Samuel Wagan Watson

In the orbital hysteria

A dangerous moon wades low in an empty sky, the magpie shudders… Frank Hull’s attempts at composing haiku were amateur. He was Aboriginal and the song- lines of his ancestry too fluent for the syllable breaks of a craft with …

Posted in 111: BABY | Tagged

A Scorched Earth

All Aborigines from Sydney onwards are to be made prisoners of war and if they resist they are to be shot and their bodies hung from trees in the most conspicuous places near where they fell, so as to strike …

Posted in 104: KIN | Tagged

A quiet garden-variety killer

It creeps along the fence-line, peeping through wooden slats … nonchalant without being bombastic of how deadly it can really be … a self preserving, violet creature, the vision of a fresh haematoma; suffused capillaries blooming a flower, procuring pain…this …

Posted in 103: AMBLE | Tagged


In memory of my Father … For too long I have been a member of a vanishing tribe … We start using terms like; ‘going, going, gone …’ in our black and white mists; the shades and shards of grey …

Posted in 96: NO THEME IX | Tagged

Sie semper tyrannis

In memory of Blair Peach… A message in a bottle / organic song in a can / coveted neo-fruit; hunted…harvested… hacked-over / our thoughts modified; Goebbels’-style / from the same tree of life / an olive branch robbed from humanity …

Posted in 95: EARTH | Tagged

जादूनगरी? | Wonderland

Translated from the English to the Hindi by Subhash Jaireth मैं इस देश में जन्मा, ड्रीमटाइम से पोषित; परिदृश्य ऐहिक कथाओं से गुंजित; मिथकीय लोगों और अन्य अलौकिक जीव​-जन्तुओं से रचित-बसित … बस ऐसी है यह मेरी जादूनगरी । दक्षिणी …

Posted in 76: DALIT INDIGENOUS | Tagged ,

On a Hot, Wet, Kinky Evening in Fortitude Valley

It was one of those typical Brisbane Sundays coming into storm season and Fortitude Valley was soaked by a magnificent volley of thunder clusters.

I was in a daze, still getting back to being me after some time-out / brain bleeds / loss of work / heart out of place … and basically bad writing! My partner had invited me to the Powerhouse on this afternoon for the matinee of a show, and in the shred of performance and storm we found ourselves dripping but not exactly ready to call the afternoon quits.

Posted in GUNCOTTON | Tagged ,

Conversation with a Decommissioned Electric Chair

Circa September, 2015 Powerhouse Museum, Sydney I first admired your arms, brown and unrefined like mine, the scars and veins unhidden.     Straight back. Strong neck.     An inanimate object that would never be caught slouching.     I pay acknowledgement: you were always professional and executed …

Posted in 74: NO THEME V | Tagged

Natural Selection: Ecological Postcolonialism as Bearing on Place

Australian poetry reminds us that we cannot encounter the natural world except by cultural means.

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Dust and Drag

*The American Express* Platinum Edge Credit Card application form makes for an ideal canvas to capture poetry. Section #1 Personal Details is easily followed by Section #2 Your Contact Details. But Section #3 Your Employment and Income Details, snags appear, …

Posted in 72: THE END | Tagged

Some words no longer work

I tried changing the batteries on the word SORRY today, rubbed the terminals clean of the caustic build-up from the power source that used to run it, until it ran it dry. My neighbours only know me by shadow or …

Posted in 66: OBSOLETE | Tagged

Duncan Hose Reviews Best Australian Poems 2014

Being in and of one’s time (in favour of it, in fact) means producing work that is sensitive to the discursive furies of the day – the atmosphere of mutating code that the poet must stick to poems in new and strange forms. All else is nostalgia and denial. No-one knows what it means that Australia’s imperial republic, whose god has finally been revealed as cosmopolitan capitalism, is, in the history of colonies, still in its infancy yet so impressively seems to be approaching an end of days. If you’ve got burnt chaps and a warm six-shooter (cowgirl), these are exciting times.

Posted in BOOK REVIEWS | Tagged , , , , ,

Against Colony Collapse Disorder; or, Settler Mess in the Cells of Contemporary Australian Poetry

Colony collapse disorder describes a phenomenon whereby worker bees suddenly and inexplicably disappear from a hive. It has recently been identified as a syndrome following the rapid vanishing of Western honeybee colonies across North America and Europe. Justin Clemens also uses the term to describe an aesthetic collapse, whereby poets can only demonstrate their existence as ‘being caught dead’ given the fragile conditions of poetry and the inevitable, deadly effects of the past.

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A bar of soap

For Darren Currie … Sometimes ANONYMITY is a fantastical doorway into the being of a writer; ANONYMITY is the passport of an unknown agent who knows no constraint to conduct acts of good and evil/ A signatory to the distraction …

Posted in 64: CONSTRAINT | Tagged

JACKPOT! Editorial

Twenty years ago, I decided to leave university after five weeks into my first semester. I’d worked hard for a year in a pre-tertiary course and discovered a genuine spring of warmth that bubbled inside of me when my college lecturers praised my creative writing assignments. Later, I was accepted into a good university and took English Literature 101. An editor of a literary journal had suggested that my short story writing was lacking in momentum, but critiqued my misadventure with words as having a certain ‘poetic’ quality. His advice was to try my hand at verse.

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Submissions Now Open for Cordite 39: Jackpot!

As with all themed issues of Cordite, we will accept up to five poems per submission. What’s the bigwig in the photograph telling you? Maybe, at some point and in some way, you have hit the jackpot. Perhaps you’ve only …

Posted in GUNCOTTON | Tagged , , ,

Fade away … (Highway Patrolman)

We’re sworn by blood and how blood trickles away … one brother went to the middle east, another to track his own isolated sovereignty while I am just bound to stay … The night’s silence jars my joints; an owl …

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