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Friday Poetry
Poetry

Poetry | MOOT, the other t-shirt

the ratings icons have vanished

                             no one cares

 

yes     maybe     no

                    mostly no

 

 

how’s it going

 

bin night     bin night     bang bang

                          bring out the dead

 

 

& the mouse plague – how’s that going

                      

in the barren paddocks

wheat        &        endless glare

                 

awful murals mar the silos

 

 

who called the baby echidna

                                a puggle

& why

 

 

now as long as we have

left

         or

         as long as we have food

     &

                a few dollars

 

now if there’s anything

left over

              or     then again

                      if there’s nothing

 

 

ow

      a tender forehead

                      rubbed weary

ready to heave

             a few shallow sighs

    to sleeplessness

 

 

whoever told the whole truth

                        & nothing but

& why

 

 

how’re the rodent management traps going

                                in the swanky suburbs

 

their roller door lanes

 

 

once

           if we wished

       we could reach

              every point on the planet

 

points on the planet

      swept up this wish

with

microelectronic tracks

                                  that left none

 

 

we lend

an ear

        to the connected world

 

how’s it going

                     in general

 

—   —   —   —   —   —

 

on delay

 

any

tuesday or thursday afternoon

 

ambling around

  behind the queue at Phởtown

 

green tea     on the sticky table

    

chemtrails      & someone’s cat

      just there         out the back

 

menu book open

       fish sauce stains page two

 

 

july

 

          you send two messages

          from your waiting room

no beds available

 

stem cells on delay

     test blood count

 

 

we met

         in the neu berlin

 

once was ‘neu’

        twenty years ago

 

we were reading

                       the dream

the book of appearances

 

both         an other

 

 

loitering around

&

by now

          the poem begins

to botanise the bitumen

 

the carbon retreats

       to the brigalow

far away

             from Phởtown

 

 

an old newspaper page

        fading     tv guide

        free to air  &  pay

wrapped around

          fresh basil leaves

 

what’s on

           a week ago

 

wonder if

ways of watching

are different from

       ways of seeing

 

 

fingering

        the little relief triangle

on an upturned plastic bowl

 

—   —   —    —   —   —

 

an invisible mosquito

                  pricks me

a pink mound

     encloses a red dot

 

so    yes                 the humidity

    &

        the old crazed water bowl

        full of invisible larvae

        under the pieris japonica bush

 

 

that’d be them

   plugged in

   pressure washers  whipper snippers

   leaf blowers

              

                hedge trimmers    (cordless)

  

           always fiddling with the house

 

that’d be them

 

quiet-life

            shiny machine models of capital

emitting the adorable sounds of time-savers

 

can time

           be saved?

 

                                       not yet

 

—   —   —   —   —   —

 

bumper crop     &    no customers

 

emptying an idyll

                     told by an idiot

 

the sweeping plains having swept

                                         sweep on

 

brine dried pellets        dryzaboned

 

 

didn’t TRY

                  to think about it

 

there was

a local quandary

           for a fleeting luxurious instant

                      of thought

&   thoughts

 

like,

       not reason but <reason> is the fundament of power

 

then a t-shirt –

 

                  <reason>

           fundament of power

                   rules ok!

 

                                           sold out fast

 

(this was

              ‘back in the day’)

 

 

human resources      or       human rights

either way     we wore

                             that t-shirt  with pride

 

with    with    with

                      w   i   t   h

 

         well             w i t h o u t   p i q u e

 

the other t-shirt

with one syllable

displayed in caps –

                           MOOT

 

after the t-shirt

  with the line diagram flow chart

             predicting bottlenecks

             in the division of joys

 

 ‘the critique of pure reason’

     sliced through by a claw

 

 

pressed by competition

           everybody had something to say

 

principles aside

 

 

we gobbled

            pastiche baguettes –

                              tripe filling

           garni de crotté 

                              smothering

           le goût du sommeil –

the taste

             of

                  sleep’s powers

 

 

second guessed

                   the dream

 

   (&

       never said ‘desire’)

 

 

with the female gaze

                         glazed over

we ceased

                  melancholising

 

ripped up the prescriptions

     &

                

                         you tell me

            

 

the day the modem failed

we missed

          the french president

at G20

 

reduced to listening

to the stale tongue

of the national broadcaster

 

 

how was your sexperience

with your nbn technician?

 

hot spot service provider

you can track it on www startrek

 

 

we are in outer space – we are on a planet

 

 

speaking for myself

             practising seeing with the mind’s eye

is not useful

&

to be honest

                       i don’t even know how to

 

what?

 

an unaligned

                   sixth sense?        or what

 

 

so many plastic pumpkins

             floating in the sea

 

hallow evening        nothing for pigs or cows

                                    no soup for the people

    

 

everybody has something

 

to opt out txt stop

 

 

 

Borrowed lines:
‘“the critique of pure reason” / sliced through by a claw’ – Galina Rymbu, White Bread

 

 

Overland’s Friday Features project is supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.

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.

Pam Brown has published many chapbooks, pamphlets and full collections of poetry, most recently Stasis Shuffle (Hunter Publishers, 2021). She lives in a south Sydney suburb on reclaimed swampland on Gadigal Country.

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