And our eyes opened like wounds.
And our wounds declared their solemn hurts,
and the stars reflected the beeswax of history,
the chipped ivories, the runaway ghosts
making fire in the blinding wild.
Arms like branches and hair like leaves,
at night we mistook them
for the blackest of trees.
No melody but gong-beat
No blade but stone
No memory but rain
No code but ritual
split into dreamscape and amber
we offer you alms
we offer you carabao butter and clams
We offer you minor drone
Coral like benthic saints
hardwood that took a tribe to fell
they crushed us and cut us
and buttressed their churches
with our bones
We had a god once
we suckled from her breasts the sea
Fractals split from sand
No torrent because dam
The locusts came for our paddies.
We came for the locusts in return.
When were we slaves?
We pined for wages.
Hauled our souls from the forest.
Look at our backs
sore from wishing for wine,
our ports trafficking in despair.
We chased the pirates down the coastline.
Caught up to them by the bay
then prayed as we rinsed
their blood from the planks.
Sad Magwayan, we offer our arms as oars
as you ferry them to Sulad.
Forgive us our fury. Suffer us our ribcages.
Deliver us from the sun
that pries open our rage.
Brother: That we are alive
means that no one deemed our fathers
worthy of killing.
When the mother
felt her throat constrict
into the first Salidumay
When the first godseed
was planted on the shaman’s forehead
When the first fowl
was slain over Apo’s grave
When the first sailor
saw the startled forager
unlock the secret of grass
He must have thought
I must tell everyone about this
- 104: KINwith E Shiosaki 103: AMBLEwith E Gomez and S Gory 102: GAMEwith R Green and J Maxwell 101: NO THEME 10with 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