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Poems

From a certain point, there is no more turning back.
That is the point that must be reached.

Franz Kafka

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winter nights
days of looking
at the flames
and into the ashes
in the house with wood-panelled walls

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 ‘I made bad decisions and for that I am sorry.’

(Oliver Schmidt, Volkswagen AG Executive, 2017)

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There’s a poem that begins

But that other wreck, where the crew tumbles out of a bad dream

and into a worldwide storm of interpretation.

Life is inhearsed, everything’s on affective hold for an hour

as the heavens pause. A melancholy playlist is blinking its lights.

It was the time when the awful narrative of their journey

was lost at sea, the violence of the weather and the politics

of humans and demi-gods all cast into the deep.

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On a fatherhood weekend, the men drag
a dead manna gum, chained to a ute, into camp.
They’re talking innocence. Is it inborn, or clad
layer by layer by behaviour? Around the grey stump
the men start chainsaws and crack beers, open
a phone (there’s reception), search innocence definition.
Blamelessness. Chastity. Childhood. But also
integrity, which means innocence. The confusion
– that integrity means wholeness too –
heats up when one man says he heard children
arrive with sin. Then two-stroke fumes
drown the twilight bush’s scat-and-pepper scents.
They cut it. Some of the men scream, some don’t,
when spiders erupt from the warm hollow.

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It is two fathers punching each other in the footy sheds
shadows extending over the river flats,

over the bachelor nursing a long neck on his porch
over the epileptic twisting on the mechanic’s floor.

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Mud is loath to relinquish anything –
even in the name of science –
it will do so with a belch of methane
and black cloud in water.
The instruments are called ‘loggers’

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Real estate: that’s all Postumia can think about,
always bragging about her ‘portfolio’,
dragging it round like a bad painter.
At last count she owns eight flats
in suburbs she’s never visited,

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‘A poet is never just a woman or a man. Every poet is salted with fire. A poet is a mirror, a transcriber.’

Susan Howe

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See,
how this slow tide
tugs
and sighs against
the flank of patient night –
the driving pulse that
aches towards the
fleck
of dawn then
shifts,
and curls around skin’s soft
warmth, that quiet space –

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