Jake Goetz

The bodhis
     for Allie 

     salt water crashes and rises 
against sandstone cliffs
     the southerly tossing
your black braids
          like the ropes of a swing
     i imagine you held 
                as a young girl 
in a Californian afternoon
         reaching for the tops 
of Redwoods like enlightenment
               always missing
but never deterred 

          in the Botany Bay National Park 
     is this how 
we move forward?
               through the insistence 
     of unresolved histories
          in a mirage of colour
     contemplating space 
while the mouth of the Pacific 
    eats away 
at the ground we stand on
     spawned from 
and will again become
                there is nothing 
in our hearts  
          but the poetics
of blood and muscle
     those human virtues
               that persevere through sensations 
     of sight and sound
only to stop
          and sit quiet  
     back straight     unbroken     
         accepting the crash 
of water against
     sandstone cliffs
the salt mist that rises up
          and into our lungs

     everything is temporary! a gull cries
as if it could know 
          or always knew
     how easily passion floods desire
          the conflict to want 
in the pursuance of time 
     when giving two selves
          to language
as we give anatomy to love

On summer


like a worn in pair
of Kmart-copy converses
sliding on without undoing
the laces, the sun holds
the body how a screen
holds a human face
data staining fingers
like the new cigarettes
as every day is Cairns hot
and the rhetoric
follows you like sunburn


a TV reflects
the dog chicken-legged
on floor boards, panting
at the feet of a kid
stuck to the couch like a lolly
and the ice cream man
rings past like an ambulance
on the Stuart Highway
speeding toward lost youths
whose perception of the world
is best described as the internet
who no longer know
what this beach is or how to use it
but once learning
summer’s definition of apathy
can apply it to anything


when following the blades
of the ceiling fan
becomes repetitious
or the grass smells
more intense than lavender
than piss
you set out like a shirtless junkie
through the streets of Darlinghurst
raging for a Calypso
when even a woman’s make-up
becomes self-conscious
and the bush lights up
like Australia Day fireworks


just as a 747
over the Northern Territory
can’t sympathise
with the desert
you careen through days
trying to avoid sitting
on metal benches
all the while asking
the climate ‘is this
what happens when
the universe seeks
to forget itself?’

Jake Goetz currently resides in Brisbane, Australia, where he is writing a long poem on the Brisbane River. His poetry has appeared in Plumwood Mountain, Cordite, Rabbit, Mascara, Otoliths and The Sun Herald amongst others. He recently finalized a manuscript of poems through the ASA’s Emerging Writer’s Mentorship Program.
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