By Rima Martens

Written on Gadigal land, never ceded. Treaty now.

A woman dripping sticky with boba balls emerges from the purple slush that is the soup of life.

Cockroaches slide out from between her toes and nooks, fluttering as she stands.

Arms open and bent as if to welcome her blind grandchild gone too long.

She smells like chilli and tastes like a final kiss

Vape smoke and light falls out from her mouth and her eyes flick back.

She is the woman lore, nameless yet fixed.

She is our messenger.

‘Raise what is left of humanity and balance the trick of time

A rush, a rest.

Deliver higher in the pursuit of evolving consciousness

Strong of heart

and whatever it is that swells in the bellies of those that carry on.’

GENESIS​ :: Etemenanki

Her villagers journeyed from the east to the Western Greens

They said to one another, ‘let us collect bush sticks and clay’

And they found twigs for stacking and mud for flaming

Catch if you can, the moment the villagers begun to build

in the plateau, jealous of the widespread birds.

They asked Her, ‘what are our arms for if not for soaring?’

Arrogance of flesh forgot what it is to run, what it is to die for land.

They whispered as she slept, ‘we will take you to the clouds of heaven’

Shared stories are the enemy of deception

The Baroste people tell tales of men who used

masts to reach their creator NYAMBE who had

fled to heaven

on a spider web. Like Babel,

The masts came down.

What does our God fear?

The villagers looked up from the long shadows, days spent in the dark and dust

to where the sun hit, at the height of their production.

When they had dug the earth of all its clay,

they swapped cake mix for flames

and counted the sticks laid.

Sweat, judgment of the villagers who worked

and the anointment of those who thirst.

Frenzied construction, stirring temptation

impatient hands, directionless fury          the cocaine high of progress

just ask the children of the industrial revolution

or an influencer post bikini shot

quicker now for glamour of a panorama

All this mystical hoo-haa!

A tower to add to a deck

It was the children of the villagers that wrote that tarot card

the story of what precedes death in the major arcana

The midnight psychics moan at the moon

as they morph their bodies into a cobra

And tell of the chaos

that such a card unveils

The demolition of falsities

and blows that reveal the dryness of the bricks you have laid

The purple slush boils and the nostrils of the woman

flare across her blue cheeks leaking tornados

She cries creeks for the villagers

their mud cakes, the ripped roots and hollowed soil.

‘How staunch is the empire?

Will it stand against a compounding deficit

Will it fall to a world warming by 4 degrees’

burning eucalypts

Cities hidden in smoke

Will it bleed at every leadership spill,

every coward hand shake

every failure of democracy.

To see your work undone is one thing

Though towers do not simply fade.

Spectacular hopes have spectacular


and what about the infiniteness of the horizon?

‘Reimagine with the rubble and give thanks for the fall

Reconstruct windows for listening

and keep open your ears for the winds laden

with yesterday’s wisdom

Hang mirrors to pause,

Build seats for reflection’

it is acai topped with granola grown by the last
of the shamed and desperate yogis

first the space must be cleaned
trash outta meadows
smog outta air
hearts warmed in soil
heads cooled by wind
sunshine will rain
as light that crowns our manes

praise be to earth!

the beginning is the fool and the ending is the world