fish’
- The Wild Workshop: The Ghost of a Brontëan Childhood in the Life of Dorothy Hewett
- Externalising the Symptom: Radicalised Youth and The Membrane
- On Deep Breaths and Friends Forever: Im/materiality and Mis/communication in Happy Angels Revisited
- Letter to Anne Carson: Work of Remembrance and Mourning
- Translated Extracts from Chantal Danjou