The villagers here have a single theme. Really, it
is quite wearing, all these variations on the
strain of insufficiency. Why should I care?
But until my train comes I am stuck here. At the pension
I take my meals on trays up to my rooms, which causes
laughter between the manager and her daughter, who
otherwise aren’t on speaking terms. The cars are
decorated for a wedding and the battleships bite
their little bits of sky from the horizon, quarrying
the blue. Along the sea walk a track joins
one town to another and halfway in between, lined
with cedars, is the cemetery. The old men play at cards
all afternoon and kick the cobbled stones horribly
laced by tiny spray faced cats. I think that
I will take up smoking, if only to light
the air with sparks, each swallowing its
little bit of oxygen and its little bit of dark.
Beneath the broken heavy hills by the shapeless sparking sea
the odd unerotic angles of nude bathers, pink and bungled,
float on the landscape like lights, like balloons, like migraines.
Scalded shoulders and knees, florid heads and aspirant
bellies, goosepimpled, bulging over marks left by tight
removed suits; their tender feet stumble on the rocks crafted
by the ocean into axes and agents of blunt trauma.
They fit as neatly here as a cheque in an envelope, and in
their small devotions, awkwardly applying sunscreen
or spilling a towel across the harsh pebbled beach, they
are consistent with one another as disappointment and hope.
Top-heavy small brown birds nod in
the pine trees like clocks: tick squawk.
The mountains are heaped up around
like infamy. I am beginning to believe
in silence as a worthwhile project.
Something I tried so hard to be talked
out of. But this place is very persuasive,
with its apt unkindness, its chalk hills, its sea. The church
bells ring things that are not the hour.
Someone performs some service. But look,
there is burning, the reflection intensifies
the light. Not here, not here, is where we go in.
- 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