These hulls are superstructures floating
in cigar-box paradise. You take your Cuban
neat - no ice. And don't ask what an island
is doing here, amidst all this driftwood luxury.
Playing at hotels, I guess. The maritime boat
-shaped souvenir shop in trance. Or transit.
Taste testing vintage sand in this little bay
of literary pigs. There's something Havana-like
"in the way" you quickly run over your theme
& reverse, reverse your theme & run over it
again, to ensure everything's at least one day's
drive away from your reader. Capable of being seen
from a distance, tiny characters swimming in citrus
-free water where speed boats ride on Jeff Buckley
waves. The body yet to be found, or dragged from sea
-weed floor; further out than in, you land again
on beachside deck. Here, you could be anyone sipping
Singha beer or gin slings, watching a sperm whale
making love to a wave, not knowing its tail from its arse.
Direction is an after-dinner drinks thought just off-shore
listening to ol' Frank (Sinatra) announcing with his over
-wracked throat to all and sundry "I Did It My Way"
on that dial-a-voice telephone, the plastic isthmus
grasped firmly between the twin lands of speak & listen.
Just a child who everyone wants to adopt. After all, this
could be Istanbul: near enough, but not close enough, to
Mt. Ararat. Just an aerial shot of an ark. Ribs of things found
in absurdia, a collection of half-hearted dreams & disturbed
world views from which you wake to find yourself searching for
proof, though the evidence is just not there.

Ground Water

Summer approaches with a promise of thirst,
a presence of mind bottled at the hip, the blue-capped range
rising in the West like another Mecca to be ascended
or stripped of reason: at the end of the upper Colo River road
a lyre bird scuttles with its twin until
beneath a cross-thatch of poorly cut lantana, they disappear.
The outbreak of fencelines that has followed us
seems to have found a cure, some private act
of diminishment as the final gate falls away
and lets us through. In this tie-dyed wilderness
air mists with the illicit scent of oil burners, candles
and incense. Naked charms flop in feral cleavages
without demand. There is touch and unrestrained
movement as we are led into Eden, the unchallenged river
an unscorched sound stroking the swollen earth beside us.
In every smile there is a letting go, an idea found
in each spoken word, the utterance of nourishment
that rises up like ground water from somewhere deep inside,
or below, the torn canvas of things that have been driven
underground, and allowed to turn: a certain moistness
that we now press softly to our parched and searching lips.

Searching for Mawson
               Hobart, April 2001

From the red deck of the Polaris, I feel his blue-tipped lips
press their coldness to my pale skin, thoughts frozen
like an ice scene outside the memorabilia of an antarctic hut:
nude limbs, and sauna-white mind, rushing outdoors
screaming towards another level of awakening before
the frost-bitten numbness of his fingers returned
to haunt every trace of remembrance, a land
where flesh once tingled with the sun's applause.

And at that moment of consummation, as if Time itself
had come, or ended, the act that once stood suspended
washed the stone of some distant, frozen impediment
into the keeled pools of our darkest thoughts
and needs, where we sensed like a shoal of unwatered virgins
the folly of his hope: his smooth tongue lost to a sunless Winter,
untreated timbers that stiffened and cracked beneath
the impact of his waiting, a neck stretched around
the throat of his dreams.

These untoured eyes, careless in their comfort zones
watch, and are seen, with the same
uneasy gestures pleading for deliverance,
for some ancient shuttle of desire
to thrash across an open sea and cut
and thrust its barbaric way back home until
bruised and wind-blasted it might come to rest

in this unlisted harbour; and here, it would lie between
the hot thighs of a lover's cultural landscape
recalling the roll and reel of rescue, the essence
of salvation in the energetic shape of a ship
that lost its way, but understood with a certain grace
the nature of the ground it searched for,
and the water over which it had to travel to find us.

(c) Richard Hillman 2001

Richard Hillman

In response to a request for a biographical note Richard came up with...

I'm holding a copy of an article titled "Zen and Lacan" and I'm thinking of this Lhasa-eyed babe breast-stroking in the deep Che Guevara end of the social swimming pool 2000 ks away from here, and I want to tell her that the Dalai Llama had his own telephone by 1940 - if she gives me a call, I'll be Jesus and she can be God, just so we can keep the sacred filthy and filthy sacred for one more day."