prize poem | Tim Wright

194-cover-colourOVERLAND 194
autumn 2009
ISBN 978-0-9805346-1-0
published 22 March 2009




Here we go / under the lino

all the Adventures of Asterix you can read
let your dictaphone play to the trunks of trees

shadow housing
a gondolier down your arm

already I’ve said strange things
(and not understood what was said to me)

This is what will happen in the orange
you will be greeted by
retired fast bowlers

chuck a u-ey
& it’s the stars that glom together

climbing down a banister in frocks
declaring a need to be hugged


If you are
the life / carved away from family
a hoof injury
the ocean seen from Eritrea

don’t try to remember
& it will come back

that last moon I gushed about
enveloped muscles

breath print on floorboards
sighs, sirens

shorn of laughter and thongs
rooftops beaten
to an egg white quiff

if you’re troubled
climb inside a tic tac

the solemnity of bees
liberates exoskeletons and thieves

a helicopter snug as a blowfly in a nose


disconsolate Wednesday / smiles
come untucked

break into the air like petrol

we proceed by pointing
drolly over the band

to correct your pronunciation
feet into a basin
of ice water

scattered eclogues, sanctities
all afternoon entertaining excuses for not going
etymologies of trampoline


I accosted a tulip.

Prim territorialism / soft eject system

lazy galley of a bus
headlights fan around the bend

entire ambulances have strived to make sense of this

a trophy of yourself yawning

... These times are rarer now the hour waves us on, stung rust of wine, glasses borrowed
for a moment usher in something ontological. At least intend those admonishments the
way you might reach out to pat a stranger’s dog or ask them to open a jar of fog. Break
off a canister of banksias, it’s almost spring. Someone might call it creative amnesia,
become convinced their inconsistencies are being weighed in another room, but I'm my
least post-human around you. The playwright entwined, almost yogic. A honeyeater
stumbling on a branch, tenderly efficient, checking nodes of flowers.

Intelligence is the air above a glass of water, availed of last night’s drama


the new
not erstwhile
preview = true

I too would like to write a long ode to water
: Dream, south coast
us screaming the gloss chromatic

a type of unrest, steps leading down
something I've seen before

left in Fremantle  Harbour in 1998
we undress and fold ourselves in

bright as tv and no seeming wetness


You went to sleep thinking of honky nuts
as big as men
I set myself to imagine

cut lupins

This is why I am so interested in sleep
it's the only time things / make sense

and there are faces in it
(my mind an ice rink)

A dry shave knick
keep leaning on that chair and you'll

write an essay about the
cultural condition of slugs

Could be my missing whims
grass pushing up around your boots
the Withnail & I mise en scène rolled in

or a ring or a pillbox cup
to put your hands around
drumming a text message behind my head


archaic speed rush
cracked armour : a weeknight

so bright inside
slow pears

heat in your room

intenser fields
the same egg passed back and forth
my lines
crackle those cassettes

an afternoon to wrap around me like a
 red scarf

oh so your fingers might play
on the typewriter      sadder

than the strange places i sit
a submarine
broken colour in the absence of trees


I’m serious about this
people are so still when they look out of train windows

I believe in the lack of currawongs
the reek of crickets

Ross in the kitchen singing gouge away
stay all day if you want to / stir the pasta

but I would rather leave that for another day
believe the camera was just another object

© Tim Wright

Malcolm Robertson Foundation logoThis is the prize-winning poem from the 2008 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets, sponsored by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation.
Overland 194autumn 2009, p.48

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