States of Poetry 2016 - South Australia | 'Suburban Panopticon' by Thom Sullivan


birds have their own topography : overlaid
on ours : which is vertical & detailed :
with its own system of needs :
its own deviations : the nerve-ends
in my fingertips : & a tremor in my latissimus dorsi
rouse me : a domestic industry
starts up : a saw : or sander : on some abutting title :
the sound raw : with alternating notes :
one contention in the hypothesis
of morning : suggesting whole lives :
whole civilisations : a parochialism : an argument
for god : or gods : or evil : a football crowd
clamours : & over it an umpire's whistle :
piping : a flawed adjudicator : the fiction
at the noumenon of the fiction : the field
on which the binaries play out : any number of them :
it's soul-work : in essence : & the day
rolls back its reminders : the eye in its socket : god :


in the subtractions of light : the season
of sheer high contrails : a midden
of laundered clothes : sheets peeled back :
over the shuffled pack of the morning paper :
i arrive at a sense : at a sense of :
at arrival : a body upright in its song :
a door clicks shut or open : on the further side
of the wall : a parallel space : in its inclusions :
in its variations on the same meridian :
the afternoon satiated : in its details : the spines
of unread books : horizontal : read
like a failed poem : leaf-fall on the pavers :
two leaves : on a forked tree : sheared back :
to an austerity it thrives on : a sluice
of sound : of traffic : blood in its hammering :
the upper room a panopticon :
power-poles an idiom : in the minutiae :
in the lengthening paragraphs : of shadow :


Thom Sullivan


Thom Sullivan

Thom Sullivan

Thom Sullivan is a poet and editor from Wistow/Bugle Ranges in the Adelaide Hills. A short collection of his poems, 'Airborne', was published in New Poets 14 in 2009. Since then he has edited or co-edited seven books of poetry, including Light & Glorie, an anthology of poems about stained glass, with Aidan Coleman. His poems have appeared in The Best Australian Poems 2014, The Best Australian Poems 2015, Australian Love Poems, Cordite, Transnational Literature, and Eureka Street. He lives in Adelaide, where he works in public policy.

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