Sorry Rocks

At Uluru

the postman returns rocks

that look like they’ve been

chipped off a sunset.

They arrive in padded bags,

shoeboxes, take-away containers

from all over the world,

apologetic tourists trying to make good

or simply finding the rock

lost its strange orange glow

in the European light.

Some are stopped en route,

quarantine confiscating the little Australian boulders

and making a kind of Red Indian burial site

in the middle of the airport.


In a light plane

you see a different migration of rocks

moving like black caterpillars across the state.

Miniature grand canyons to the sea where

smelters spit fire at the sky

and mechanical donkeys

sip at troughs of oil.


At night men bang

empty cups on the pipelines

while neon women change positions

on a three-second timer.

Backpackers dance on tables

lightning bolts shaved into their pussies,

the phone numbers of temping agencies

scrawled on the back of their hands.

A Hillsong group

plays Celebrity Head with names

from the Old Testament,

a man screaming, ‘Moses!

I’m Moses! I’m fucking Moses!’

And in hotel lobbies,

people fall to their knees

fingers in the weave

to gather the dandruff

of rich men.


On deck,

a man taps his cigarette

into an upturned abalone shell,

watching the sun come up.

The hulls of the cargo ships

are heavy with rocks like the

suicide coat pockets of poets,

As they push off

– the port easing

back onto its stumps –

all the needles on

all the compasses

twig north

in the direction of iron ore

and a swarm of bees

dives into the Timor sea,

sizzling like a thousand appliances.

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