Big Bridge #9

Poets of Australia


Paul Hardacre

from The river is far behind us (parts xxvii-xxxiii)

simple wash of light & room the
window / shelf or end (only way out
          as brautigan’s ‘mine disaster’

future slide section / stone &
          five black heads
          1,022 eyes &
          1,000 hands

          (infinite compassion)

          ‘refusal of nirvana &
                                  preference for human misery’

water sounds north of bhurungdi khola
      spice tea & dreamt his miraculous recovery

still no teeth or legs the ancient baby

just after christmas, corridor waving &

never saw the postcards:
      sacred valley indra snow view

dhauligiri (‘white mountain’)
      the endless stairs & farts the pony shit
      at this altitude
            all kinds of grass & cinnamon /

      posing with a flute
            her crumbling
            swans (ulleri)

‘a funny kind of english’

noodles, coke but always up
            dragging cartoon
                                      anvil / slow toll of words

                          (there is no golf, no sand)


sunday clubbed & burnt he sock-tans
gloomy undercarriage of love her
tram & red car hands the wounded

post-op slips she flattens & whines
rain, the scraped throat of kids his
private jab corrodes / slabbed in white &

spews his flaky lining caved her ‘mork’
chair, her own cherished luminary
(drifting, uncertain step & curls alone

her fibro stacks time’s framed hound
& books, trikes or hotwheels (mainly
corvettes goons the unmarked bills &

blow, flamingoes won her swimsuit
cakes & fraught she drips & tilts


                                      boards like
                                                         crooked teeth
                                                                                   / dance
of the mouse-hare wall & nilgiri (blue
prop vs. gravel bed & moonfolds
                                                           darkness eyes &
hair & cast as
                         tasty vehicle

(some kind of gas jet in the mountains
he woke before sun & walked
as poncho drifter / stormed the dutch bakery (empty)

& pissing
                cheerio time on the high plains, empty


licking moondust rocks & ice:
                         ‘the sock that never made it’


              'i think they thought we
              wouldn’t shoot kids / but we
              showed them we don’t care’
              (pte. nick boggs, US army)


              ‘. . . a little akin to counting only the
                          deaths which     accrue from
                                        artery     bypass graft,

                                        counting    the
                                                     benefits which come from     such a procedure’


             ditchdragged torso     head & gone
she mayflowered alright her evil
skid her bet the mad tune of burning

             resistance pockets     the pointed metal
slow & distant bed the valley widens

             the lions road & bridge (painted may
she nets serrated dead
                                             & never moonwalked,

her bomblet eyes         a cracker & big chance
comeback      only work in hair
about the party hard blank valley she
longs & closed things don’t need it’s good
paints her mother’s mattress coffin


lucky dog of winter –
barking dark & something (soiled hot water

            or sai baba –
eternal black golf ball god of
fur or cosmic hook / walled & sweet life peeled
in a bag, the crows

from bengal) her fanged & padded bone or striding

giant rodent / new                      silver
                                                     (big lightning

up top & monkey pipe        spinning in bronze

the face-down vermilion suggestion

stone & river & everything burning snuffles shit
his bell & bridge

Paul Hardacre was born in Brisbane, Australia, in 1974. He is the Managing Editor of papertiger media (, which, In 2002, was awarded ‘the Johnno Award’ by the Queensland Writers Centre, for ‘outstanding contribution to writers and writing in Queensland’. Paul is also the Contributing Queensland Editor for the South Australian poetry journal, Sidewalk, and was recently appointed as an editorial correspondent for Cordite ( He has published poetry in Meanjin, Blue Dog: Australian Poetry, Fulcrum (USA), filling Station (Canada), vallum (Canada), and the recent Short Fuse: The Global Anthology of New Fusion Poetry (Rattapallax, New York, 2002) and (Some from) DIAGRAM: An Anthology of Text, Art, and Schematic (Del Sol Press, Washington D.C., 2003). His first collection of poetry, The Year Nothing, was recently published by HeadworX (Wellington, NZ). His unpublished manuscript, Love in the place of rats, was recently shortlisted for the 2003 Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize.

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