3 March 20233 March 2023 Poetry / Friday Poetry Poetry | 2 rat poems by joanne burns joanne burns calendar the courtyard rat squatting on an empire of pizza boxes rainsoaked piles of stewing cardboard flattened packaging from long covid’s eager merchandise anything to transcend an unimagined plague rat traps line the walls like doctors’ obsolete portmanteaux from a much earlier decade just what is happening here the green parrot quizzes perched high on an empty branch of a terminal tree waiting for the developer’s paunch to crush its trunk a cold slab of fermented porridge rises over the neighbourhood like a putinesque moon what rabid declensions resurrect under this demography of tongues the chocolate of the world disintegrates chew after the rain a boring feeling comes dampness flattens the view like a page of mediocre poetry – the harbour has lost its aureole grey grey i hate you grey danked buildings shrunk against a shoddy sky down in the drains rats chew through the postcodes joanne burns joanne burns is a Sydney poet. She is currently assembling a new manuscript of recent works: rummage. More by joanne burns 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 First published in Overland Issue 228 10 February 202322 February 2023 Poetry Poetry | Inflorescence Jo Langdon History or myth—picture tulip bulbs, unburied like onions. An onion is the likeness Hepburn—in Gardens of the world—proffers in the purr & lilt of vowel, halt of consonant; annunciation that lifts ready from memory 8 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.