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Special N.01 – Martin Harrison Special Issue


by John Kinsella

Storms rushing down from Wongan Hills —

it’s imperative to clear the gutters,

drain the trap after such a stressed dry.

Even now, it’s forty-three centigrade.


So, I go out, and the trap yields only

a trickle, and inland thornbills are anxious,

hopping near my feet, and I know I must

raise the lantern of my blood onto the trestle


to empty the gutters of dry accumulations,

under a blunt, brutal sky of prophecy

for all that’s gone down in this region of late,

the fewer trees to take up the slack,


the fewer cockatoos to short-circuit a rampant

craving for electricity, the burning-up of our

fossil identity, our ancient selves, our interiors.

And in the anterior world I rise up, and thunder


just far enough away to make the act not quite

foolhardy, though as I scoop the leafage

and scatter it to the dirt below, I wonder

if this tempting of lightning — a serial encounter


in parallel circuit — might actually be my last.

I hurry the job, removing feathers of five species —

thornbill, ‘28’ parrot, magpie, robin, and weebill —

as I go, plus the down of fledglings I can’t identify,


and the air thickens and simmers and the leaves

I hook out are covered in arrays of wasp galls

that have burst open, dried in their moment

of abjection — think the pods from the Alien films,


especially as earlier today John Hurt passed away

and the alien that burst from his chest knows its DNA

is willed-on by the greed and corruption of the industrial-

military complex — cometh the man cometh the hour;


though far more sensitive analogies are forgotten

with the storm-threat, with thunder short-fused.

I know I must descend before it’s too late, pondering

my relationship with this space on the radar,


and all I have seen and all I have talked through

with friends and family, have gestated deep

inside an electrified psyche bamboozled by static,

the dry about to be broken, ruthlessly shattered.

Published: May 2017
John Kinsella

John Kinsella‘s most recent volumes of poetry are Drowning in Wheat: Selected Poems (Picador, 2016) and Firebreaks (WW Norton, 2016). His most recent collection of short stories is Old Growth (Transit Lounge, 2017). His investigation of “place”, Polysituatedness: A Poetics of Displacement, was published by Manchester University Press in late 2016. He is a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University and Professor of Literature and Sustainability at Curtin University.

An Australian and international
journal of ecopoetry and ecopoetics.

Plumwood Mountain Journal is created on the unceded lands of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to elders past, present and future. We also acknowledge all traditional custodians of the lands this journal reaches.