Tu Fu, there were gorges but I couldn’t see any boat – Meredi Ortega

ten years in the desert, wrote seven hundred words on communes
in the People’s Republic of China
distance education
how rain does not come from looking at the Temple of Heaven
on the cover of Asian Response                                  

xeriscaped my lungs with mulla mulla, took mauve breaths
did not listen to cassettes from Perth, for a long time said Mayo
part leader, part condiment
wrote about steel and pig iron as though I could fuel a furnace
with nesting tables, bread bin slats
                         Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia
could not get my fill of ore

not much of a time capsule, fourteen years and they graved it up
ceremony on the car park nature strip
all our names and faces humified like things to come
someone asked for the tin back as though the years were still inside

        tunnel under the railway, almost a wormhole
same steel screech overhead, iron mountain moving
two stroke dirt bike
corrugated loop of luv 4 eva
                                        woz ere, slut, poofter, for a good time ring 

under our feet, real back-in-time
Archean, old as               ceasing to be, just thinking about it

distance education
decapitated pirates and Boxers, man in street
                         trying to shout but he’s already cut through
all our lives in that picture

                        sharp and rust
snappy gum, face pressed against cool marbled trunk
every which kind of sun-stunted bush
river reds and plains
        ephemeral water, holding on
between clouds

my old collie, buried in a creek bed outside town
                         kilned like a Han pottery dog
never belonged with that long coat
        we were the same that way
and when the rains came, he went wherever the orange rush took him
 

This poem was published in Westerly 59:2, 2014