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Edition 63



Come in, dead Emily.

Judith Wright, ‘Rosina Alcona to Julius Brenzaida’



All these lines we funnel, have need of.

The dead trouble us to live, and that can’t

resolve into images that don’t latch on

where ghosts wish for the tactile.

It’s where I procured the word ‘sullen’,

and it inhabited or infected

or leavened my early poetry –

another (who?) victim of vocabulary, affect,

and compliance of syntax.

This open-sky

dungeon of colonial heritage – trapped

with the sea at your feet, even inland.

Such lovers as struggle in private games

only able to meet in lines stretched

out from natural materials, the machinery

of war and violence. It’s all dispossession,

which makes the components no easier,

no more tolerable.


default settings, our hands on the wheel,

these truck-heavy roads we risk our lives on,

adding to the complement of waste,

unravelling of flora and fauna.

Here, it’s ‘crimson fields’

and mock freedom.

The greatest song

ever written is June Carter Cash & Merle Kilgore’s

‘Ring of Fire’ as sung by Johnny Cash – I knew

this at four, song... Read more

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From Griffith Review Edition 63: Writing the Country © Copyright Griffith University & the author.

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