The owl of Lascaux


I imagine you chopping the heads off eel
catfish blossoming from the underside of fir
trees tangling with the pneumatic branches of the law
wasted pornographic observations instilled as the capital of excess
profanation. The political task of your right to capitalism
remains slipping through the shadow

of, the potential for the transformation of a polity
huddled like a worthless slave in the bed of speech.
Destitute poppies, my spoken limbs are available
for prophylactic conveyance. These poor hands,
they quiver thus: trouble my protrusions and turn
my paint to flesh. In lieu of actual declension

The cyclical head wants lopping, the imagination bears
the loss with patience, declares all allegiance to a merciless
conclusion sweeter than the listing of the earth’s difference
from itself. I gave you a book and you wrote in the back of the book:

Infiltrated by the idea of prose, barking like an owl
in the gaping insignia roseate and plastic like a flower
whose rebel yellow rooftop does belie
the tonsured alleyway that calls and calls,
you a hungry fish in the paranymph
squatting in the underlit paragon of the
vestibule. Cowering within the molecules
of discontent, you squander yourself,

as bleak as beauty. Hells of quivering delight
came upon me like a fever of illness the dream
of our sure demise, in lieu of your wedding day
and death, you signalled to your erstwhile friends –
deliver me now from unbearable enjoyment for I have
defaulted on the body and slivered the slipstream
slipshod indifference my rapid firebrand torment

Afterwards, the ring of coin striking the footpath was all that
distinguished the nuptial meaning of the body from one in which

all of my limbs were filled with the sighs of devils
And all of my eyes were scoured for the love of voices
In certitude I ravished a series of little miracles, basically
rays that I apprehended by means of my internal arms
and chest experienced as the ever loving tongue lashings
of thousands of immature nematocysts whose propulgations
fulminated in what I like to think of as formalised doses of
seabather’s eruption. What followed was the thin gruel of
the underside of the law in which confining the child’s body
came to mean doing justice to polymorphous mental disturbances.

Bringing up the bodies meant leaning heavily on the family
vernacular, tickling tepid swans fleeing from the still night
swarms of eels wreathing indecipherable symbols, tenderising
the opened stomachs of cows gleaming undercover sea bass
flopping onto concrete mosaics of slo-mo turtles. Erupting.
Blue plastic tubs. The little bridge spans the brown tributary,
trays of women setting wrinkles of bright chillies in the cellular
geometry. Of the letter, the cubicles were filled with a misty stench.
Mouths closing over libraries of flesh like molluscs finding a rock.

Pretending entrail windings of oozing bedsheets, busy with the mock
horror love affair of rioting dismemberment. Your avatars, my pipe cleaner,
are strangely moorish, striding through the rainbow denizen,
tripwiring the narcoleptic fuselage, your addiction to welding.
What stake do you bed in the semblance of Celtic excision?

Populate the body and explode it with liquid nitrogen.

Streak of neo-formalist, sensual as pylon. Dredge the retina of the cave
still blindly saturated, the history of love seized as a thread through the spine
of the eastern king prawn. Mother’s valuable abstract painting metamorphosed
into fading photograph of suburban rooftops. Woman lifting morsels from bloated
fecundity. Objections against this or that conception of the rejection of several
further outmoded deliverables embodied in the garments and preoccupations of certain
quasi-mythological personages. Ecstasy, prostration, and every ornamental semblance Encounter each announcement as if from material apparitions
intent on believing long after you have ceased.
I gave you a book and you wrote in the back of the book:

All leaves are withered, all bark is peeled away
What starts with a tickle ends by bursting into flames

Malcolm Robertson Foundation logo The Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets is made possible by the support of the Malcolm Robertson Foundation.

Fiona Hile

Fiona HIle’s collection Novelties (Hunter Publishers, 2013) was awarded the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry. Her most recent book, Subtraction (Vagabond Press, 2018) won the Helen Anne Bell Poetry Award.

More by Fiona Hile ›

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