Published in Overland Issue 225 Summer 2016 Uncategorized On the occasion of Gig Ryan’s sixtieth birthday Editorial team A sapphic collaboration That it’s pure, when it comes from their mouth, well I’d spend two dollars on earplugs. I’d drink milk and cider together. See a green object move around a window One of our first meetings prompted that poem writ ten in English then self-translated into Chinese ad hoc without your knowledge but No free cigarettes The little tribe approach the statue and read the inscription. I thought they were ghosts but now I’ve a new prescription. Wear a red sash and vote for competence Any more. Back to twenty zero zero When you called and said: Are you mad or something I, for the first time, realised someone did Care, white as she is Imprimatur before its time cons a vice— getting nostalgic for last drinks, freedom was the coincided dream she polishes like a saint at breakfast. Her massive smoke hinges through his tinder, its female fry a script that writes itself. She can hear the sharply dented air around this guy— here comes her poem. In turn, undiagnosed visions ran rampant— the penultimate hook, the cohabited skin: shipping out, keel-jammed, in search of a less public solitude. Meanwhile the basement carpark fills with liquid, spreading thin as mirror, turning; discandied images drift, open-mouthed, to the entrance. Lines come into sight. A few photos in the altogether prove nothing. Disinhibited, sure, and Nordic. Just tomboy types relaxing, taking the air: kind of genius. then that redolence died and it was natural landlords every/nowhere, like reeds, or romance and the economy wilfully obscure, a bulletin smeared Jealousy’s too bad. If our paths cross, don’t blink. At least we’ll get to share the thrill of being discreet (discrete), explicit, inviolate, imperturbable. erupting into a palm, light from a phone.. space tourism going wrong, and maybe right sound of rescuing a horse from a mine shaft what, all ultimate creak / your house tortured like an albatross / where children squawk your name over / and last birds call hearing birds fall out of trees / the wings of home enfold you and lock Value this longevity paired with distance over depth; for neighbourly chitchat, insert real talk only every so often, growing lean as a poem factory birds pipe like an alarm / we lay the falcon / before the rain birds whistle and you become a statue they mate and peck on above the traffic Ranging wild from heat of the west to inner- city raining Melbourne or raining London your sun not receding like tail-light, still high- beam on the long road Go to city galleries, taking stock of culture past and present and filtered always; west to east and back again, hook turns, long straights. Swan River → Yarra. an exhortation condenses and appears with statue draperies positioned now to break magnolia tessellated silence insert routine bell Light will fasten firmly on claw and talon, and so gods will take their place inside blankness, listen hard to what comes of flowers holding: gravel road back home. gilt curlicues will be briefly permitted while protesters reveal the street’s true function building new monuments to intuition glyphic present tense At the bar you stifle a desire to spit like the camel you watched when flying out of San Francisco (missing the Bowie rerun for the second time Because if, as you have it, each poem says fuck you to the last, this one should do the same. It should throw down the gauntlet, cause discomfort, pull us into thought. and accidentally hitting nature docos which spooked you but the camel made sense, grinding molars like a day-tripper, like the people drinking behind you) And if description starts to get the better of our lump of sand, we can look once more to those strands of poems you hate. Still an apt guide for what not to do. Motor breeds a tight, dark plane where silky spills Now in, now out, an exit hesitated or phantasm suggested with broad issue, crystal hard magma. Fringe sittings outlasted lunch market a maze Choice of tones, shades—season Rosa (Luxemburg) Politics of ultramarine feeds summer She knows the orbit Feedingly we moped, but regained our sassy Once she was among us, bringing the future Swathed in the kind of brow we could only hope For. This. This happened. Crescent cut the rooftops, city of imprints Two decades plane trees half a ring but who counts Bells pre-Christmas burnt through sun—embankment stones Regards amethyst Or Orpheus, chopped head flotsam on shit creek and still he can’t stop talking—Now your thoughts on politics, please, while I wash up—A night sky, he’d show the saucepan— Pure Bane: the fire rises. Aperitifs change but the purpose of the meal remains the same. we feast on the detritus like a business like a hospital. Now show me the marks where the cut head starts self- grafting—says, ‘Look at you, making the whole room gloomy’—Yes, he checked—‘She was always shit at following orders’— Siri, we can’t assume the car isn’t packed with enough small screws to atomise a lie when the bomb detonates and the poem mewls, unslakeable thirst. If life were a rapprochement of adjectives Companion words would populate Union Street We scratch all our names on love’s carbon footprint Skirt driveways of fate. Only you can write an urban calculus Of Sydney Road madonnas in gilt-edged frames The inner north as true north Jerusalem Bel cantos equate. The poets Michael Farrell (1 & 3) Ouyang Yu (2 & 4) Louis Armand (5 & 7) Bonny Cassidy (6 & 8) Kate Lilley (9 & 11) John Hand (10 & 12) Toby Fitch (13 & 15) Tracy Ryan (14 & 16) John Kinsella (17 & 19) Ella O’Keefe (18 & 20) Kate Fagan (21 & 23) Aden Rolfe (22 & 24) Melinda Bufton (25 & 27) Nguyen Tien Hoang (26 & 28) Lisa Gorton (29 & 31) Liam Ferney (30 & 32) Ann Vickery (33 & 34) Read the afterword to this poem, written by editor Corey Wakeling Read the rest of Overland 225 If you liked this poem, buy the issue Or subscribe and receive four outstanding issues for a year Editorial team More by Editorial team 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 29 March 2023 Aboriginal Australia Standing in the dawn’s new light: truth-telling for settlers Anthony Kelly There’s a paradox about being a settler in a stolen country. No matter when we arrived, we inherited the bounty of genocidal violence. Many of us are the beneficiaries of the intergenerational wealth-building that saw English, Irish and Scottish settler families grow rich on the sheep, timber, wheat and resources provided by stolen land. We have a profound responsibility to dismantle the ‘lie-telling’ because it shores up this legacy and the systems of colonial violence that continue in our lifetimes. 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