There’s liquid water on Saturn’s
moon, plumes vent from its south
pole. We’re waiting for somebody
to crawl out onto the reflective
tectonically deranged terrain,
hoping to nail God to dark matter.
Wherever you live, First Peoples’
painted faces search for evidence
of a collective past. In town halls,
hard edged abstractions of sacred
ceremonies hang on whitewashed
walls. Your migration occurs an infinite
number of times. Hordes of lachrymal
ancestors walk from communal fires
to factories. Natives are made
on process lines. Metal ores burn,
metal feeds metal—in overtime to zero
hour—the language of solidarity, brutal
upper hands, and visceral fictions.
There is a restlessness in you. Wrestle
your dialect to the ground. Wake
from the dreaming—of Sicily,
of San Vito, martyr, patron saint
of the ancient port.
Here is the outline of a forest,
the ghost of our Californian Bungalow.
I catch white butterflies in plastic
bags and pin them to a tree (of symbols).
Tell me it’s cruel, animals grieve too.
How many silences, how many memories
hide in a butterfly’s wing?
It’s the third house in the subdivision,
where you improvise and merge
into Colonial farmhouse vernacular
and announce, I’m going to die here
like an old dog, under the kitchen table.
We worship at the altar of David
Attenborough, laugh at old ideas, dream
of UFOs and life on other planets. Watch
the replay of the ‘incident’. A faceless man
wears black trousers and a white shirt,
holds shopping bags in each hand,
stands before a column of tanks.
He looks like you from behind. Tell me
there’s nothing to fear. A powerline
snaps in the windstorm, pours white
electricity into asphalt. Call the fire
brigade even though there isn’t a fire.
I will crack this dream wide
open. I see your ephemeral wonder.
A disembodied voice announces Alpha
Centauri C, the brightest star,
is gravitationally bound to two
other stars, but appears as a single
star to our unaided future eye.
On the East side, plough your farm,
on the west side, the Californian Bungalow
looks like a church, the octagonal spire
drops dead butterflies on me.
The blending of senses—Listen
to the colour, smell the Sun,
taste the viscous wind
through the leaves, formless
shadows of time itself—then a mouthful
of your Mediterranean Sea.
The Californian Bungalow stands
on the frozen edge of ancient
Enceladus, ninth moon of Saturn.
The new suburb sits in the crater,
liquid water beneath the ice, fracturing
with the strain of time
and tides. This is your best year.
You are the traveller, the immigrant
again—full of knowing.
- 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