Silence is always audible through the noise,
it’s your watching soul
disturbed. The buzzing city is a laminate
pressed upon awful stillness. You arrive
among a Ninja whispering of rain
under a riot of tyres at
Victoria Inn, 6-24 Dougashou.
In this lobby they’ve buried the body of the desert
in art deco
plush English furniture complete with upright
Agatha Christie phone – you’re in the Cotswolds
till in reception Japanese are bowing
as in the days of Queen Victoria,
when smuggled guns began this sad relationship
with high explosives.
In the lift’s quietness you ascend like God, aware
of an itchy skin rash on your ankles. Hotel soaps?
Room 412, you splash on lotion, rub it in
hang your soaking socks over the towel-rack,
then step into the shoes
of invading armies back five hundred years
that burned across Japan’s most Christian city.
Jesuit footfalls in the aisles
of this painted wooden church, modern veneer
on Armageddon. At Ground Zero you stand
before a high blackened chimney, potent as
Peace Park down the road, a shuttle-shuffle place
with photographs in tiers of floors to terrorise
the human spirit into peace while, blocks away
devotees hover in pachinko parlours
firing exploding rounds like they’re in Moscow,
New York, London – not in a nuclear graveyard.
The rain has stopped, the desert’s everywhere.
What do you do when you’re bombed back to the Stone Age?
You bury and rebuild, and learn to love
baseball. Now, in the silent lobby, waiting
for the bus, you’re thinking it could be
yesterday, or Nineteen-Fortyfive, serene,
two minutes past eleven.
- 99: BROWNFACESUBMIT NOW with W S Dunn 98: SINGAPORECOMING SOON with A Pang and J Ip 97: PROPAGANDACOMING SOON with 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