Advice for Grieving (bluff)


Find a bluff overhanging water
observe it first from distance
as you would a broken body on a road
all limp and full of angles splayed as trauma,
a thing to be ‘moved beyond’
or ‘gotten over’

Then, having ticked off preparations
tendered your farewells
offered up your “If I’m not back by 8” advice
having chalked your hands to trace
a path upward on the rocks
while summoning whatever absent gods
might speed you on your way

When, having arrived at the peak
(at a time most apt for metaphor)
having hauled your bones across
the face of cliffs you come to rest
on the edge of all you’ve lost
be governed only by the urge
to hurl yourself into the air,
to spin in flight and write yourself
across the rocks

or if, having found the means
within your arms to lash yourself to earth
with what anchors you have left,
persuade the howling mess
to back away and contemplate instead
a slow descent

But either way, on landing, turn
to watch a kestrel furl its wings and drop,
steady as a dart, folding into salt,
bursting as it hits and breaks the water

and find comfort in the thought
that falling from the sky
might yet be a kind of flight.

Economies of scale


The sky as  heavy as your imagined broken-self would be the better metaphor than this to say that here in all your days you never felt any more complete than now so whole and holy as the light that cracks the molten chambers of your ‘cast up and outward’ heart and as she looks up to you all blue-eyed gentle bliss and says she wants to build and break a sandcastle you put down your pen at last and lift her high and find everything you ever needed was always already curled into the hands and heart and in the holy coil of code that sprung from you  and birthed the thing that sings you now onto the sand to leap through waves and stretches out its arms to cast a shadow of you and she as birds all soar and song and flying back into the light.

gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back


How heavy we sat –
the road scarring in from the east,
through stands of burning eucalypts,
threading its unwelcome way between the bloat
of mining towns all turned to tumours,
nagging over Triassic sandstone, shouldered hills,
then through the bloom and wretch of gidyea,
descending steady as a thready pulse
into the ache of the inland basin.

The antipodes was never a world inverted
but a landscape smashed flat
then curving in below the axis of its own horizon
like an Old Testament god’s fat fist
clenched full of fire had wound up and swung

And when it lifted up at last it left behind
in the bruise the pair of us, bleached white
and rattling bones on the banks of a river
long since gone to the gulf,
watching and watched as we sat
beneath a blood-sworn pair
of hunting hawks
wheeling in the phosphor burn,
in the fire-eyed sky above.