Jal Nicholl

An unemployment meeting

The cancellation call ending in aporia
showed up with mother on wheels at 6pm
in a foreign country, that's your problem
mine's to destroy an evil piece of jewellery
or just to hide it so it's someone else's problem

it's the space inside that makes it
uncounterfeitable numisma, the force
of eros or aversion, it doesn't matter, that
and the time in between when someone could pick up

The day wore on

its tired shoulders
a ceremonial robe
of plush and palpable inarticulacy
not to be confused
with a lack of intelligence
like a cross dressing groom in a special
called “my outrageous wedding”
yet braced like Samson in between
sex advice and astrology
so many stages in the state of nature
sealed with ship’s putty
and coconut fibre
and booby trapped with sea water
whoever built the money pit
was a brilliant engineer
whose work to this day holds its mystery


The train flying down the terrace
turns out to be a building
seen from the conference room
where you mimic the voice recorder
that was there to fill in your absence like
someone's child in the corner colouring
and I too am debating something stupid
what to keep and what to throw away
the meat in the bin with the bones
the unused napkins
the first aid box is always open but there’s
no hot water and the knives are blunt

Soft head

of hair, out of which appear
fishes heads
to be suppressed
by the mallet at the side of the machine
disguised as a tree
in a transparent sunday
painter's painting
meant to provide illumination
except it was hung too high
and left behind at a previous address

Understatement of horns

A car with a dent behind cuts in
She says, Some of my best friends are children
The same calibrated stick measures width and depth
even though number names nothing

There aren’t enough

wedding dresses for fat women
in a standard triangle

but the affinity of fennel for trainlines
can be counted on


a word pertaining to being in the world
it's draft proposal to bee
in each human cell

a degree in being (right)
about what things are like

If we could we’d buy this place

smell of sunshine on the line
but it's doomed to remain a rental for the foreseeable future
ill assorted plants in ad hoc beds

then a wave rises up like a dragon and compares
the known with the unknown
the origin of inequality
describe what you see with your fingers while blindfolded

a clump of violets on a mossy rock
the lair of some animal
and on the other side some chinese greens gone native

Jal Nicholl is a poet living in Melbourne, whose work appears in various locations. He is not writing a PhD.

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