The first transgressions have always occurred
In vehicles. Voyages emit new laws of the wind
Clothed in stolen gold—the hero beyond tragedy
Stands on the shore having discovered nothing.
Shield islands—plumes of headland nodding nearer
Farther off breaking coastline vanishing patternless
Into the present. Long shadows of oarstrokes never
To strike the horizon which ever smiled the same
Sad smile of the hand that believes it can calculate
Distance in clear intervening space. Pacifist isle
That invented the very idea of geometry—
—the first diagram whose angles haven’t yet
Disentangled violence from sight. Flowering stone.
Fluorescent time. Take this sea to be equal parts
Wedding march and funeral dirge. On days like this
It can feel as if the island vain in its entirety
Has ripped free in a storm of its moorings—
A postage stamp cut from its envelope to
Commemorate the astral transit from subatomic
Particle to the vast millimetres of microplastic
Oceans. Nothing for it but to drift like an
Anchor planted ceremoniously inland—and yet—
What choice in the land where equations
Governing fluids are more fundamental than
Quantum mechanics. When the most critical rate
Limiting factors are the speed and silence at which
you can slip through water—ave maris—.
Must I make the same errors of modern legend—as
Crane took Copernicus to say—simply by sailing
in a new direction you could enlarge the world.
As though official buildings reserved the right to be
Shot towers from which lead is cast into and
Becomes the abyss. The sun sank its bridge and
Came straight back—the stars lean closer to see
Watershed waterlevels that are enough to set
Driftwood alight. The pain that was my wrists
Deep in Antarctic ice I thought the glass stem
Of gorse rigged into burning twine. And even just
Unfurling my palm—to lay flat my second nature’s
Fist—for five minutes has become a stretch.
You wouldn’t believe what controlling umbrellas
In the wind has done for my strength. In ice floes
Of traffic—my car of the future fitted with a snorkel
Staring up the threads of rain like gun barrels.
All of us in the ocean’s wake pining for the most
Alienating path home as though every lighthouse
A monument to who you were
not there for.
- 100: BROWNFACESUBMIT NOW with W S Dunn 99: SINGAPORECOMING SOON with A Pang and J Ip 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