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XII

when did history become so thick
and fat you could no more find purchase
for thought or feeling on its moving surface
or in its soft back for your hooked head
and fingerholes than stand on soup or plot
the action in the atmosphere of each atom
on every other when exactly did it become
slippery so no one could gain a hold on
its heaving neck or break its horizontal rush
but only sink in without a single thing
sinking in to the limitless vertical depth
we are all of us in suspension still animate
carried on in aspic limbs congealed
with carrying on where we gesture with
one another our chins tip forward meaning-
fully eyes roll and brains progress on jellied
wheels from one thing to the next and back

point to point

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stop the signing of the TPPA

The government doesn’t understand the TPPA just like you. The Prime Minister is not your representative, he is your friend and equal. A likeable guy. I pay him to be your friend, a likeable guy. You pay him too. He’s a nice guy. Tim Groser doesn’t need to know what’s in the TPPA. Smarter guys than him, experts from overseas, have put this deal together and as a country we’d be stupid not to sign it. I knew Tim as a kid. He was a likeable kid. I wonder what his mother would say. But as a country we are not signing it. Representatives New Zealanders have elected are signing it on Thursday. Have New Zealanders elected these representatives and have they elected them to sign the TPPA? Is the signing representative of a consensus? These are academic questions. If you object to something your government is doing, there are channels to get your voice heard. Just as if you object to something your neighbour is doing you can complain to the council, which is obliged to, I feel like repeating that, obliged to respond. The Right Honourable John Key does not respond to any individual complaint because he is not answerable to anyone. He is not Robert Muldoon: he is not his own man. He is a man who belongs to the memory of a likeable kid, like Tim Groser, who as an adult and as the Prime Minister of New Zealand has put in place strategies to ensure his ongoing likeability. He is a bully about this. He will not be remembered. He will be liked. We’d be stupid not to. Why wouldn’t we sign? Why wouldn’t we like him? He is like us, likeable, just richer. And the Prime Minister. Elected. Part of the government. Representative. Signing on our behalf. Signing on behalf of our better selves.

What I feel like doing at this juncture is nothing. Inaction. Not industrial action, striking. But nothing. Not declaring, not striking, not acting, not accusing, shaming, judging, educating, but stopping what I am doing, whether I am driving the bus, tending the aged, signing the deal, any deal, selling the house, writing the paper, reading the paper, writing the article, talking, walking, teaching, arresting, selling, buying… stopping.

Who is protecting your job if you stop too?

On this day, stop your car. By all means take your keys. Turn off your computer. Walk away from your desk. Stop believing in social media as a tool for social activism. Turn off your phone. Leave your phone alone. Everything that ties you to this world of action is also a link in the chain binding you to the actions of your elected representatives. Who will sign. Who think it is better to act. Stupid not to. Stop.

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coming soon

Ἀκαδήμεια

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XI

things could have turned out differently
you might be forgiven for thinking
but I wouldn’t presume

if you’d taken another path
where the way forward was somehow
clearer instead of walking in deliberate

error even while knowing better it
would appear to me you had nothing
nothing left to lose does that mean

something
someone

what difficulty can excuse and
ought judgement ignore
dark within the heart of disbelief

or neglect that negligence

point to point

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X

Australian poverty

the children

who look after the children

every so often an adult shouts from indoors

sunlight breaks the brick-line in a sharp diagonal

and the kids’ toys

and the barbecue and the washing basket

and the lawn scuffed into leprous tufts by dogs and men

lie sad

bright and unattended

point to point

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IX

The facts are these
blue and red strobe riverside
and in Sandgate blocking a sidestreet

So we drive home
from what Jo called
wet wild and willy world

having picked up
after a short wait
beef-fat fried cod and chips

each put in a cardboard box
a paperbag sealed with sellotape
and we spot

before pulling in to the carport
one of the dogs we’d left locked up
running loose on the roadside

pull in and jump out
expect the laundry window broken
no

a single pane
from the glass louvres
has been carefully placed in the

stainless tub and the
backdoor’s unlocked.
The dog’s escaped

through the short gap between
two panes
but stranger is the power’s off

checking the box four circuit breakers
blown
and not the main breaker

and although the smaller dog has got out
a kelpie cross
the larger mastiff-boxer still contained

in the back yard has not deterred
any would-be burglar
from breaching his territory

to switch off the circuits
to leave without taking
a single item in the house

not our passports
not the mac pro lying open
on the chest in the front room

not the birthday presents unwrapped
on the kitchen table.
A storm is forecast

but it never arrives
south of Brisbane the sky flashes
and we take every precaution

putting the car under cover
for protection from fist-sized hail stones
that never come.

point to point

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VIII

blunt caws of raven
hack the morning open

for the sharper melodic procedure
of butcherbird

on the dripping
hanging carcase

black men prefer dreaming
while the white men’s dreams are a
coloured
a coloured film
over waking eyes

American suburbia

a slick of oil
pouring on the land
a seeping greasy froth
settling

unconscious.

what do the women do

people
the coloured
coloured film

on waking eyes

and dreaming

point to point

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VII

watch my tongue

the dumb land
rose clay red

shuttered blocks
of Moreton Bay

in the optimistic gloom

in the bright oblivion

point to point

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VI

No sign of last night’s storm
the city sharp as a sheet of die-cut componentary
with the suggestion of
a merely conditional life.

point to point

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V

walk the dog,
inside the scene
another smaller

figure, who has
left the island
and an even smaller dog

tied to an armrest.
inside these,
waves form

on the lazy swell
of a sheltered sea—
the dog looks at the figure

who in his heart
has to fit
and barely does

and in the figure in the
heart
of a dog

what plans
the heart can know
nothing of.

point to point

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