Swinburne University of Technology

Dominique Hecq

Fire relies on the leaves of gum trees



No sound fits this spectacleNo sound
but the hiss of firebarkgrass
searing your world into sheer whorls
of alliterationsHallucinations
of words resounding with nothing

Following faultlinesa gorge aflame
furrows erased in granite and sandstone
lines of scribble gums forever
recedingThe gorge
barring you

Now how could I speak again
when syllables shatter on my page
turning words inside out
when letters hover in the air
like the smell of your burning skin?

We were discussing poetics
on our mobilesHow we didn't need
manuals for wordsmiths
preferred to work words as an end
in itselfmake a poem fulfilled

in its enactionlook inwards
to the materiality of language
on the page and in the mouth
stress the eventnot the effect
You said good bye

And now I dream that you flit
out of my skinyour voice
doing thingsPoetic enjoyment
perhapsas if to resist
the etiolation of language

Don't put individual utterances on show
you sayPerform their moves
of repetitionre-usereiteration
show your reader the absurd
desire to contain ( )

For here is the gum and its inferno remains
the grave among blistered roots
the mouthless earth lulling one to leave

If it could speakit would say
here is the silence here is the question




Dominique Hecq is the author of The Book of Elsa, a novel, four collections of stories (Couchgrass, Noisy Blood, Magic and Mythfits), two books of poems (The Gaze of Silence and Good Grief) and two short plays (One Eye Too Many and Cakes & Pains). With Russell Grigg and Craig Smith, she also co-authored Feminine Sexuality: The Early Psychoanalytic Controversies. She is senior lecturer in writing at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne.


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Vol 11 No 2 October 2007
Editors: Nigel Krauth & Jen Webb