We were making revolution when the phone rang.
Hello, it's Lionel Richie here, taking you
to a past you never knew. Characters in horizontal strips
construct a street: Shanghai's longtangs fan out in zig-zag networks
while at noon in the capital all the shadows run north.
A dry look with frosted hair, he takes solace in wine:
'Who now can tell a common Magpie Flower
from a Phoenix-headed White or a Purple Jade wing?
And whatever happened to Brother Swallow,
banished to Hainan Island all those years ago?'
Come and see the dragon's blood oozing out of the city's
punctured walls, they say. Stacked for removal, chipped tiles
are ripe for recording. Here are manicured pines for the poet in you,
and for your kids we put the monkeys in zoos. 'These strangers
without ancestors', he says, 'When will they return home?'
In a browning photograph, a string of camels
laden with imperial gifts steps warily through the city gate
as the Northern horseman smells the leak of imperial air.
In Lu Xun's courtyard, wild grass forces space
between the pavers. New shoots of ivy bloom
rose, rust, sunset and cherry on the weathered wall.
Then: 'Five or six beggars from god knows where,
stretching their dirty hands towards me –
are these citizens of the capital?' Adding a third hand
to each watch, this is reform.
Outside the Workers' Stadium, kites fly higher than flags,
hollowing white blanks from the brown wash.
'Are the people of Huihsien County still doing fine?'
Gobi dust is a remainder that sticks in your throat, but so
is the faint vanilla aftertaste of silver-tipped jasmine tea.
- FREE: 20 Poets anthology
- 92: NO THEME VIIISUBMIT to C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow, coming soon! 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 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
- Aidan Coleman Reviews New and Selected Poems of Anna Wickham
- Ivy Ireland Reviews Ali Whitelock’s and my heart crumples like a coke can
- Editorial to AFRO AUSTRALIAN
- 4 Works by Guled Abdulwasi
- The Platonic Split
- you have no idea how far i swam
- To the still
- Garden of Grace
- Bloody QnA
- The Physics of Self
- Life Poem
- go ahead, call it magic
- Chalk to Charcoal
- (un) learning
- 3 Sisters
- Blood Fuel
- Raelee Lancaster Reviews Alison Whittaker’s Blakwork
- 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