Excerpt from ‘At Kamay’

Jake Goetz

Cl(if)f sonnets 

if i               were a cliff      cut           
 	           by wind         a whale  
 	           breaching      water
 	           or octaves      in sand 	        
 	           crunching aeons   to feet 
  	           to weave      a page
 	           into coastal   entangle	       
 	           -ment   could you then  
 	           hear      how fraught     
 	           this space   or how easy 
 	           rocks break      what minds      
 	           make distant   in their  
 	           proclivities      for days      
 					    
 	 	                \

if i               were to trace   a second-
 	           hand shoe   spelling
 	           Vietnam   from trade
 	           routes      that constant                
 	           sensation   of movement   
  	           in the   commercial    
  	           nature      of each              
 	           continuous     moment                
 	           in which lies      the point
 	           of some       kind
 	           of poetry   or a line
 	           at least             from which
 	           it extends   honey-sweet 
 	           thought      a tea tree sense 	
      			
	 	                \

if i              were a southerly   or sand-
 	          stone patch   exposed
 	          like bone      eroding   
 	          sonnets into   the permo-
 	          triassic   kneecap
 	          of a dipro- 	    todon
  	          where broken   glass 
	          is as green   as grass
 	          is water   clear and
 	          booming       beneath     
 	          SING-      APORE      
 	          sky’s steel orca   sustained              
 	          by the nutrients   of a
 	          krill-like         capital	   

	 	               \

if i  	          were a vista	  word-
 	          wrapped cliffs   seasoned  
 	          by salt      each angle
 	          each shape   a relation 
 	          of wind      minute 
 	          ridge lines   of rock  
 	          repeating   dissecting   
 	          expressions 	    in eye-
 	          socket   shadows
 	          great chunks   of cheek 
 	          jagged grey         nose
 	          frothing at 	    lines   
 	          of repetition      in waves 

	 	               \

if i  	          were water      a spray
 	          of white   twisting   
 	          yellow      flowers into    
 	          questions   i.e. how
 	          avoid   a taxonomic               
 	          acumen   those categorical            
 	          urges      like trying
 	          to quit   smoking
 	          having been   born
 	          with a       Winfield
 	          in your  	  mouth    
 	          as out   on open water
 	          no other way   to come here         
 	          the outer limit      of ego

Note: The last three lines of this work come from George Oppen’s poem, From a phrase of Simon Weil’s and some words of Hegel’s (2001, Selected Poems).


Jake Goetz lives by a drowned valley estuary on Gadigal land. His first poetry collection, meditations with passing water (Rabbit Poets Series, 2018), was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Award in 2019. He is currently a PhD candidate in Writing at The Writing and Society Research Centre, WSU.

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