Read our e-interview with Coral Hull in this issue.

More poetry by Coral Hull.

Cover image by Coral Hull. Image and poetry by Coral Hull copyright©2001. All rights reserved.

Contact Coral Hull at Thylazine
Landscape Photography with Dogs

Coral Hull

A Chapbook by Coral Hull



In the Dog Box of Summer




i cannot live anywhere else but in this hot dog box
of summer/ rusky & i hunched together inside a red
& white dog box/ hot floating hairballs/ a thick
warm red & white jumper with hens on the cuffs/
winter sunlight/ this is what i most remember/ my
dog losing hair into my jumper & sticky panting
saliva dripping mixed in hair/
8888888888888888888888 i breathe up black &
white hair & sneeze into dog box air with a flushed
face & pull my dog’s tail/ we will never leave this
place/ he bites spit playfully onto my fingers &
thumb/ i wipe it on my pants & we turn over each
other in the box/ he is my warm daytime blanket/
then something in our backyard is wrong/ rusky
smells it & growls/
88888888888888 i pop my head out of the box/
my hands in dirt/ tiny twigs & pebbles puncture my
palms/ my dog tries to force his way out from behind
me/ having been left in dog box darkness alone/ i
block the entrance to the sun/ but then his hot
breath dribbles into my ear/ reassuring me he is
still here/ but a wooden thing stands in our
backyard & sees past me with hollow notches/
888888888888888888888888888888888888 what is
she doing in our yard? dog growls/ i look towards the
house/ my parents are not there/ my brothers are not
yet born/ there is only her/ she is between us & the
house/ she is probably from the vacant block next
door/ the place where christmas beetles come from
to slap up against the kitchen window after dark/
the place where things unknown to children & dogs
lived/
888 i want to throw rocks at her/ i think of
letting rusky out so he can bite her/ then she comes
closer/ she sticks her fat notchy bits into the box
scratching my cheeks/ i kick at her with my gum
boots/ the autumn wind from her drags me away from
the dog’s soft belly fur/ & i fly up & down in the
wind like a red & white balloon/ one hand wrapped
in the dog chain connected to the ground/
8888888888888888888888888888888 i am being
dragged away into time/ but the harsh wind drops
into winter stillness/ all at once it drops & she
is gone/ i know i have won/ i am going to stay in
the box/ i whisper into my dog’s velvet ear/ i’m not
going with her/ i am never leaving here/ i will
never leave the box/ it is all i want to be/ in the
heartbeat & hairballs of the old dog/
888888888888888888888888888 springtime &
mum calls us both in for tea/ but we hide until the
stars move across the sky for half a century/ my
mother staggers out from the dark kitchen doorway &
gently falls to pieces like bones into grass/ my
father’s skin hangs in threads by the tree near the
shed/ my two brothers have left home & have got
work/ but dog & myself will stay in the dog box of
summer/ where we can choose or choose not to view
the world


The Dingo Fence, South Australia

Every time the high wire is tensile, I see the blue eyes, matted blonde hair and strong tanned shoulders of my mate Joe Wilson, finishing off the job with the cheap wire cutters. And suddenly the wire parting like an ocean, releasing the flood of sky and native fauna, parting the forever lands, the wildlife escapes its torture, like air from an over inflated balloon. The fence feels taut, then as if falling into flight like a wedgetail eagle, it spreads and glides to earth. We opened the land to its potential, uncaged the wild antipodes, burst the dam of oppression, set the dust free. I began by cutting open a small rabbit hole, in the slippery diamond of thin grey wire, the jagged little ends piercing the sky. My hands climbed the delicate frame, the wide blue backdrop pouring into line.

