Shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize, 2018. Published in Buying Online, NPP 2018 anthology, Excerpt used for permanent art installation by Georgina Willoughby. Reflective tape on corrugated iron, Wheatsheaf car park, Adelaide.
Wherever This Is, It's Where We Are
the southern tip of a southern land where all that matters is tonight
at the Wheaty & thedarkthatsurroundsus & words. We’re under a cosmos
of fairy lights, high on Sonic Prayer IPA, waiting for what’s to come.
L is waving to someone at the bar but no-one is waving back. H is on
a burstit sofa, sinks so far in we have to hoick her out. Then everyone reads
& it’s like Tea Tree Gully with its overlapping tracks, like Bowden’s pavements
with their patterns of red brick, like Linear Park with its riverrunsthroughit
like we’re travelling each other’s paths. B calls us pilgrims
of dust. J tweets bits of poems & people in other cities
in other countries, read them. T is fond of the crow’s black heart
but his lungs are as light & white as angels & they fly
so tinydelicate from his mouth. Our hair is blond & brown & grey
& we ache in different ways & it is so fuckingbeautiful&sad
the way we bear it. Someone says thank god for cut & paste. Hell
we all say it—it’s life after all! D plays the soundtrack from Basquiat
at the Barbican & we’re filled with it and boomforreal, ohyesweare.
We are the idea of Earth & the idea of earth. It’s like the inside
of an internal organ, the fleshy mess of LIFE that keeps on happening
& happening even if we close our eyes. We could be painted in oils
sitting along one side of this long table with our beer & wine & food-truck burritos.
Outside there’s the ping of trams shuttling Port Rd, their overhead wires
fizzing & sparking, & the labyrinth of dark streets, alleys, passageways
spidering on through the whole city, down to the beach where
allthewaterintheworld keeps breathing, in & out, regardless.