Oz

A rewriting of Bernard O’Dowd’s poem ‘Australia’ (published in The Bulletin in 1900). ‘Oz’ was first published online in Jacket (2010) and anthologised in Thirty Australian Poets (UQP 2011).

final oceanic junk channel-deepened  
     by temporal bo'sun of the universe 
are you some castaway floating sea  
     kelp island where dawning abendland  

in elysian fields of restfulness recon- 
     structs her deadly breeding grounds? 
or are you one of the gods sun ra  
     maybe following the comet kohoutek? 

are you in favour of daylight savings  
     bonsai maintenance massive oil wars  
or just some mosquitoes flying through  
     the dredged & dying murray wetlands? 

could you be an untapped source  
     of poisons for travelling parasites 
or are you still hiding that sneaky Y2K  
     virus in your unpopped pimples? 

see the ANZAC memorials to the rest  
     of the earth's extinct flora & fauna  
that within your vast circumference  
     kick against the pricks & crash down 

or else act like cruel coat hangers  
     & behead those riding underneath trees  
blending superstition with the brave  
     recommendations of commissioners 

to brand that theoretical spot in our  
     atmosphere with an unequivocal X -  
the innocent & pacified collaborators  
     who coaxed the flies into your mouth  

O hai, you were saying?