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Jacket 16 — March 2002   |   # 16  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   |    

Overland magazine feature

Geraldine McKenzie

Content’s Hammer

Yes, but it’s only now we’re seeing it on the tele...
               Sybil Fawlty

This girl’s dark eyes and huge expression
the doctor’s hands as she shows
absence, no word denoting legs with
amputated feet and there clearly
should be, poetry is hard enough
when daily muted by the clamour
of self-righteous suits —

certainty’s the sword I’d like to cleave
such certainty apart and thrust
a conscious agony on all who see and don’t
checking the list in trepidation
that my name and those I love will be buried
somewhere in the fine print
heavy with inheritance

a person in a room with books to
burn, vicarious forager devouring only
news, flash and breaking from the hills
each curve and corner rushed as the sky
pushes for a semblance  of control over
events, asserting, uselessly in
this instance, the naught but here

the gunner’s ears leak blood, collapsed
question marks the spot of no return
(I think we’ve passed this way before)
it makes me mad and even now
as the sausage machine cranks up
khaki collection due
all line up for the shambles

cameras to the right of them
cameras to the left,
I thought I knew you well
what comes streaming in
a greater crack and faces
trapped and offering winter

the wind’s on its way
no one sleeps well
where are those voices coming from?
In the middle of your life and none the wiser
the quiet house no peace accords
question the dead where they lie
the living have no answers

this isn’t the last word and
who’ll recognize the too-familiar face
stuttering as it comes
while all who bear its weight
and plod the weary follow me
turn aside to briefly stare
this is where we came from

Geraldine McKenzie is a teacher who lives in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. Her first collection, Duty, was published by Paper Bark Press in 2001.

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