Sutherland birds All Sutherland birds are flightless, the local council recommends
tiny holes in fences for the poor
creatures to hop
through, and we are strangers lost and roaming in a lonely place.
Riders within us direct our dreams,
we who imagine ourselves
untouched by the local weather,
and yet a storm is brewing
by the picture rail in the dining room
where the larks are pecking at the carpet,
and Docinha’s head is hidden inside
a fluffy philosophical cloud.
Three ghosts are in the hall. On the cable
internet outside, two currawongs are pecking,
but the mysteries of past and present,
of calendars, dates and numbers are best
left for numerical processors.
When time was thick and sweet and I couldn’t breathe,
when you wept and left me wondering,
when the blue of clouds and day was painted
on the land to resist the night’s temptations,
I could start six lines and finish them,
know what I’d just said and order wine.
We’re squeezed like toothpaste into wires,
an atmospheric phantom network
bouncing off the sea bed and the sky,
and if we don’t pay the bills:
discontinuities in reality.
They’re deep, best not to fall in.
I remember burning forests in the wind
when the air was thick as a roast chicken smoothie, when nature, lightning and amino acids
made single cells in starter packs,
ever changing, revisable. But now each heart is pizza sliced in four quaternions, one alone, the other three— an irresolvable triangle of love.
I’ve breathed the air chirped by sparrows,
critically appraised everything
I didn’t understand,
searched for magica potenta
in urban mysteries, shaded quantum clouds,
on bedroom ceilings, and found echidna quills,
kookaburra beaks, sobriety, all the words
I didn’t want to write.
Three knocks at the door-to-door,
I said I don’t want any, thank you,
not knowing what I didn’t desire.
Last night I dreamt we went together to the sea
and joined the others gathered on the beach,
figures made of sand who dreamed within a dream
of alluvial forgiveness.
From the kitchen doorway
a flock of shadows flies out on the ridge,
and in the gullies yellowed smog
is bleeding from the ground.
The earth is sick, reclaiming its own,
and the far horizon is a never ending fuse,
unquenchable linear fire.