Dominic Symes lives and writes in Naarm (Melbourne). His poetry and criticism have appeared in Overland, Cordite, Australian Book Review, and Australian Poetry Journal. He is the editor for reviews at TEXT Journal and a sessional staff member at Swinburne University.


your kite’s getting wet in this thunderstorm, mate
but hey, when it rattles – that’s the key, the piece of string, the pitch:
white noise     if it’s death by a thousand electric shocks you want
consider me scuffing my socks on the carpet as we speak 
perhaps it’s being phone-numberless in the unexplored country
finger protruding like ET’s peering into a cave’s dark depths      at least   
this is where my mind goes    electricity      firing over synapses
we know more about the creatures at the bottom of the ocean
the ones with the single dangling modifier bringing death   whose light
forever exceeds them    we know more about the anglerfish than this:
why moonlight symbolises romance, and not knowing, fear     
knees trembling before a blackboard, Twombly shifting across its surface
like a cloud of chalk dust which finds its way into vacant nasal cavities
if not going in one ear and out the other     some resonant hum
I consider stars pin pricks in the mute black contact sheet of sky
attestations of love so urgent the pen goes through the page
as translucent as vulnerability    transparent    positively glowing
the ability to hold their stare as your partner’s eyes
are burning a hole into you with the knowledge that they’ve known all along


mick jagger has been seen (in person) by more people than anyone on the planet, did you know? he’s lived the least private life of anyone who has ever lived. they say each photograph keeps a part of you: each time your photograph is taken, your image is captured as is, forever. And sometimes that’s for the best—when you can say I don’t look like that, this isn’t me—the version of you that isn’t you can be deleted. my generation is likely the first that has been so aware of their own image, perhaps, with the exception of a victorian portraiture painter, like a character in an Austen novel: staring at themselves in the mirror for hours on end, alone, beneath the heavy drapes in the boudoir ignoring the suitors standing outside in the parlour who’ve come just to see them. it smarts like an impression burnt into the silver copper of my most prurient self, truly, I feel the loss of innocence, missing the palpable excitement of high school students in the 90s when someone brought a video camera into the hall (picture here a scene from clueless) where they just all freak out, pull faces, hug each other, generally clueless about what this will look like played back in thirty years. I think this all while knowingly pouting at myself in the reflection of the glass door as the stones play on in the background, a little drunk, wearing a ruffled shirt (I guess a bit like mr darcy?) seeing myself like jagger, though no one else will ever see me this way because we never leave the house. I know what this sounds like, but imagine having your photo taken with the most advanced technology, only you can’t say cheese, not blink, pout, ask for another one on your good side, or decide if you want to delete it or not because it doesn’t look enough like you—it’s you for all to see.