• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 03

New Phantasmagorics

Went for a creepy little walk. Navigating
a global pandemic, we go nowhere.
The future is shiny but who keeps it shiny.
The sun’s not a sphere, it’s a runnel
you get stuck in when you stare straight into it.
My eyes are barcodes. I have one partner,
two daughters, one dog, three debts.
The city’s an organ ablated from the world.

If you place your ear on any concrete or tarmac
under moonlight, daylight, no light,
you can hear the faint and not so joyous
strains of Nick Cave, like the city’s trying to be
Melbourne undergoing a second wave.
Winter falls over everything, even Dutton,
Frydenberg, Cormann, Morrison.
The sinkholes we cast our votes into

using truly autonomous drone-based technology
without the operational complexity and overheads.
Silver, nickel, lithium, lanthanum.
Russian rivers run red, robodebts run rampant,
cementing the position of the private sector.
The sad truth is that people think demons aren’t real.
Neodymium, praseodymium, gold.
Limbo has no start nor finish. Canaries

change colour when fed pepper. Casualisation
is corporate culture’s bread and butter.
White-bred Inner Westies travel to Western Suburb
restaurants like they’re exotic locations.


New Phantasmagorics

Fantastic mie goreng on the air!
‘Globus sensation’ is when you feel something
in your throat but there’s nothing. Today
it’s those pedestrian crossing bleeps,

the same ones Billie Eilish sampled from Sydney
for her Bad Guy song, trapping them like some insect
in the most commercial of ambers. Now there’s
an opportunity for branded integration.
The selling off of storm-wrecked landscapes
to rapacious start-ups. Plastic money
flutters through my cracked hands as I deposit
an old-fashioned cheque into a newfangled metal

mouth in a wall. It gets mangled.
At Mount Annan, a Stolen Generations
memorial is maliciously damaged. Mass piles of
exoskeletons are deposited on the Kurnell foreshore.
‘Hard-hit’ aquatic species include soldier crabs,
urchins, soft sponges and coral-like bryozoa.
Never profitable enough to become a priority.
Even with pet insurance I can’t afford

Minky’s medical bills due to an ‘age excess’.
World profit rates are in decline again.
Rising fatigue scores for each new worker
pining in the talent pool. The sky’s pocked.
Trails of bats live rent-free in my head
headed for the Botanic Gardens. Things I’ll never see
‘for real life’: the aurora borealis,
a superb lyrebird, solvency, Antarctica.