It was right that we cut the dingo fence. It parted like the Pacific Ocean. At first the old pair of wire cutters moved easily up its industrial spine. We intended to undo its cranky old bones and wire strung loose. A gun- crack fence followed by its shadowy inspectors, baits, traps and poisons, killing animals in the tireless sun. The fence toothpicks the land, nets the scenery in and holds it to the ransom of wire. It protects the southern sheep industry, where sheep are not worth two bob, bogged in floods, flies and drought. It nets in wildlife at random that will never escape the fire along its borders. It is right that we cut the fence, to let the life pour through and to clear the land of deadly restriction. This is the dreaming of the yellow-throated dog, the cut wire lies dead in the moonlight.


Blue Angel

The dog is a blue angel. If he was human we would marry tomorrow. I slobbered on the old tennis ball that was thrown to me. I worried its fabrics into submission. Beside me he chewed on an old nylon bone and rolled across my odd sock. His legs thrown into the sky like a fountain gushing from a spring. Fresh water, I wept. Yesterday his heart murmured like a haunted field. He stood dumfounded on the quiet edge of a black pond. A child is about to drown. His reflection was a reed. I sobbed into his tiny bony chest. We both knew that he would be vulnerable. Many angels who take little dogs away are standing on the edges of lily pads. We close our eyes together. He lies across my breasts, the beautiful solid head. He is my heartbeat, I will give to his life, donate my organ. I am the motherhood of all good dogs.


Dog, Tap and Watertank

The glistening drop of the cattle dog’s eye, has not dropped

from his head to quench the thirsty ants.

Instead, the desert watertank tap has dropped its water
adjacent
to the dog’s dropped eye,

They feed the dry red dust - as parallel moisture banks.

The dog is as calm as shade at the end of the dry season.

He’s a shady low-down breed,
a slink into cool spots beneath homesteads,
like the retreat of the inland tiapan.

The tap is thirsty ants,

the weary dust

that coats my lips

like flies to drink

and visiting birds

insistent and silvery,

such as the peewee.

The old well-traveled dust has come from miles around

to be moist here, beside this northern watertank.

The Stuart Highway is the home of tap, watertank –
now dog.

Binda is a name.

He has caught my eye with his glistening droplet –

Binda, deep pool of water.

Meanwhile Kindi –
kindling fire,

is roughing up the red dust

with her hop-back-side-jump,
a unique kelpie move, ready for sheep interaction.

Her border collie colouring, shocks the dust with black and white.

Her hanging tongue is a barometer
receptive
to long high up summer rainfall,

misty blankets stretched out on distant plains off the Stuart Highway.

The clouds tip sideways
and spill their tongues of vast mist onto the aching parchment.

Revitalized land frogs sing beneath its moist breath resurrected
behind the rocks.

An amphibian is a mouth open to receive moisture.

We are all receptive deserts before wetness.

The giant cloudy thunderheads water the sweltering sections,
selected plants and red hot stones that have baked.

Even the tough spikes are moisture ladden,
vulnerable in their secret places where spikes turn soft and succulent.

We can not know them as they plunge more inward.

The rained upon land is far from any roadhouse, road or human,

only seen by the dying lamb,
the waiting crow, the dazed red cow.

This watertank is a place where we can all stop to drink,
our glad eyes plunge pools.

We are all glad, seeking each other from eye to eye.

We are moisture receptive,

protecting ourselves from the limitless thirst of inland.

We view the space through pools of moisture.

If our eyes dropped out there would be no sight to speak off.

Soon a crow’s moist vision dips into the resting place,
by the cattle dog’s glistening blue grey eye,
in the shade of the silver tap by the watertank.

I place down a bottletop for the birds,

each beak agape with its tiny thirst.

My hands are blistered from a radiator geezer,

placing water down for birds on the blistered dirt.

A dog and tap,

there was a dog and tap,

this tap dripping like a tongue, the tongue dripping like a tap,

close together in big space,

in our joint loss of moisture, desire for water – dog and tap.

The birds came to drink, the peewees and the zebra finches.

Soon I will be gone,

and the birds will turn on the wing
and go back to their inland territories,

and I will be gone north to the trembling thundery wet season.

