The house leans against the icy southwesterlies,
Dreaming itself as one of those pioneer ships threading
Between gnarled cliffs near Glenample & barbed islands,
Running in uncharted waters before five green fathoms
Under a Moon too shy to show even her petticoats:
Something's loose, a panel on the west gable, a roof tile,
Something the second mate should have seen to.
With a pensioner's wheeze and sigh the gas heater fires,
The pillow adjusts itself to my head – the water's cool
As I begin to recite the line, but it slips away:
Night sloshes up and down an empty corridor,
A wonton knot forms in my left leg at midnight,
Something nameless digs deeper into the earth
Shadowed by the crossed arches of joists and bearers,
It sounds like an unwanted guest in the bathroom.
Light leaks under the bedroom door, a cat insists itself
So we shift and make room for this surrogate child
Turning & burrowing under blankets, as if to eat our warmth.
Across the road, a car door slams, someone yells.
Asphalt clicks underfoot as she heads into the fog,
And our river, always the river, slithers out to sea.
Then it's your turn to wake and relate the latest visitation,
How your guardian angel has reappeared, or more likely,
Elvis embraced you by the shoulders and crooned.
We read a dream-dictionary, you cast the runes,
But the walls remain silent, there's no ghost let loose.
Then the line returns, so our hero can step out
Into a grey-eyed dawn, listen to magpies caroling,
Watch the first skein of pelicans move along the valley –
As the house heaves to, loosely rattling anchor-chains.
- 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