Poetry Prize

Runner-up: Self-division: little song selections

‘Simplicity in our time is arrived at by an ambages.’
– (Ern Malley)

Atchinson Road Cutback
It’s weird to start at track two:
cars glitching your streets
with frame rates and small griefs,
as if the weather gods and you
could scan deep space for a clue
to the new atmospheric sleep
pattern. But Pino’s sitting deep
and it’s all pocket in the rearview
mirror’s sharp gaze, like a bus stop
from your childhood, or the syringe
your brother thought was a pen,
its light still wickedly grinning off
his snicked finger and the injury
a micro-signature piercing skin.

Flickpass Reformation
You own that thick guilt,
like the heat of a highway’s
melted bitumen or an inbuilt
conscience swirling the day
from pentacle to free passage.
There a hard drive search
in operation but you can’t gauge
anything right now. You lurch
toward hope and its figured
bass or those ads you accident-
ally click on before the world
explodes, showering content
all over life’s screen. That’s track
three right there (watch your back).

General Revelation
Ambulance Doppler approach, so
tear the flyscreen door as it swings
shut on First Ave where a Koel sings,
recalling voicemail’s inner glow.
The rabbit’s left foot nailed to the patio
is another of his clipped warnings,
like an ashtray spilling morning’s
light. That injured prayer-chain ratio
ghosts track five with auto-tuned forgiveness,
and what we once believed in hangs, limp
from silent lips. Now I see only dimly,
for the power outage makes its business
case in the hidden suburb’s palimp-
sestic air, as mozzies swarm and sting me.

Mindfulness Zombie Trust Exercise
Omphagic colouring-in, like he’s
organising a medicine cabinet
in the first scene of the apocalypse.
Have you heard the score yet?
Have you even noticed much stuff
around you, for example, that pattern
radiating and unfilled? It’s enough
to know that you’re in track seven,
I reckon, the part where the empty
sets of eyes line up and wait for
someone’s intentionality to paint
them immortal again, an inventive
precursor to every kid who eats paper
and becomes an anaphylactic saint.

Out of Timers
He’s jamming the scanner so
that way a generational rift opens
alongside Zara and poetic promotions.
Sucks to miss the best aussie undertow
again, but time’s moment may slow
and your image will be lensed in the ocean’s
geotagged photos anyway (the mentions
are piling up on the beach, below).
A social Medea now splices the incess-
antly checked present with bits of the past:
just eat everything, just own a fleet of yachts.
Track seventeen is about making Ned poss-
ible. Just get it to 88mph cause that’s fast
enough to escape all their pesky screenshots.


226 cover.indd

Read the rest of Overland 226


If you enjoyed this prizewinning poem, buy the issue

Or subscribe and receive
four outstanding issues for a year

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.

Lachlan grew up in south-west Sydney and teaches literature at Charles Sturt University. His poems have been shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize, highly commended for the Gwen Harwood poetry prize and longlisted for the Canberra Poetry Prize.

More by