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
- 91: NO THEME VIIISUBMIT to C Gaskin 90: MONSTERwith N Curnow, coming soon! 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 Fiona Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith Vladimir Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith Judith Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith Keri Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with Dan 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 Pam Brown 52.0: TOIL with Carol Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with Luke Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with Bonny Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with John Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with Tracy Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with Corey Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with Michael Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with Felicity Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with Jan Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with Derek Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with Kent MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with Ann Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with Gig Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with Duncan Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with Kent MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with Libby Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with Sarah Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with Sam Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with Astrid Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with Sean Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with Alan Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with Jill Jones
- Alex Creece Reviews Marion May Campbell’s third body
- Ivy Ireland Reviews Steve Armstrong
- Magan Magan Reviews deciBels 3
- Claire Albrecht Reviews Manisha Anjali’s Sugar Kane Woman
- Review Short: Simeon Kronenberg’s Distance
- Review Short: Judith Beveridge’s Sun Music: New and Selected Poems
- Melody Paloma Reviews Keri Glastonbury
- Submission to Cordite 91: NO THEME VIII
- Judith Bishop Reviews Phillip Hall’s Fume
- Bella Li on as Associate Publisher
- Alex Creece on as Production Editor
- Review Short: Diane Fahey’s November Journal and Carmen Leigh Keates’s Meteorites
- Review Short: Vahni Capildeo’s Seas and Trees and Jennifer Harrison’s Air Variations
- To Outlive a Home: Poetics of a Crumbling Domestic
- ‘The Rally Is Calling’: Dashiell Moore Interviews Lionel Fogarty
- Jackie Ryan: Teaser to Burger Force 3
- Dispatch from the Future Fish
- Introduction to Cordite 89: DOMESTIC
- 7 Portraits by Ali Gumillya Baker
- Selections from 3 Yhonnie Scarce Series
- Kathy Acker and The Viewing Room
- To Live There: on ‘Dispatch from the Future Fish’
- The Wild Workshop: The Ghost of a Brontëan Childhood in the Life of Dorothy Hewett
- Externalising the Symptom: Radicalised Youth and The Membrane
- On Deep Breaths and Friends Forever: Im/materiality and Mis/communication in Happy Angels Revisited
- Letter to Anne Carson: Work of Remembrance and Mourning
- Translated Extracts from Chantal Danjou