Greg McLaren

The circumstances surrounding the death
are not recorded on the brown envelope that
enclosed the series of negatives

Martin Place, The Hotel Australia –
a man in a pinstripe suit, one shoe
over argyle socks, has fallen three storeys
through the mezzanined air of Walter Tuchin’s

photos. His shots of suicides, always
enclosed in tight right angles – the Metropole’s
dim boxy courtyard; The Gap made into a corner,
the Pacific cropped out – clean verticals,

the linearity of pipes, the splayed stripes
of pajamas, the ancient, striated basalt
spattered with salt spray and watered-down blood.

Now it’s Avalon, 1956, two cops
in suits and fedoras. A car door hangs
open, an empty longneck on the seat.

The road to Berry, Lloyd Rees

Under the grey sun, it’s 1947 –
the horizon new and distant after war,
and Rees sees, south past quiet Gerringong,

a rhythm in the curls and swipes of the hills,
the road and its curves: they intersect, never
square-on, a rolling gradient down

to the Pacific’s invisible rush,
the curve of a reclined woman’s breasts.
A greying Frenchman gestures the hills,

the road, with his small rimless glasses.
His wife holds a map, folded, watching him
trace out their shape, as the gallery’s cream wall

accepts and smooths his shaded arcs, his spectacled
drive across the glassed-in air.

Greg McLaren is a Sydney-based poet, reviewer, teacher. He has published criticism and poems widely over the last twenty years. His books include After Han Shan (Flying Islands, 2012), The Kurri Kurri Book of the Dead (Puncher & Wattmann, 2007) and Everything falls in (Vagabond, 2000). He's had work anthologized recently in A slow combusting hymn (edited by Kit Kelen and Jean Kent), Australian poetry since 1788 (edited by Geoffrey Lehmann and Robert Gray) and Windchimes: Asia in Australian poetry, edited by Noel Rowe and Vivian Smith. A new book, Australian ravens, is forthcoming with Puncher & Wattmann.
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