Where Our and Reprise

Toby Davidson

 

Where Our

 

Bipeds living separate lives emote securely to a circle of screens.

Keypads flash down Loma Street walls in reds and greens, ersatz

shipping lanes. Oxidise space. Hypnotise. Lay waste, like the first

 

sold a shooter’s paradise—kangaroos, bronzewings splashing

from jarrah and wattle of quarried North Cottesloe, that feral,

goannaed ‘Siberia’. Teamsters, gamblers, camel races, picnicked

 

attempts at a ragged Brighton, baby contests for unsecured plots.

Noongar, West Indian, Chinese hawkers with spices, sponges,

contraptions, fisherfolk trading shock at that attack, the look

 

of the kid hauled grey from a dancing bosom meant to cure

everything. Jetty bands, parlour cars, a twelve-foot tiger strung

pointedly—attractions worth queuing for. ‘Costume, Men

 

and Women: Dress of dark material, serge, flannel or flannelette,

extending over the shoulder to the knee. Those in swimsuits

should not loiter.’ This was before the advent of the groyne.

 

 

Reprise

 

Encased museum whispers of the sky world flit the masks

of tinctured-only non-complaint binding sunken sorrow.

Surfacing all golden-eyed, they shield themselves

with infant hands, plug to something in their laps

or spurn announcements, then in French, to sever

open glory lest their waxen slack-jawed memberships

to numinous imposture fail. Sleepers paw at rays

the very disc-clouds bear in numbers. Above (you choose)

the Solomons, lilac streaks hone cometlike to pinkest

cuttlefish quills. You, Half-Planet, hide upon, below,

as a wreathed blue range and a wing: Canadian birds

fly arrowhead Vs, Australians loose barometric sheathes

and so they hang cross-hatched in economy, ruffling wavy

suns which burst clipped dreams and return to you proudly.

 

Toby Davidson is a West Australian poet now living in Sydney as a lecturer at Macquarie University. He is the editor of Francis Webb’s Collected Poems (2011) and author of the critical study Christian Mysticism and Australian Poetry (2013). His first collection of poetry is Beast Language (2012).

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