27 March 202029 April 2020 Prizes / Poetry 2019 Winner of Queensland Poetry Award’s Older Emerging Poets Mentorship Prize: Julie Manning Julie Manning Unknown genus of Pine If it were a thousand- limbed Monkey Puzzle seeded against the odds by continental seabirds, or a Mesozoic Bunya Pine cast out from ancient lands it would be celebrated as a rarity, but its aetiology is unknown – a split-bucket Christmas gift buried in a yard now high enough to snag sea-mist branches exploding with songbirds at dusk its shadow shortens as trees become smaller, blacker. Not Hoop Pines, but vase-shaped Norfolk’s infused with penal gloom in ‘60’s surfers’ photos, see the Volkswagen parked beneath them, shrouds behind the breakers, carpets of panel vans and needles, but here is quiet, another genus each angle of priapic lean nudging north – butcher- birds mark each dawn like mountaineers as a mackerel sky swims past. Neither is it a Wollemi pine guarded by mountain-valleys with a prehistoric silhouette watch the flight of a falcon riding thermals over the dark green needles of a relic Christmas lanterns at its edges like red lights of high festivities, the palm- like fronts weep all summer over land that kept it hidden – the secret crow’s nest of earth. Every Dog A mile of road train slants across the ring road into town dog cage hanging off the back like a loose bolt weaving side to side surplus cargo for the long ride picked up at dawn in a dead-end siding-town. Night is falling, outer suburbs hunker down to TV and daily afterthoughts, houses ringed with bush reserves football by day when evening comes a pickup point goods from transports heading north. A dingo-shadow hits the dirt wreathed in dust from the three-dog- night of a desert camp, sign here mate and the truck departs. Nose down, looking for an exit every cell alert for danger one paw useless but anyone will do. You? You? There’s a single car in the blackened park new blanket on the seat and water bowl set out by the door – tailgate up waiting for the leap. The journey home he whined and shook but one day later curled up asleep. Every dog must have its day this can’t be the one that got away. Oscar Imposter Marilyn, a treble-clef poured into a dress, all strain and straps, the elegance of your sparkling fish-tail and trailing sequins. I saw you on Movie Tone news in the run-down cinema – the wind blowing the hem of your silky spinnaker-skirt. I practiced the giggle and footpath pirouettes, the swirl of a dirndl. I learned coquetry and flirtation from your breathless delivery, willed a ponytail to bouncing platinum waves – the glimmer, such glamour! I could leap from a cake, be Hollywood-cool, the feckless boys of my school no longer of interest. I could be white cotton floss enthralling a room – not just pretty, I’d marry a playwright wearing tortoise-shell specs and pulled up collar – I’d be sexy and smart, all this and more, make it big from a small town, be loved for my Mensa score, hide my secret flaws. I blossomed inchmeal, piecemeal – movies and back to print, poured scorn through the myth when Germaine hung her breast- plate on my shelf, the world now ardent and profound. Steeped in stress and the mess of broken hearts, the goddess fell apart, off-screen on suicide watch when I read of the barbiturates. Stepford was a pretence, now Superwoman ruled. Oscar was a pointless man, and ‘Egghead marries Hourglass’ lay in smithereens. Egghead marries Hourglass’ was a headline in the popular press in 1956 when Marilyn Monroe married Arthur Miller, a renowned intellectual and playwright. Driftwood Eyes closed in a stranger’s body, a memory of grain, tone, spaces and closures, a mind map for the bewildered and sensual – what omen are you seeking on this windswept beach? Smooth hand-held amphora poured of sea-water and flecked with undulations, each symmetrical and hollow like the neck of a bottle with its promise of space, labile with the sinews of streamlined animals – the forelock of a racehorse buried standing up on a beach, a figurehead’s tendrils from a longboat weathered back to the prow, its fissures and hollows gone to hermit crab enclosures in the symbol of a veiled eye. Henry Moore’s coastal model for a reclining woman of burnished limbs and hollowed out torso. You enter into this spirit of abandonment, brushing sand from a nest of snakes the tides have fastened into hair. Your intuition turns found art into prophecy, and you read into the veined, bleached fork and its split chambers the heartwood of separation. The hem of a fringe lifts above the tideline of your eyes and you swim alone over stones and missives of glass worn down to symmetry, carrying it as you would any emblem for love’s vagaries, this remnant of sea roads, this antlering glyph in the carriage of your hands. The ocean is always untidy, a maelstrom of the unknown. Laying aside your need for order the wood hangs above a drift of floribunda and careless petal-fall of rosa. With what you love no longer visible, you dream of a premonition, and curve to the breakers in your sleep. Julie Manning Julie Manning is a poet, visual artist and lawyer. Her poems have appeared previously in Australian Book Review, Cordite and the HWS Grieve Project poetry anthology. Her poem ‘Portmanteau’ was longlisted in the Vice Chancellors International Poetry Prize 2019, and ‘Constellation of Bees’ was shortlisted in the Peter Porter Poetry Prize 2020. She lives on Moreton Bay in Brisbane and is currently working on her first book of poetry. More by Julie Manning Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays 4 First published in Overland Issue 228 1 February 20233 February 2023 Reviews This is where the rat bastard poem comes in Dan Hogan Rats will be found wherever nonsense presented as sense becomes the authority. Such is the cornerstone of anything organised along lines of capital: bureaucracies, workplace hierarchies, real estate, aspiration culture, institutions, ruling class artifice, governments, etcetera. Wherever there is capital there are rats—hoarding creatures, capital’s henchmen. First published in Overland Issue 228 16 December 202225 January 2023 Friday Poetry Poetry | Wombats shit candy Michael Farrell To avoid treading on a snake, I stepped on a land mine. Did this really happen, in my dream? No. Is it a fiction, then? Yes and no. The time I spend looking for socks is insignificant: lie, irony, or philosophy? Wombats shit candy. Joke – hallucination? This is in fact a truth claim. My poems: litanies of truth claims.