The country looks at them just once: the dogs (notice iron rings
in their droopy ears) soiled and shaved
on the immobile palm of deep
breathing without exit door. The word PATHLESS rolls sideward
and then hits what
probably is a wall made up of water.
As if seconds are for drowning.
As if eyes are boiled clams that can’t open.
Say subhuman. That seismic circuit
for some life
wherein the essential parts are ruined, which is to tell
there are two Is in the word EXTINCTION.
I’m tired of doing love
only in private—that’s the first I,
randomly scratching the obscene
screen of television with motel key.
There are many long days when I imagine you
murdered in a movie,
pale and dead and unreal and I can still fuck you—that’s the other I,
sun-kissed and shirtless just like the first.
(notice XI XXIII MM tattooed along their spine)
They fuck for a long time, they see
you in each other, they have been fucking for a long time,
someday no dog of any kind will survive
in the country and they will still be fucking secretly.
When they were both laid
off from work
unpaid and saw it in the eyes of Brandon Lee that fucking
in front of a mirror was a ship
above great tides of fire, they fled
to the nearest motel, one after the other,
(notice the table looks
jabbed by its own swallowing
varnish, a world with torn-
rutted cities as its being)
and started the scene in front of a wall mirror.
(notice the plastic fruit basket is a lovely bungalow
if it is just its shadow)
One day last June—as every year in June—
gunshots dashed across
the archipelago to honor its independence.
Does it matter which man remembers the gunshots and wants to be free?
Does it matter which man is saying I cannot convince my self anymore,
I don’t know why we have to do this;—
Because with the mirror: four men sharing the same war
but no one among them is ready to die;—
That though they duck a story of slight survival, speaking
of how tragic slow death can be the haunted little life in it remains
shapeless, wretchedly there, more or less there.
How over the years things they meant have never birthed any surface,
in the want for sunshine, no better country in the reflexive word HOME;—
That they have always seen the word and another roll back, crash,
and then immured.
(notice how the flight of their words is never to take the speaking
To apologize to each other, that fantasy of ending in peace
they afford in surrender, and kiss once more—
and yes, they do so like in a dream,
but not as quicker as their senses turn into a pure obstacle;—
Does it matter which man knows they cannot help each other
by inconsequential fucking?
They sit tired and sweating on the floor for a long time, they have
been tired and sweating for a long time, they see
you (notice the old discolored doll that is a crucifix from afar
shouldn’t be there)
in each other, but better than any of you
they understand misery in sex.
When they were lanky boys they met
another who killed himself with a pen at school during lunch break,
twenty-some days since his late circumcision; he left
no note, which gave the living all the reasons to be uncertain.
To wonder all the time,
sometimes with a knife
tucked beneath the belt.
Not more than a week
after they wrote I will not pull my self out of my life
and laughed for saying it
is a promise to have a different ending.
When they were younger they didn’t know
hurt is sometimes felt only in the future.
And when the future is now in person
they say what was not written has stayed
true: person is a container for earth and spit,
I in the execrable excess.
- FREE: 20 Poets anthology
- 93: PEACHSUBMIT to L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIICOMING SOON with 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
- Introduction to Zenobia Frost’s After the Demolition
- Phillip Hall Reviews Robert Harris’s The Gang of One: Selected Poems
- Adam Ford Reviews Rae White’s Milk Teeth and Anders Villani’s Aril Wire
- Jennifer Mackenzie Reviews Elif Sezen’s A little book of unspoken history
- Introduction to Charmaine Papertalk Green’s Nganajungu Yagu
- Brigid Magner Reviews Michele Leggott’s Vanishing Points and Elizabeth Smither’s Night Horse
- Jack Kelly Reviews Liam Ferney’s Hot Take
- Submission to Cordite 93: PEACH
- Introduction to Cordite 91: MONSTER
- Poetry, Whatsoever: Blake, Blau DuPlessis, and an Expansive Definition of the Poem
- On Being Sanguine: Two Years of Panic and a Response to Terror in Christchurch
- A Deaf Rough Trade: Defending Poetry to ‘regular people’
- 12 Panels by Chris Gooch
- 5 Translated Yosuke Tanaka Poems
- A Buzz in the Retina: On Translating Luljeta Lleshanaku
- ‘That is some crafty bite’: Trisha Pender Interviews Melinda Bufton
- ‘You’re never disembodied from the action’: Dylan Frusher Interviews Judith Beveridge
- Excerpts from Neon Daze
- Chorography and Toute-eau in the Waters of Lower Murray Country
- 6 Poems from Robin M Eames
- Aussi / Or: Un Coup de dés and Mistranslation in the Antipodes
- Every other Friday
- I Still Love Without My Head
- Heath Ledger’s Joker
- Only fair