Published in Overland Issue 204 Spring 2011 · Main Posts gladstone bag Judy Durrant i’ve picked up a bag of words i packed a long time ago i introduce them listen to long conversations foil-pink trance suspends into the filmy mint-green ephemeral as my own mole or platypus bolt hole it’s a charismatic bubble i don’t want burst a buffer of sorts but reflection glares a soundless babble that won’t let up it’s got a hide with its dumb mimicking and mine its a cappella abrades sending wearisome pangs should i wish my skin thicker? my own silent clamour turns light fragments sufficient to cosy burnt sienna suede interior but this other repetition well it takes the shine off imitation crocodile and wears thin it won’t stop till someone pulls the blinds down meanwhile each pang is a tic that jerks at the eyebrow like a dog barking at the door for the twentieth time to be let in i can scream at him without a sound but no one will hear me except for you but will you see it’s just exasperation talking? do you wonder at history’s unrolling of cliché? babel links decade upon decade into glib automaton leaving only despair for the chain gang curbed of freedom and vitality but more than the numbing imprint like bite marks of teeth gritting at the sight of yet another pitifully sequestered crew more sinisterly the word-botherers responsible have stamped the links as certified 9 carat never to be apprised of again it’s not till down the track the glaring fraud becomes apparent just as that wrought by the unblinking ‘blue-eyed’ suits after freedom of information curfews have lapsed could i but bolt-cut subliminal synapses and set them free their dry-clean convenience makes it nigh impossible kept openly as slaves they’re bound to arouse indignation but casually infiltrated into any congregation of club members virtual or real arbitrariness is cock-a-hoop proof positive of dark matter’s presence necks confined by dog collar and tie confer halo subject the animal thus restrained to a ‘higher order heads kept under the thumb of burqa’d incarnation adore their bars penes disgarbed of sheath play out their days in heavenly limbo thus it is ordained meekly is individual word scalped allowing ingress to the juice happenstance damage judiciously used to advantage tossed in white pith wash left to give birth in the rising sludge of its bitter taste are its innocent children rounded up conscripted and defiled laid on the surgeon’s table for insertion of the cyborg chip take dell familial loveliness expatriated by incorporation glade and glen? the practice begins to look like genocide or at the very least geneva convention civilian protocol abused with hand-grenade a prism of coloured shirts on african dictator masquerades as rainbow warrior whose only agenda is to end the tyranny imposed over his fellow word axis of evil food bowl modernisation intelligent design scientific mission pristine purity is cajoled till ship-shape and shape-shifted born again with the kiss of death hunted down in the ethernet today and deleted just as libraries were once burnt at the stake will dissenting words be cyber-lassoed and renditioned in outer space too? don’t touch wood that it won’t and let another dogma steal autonomy fingerprint iris identification voice recognition all re-calibrate individual worth bolster honour require difference invite abuse the few words that won’t bend to accommodate emit soft glows unmade pathways away from the lounge-rooms hounding with their inviting easy chairs too late recognised as niagara falls’ barrel bursting you open at tea-time with hitler folded over with laughter at guantanamo bay unrequited illumination or repetitious glare both a silent unceasing static become less easily tolerated more self-evident more evident in the self can you hear degas’ brush softly rubbing rosy pink-green luminance the fragile wrapper encapsulating cherishing innocent life-forms in the sacrosanct moment all the better to corner the predator’s dark drilling eye arkley’s reply arcing rainbow reinvention enshrining every man however ‘humble’ care becoming more light sensitive as we age as time ages? this is a bag that refuses to be put down Judy Durrant is a co-runner-up in the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize this year. Her poetry publications include poems in Blue Dog and the Age. She lives in Benalla and has a first poetry book, Arsey Triage, in the works. © Judy Durrant Overland 204−spring 2011, pp. 120−21 Like this piece? Subscribe! Judy Durrant Judy Durrant is a runner-up in the 2010 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets, sponsored by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation. She has a BA from Monash University and lives in Benalla. Recent publications include poems in Blue Dog and The Age. Her first poetry book, Arsey Triage, is on the cusp of completion. More by Judy Durrant › 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 8 September 202315 September 2023 · Main Posts Announcing the 2023 Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize ($6500) Editorial Team Supported by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation, and named after the late Neilma Gantner, this prize seeks excellent short fiction of up to 3000 words themed around the notion of ‘travel’; imaginative, creative and literary interpretations are strongly encouraged. This competition is open to all writers, nationally and internationally, at any stage of their writing career. First published in Overland Issue 228 8 September 202326 September 2023 · Main Posts Announcing the 2023 Judith Wright Poetry Prize ($9000) Editorial Team Established in 2007 and supported by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation, the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets seeks poetry by writers who have published no more than one collection of poems under their own name (that is writers who’ve had zero collections published, or one solo collection published). It remains one of the richest prizes for emerging poets, and is open to poets anywhere in the world. In 2023, the major prize is $6000, with a second prize of $2000 and a third prize of $1000. All three winners will be published in Overland.