Published in Overland Issue 211 Winter 2013 Uncategorized Vietnam ritual Barry ODonohue Sitting in the primordial light of jungle each day I placed a finger on my forehead, then on my chest where the bullet would strike. Then I would rest the palm of each hand on my knees, soon to be blown away by a Russian mine, and watch the smoke from my Marlborough drift into the tangled vines and rain forest trees as if the world were on fire and the world was a small place. We’d get up then, in single file, me breaking through the wall being the first, being the scout. At night starts struggled through the high canopy pin points against the dark and I would curse the nature of my flesh for it was intact, not torn apart. I slept in a scrape hole on the jungle floor, my grave, knowing that tomorrow I would perform that wretched ritual again, where the bullet would strike, or my limbs blasted against trees. Now I am young but in old flesh. I gave up smoking. What doesn’t kill you . . . The marks on my forehead and chest are stigmata, knees gone to titanium, and all the stars that were then and are now have gone in to their own war, galaxies to the north. Barry ODonohue Barry O'Donohue is a Brisbane-based poet who has been writing for 40 years. More by Barry ODonohue 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 7 February 2023 Aboriginal Australia Victoria police back down, is this a case for defunding? Crystal McKinnon and Meriki Onus After three arduous years, Victoria Police have today withdrawn their charges against two organisers of the 2020 Black Lives Matter protest. Whilst we welcome their decision, we note that their mediocrity gave them no other option. Emboldened by their state-sanctioned impunity, Victoria Police’s ineptitude hit a dead end. Pigs cannot fly. First published in Overland Issue 228 6 February 20237 February 2023 Aboriginal Australia Winaga-li Gunimaa Gali: listen, hear, think, understand from our sacred Mother Earth and our Water Winaga-li Gunimaa Gali Collective To winaga-li, Gomeroi/Kamilaroi people must be able to access Gunimaa. They must be able to connect and re-connect. Over 160 years of colonisation has privileged intensive agriculture, grazing and heavily extractive water management regimes, enabled by imposed property regimes and governance systems. Gunimaa and Gali still experience the violent repercussions of these processes, including current climate changes which are exacerbating impacts, as droughts become longer, floods and heat extremes become more intense, and climatic zones shift, impacting on species’ viability and biodiversity.