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.
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).