Soon I will be gone and the dogs will be gone with the birds,

all their hanging tongues,
beaks agape and fragile legs like firesticks,

as the land burns on and is baked silly beneath the sun,
and along the Stuart Highway we are all gone,

but for a time - the dog, tap and watertank are identified.


Dying Dog Mantra

towards the end the emaciated dog still wanted to
walk but when i took him he would fall down.
then i found the dog spreadeagled in the tiny
backyard/ the rain ants eating his eyes - he was still alive.
i cleaned the green ant mucus from his ending eyes
& carried him inside.
there was a strange smell about him.
i gave him some water - his discoloured tongue
curling into my hands. his old teeth brown.
then he lay on his side - he began to groan he
would never walk again/ he never got back up again.
i thought if he wasn’t walking by the morning.
but then a groan the depth of death. i lit the candles.
no one should hear the fear of death. there is nothing like it.
like the sound the dog made towards the end i can
never forget. i made a decision then to ring a vet.
but the dog didn’t want to die.
the vet arrived, a stranger - young & hard, i
thought i’d crack if she brought in the plastic bag,
whilst he was still breathing/ but she didn’t.
being more discreet than that.
i asked her what the groaning was - i loved the dog.
she said he was frightened. this i can never forget.
she shook her head saying that he was too weak to
get up to even lift his head - she fumbled around
for a while with the needle.
the candle light made things awkward i had no lights
i had to get a torch & shine it on his face the vet
seemed to be agitated by this - then told me to talk
to him & pat his head - but i didn’t have a speech
prepared. what could i say without shaking?
you’re a good dog you’re a good dog. thanks for
fifteen years - your life. he may sigh she said.
during the injection she said - he is going now -
there was nothing i could do/ except chant the
mantra/ good dog you’re a good dog -
the poison gripped his heart the death gripped him
his eyes sudden & large it was not gentle it was a
punch he stopped breathing he left this place to
me he left the universe.
i could not close his eyes like on television.
they kept half opening i could still hear him
breathing after he had stopped moving the vet went
& got a blanket i could not stop stroking his body
his tail wagged a little bit.
i saw him as a young dog & a puppy. the vet lifted
his uncontrolled body into the blanket. it flopped about.
she left the bill for his disposal - where is she
taking my dog i thought as i thanked her -
the last thing i saw was the dog’s legs dangling
from the blanket the vet wrestling to carry him
down the hallway towards the open door & into darkness -
his skinny back legs poking out at odd angles
scratching the walls as they left.


Dogs & Gods

in the city botanical gardens i placed myself in
the company of unleashed dogs/ & as the dog turned
its cheek to view the blue sky so my cheek was
turned/ a shadow from its jaw bone cast across my
cheek bone/ then a flock of tawny birds fluttered
up from the grass & garden sprinklers/ & i soared
within their flight & was on fire with their wings/
wings which cast a shadow before the sun/ & so i
knew of birds/ their lighter spirits within the
heavy breast of flight/ & so i became a flightless
bird in the eyes of god/ what do dogs dream?/ in
the rise & fall of breath/ a twitch of soft tan
bristles, back pads trotting & a deep inside woof?/
do my dogs dream about me?/ if i were to disappear
would i live on in the eyes of them?/ would i be
reflected in the purpose of their wandering?/ in
their legendary search for origins?/ i have heard
that it is best for dogs to view the body as its
spirit passes on/ so like anger or fear it can be
passed through the heads & hearts of dogs/ & our
emotions pass through dogs like the open hands
of god/ they are not held nor trapped nor stored/
they are grasped & then gladly let go by the dog
who gladly loves you/ if i were to commit self
murder who would look after my dogs?/ they are the
reason i exist/ i was going to cut my wrists/ but
i had to get their dinner/ take them for a walk &
scratch them under their chins


