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Power Point can make it zing

The Presentation

A field enclosed by tumbledown dry stone walls
like a roofless room where the dust comes and goes,
floor lifting in one corner towards the hills,
looks empty but you've seen the documentaries:
(crouching) 'Here too the struggle for survival ...'
On-ramp. Strips of truck tyre. Cockatoo feathers.
Off-ramp. Back way. Smokers on the fire escape:
'You've got to be able to have a laugh too.'
Then the presentation. What I have to say
is boring but Power Point can make it zing:
— doing extra work creates more extra work;
— getting on top of it is not an option;
— will enough cheap energy solve everything?

You are all champions in your own way but
quality people means people who produce
a satisfactory quantity of results.
Sometimes it also means those who are prepared
to make the non-statutory sacrifices
(who cracks first and agrees to take the minutes?)
We are all unique individuals but
there aren't that many positions in the field.

Kitchen in Transit

My mother was knitting up a ravelled sleeve.
Everyone else in the flat was fast asleep
like dinghies in a creak-and-slop marina.
Small wet footprints shone on the kitchen lino.
A new view. Below: the casualty entrance,
the neon-lit triage nurse at her counter.
Beyond: black hills wearing necklaces of fire.
It was the twentieth century somewhere
between Merriweather by the Pacific
and One, Paradise Avenue, Mount Pleasant.
Elvis was entering his jumpsuit era.
A newspaper in a half-unpacked tea chest
showed an undrinkable boot-print on the moon.

Having made peace with the dust we depend on
for judging the relative distance of hills
or pointing at stars with powerful spotlights,
my mother was stepping through a proof, but then
she paused to doodle what were still considered
mathematical monsters: fern, cloud, coastline
— self-similar wonderforms inspiralling —
the night her three-dimensional dry-point print.

Chris AndrewsChris Andrews teaches in the School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Melbourne. He has published a collection of poems (Cut Lunch, Indigo, 2002) and translated books of fiction by Latin American writers, including Roberto Bolaño's Nazi Literature in the Americas (New Directions, 2008).



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