I track down words
The cries of crows fall
Through blues onto rusty ochres
This place stills my tongue
2017 ‘Pulse’ at Double Dialogues
Catch Smell the rain on the breeze down at the river mouth where fishermen stand in the swirl of incoming waters Feel the first drops on your skin where the mystery of the ocean draws away from salt spray and the chill of the west wind Ribbons of kelp sway in the deep Refracted light dapples your face as the child comes up for air Your hands, useless against the sky Arms, broken wings skeleton dust Osprey kestrel tern skua shearwater sandpiper swift
Fire relies on the leaves of gum trees No sound fits this spectacle No sound but the hiss of fire bark grass searing your world into sheer whorls of alliterations Hallucinations of words resounding with nothing Following faultlines a gorge aflame furrows erased in granite and sandstone lines of scribble gums forever receding The gorge barring you Now how could I speak again when syllables shatter on my page turning words inside out when letters hover in the air like the smell of your burning skin? We were discussing poetics on our mobiles How we didn’t need manuals for wordsmiths preferred to work words as an end in itself make a poem fulfilled in its enaction look inwards to the materiality of language on the page and in the mouth stress the event not the effect You said good bye And now I dream that you flit out of my skin your voice lettering me Poetic enjoyment perhaps as if to resist the etiolation of language Don’t put individual utterances on show you say Perform their moves of repetition re-use reiteration show your reader the absurd desire to contain ( ) For here is the gum and its inferno remains the grave among blistered roots the mouthless earth lulling one to leave If it could speak it would say here is the silence here is the question
The Hanged Man At the time of writing to you The sun sinks in Sydney Harbour Full moon swells above the bridge Bizet’s Carmen bursts on the water Valentines clink glasses and part clink glasses and part In Melbourne a southerly blows across the bay Spectral waves ripple, curl, frizz, fizzle Madame Sosostris sets The Lovers alight Fireworks explode in the sky Rainbows cover the face of the moon and rub out the stars Ropes of rain drop on Esperance Pods of pilot whales shore up to die on Farewell Spit Cascading waters rip into America’s tallest dam Everywhere on earth lakes fill with fish doped on antidepressants Margaret Atwood’s Year of the Flood II (non-fiction) is released In Paris refugees huddle outside the Sacré Coeur where cleaners slip them Halal baguettes In London a Tory student films himself torching a twenty pound note next to a homeless man In Grahamstown one thousand and seven hundred people catch AIDS In Manhattan the Statue of Liberty squirms At the time of writing Maryam Mizakhani dons no Jihab but wins the Nobel for mathematics At the time of writing George Orwell’s Twenty Seventeen (non-fiction) crackles off the press At the time of writing China stacks its artillery and extends its air strips North Korea fires missiles into the Sea of Japan Syria leaks chemical weapons Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, India bury fresh bodies At the time of writing The planet tilts off its axis Foaming clouds ignite Coal-fired power plants belch Robotic bees are born At the time of writing I’m out to kill time Forget all possible endings to the world Remember the boy who’d launch himself off into the river like Tarzan, rope dangling from the tree of immortality At the time of writing Death has achieved her majority Madame Sosostris grants you eternity I tuck away the Hanged Man’s card
Pulse and other poems are © Dominique Hecq
The above poems have been published as follows,
2015 ‘Archive Fever’. Axon.
2016 ‘Archive Fever’. Best Australian Poems. Melbourne: Blac Ink.
2017 ‘Archive Fever’. Recours au poème : 182
2017 ‘Fire relies on the leaves of gum trees’. Recours au poème : 182
2017 Pulse. Double Dialogues
2017 The Hanged Man. Meniscus 5 :1
Dominique Hecq grew up in the French-speaking part of Belgium. She now lives in Melbourne. Her works include a novel, three collections of short stories and six books of poetry. Her stories and poems have been published internationally. These appear in English and other languages in anthologies, journals and on websites. Over the years, her work has been awarded a variety of prizes. Hush: A Fugue (2017) is her latest book.