William's Mongrels

when i looked down at the mongrel dog/ i knew
that i was loved by the dog/ & as i looked i
loved the mongrel in return/ & did not want the
animal to come to harm/ the dog - the bag of
bones, blood & organs - bundled roughly together
(alright miraculously roughly together) in a
skin bag/ a bag of skin & soulful dog’s eyes
dumped (purposefully?) onto earth - the dog -
its eyes/ i loved them & suffered in them/ i
too, love the dog(s) that sit, by the derelict
of north melbourne/ none of us asked to be here
- the dog didn’t ask to be here/ but (in loyalty)
tolerates its position/ i (born human) am crying
now/ & cannot die noiselessly or defeated, like
william & the black dog/ a horrible thing -
tears, from the skin bag - of bones, organs &
(world created?) blood/ to have us suffer a
while alone - to have us, become (strangely)
attached to its gruesomeness/ to fear being
taken out of the skin bag, of blood & bone -
to endure its pain - only to be snuffed out,
perfectly in the end/ (the quiet earth makes use
of us) then/ & william - wet & cold from crying
- hard & old from bitterness & dying & dog
tired of living, like william’s mongrels



Camp Dog

the life losing drag of gorged ticks as i pluck
them off with tweezers/ grape shaped bodies buried
in the skin of camp dog/ alot of blood for a little
dog & a bloody stump for an anus/ they found me
weeping/ pieces of tick & dog stuck to my wrists/
& dust thick blood wiped from my tearducts/ it was
no suprise when my father said: ‘e’s no good/ yar
betta orf puttin’ ‘im down/ camp dog’s toenails
rip my dress/ local koories walk by the royal with
the other camp dogs/ & my father says: hundreds of
‘em at the tip/ abos’ dogs/ shoot ‘em if i get the
chance/ the bone of the town is turned on me/ the
outback darling breathes green algae/ & the fleecy
white corpse of humanity turns slowly in it/ the
streets of bourke are ribs from a body that walks
without dreaming/ i hear about its feral children
who smash the windows/ who jump the fences to steal
the vegetables/ i hear 5600 dogs in a town of 2300/
the long low howl of a brewarrina sunset which makes
my skin crawl/ & twilight fights in a town overstocked
with dogs/ bloated dogs to be shot as food for other
dogs/ mangey tip scavengers with no vet/ i am left
kneeling in the street/ facing a sky empty with the
risk of sunstroke/ ticks turning in dirt/ & bulbous
sacks of blood to be disregarded or popped/ i haven’t
the energy to burst things open/ like pods or eggs or
blisters/ or the balloon shaped bodies of ticks/ i
grow tired of cancerous towns & cities bleeding the
dust to death/ my eyes sting from sleepy moistness
or from tears/ with too much red from fingertip to
forearm/ i cannot wipe it away with the rage, the rag
that twists moisture from its ends like a worn out
washer/ when camp dog’s arse is free from ticks i
will squash bodies in dirt/ & camp dog will follow
its mates back to dodge city & town tip


Landscape Photography with Dogs

the park is inside my dogs/ we hop out of
the holden on the edge of a picnic area/
ignoring the signs that prohibit dogs to
run without leashes/ kindi & binda release
themselves from the hot back seat to bound
through grasses wallaby related/ to vanish
above & below its tracks of dry waves as
though it were flowing/ past the flaky
grey bases of gums & old ten gallon drum
bins toppling over with drumstick wrappers/
the calm gradient of city parkland carries
their bellies along to the creek’s hidden
edges/ i want my dogs to experience many
landscapes/ as dusk nuzzles up to my ankles
& to my dogs’ noses turning damp & cold
fogging up the camera lenses/ they will
swallow or be swallowed by foreground
objects like barbecues or boulders/ they
will fade out over the round cupped edges
of hills into clouds that sink behind
themselves/ & appear like black specks on
the watery grey endings of dirty rainbows/
or disappear completely before emerging
again from forest darkrooms/ my dogs will
be unleashed so that they may contain the
landscapes inside themselves/ in australia
shadows of blue heelers, red kelpies &
photographers ignite along its huge crust
& vanish in an instant/ leaving behind
projected movement & dust-filled film
equipment/ & they may have left a passing
footprint in the sand/ & they may have left
a story for the rock


