The book said if you wanted a cow
you drew the cow.
And if you wanted the milk
you drew the milk.
And if you didn’t want that snowflake anymore
you simply joined the points together
to make a spider’s web.
On the course, the advanced students would draw the sun
then smudge the edge of the circle
to warm up the room.
The same technique made a static star shoot,
then you could wish on it – for anything.
I sensed the power of what I was learning.
There was one rule: you couldn’t erase.
If you didn’t like something you drew,
if the elbows of that tree were stabbing birds,
you had to keep drawing.
‘Draw again. Draw better’ was the brand’s byline.
But if an online class has a back corner, then I was in it.
I was flailing in a whirlpool of my own sketching.
I had to draw my mum to get me out.
As she spoke, full of concern,
I drew some coins: soothing, repetitious rounds.
Mum recited my student debt (my age plus three zeros),
and lack of pitched roof, weatherproof shoes, dinner invites.
Boy, those coins were really mounting up!
I ran their coolness through my fingers.
Mum tested the metal with her teeth.
Every pencil in my pocket – HB, 2B –
well I threw them away like crutches.
Then I filled my pockets with my new wealth.
When I drew the river and walked into it,
those coins worked better than stones.
- 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