January 2016


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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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

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
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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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
a coloured film
over waking eyes

American suburbia

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


what do the women do

the coloured
coloured film

on waking eyes

and dreaming

point to point

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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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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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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
of a dog

what plans
the heart can know
nothing of.

point to point

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brilliant savages Lhasa & Stuart


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I feel a tension unlike any I have ever known
resistant to description I can only give you images that are vague and far-fetched
images I do not expect you will understand, images incapable of resolution
ineffective in communicating, and at this point I am reluctant I admit
but it is necessary to make the leap, to tap the arm and find the vein
and tap the arm: I am standing on the tip of a sharpened pencil
because I am sharpening the pencil. It is in the old style: hexagonal,
ridiculous the saying that relates virility to having lead in his pants,
was the wood too near in fact too close for tact to use? to say:
he has wood, not to see in it the lead, it would anyway come as some surprise
and be writing blanks with clear white men not shooting black men dead.
The shavings are softly scalloped and fall away, while the lead fractures in shelves
and detonates, ripping from its promontory the summit of the tension,
I feel but can not put my finger on, a writing tip. Unlike the old style,
I am standing on, the pointed tip itself measures not the margins of my safety
rather the slenderest opportunity to find any purchase to leap from:
on the skin of what is split it would be the tension of not feeling any shame
growing more slender more minute every passing minute, as if to tap the vein
we could not rise and break the surface because we were below it with our instrument
and our terror our torture was in understanding we must sleep-walk on a hair-trigger.

point to point

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Day 3 of the Hollyford

DSC_0132rain on the inlet in McKerrow

DSC_0136returning to walk the sandspit

DSC_0137following Graeme into the dunes

DSC_0139look at the beautiful tresses of a daughter of the sea

whose lover lay on land


towards the Mays again, May was the English name given one of the kaumatua Tutoko’s two daughters

because they could but saw no need to pronounce her name in Maori



sand which gives the impression of shifting

yet may have been formed into dunes

hundreds of years before


not the cushion moss. Graeme told us of a guy, from an earlier group,

who, upon being told that the cushion moss has a single tap root, grabbed, and, pulling one

from the ground, declared he could not see any tap root.

There it is; frail and thin as a single hair, said Graeme.

On being told the small sand pyramids were full of the eggs of local scarab beetles, the same guy scooped up

a sand pyramid, or nest, and, rubbing it between his fingers, said there were no eggs.

Do you think nature would be so stupid as to have them resemble anything else than grains of sand?




walking the spit


a find


back on the jetboat




deer visit here and Dion told the others who were picked up before the wind-lashed sandspit walk

he had seen a hind crossing the inlet and terrified it by jetting along beside it;

what is not pictured in this dune series is the lancewoods.

Everywhere in this area, lancewoods are observed to reach maturity at a certain height, whether

growing from the branches of other tree hosts or on the ground. However, with the presence of deer on the dunes, the

lancewood have adapted and change from long serrated sword-like leaves to short more easily digestible mature

leaves in a bunching branching habit just beyond the reach of browsing deer.

Nature is able to adapt much more quickly than we imagine.








My mother’s family told tales of meeting Arawata Bill


lost dreams







lifting off without the slightest feeling of g-force in a small glass bubble

now looking back down Martins Bay towards Big Bay





passing into the entry to Milford Sound, which is in fact the only true fjord in Fiordland, which is in fact misspelt,

a passage Capt. Cook missed as it is so tucked around behind a flank of the mountains,

tears came into my eyes at the same time as two realisations: we inhabit the sublime;

before the immensity of this landscape what are but a tiny gnat

a bug, ridiculously small bubble filled with six bodies, with such self-important

dreams that we would rename even our own experience the sublime. It has another name, however.



Mitre Peak is the tallest mountain in the world that rises straight from the sea.

Among many -ests along the route.


approach to Milford



from Milford towards Mitre Peak


rock curtain which the Homer Tunnel penetrates


still immense and running


from the bus


along beside



return to Queenstown on Wokkity-pooh

on tour

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over the ground


laid down by

abstract bodies

some known

to us

as mothers

whose giving

now is rendered

ineffable nowhere concrete

like the potential for birth

of children

from concrete wombs

or as fathers recalled but

whose powers

now are decomposed

to bacterial potencies

of future men, women and

all of those clinging to inner

vestments like passengers

hanging off bone-hooks

in the walking, love-making hulks

of a people to come


over the ground of stones

world of stones the teeth of

sorting operations

conveyors of scree down vast

mountains to the mouths of valleys

stones carried by water

water the agent

universal solvent

and wind in the silica

sand currents

air movements delicate

pliable lifting one

solitary particle

and convulsions in the rock

springing out of magma

skin-like shreds

a molten blackening surface

from the furnace of creatures

everything burns


over the ground of shells

glass smoothed

a plastic anatomy

the husk rubs the placenta

the solid fluid

discrete powder

the soup of life

in the soup of more-than-life

grinding water to atoms

tears lost

all holding-together

passing in

all lasting



over the ground

risen I am one

salt grain of all the

ocean of all

tongues one word

on its sky-kissed

cheek swimming

under star scatter


point to point

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