Diesel

on the road from carins to normanton we picked
up a dog/ a couple of travellers told us to go back
down to charters towers/ & to take the one-lane
highway across to mount isa/ there had been rain/
but we chose to risk the section of unsealed road
along the bottom end of the cape york penninsula/
to view the queensland peppermint & river red gum
landscape/ & its constant expansion into kilometres
of giant plateaus & underground lava tunnels from
extinct volcanoes/ we chose to widen our knowledge
of roadside brolgas & dumped dogs like hitchhikers
waiting for a lift/ after light rain the normanton
road had expanded out into side lanes/ into large
bottomless pits deep & soft with mud/ new bitumen
strips stood high & dry in the middle/ with access
to them blocked by roadwork signs/ a couple of
tourists from holland took the detours & ended up
bogged up to the windows/ their white arms waving
from cars with mud pouring in/
8888888888888888888888 on another lonely
stretch a man was trying to gas himself inside his
old bomb car with his german shepherd/ the dog’s
horrible barking brought us to a halt/ i got out
to see what was the matter/ & his car door flew
open & he took off into the bush with his german
shepherd following him/ the dog’s hysteria being
released like exhaust fumes into the stunted
growth/ on a very muddy section on which the e.h.
holden was skating/ we came across a muscular
black dog sitting on the side of the road/ it watched
us pass noticing our dogs in the back/ we slowed
down without stopping & i pushed my door open with
my foot/ i called out: come on come on/ & the big
black dog slid through mud/ it jumped onto my
lap/ its wagging tail slapping my chest & face/ the
bright orange clay flicking up onto the vinyl
ceiling & interior light/
8888888888888888 adrian said: perhaps we
should go onto some properties & try to look for
the owner/ i said: no/ as harshly as if i had slammed
my foot onto the brakes/ there were hundreds of
properties out there hidden in the scrub/ amongst
drowned coolibah trees & sharp topaz jutting out/
i suggested we stick to the road & drive straight
to croydon/ when we got into town we filled the
tank with petrol/ then i went to the local shire
building & the town clerk tied the dog up to the
flagpole/ then a carload of locals drove past/ two
wheels of the mud splashed ute jumping up over the
gutter/ ripping into the sprinkler greened lawn/
the full round spotlight dangling crazily from the
roof & the wire caged section on the back mingling
with lunatic dogs/ in the front were thin-lipped
australians with deep squinting eyes, checked shirts
& dusty hats/ the chain rattled on the flagpole as
the dog began to gyrate/ diesel, one cried out/

so that the dog stood to attention & became darker/
then he hopped out of the ute & came up & shook my
hand/ the others observing me through the window
glass/ i could tell he would be the type to keep
his distance under normal circumstances/ but he
offered me reward money/ i didn’t want any/ i saw
diesel washed clean by a brief shower & enthusiastic
stroking from her owner/ then her black shining
loaded into the back with the other dogs/ he said
that she had been missing for two days/ & that they
were heading back out into the scrub/ these men are
pig killers, i thought/ & compared my dogs’ lives
to theirs/ i was pleased to have found their thick-
jawed dog/ but i thought of the dead black pigs
torn at the throat/ out there behind the bloodwood
& paperbarks in the queensland scrub/ tusks turned
upwards drinking in rain/ dried blood & the long
lashed eyes half-buried in mud


