As always, time’s sieve selects a myth from the facts,
the way the city—a pith spilled from the karst—
is pushed pack into the yellow haze
despite the ships’ urgency to its quayside
as if to leave room for the farmer cutting terraces
from the bay’s blue potential,
a shepherd checking for rain: all of parish life and industry
flowing up and to the left against the frame.
Over there, the local rag’s society hack
focuses on a celebrity shaking hands,
coaxing a raffle with a megaphone
watchful for someone significant.
A school band, tuned slightly awry as their uniforms
trombone flaring over sausage-smoky booths
between which adolescents fumble, still half drawn
to the dodge-ems; parents wander past the jams and doilies,
past the obeisant lavender, for the third time,
encyclopaedias and best-sellers parked like veterans
in the sun, brochures on weed control
blown to the perimeter. A recruiter hands out air force caps.
A group of young men tests their harness,
anxious to be off; kit creaks and chafes
against the pulpy air; momentarily they feel
their silly age, ostentatiously check the gauges.
One falls from the sky; the others pass from our art
as from our sight, old men in leather jackets chatting,
barely interrupted by the squadron’s shadow
passing over the oval.
- 96: NO THEME IXSUBMIT NOW with 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: 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