A Belgian-born poet, Dominique Hecq lives in Melbourne. Hecq writes across genres and sometimes across tongues. Her works include a novel, three collections of short stories and eleven books of poetry. Tracks (2020) and Songlines (2021) are her latest offerings. With Eugen Bacon, she also co-authored Speculate (2021), a collection of microlit. Hecq is a Pushcart nominee and a recipient of the 2018 International Best Poets Prize administered by the International Poetry Translation and Research Centre in conjunction with the International Academy of Arts and Letters.
When I wake, I see not the sky’s artistry shooting through time in a swarm of equinoctial colours pinking the dawn, your radiant face, eyelids enfolding teal eyes and twilight, but your body moored to the edge of aquamarine, turquoise, peacock blue

            Taste, smell, hear, touch the air looping and whirling
                        desire drowning the night
                                heartbeat a swell between us
                                        after a long-held breath

              Blueberries, aniseed, rebetiko, emerald blue spangles
                        between water and sky
                                    seagulls pecking meringue clouds
                                                the bridge between us dissolving

I forget I am coming
       to, kneading rock into Eros
                       shapes on the shore

                                    O deark dear K amid the glow of day break
                                               skull a blank page I name aqua profonda

And, yes! I rise from Botticelli’s shell as you scallop words like lip, ear, wing and brush philtrum, columella, cantus in the mist.


There is a now famous ‘AQUA PROFONDA’ sign at the Fitzroy Swimming Pool in Melbourne. This 1954 sign is listed on the heritage register for its social significance due to its association with Australia’s post-war migration program. It was originally hand-painted as an initiative of the pool manager who was constantly rescuing migrant children from the deep end of the pool. 
The sign also achieved iconic status when it appeared in Helen Garner’s 1977 novel Monkey Grip and the subsequent film. Playwright Hannie Rayson also created a play named AQUA PROFONDA in collaboration with students from North Fitzroy Primary School in the late nineties.

‘O deark dear K amid the glow of day break’ is a twist on a line from Milton’s Samson Agonistes.

The entombment
In the sky-blubbering sea stands entombed a dead alive elephant with sawn tusks under a dome of azure ice. The elephant looks through me with pecked at lapis lazuli eyes. Its accusatory stare reaches not only beyond the sea but also beyond the horizon that bleeds into violet stars strewn on the crust of the earth. This could be a still from a Disney cartoon. A photograph from Fantasia after the Apocalypse. A hologram portending impending doom. I want to coax out the blue. But it would take days to knead and press and squeeze a dough of powdered lapis, wax, resin and linseed oil. Besides, the water is frozen and I have no wood ash. I’m Queen Boadicea dunked in woad cobalt oxide wailing for a child I never had. I’m a stone Buddha facing Ganesh. I’m Kubla Kahn turning Midnight Blue. I’m a petrified bird of paradise shooting through the Anthropocene. The elephant charges. Waves crash. I’m the Mount Lebanon Blue butterfly smashed to smithereens. I’m dancing matter that does not matter. I’m ultramarine. Utter darkness. I’m a mind unminding itself. Entombing itself. I’m Ash in this sunless sea sinking in tumult to a lifeless ocean. I’m molecules of oxygen and hydrogen. I’m particles of dust in frozen H2O. In this inky pleasure dome with caves of ice. I’m nameless.

The italicised phrase is sourced from Coleridge’s ‘Kubla Khan’ as remembered through free-association.

Lilac and jasmine in the air. Indigo. Violet light of a grave lit moon. Black motes swirl in iridescent blue. Whirl, twirl and settle on your name. Jay—from the Latin for Gaea. You always wanted to fly, but have been grounded a lifetime. God knows I tried to change the script. I look for all twinklewinkalling gone. A Rorschach is what you left. Cold blade lips. A palimpsest of bruises. Vacated are your emerald eyes. Winter is in your mouthless mouth. I imagine your dreams, realities, nightmares, suffocations. Once you told me in your waking life you flew. Despite the grounding. How you feared falling off bridges. It was vertigo and agoraphobia took your breath away. No angel wings here, though they say they are always blue. How many times can you die? I zero in on the black hole of the question mark. No breath. Your throat, cinereous grey, is lined with needles. A thimbleful of bluish light. A chrysalis. Cells twitch, uncurl, zizz out. Fizz beyond imaging, beyond the apocalypse of bloods and tissues, beyond the wildest imaginings. A noose dangles, lonely; motes whirling in the luminescence of day—a drama you staged in air and liquid desire for yourself only.

Aseptic perception
I extinguish those go get eyes. Welcome a winged victory. I want to believe there is an absence of hate love in this pandemonium. This blue pestilence. This soaked paper aeroplane with a broken wing grounded for all eternity next to the angel of history. They macerate in octopus ink, the plane and the angel. Sombre tones seep through the monochromatic scheme only a maniac could have devised. A paranoiac godlet from IMAGING, say something spawned by Les Chants de Maldoror, a reverie that moves associatively and appositionally to cover and uncover the most extravagant images and proclamations of abjection. Say it! Declare imminent hostilities. Grill some brains with mashed sardines and anchovies. Grill us, squashed as we are in this corset you call a room when we are meant to explore the limits of painting. Assassinate poetry. Resurrect prose. Only to describe, define and affirm the visible. Portray. No. Poetic physiology is not the physiology of living creatures, though minds unmind after blasted hearts. Nothing is d’après nature. Eat that nothing mixed with blitzed green chilli, coriander, lime juice, olive oil and absinth. You’ll see what I destroyed. Taste what I mean.

Champagne supernova, taché

Starlight, annular. Self-luminous and thermonuclear coils in a nest. Shot silk. Alive taffeta. Scales, feathers, down, fur, skin. Pinkish brightening against the jet-black sky. Implosion. Compression. Explosion. Spicules. Your eyes, red-rimmed, hurt with gaseous light unlighting. Spectroscopic pulsation of pinks and reds. Slow whirl of carmine, vermillion, giroflé,e red lead, scarlet pink, fuchsia, baby pink, rust-speckled traces of brain matter. Swirling cloud of hydrogen, helium, carbon, neon, oxygen, silicon. You plunge into your own dismembering body. Rise up to the surface. Cool down. Plunge again, inwardoutward. Cicadas scurry through your bodymindsoul, carnation-darnation chills. You breathe in tantric fashion when what you need is an antipyretic, analgesic, emetic. Pfffff f… Fast slow entropy. Hundreds of billions of years in three little seconds, snuffed. Three caskets in stellar atmosphere. No, Doctor, this is no hallucination. This is the real real. Life leaches away from you. Tubular bells. Church quiet. A whiff of incense and black sun. The world’s still spinning round, we don’t know why… Gegenschein. Light curve. Crepuscular rays. Green flash. Twinkle. You sail ahead of timenotime into the dark bubbling out of gravitas. Radiate your own heat. Blow apart in a brilliant anti-anthropic stellar body dispersing on the other side of the eclipsing pillars of creation, purple lake, ultra-deep charcoal shades. The Dead Sea Asphaltum. Stardust, afloat.

‘The world’s still spinning round, we don’t know whyand part of the title are taken from Oasis’s song ‘Champagne Supernova’.