On the Back of the Ute

panorama and dog saliva, we are leaving the property behind,
to reflect upon itself in the grey flood water, we are heading into
town, to do some simple shopping and have a quiet drink, i’m
watching the world go by, the winter sun filtering down, roughed
-up and wind-blown, on the back of the ute, splinters of rock press
up through the soil, kangaroos decide to hop away, as the dogs
and i take in the stream of bush, we are blind to details,
continually letting go, over every second of road, we are life-sized,
our heads in the sky, the shreded exhaust and retreads roaring, bumps
and potholes, patches of bulldust, the vibration of corrugation, an 80km
per hour wind to howl and rattle collars, the high sun to heat my
arm against metal, and a hat pushed on with my other hand, in case
the big gale lifts it sideways, washaways, causeways, cattle grids,
floodways, long orange trails leading inland and twisty dirt roads to
stick to, each side moves in blurs to a triangle, to the centre of the
back of the ute, my hair stuck to my cheeks, across my lips as it
moves to its triangular point, skyline river gums closing in behind
us, gravel stones smashing up against the diff, we are affected by
the surface, by what we skim along, we’re air-born, throwing up
dust, beers are handed back from the driver, the rough ride and
shouting giving us presence, the dogs put down their tongues and
pant, tails steering their clumsy excitement, in motion from one
side to the other, over the spare tyre and a greasy rope, holding
fast to the paintwork, so as not to be left behind, which is important,
as every property dog knows, when we go into town, to buy the
newspaper and put on lotto, then if one should fall, well, i can’t get
a grip on any of them, in this way we are here to be ourselves, on
the old green canvas and a backpack, in the back of the ute,
bumping along the queensland border near collerina, we define
boundaries by what we cross and choose to see, the bitumen or
the tricky dust, an early star, a paper daisy, a gutted rusted holden
bomb, fencelines and telstra wire, galahs lifting into the sky, 1000
galahs, now pink now grey, they are free to change direction, our winds
from wing and tarp collide, we both lift up, combine and
separate, moving ute and native birds, foraging for sustenance
out back.


No Semi Trailer

Can’t kick ‘im now
‘es too far under the ground
We called the dog ‘semi’
Cause Kevin didn’t do nothin’
The semi trailer did it
Semi trailers that appear in the back lane
When he’s drunk; semi trailer
When he’s sober; no semi trailer
Smocka said, ‘we gotta get the fuckin dog
‘e’s kickin’ into ‘im again.’
Gary said, ‘he’s never gettin’ another dog.
I’m not gunna let ‘im.’
When he’s drunk; semi trailer
When he’s sober; no semi trailer
‘I shoulda done somethin’
All those years, but what can you do?
When he’s drunk; semi trailer
When he’s sober; no semi trailer
You work it out.
I’m glad ‘e seen it,
Watched the needle go in ‘is dog’s heart.
No semi trailer.


Lee Point, Darwin, North Territory

The beach at Lee Point begins to take form by the roots of mangroves.

Hidden complex ropes are muscling through sand,
tying knots underground.

To hold onto or seek moisture, they utilise salt.

Some trees die from salt, the earth withers.

But mangroves are salt snakes, taking the salt into
their respiratory systems.

There is a lot of salt across Australia.
It’s seeping up through the ground.

We have dug for salt and found the country made of salt,
and now we have found the marvellous at Lee Point:
the amazing
salt utilising trees,

thank you,

I’m pleased to have come out, even though it was hard
to leave the house.

Like straws sucking up or proding sticks, after the quiet
nagging of equatorial surf, the mangroves exploit salted leaves, stems.

And the waves of salt, that have sucked out the body of the beach relentlessly,
have left for the day with the great grey tide.

The mangroves lift their roots and moan.
The voice is salt, the dry crystal, in the eye of the speech.
The tree forms the barrier that guards the living coast from cyclone.

The heavy lengths of land are the side of a crocodile floating in mud,

each step into the mangroves causes them to loom up,

a crocodile’s back.

Sand,
88888 the bubbles of spit and grime from the hermit crabs. It is deep,

shattered and always in a whisper,
88888 Australia.

The Golden Oriale or my dry trouser legs rubbing together,
the deep hum of time.
It is not the individual object but an atmosphere that captures me.

Indistinguishable, I can see the stretch of the Darwin harbour,
like wet green arms hugging itself.
I do not describe boats, think surfers, because there are [none].

It’s like details overlooked, the long wet haul of the box jelly fish
has left the oceans empty of people.

Australia is wrapped in coastline, the strings of stingers wrapped it up.

We are fending off salt and wind from all angles.

