d a y s

full moon, clear skies, can only be, somehow lost, bewildered

sparrows, a singleton, near the ceiling, brow against window glass, sky frame,

waiver denied by construction dust, moths, Christmas beetles, phasmids, field crickets

coconut palm shadows haphazard across my shoulder,

the tremor of tinnitus I have in my lung,

a tropical bite of fever behind my knees, or canker or ague or blight

upon my arms, twin eyespots, surreptitious blinks between stare and look away

eschew elegance, grace, charm, the shreds I grasp,

the bribes, anarchic mangling intent, stubborn, gainsaid, drawn by quarters

too close for comfort, cleanliness, godliness, too close to call,

while indecision smoulders in plywood crates amongst gunpowder plots

we should have extinguished, put cold to ground, a dozen futures past

salvation, yes, a fair enough request, given the circumstances,

considering my professional design for spit and polish,

my program for gridlock, niggardly mindlessness, footing a war of attrition

do not, I cannot, touch these rejects, the perfidious mass they inhabit,

their implacable weight, shingling disorder, misshapen metamorphic compress,

any semblance of good fit spread bare to vanishing point


b e f o r e

this time, we burn candles along the floor, let distant kin flicker, follow

the flames, recalibrate directionality, untrammelled genealogical trajectories,

tie reef knots and bowlines and surplus clove hitches

weary of rats on corrugated iron, unlit, penetrating wall space,

poxed, skittery, over-balancing between lower limb and bract,

I unearth poison, prefer spring traps, plan dismissal, expect perpetuity

as if a death rattle, as if one more and another,

one more and another (not me),

and another (not me), another, one more (not mine), another

Rollin’ and Tumblin’, the Forty-Four Blues, The Devil’s Son-in-Law,

out of oxygen, losing bandwidth, consistently reliable tuning, Duke, Coltrane, Miles, Monk,

ensnared in arbitrary orbit, oscillatory perihelion, Ziggy, can you hear me, Tom?

now counting belly ache, bladder burst, resurgent inflammatory arthritis,

now elaborating splints, scars, premature blisters, blains,

I sporadically fail to find the tips of my fingers, toes, ears, hair, nose

wrapped in cotton wool amidst velveteen, taciturn cellophane sheets,

magpie, mopoke, frogmouth, blackbird, otherwise raptors, giant prehistoric ratites,

still, no acquaintance, no resurrection, no transubstantiating pitch and toll

the eternal challenge to manage debit and credit, supply the nett, tare, pay bills of lading,

taxation due, licence fees, our gross domestic product:

so run the numbers, Billy, Rob, Kyle, Skank, Lou; what do you reckon, Beth?


d a w n

two hundred kilometres per hour, two thousand kilometres per hour,

a zero of difference at our projected moment of impact

fuse wire

I ought not be able to taste metal in my blood,

experience hyperkinesis delivered, according to schedule,

by sharpened lead, stainless steel, partially depleted uranium

here, caterwaul, hyena laugh, monkey howl,

there, on the fire-escape landing, an accent I almost recognise,

a cant, exotic, strangely refractory to speech

propositions of fear and threat, ricochet swelter under duress,

disregarding personal pride, tenacious reprisal, blind conundrum:

where is the obvious simplicity?

after voluminous rain, torrential backwash, quicksand,

slipshod foundations, consequentially uncontained, unsuccessfully thwarted,

my boots, lethargic, laden with mud, veto further assistance

by rote, as x, as y, familiar curves predicting asymptotic approach, conditional probability:

to whom should we listen, whose fancy, whose penultimate advice?


• • •

“once, we were brilliant” and me, this morning, how much do I owe?

apparently ready, the satellite tracking station, alert for indications of a no-through-road:

we accumulated mistrust, squandered hope, neglected names and occupations,

fractured coalitions of barren fortitude and vapid compromise

when an incandescent bulb shattered, our starter motor broke down, first gear stripped,

when you hovered beside the postbox, drank whiskey, gin, stout,

never mentioned bruises or search warrants or illegal modes of inheritance

the tools of our trade: blunderbuss, grappling hooks, cutlass,

worn to easy power grip, sacked in canvas, our final engagement at hand,

before my chest heaves, racks, seeks unequivocal protection

denim jacket, Polaroids, house keys, car key mislaid,

bookshelf, dog food, tough love, clothes awaiting bleach, colour-cycle spin-dry,

menu, script, address book, bar codes, charger

avoiding contact, idle fraternisation, mute gamesmanship, at last you have it:

beware airborne insects, ghostly birds, sullen avenging angels,

patient, until kiss, embrace, revelatory bad apple, kiss, betrayal, kiss

candles along the floor, distant kin, what do you reckon?

any semblance of good fit, not me, another

bewildered, somehow lost, can only be, clear skies, full moon