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Jacket 15 — December 2001   |   # 15  Contents   |   Homepage   |   Catalog   |

John Kinsella

On the Rejection of the Term “Property” for This Place

Locating the ensign normative on the questboat
of inner mappings, survey betoken, the flock
beknights the leader; split lupins, so enriched
they triple protein, as upwind predators
gurgle in their juices. Situate the predicate,
distil sand filters, oil patches where sumps
have dumped their turgid loads, where it’s
not quite happy for journalists  —   that’s where
they madethe Aborigines. Corrugations, Boolean,
iron and galvanising, bedevilled in sutures
as down cycle, or business in speech, as if licenses
or feathers, good eating a deployable, a summons
or magnetic. Corporate, modelled in the model of,
modality and detainees, to keep the envelope
pure; all waves confer against the next
though come in sets, and the king wave lifting
out of nowhere, by far the biggest. It links
coastals and whale soundings with fingers and combs
of John Deere platforms. No respect, they enslave
as collective  —   single mass of categories,
whipper snippers on council edges, cutting down
to median strips, testing radars just outside
the station, the 40k in-town limit. This property,
permissions legal and moral, siphoning petrol
on pre-unleaded cars, stopcocks in sheep
watering troughs, the length of barbed wire
and odd echidna on the fringe of language.
The French were almost here, in force; primo-
geniture, this periodic tabulation of rare earths
and growth rates, the university letting infantile
eureka and big buck visions through considerable
holes in the wire, like old crank telephones
and local exchange. Barrier comedown on the home
trading range, with confidence, with bluster,
this corner of property, 1861, good stone
despite the trouble: family: Cornwall,
Scotland, Ireland, London. The city as country,
siting ownership as event horizon, trial and consequence
the mesh and tribute; kin and cure, constructing
social ills, devouring science fiction nervous
in the ancient outhouse. They wipe on newspaper.
The print pollutes the fissures. A Nyoongah friend
says they speak within the family, and family
is always someone else’s, as well as memory.
Personal and shared, this continual habitation, Hansard
and despair. Lipservice counts like letters to the paper,
with their colour photos of teenage prostitutes.
Readers await the coming of the demagogue,
the harbinger of prejudice. Damn her! And damn
archaeology and anthropology and the oily wash
from the Avon River; slip clutch, vee belt, running
rough as guts, as long as it takes to cross the crop
stepping gingerly, or ripping-it-up in the ute,
flat-tack bashing the shit out of the shockies,
always a target. We have permission to cross,
multiple orders, letters of approval, up to the mountain,
footheld on ridges, marking time the native grasses.
Scientific name... approbation of guilt, or to collect
chunks of childhood preserved as faded everlastings,
protected now. Clods of clay, resinous soil,
currents freed up in the rock-picked basin,
pools of sediment, and wells as eyelets
like old campfires ringed with conversation,
as if it could all be reconstituted. Here, sanctuary
is a division within division, say quarter or half
a hectare, even an acre. Rarely on the roadside
the dead kangaroo, that twenty years ago
made roo bar ‘essential’ equipment.
At the gateway, rabbits dig into soft banks,
just beginnings. Down past rail lines
lights even-out across town, streetlights intense, macro-
engagements with darkness  —   for the protection
of citizens and properties. Courthouse.
Flyscreens. Early photographs. Dartboards.
The various dreams to be had at intervals
through seasonal labours, muddy boots, socks
and shirts shot with haycarting, that slick of residue
from all applications deemed necessary  —   pastoral
paranoia barely wreaks havoc in the working
habits of the city, or the foothills. Number plates.
In the breakup, the centre piece went to the least
land hungry, who sold it at a profit to the most
land hungry, so they’ll be not getting it back
if fortunes improve. Centrifugal, topsoil
climbing up fenceposts, last of the hardwood,
genetic material barely stable, uprights in the crown,
as families lose touch during periods of intensive
sunspot activity. Caught between obligations
and permissions, bands become belts inside the body,
rusty engine cavity. Provenance. Tenure. Landfill.

Jacket 15 — December 2001  Contents page
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