Unwritten Letter to the Dead Gods

On western coastal plains
In torrid haze we sit
and weep
Into the dusty mouths of dead gods
Under the star maps
And gnarl of banksia
We once told woodland stories

In the stunning scalpel
Of urban shadow
We watch brittle corridors
Dissolve to bitumen
And pale corrugated colour
A red tail melody - kaarak adrift
In the grey smudge of fresh trainlines
White tails search for suburban hollows
That squawking heritage
That rhythmic degradation
An underground extinction

Under the toxic weather rush
Of this astounding century
extremely, weekly, a feeble dissatisfaction, a credit-card-romance distraction
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At midnight
Bound to a cliché of Dorothea Mac
Those seven sister’s stories sung across the bitter sky
Carving noongar tracks between water points
In the Whadjuk Boodjar
Across this critical continent
Coal smoke slices our throats to silence
Carried like gold into houses
We wrap ourselves in flags and stop breathing
Stop shouting
Stop listening
Stop groaning
Vote ourselves like blunt pencils
Into the crippled cardboard
And the wide flame marches west

Karla. Across Yuet
Into waterless townships
Flames to the bloated oceans
Flames burn all noise, the deep black scar of us
An orchestra of fear
Into sandpit carpark airconditioned closed tight window lifestyles
At the oceans foaming edge
The brittle beach speaks in twisted plastic riddles
Of soot
Of the end of time,
the end of mortgage

And as we sit
and eat as much plastic as we can stuff
Licking nanoparticles like sugar addiction, never enough
And cancer of the mind
As the marketing geniuses rake our embers
Shit into our mouths
Step on our necks
As we step over the body of past glory
The streets are dead to me
The newsfeed louder than all the
Sponsored content
Our words as important as freeway bridge graffiti
The peace brother language
The illegal rage of bus stop tags
This talking unlawfully
Against the machines
Combusting fossils faster than fossils faster than fossils
Until we wake on treadmills
Scratching at the salt-faced bark

And the wheatbelt tightens, thins
Our children huddle inside the murals
Painted silos burn in chronic silence
In fragments of remaining crowns

And on the Mitchell
The bleached faces stare blithely
From six car carriage to the static freeway speed
As we swipe n scroll in endless distraction from
a litany of suburban palms
of limestone salinity

And the towns are stale
And the ground is crust
And the lakes are mirrors of white white sky
All salt and monsters
All tales of hot gale and voices
Emus at war with the fences
Wadjela vs the waitj like its 1932
And everything is fair fucking game, mate
Caterpillars n chains across
a million acres a year
Lewis guns and crop destruction
They burn flags in paddocks
The seven-sided stars drip to the concrete
Stand in line for special agricultural compensation
For bushfire uniforms
For arms without hands to shake
For hi-viz munition
Like a letter from the dead-eyed government
Of a collapsing nation
A hibiscus cohort
Trapped in a closed system

Because this Boodjar is not an operation
It is not a letter
It is not a gift
It is not a birthday card
Or a god
Or a spirit
Or a mother
Or a child

It is
Body, skin, earth, lungs, soil, blood, life, death
To exist in
To breathe
To eat
And heal

Lest we forget


Written for a Perth Poetry Club feature event in response to the recent Letters to Earth project.