Paterson’s Curse – Fiona Hile

Sweet Gradiva purple in the marbled light

could not have unearthed the wiley passion

of your sub-coastal spray. Tramping towards

the gully, I wear long pants and take a spade.

Mosquitos drilling the surface of the lilac

slick seek thirsty babies bulging every earth

bound balloon, reminds you of hills. Noting

each sleek animal as if it were the last, red flaps

dangling from Agathonian ears believe that I must love

You and no one else. Velvet price tags, both

Beautiful and Good. The delirium of the high

speed pothole evokes women in draped. Burlesque,

 

you are driving through Cherry

 

Country slipping beneath you like a truckload of lost

marbles, eating power, your substation stare locks wounds

with local perfidy. Where you were at ten o’clock this morning.

Prising gravlax from the offshore turmoil of yoga-fed skin-castings,

metal feet tramping towards the frisson of the hole between the well.

 

Passing between the double cast door of the twice chilled basement,

relief of the ready made shadow drills for gravity in the flyscreen moon,

fills your lungs with saucepan, Bonaparte, my upside down Orion!

If I see you I will find you, ambling down the hill to nose at the fence.

Tom had thrown a rope over the sturdiest branch. Screen wire

rough against your fingertips. Constellation of every

 

blaring hole

 

Supernova Dipstick. Nothing to prevent her from leaving the house.

Scuttle onto the doona and divide your labour.

Hands of a clock equals diphthong and monophthong.

Try to find a comfortable position. Cause serious structural damage.

Roll yourself in sideways repellent, baptise the children’s skulls and limbs.

Hear your language, hidden in the underslab waterhole.

Dissimulated petticoats turncoat pockets and socks.

A hole in my throat where the Golden Fleece used to be.

Utopia is the place of the bog of magnet is the flinging of filings lured

from Vincent to the whole world is a magnet and the trees, rocks, rivers, animals,

insects, etc. are the orderings of the great horseshoe of the visible,

 

forever changing hands I saw a spire trembling with ultimatum.

If I smell your smoke it will fill my heart with lungs.

Dare to commiserate and I will shower myself with black flowers.

In the solitude of my various proceedings I have come to see poetry

as property, matrilineal claim to idea, sound, image.

Last night in your sleep you said [Conversation with Beauty].

In the context of war we were drilling for poems about surfing.

All novels are short stories, all stories are really poems.

In the dimming light the gum trees were cool and approachable.

Covered in a lilac mist. The airconditioner ripples our sheets

Like the dam in the shallows I watch the wind currents

penetrate surfaces, wonder if I heard you correctly.

 

You are all dream to me, like Tucker’s ‘bomb happies’, or

the unintentionally comedic lighting of colonial landscape

painting, eating for oral gratification makes one dialexic.

You start off human but become increasingly abstracted,

Like a lowly worm climbing a ladder, or me, out there in the waves.

I liked it better when we were one gigantic microbe

and our proud thoughts led us to assault the nuovo

Olympians. Sitting here in the mud, I contemplate my cut

and think about that time you swooped through

the central temple like an avenging dragon. Chapel of Departed

Friends. High-jump flicking the epiglottis of the bell.

Standing on your father’s fingertips, you grabbed the cold brass lip

and heaved it chinwards, the two of you swaying like a stack of anecdotes.

 

I’ve come over all Centennial, manicures and clip-art.

Fig-face cursed with the gift of Jerilderie.

Blonde-tipped soldiers marching for Woolloomooloo,

a bonus if you pressed a certain amount of flesh.

‘I can read the sign but I just can’t see its name.’

A horse, a crown, a deer, a dog. Pyramid of William

Shakespeare collects forty brass openers.

Cover your head with a sort of lace napkin—

Lion, thistle, rose. And so on.

Nevertheless, I often had strange dreams.

Two cars have been broken into—one Morris, one Citroen.

Someone has taken the bicycle from the child’s front garden.

The roof of the house thatched with tufts of tall

Brown Grass flanks the muddied track.

Poking at the shoe with a high-pitched squeal,

mad stare cowing briefly in your mother’s paddock.

Writhing like a fluffy but cyclical extermination, tarried with skin and blood,

the groundless seep of suppurating signature.

Everything is in miniature here, smoked trout sky spewing waterfalls and angels.

Knot one frayed end against the length of the rope.

 

Leave just enough space for the foot of a child.

 

Originally published by Hunter Publishers