Judith Wright Poetry Prize 2021, the national debt

ok, let’s get rid of everything. let’s just have, i just,
i just want plumbing, art

a steady stream
a community and Lucy and
i suppose modern medicine…… and a

big mac and a decent rosé

              i want death to all Apps except
clock and notes and voice memos

ration social media use! incl. email
and data straight to the trashcan of history!!!

to be economical is to have grace
among man’s otherwise numerical preponderance

the economy is a circus
we juggle everything to the grave


it’s just the last few skerricks

experimental gardening


the aesthetic of your website
             when it’s out in the open, it’s life

SUPERPAC is still going?
              and something called ‘sound poetry’

                                       i have a voice in my voice!!
                                                                (draw this)

the senselessness of time passing thru the
hands of a cheap kmart clock            (pseudo-cyclical time)

derive a sense of purpose. grace, knowing something new


poetry as ethical accumulation?           (a gucci phone case, a punch in the face…)

the poetic desire to say ‘as’                    and call it a day       anything is possible
              as.        as as as as as

                           as low carbon footprint travel
  conspicuous plunder

the index of our lives in a lively intervention
known as a fridge or, earlier, sink

bright blue day and i just saw bubbles
a man is a finite resource


walking the dog, the midnight blue staffy

             passed by by techno postie
new and beautiful blah-blah machine

clocking off… chicken tikka masala
and a good friggen whinge


passing by the sherbet bomb factory
  trying to tell a story

do you like your city when you touch on?
do you feel the love generation?


cool bath of memory
national debt                       a man balanced against a mansion

              poems that make green men cry—

the first dosey doe
              pete’s prosecco
yenidünya              even the ‘stove-white cigarette’

              he’s crying, he’s soft

like kale soup                         All You Need Is Love

it’s gruel
              everyone of us is cops and robbers


anything is possible, every leaf, even
the future right wing administration will provide for you
it will                   it must protect itself                  they’ll give you everything

so go wash the feet of those ‘unnameables’
if you really want to see some positive change

the economy loves you more than you could ever love yourself


whateverything, whereverywhat

i rode a lone lodestar on a quadruped
and          passionate kisses woah-oh-oh…    do i want too much?

dogs holding hands around the globe                 perchance a dream

a Best Western
a plough bird
new teeth
   new dance track
             new tree

fifa ’08 on wii


while the others watched clambering history be made on the tv
i cleaned both toilets, upstairs and down, snapping one
brush in half with my vigour

i corned beef slowly in the long, well-lit afternoon’s virtuous sunlight

even drank cold milk in kitchen
and old jamaica rum n raisin i demolished while L washed dishes…
late-ish night               why milk? why today?

end of summer to the freshly doomed
petals, jump in your lambdas and just drive



This prize is made possible with the support of the Malcolm Robertson Foundation



Read the rest of Overland 246

If you enjoyed this piece, buy the issue

Or subscribe and receive
four brilliant issues for a year

Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan is a poet and co-director of Sick Leave. His chapbook ‘Dear Eileen,’ was published by Puncher and Wattman as part of the Slow Loris series.

More by Gareth Morgan ›

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