We have learnt the squint, the thin-lipped voice of blowflies
trying to drink from our lips, the Aussie salute.

We love the coast as it eats us, we retreat to the inland
coasts of deserts.

The sleepy long country basks like a skink on the rock of the earth.

The wind hits the curve of my ears
like its race and departure from
88888 empty shells. Beaches echo in the chamber of gristle
and are finally released after seconds.

For a moment, I heard everything that the wind had picked up
from lengths of country, before the country resumed,

and the beach settled into its routine movements.

Here in Darwin it may never grow any more crowded.
There is room for the heart to [think] and [shriek].

The dog dots zig-zag to cover the territory of

– maximum ground / maximum scent.

Although they often do not know what direction to take,
so that the bitch digs just like that,
nothing else,
88888 and I write this.

I am overwhelmed by this day.

Soon my dog companions and I will be gone, like brilliant skyscapes
that are never the same.

I weep because it’s so beautiful, and we don’t know why.

That is why I am a [dot], a thinking [dot] who weeps at beaches.

Today I’m filled with joy and all the beach is us.

Sand suddenly horizontal, a gull shoots through an air current,
leaving the facial skin tingling and empty,

these transient meetings.

And I weep a little for [dots] with faces like lenses, that only let in
so much light.

The large eyed fruit bat will never see this beach like me,
and tonight I won’t be here.

We’re lucky if we can see each other at all,
all thoughts after that are tricks or luxury,
as this country explores my small territory.

Australian coastline,

I love my hair blown sideways and the surf in my other ear. Everything
from the ocean is pushing at the coast,

is delivering space from the sea,

shouting SSsshhhh, sssshhhhhh.

Through crystalised mangroves that do not budge,
through the skeletons of crabs and lobsters,
drowned mangrove roots and seeds of endless origin,

the sad and empty shells.

We do not know the shape of the life that inhabited them, again
we cling to skeletons.

The universe of waves is trying to break into my living heart,
to take it apart, to salt its meat, until it is smaller than sand.

We are so precious, my dry lips on my dogs blue forehead, the brave
and frightened trip, the joy of expanse, the fear of an end.

The black kite is a [gliding dot].

The mangroves huddled together buffed, along buffered coastline,
the tangle against the universe of surf.

The season is cloudless.

My arse is dry inside my trousers, and my dogs tails, as joy rudders.

There is so much sky you will not see back in Darwin.
….All this before you every day, that you will not see.

Greedily, I want it all at once {always}.

The dogs and I on the vast beach,

the tides ssshhhhhh sssshhhhhhhhh ssshhhhhh.

Three happy [dots] with tongues.

I love the crooked lines of surf,

a crocodile’s teeth eating the coast,

sand rippled and manipulated,

the croc’s back wet and salty.

You know I love this land, where you can be a [dot].

And no matter how loud you shout – it’s never much enough.

‘Are ya’s happy?!’ Binda’s grin. The beach is a galloping dog.


Dog Tag

Why keep the dog tag with his little name ‘Toby’ on it, preserved like a heart dipped in silver or an object washed up on the beach. The tag will outlive my bones and most likely the bones of anyone else who holds it. That is the curse of the tag. It says ‘read the dead dog’s name and I will outlive your bones,’ and so it does somewhere. Even if you no longer have it in your possession or are no longer holding it, somewhere you know that the dog tag is outliving your bones, and you never forget where it might be hidden or who might be reading it next. There have been so many Toby’s in the word that it has became a nameless word. Perhaps I shouldn’t have called him that or anything else, but instead let the wind call his name, as windy as it was when I ended his life here. In the end there is no end and nothing to call anything by its name. Toby what does anything mean to anybody here, accept for your small silver tag resting in my palm, less that your eye and all your emotions? The stars ate them up, whilst your dish had an ant in it. Your eye had an ant in it, but the star remained calm and collected. He’s dead and gone just like I will be some day soon. So why would I want to hold onto a stupid little tag, when all I need is him and all that remains is a name.