It’s getting hard for me to remember
what it was like before I was a tree.
What the news reports don’t tell you is how
this all started as a little pain
between my legs. A small throb.
I thought it was just a case of blue balls. At first
the doctors called the dark fractals in the sonogram
mineral deposits, suggesting the sea.
They didn’t mean whole swift swarms of fish.
Imagine a man like me
with no city to abandon or look back at—
and suddenly becoming salt.
I should have known:
I have always loved to dig my toes
into the mud. I’ve always marvelled
at the downing of power lines
and the slow breaking
of the local roads and walks. Times
I’ve been kissed and told I reek
of black cherry and mulch.
Soon after the groin aches started,
I took my love to the sakura festival
and stood under the orchard rows
and could not stop staring up
into a couple million crumpled
bloodied buds, as if some blunt thing
full of spring had bashed them open
one by one into this gangbuster chorus.
What a sky to gaze into—a hallelujah
of tattered tongues. Brutal, I tell you. Hell,
I got no clue when I’m supposed to
break into blossom. But when I do,
I hope there’s music playing
and lovers lying in a lanky tangle
beside me. I promise to stand absolutely still
and forget what it was like
to have spent my entire life walking around
as if I’d ever been just a man.
- 102: GAMESUBMIT with J Maxwell and R Green 101: NO THEME 10COMING SOON with 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