Culture

Fiction and Poetry

poetry October 24, 2020

Time

Linear time is something Settlers brought here A version of time that creates distance Things that happened a hundred years ago are further away than things that happened yesterday A version of time weaponised against Indigenous peoples Our life...

fiction October 10, 2020

Three anecdotes

Beggar A Beggar who had only recently and reluctantly taken up begging after losing his job as an administration officer for a small insurance firm was one day noticed on the street by a, thankfully, employed company director on his way home from...

fiction October 16, 2020

Jacaranda

The woman’s head is at an odd angle, one side of her neck stretched tight like the rawhide of a drum. Carolyn’s skin turns clammy and her breathing shallows as she scans the woman’s body: the cracked, swollen feet; toenails like thick squares of...

poetry October 3, 2020

Two poems

Unrecognised National Portrait Gallery, Canberra At five, the doors click shut. Security walks a final circuit and clocks off. The eyes of the prominent are lost in the middle distance beyond office, sports field or studio. Hair and skin of oil,...

fiction September 26, 2020

Leaving

Sitting out the front of their small fibro house, Albert heard his wife open the door and walk towards him. The old man was engrossed in reattaching a spearhead to a long, narrow piece of wood that held the memory of his hands. He could sense that...

fiction September 19, 2020

Breath

He wasn’t certain when the slow-growing bacillus had entered his body, but Mycobacterium tuberculosis had stealthily spread through his system – a silent invasion as he coughed up great wads of red-stained sputum. He imagined the army of bacteria...

poetry September 12, 2020

Still Life

Remember that year we sat in the stench of death, peering at lighted squares, searching for the numbers of fallen. I was conscious of my breath, conscious of too-close bodies passing in the aisles, conscious of the skin of the oranges, already...

September 5, 2020

Solomon Grundy XVI

There are dozens of them, miserable buggers, all over town. Widows and widowers, all under 30, all Grundys by name or by marriage. They never marry again. They’re no good to anyone. It was a rotten business. I never spoke up – it wasn’t my place to...

August 29, 2020

Hazel

Hazel lowers herself into the armchair by the window. A slight ache burns down the front of her thighs, as if she’s been on a long bicycle ride. She looks about the room. Single bed, three framed photos atop a sideboard and a small television she no...

August 22, 2020

Remember airports?

Remember airports? Oh my god, don’t. Airports. Yeah, I don’t miss those places at all. Really? I love them. Once you’re there. You’ve done everything you need. And there’s nothing left but to sit back and let the time pass. Just, wash over you...

August 15, 2020

The Guaia

The Guaia is three-and-a-half feet tall, with arms as long as she is high. The pads of her fingers are as dark and shiny as wet wood, and splayed like a tree frog’s. Her face is forever young yet strafed, all hollow and crag, sexless. She sleeps...

August 8, 2020

Capricorn Highway

Bill watches Joyce gather the kids for a photo. He’s seated on the front lawn, next to the overgrown bougainvillea, an oxygen tank by his side, tubes to his nose. He watches Joyce arrange the children – their adult daughters who both turned up in...

fiction August 1, 2020

Riding trains with Thelma Plum

Penrith Station was as broken as the shattered heart I carried. The few of us waiting on the train to central Sydney provided each other with more than the required distance. Some of us were sad, others miserable. The coronavirus had beaten us into...