Lantana Dreaming


In your dream, you fall into the silence of lantana, and with a great knife
take to the root of it. One day you return bearing cuts, Nazarene and
triumphant, and all is forgiven. This was once my dream. But do not take me
for a sinner—I am merely an ant with cordyceps on the brain and mycelium

in my heart freeclimbing Gotham tower with a dagger in my teeth, gravid,
eager to splay—to spray jaded citizens with spores so they too can burst
with this city. On the eve of biblioclasm, bookworms are cast onto the street,
holy ibis root through rubbish, the homeless sell magazines. Krispy Kreme

falls to Mos Burger, City Hall dreams uneasily of buried Meanjin, forgets
it’s right here: strange, fresh, and confused like a platypus’s placenta—
and the clocktowers of London sing. In every home Asian geckos lay
strategic eggs and cockroaches fuck on the carpet. What makes us

worthy of reality shows? What about the insects’ fifteen seconds of
authenticity? Will they ever get to Mars, and who will flourish in its
dusty white airlocks? Do not take me for an astronaut—I am the gecko who
turned on the lights in someone else’s house, used the force and hairy hands

to run down walls and taste real powder, the way God intended. None of
this snow machine bullshit: let’s plunge full steam ahead, get warm together
under fluorescent tubes and the great lightbulb in the sky, prepare for
plastination. Friends, brothers and sisters, initiate nuclear fusion apps:

together we will instagram the apocalypse, myspace the apotheosis of
epiphytes and stranglers, tweet the edification of the Story Bridge, vote for
the ruin pornification of democracy. Do not take me for a revolutionary.
Revolution and counter-revolution have been monetized, birds, even buses

electrified, while we build memorials to our bronzed youth in Bali. Flying
foxes know that when ontology itself is unsustainable, life is just hanging-
the-fuck-in-there and waving. So demolish your metaphysical rainforest,
smash your bonsai pots, become guerrilla gardeners planting beanstalks

helter skelter and releasing gibbons into the mall so they too can shop
for tracky dacks and chill outside Hungry Jacks. We don’t need the beat
or the zoo anymore. Embrace your inner consumer and become a magic
mushroom, a black panther, a pygmy hippo running through the bush from

stoned pig shooters, a camel proud of its hump. Don’t you know our parents
lied to us? The goddess will not return. She never even existed. Our arks
crash-landed on this fatal shore, spat out their cargo, and now—reformed
and colonised—I am an evolutionary without rancour, riddled with splinters,

and amnestic. So take me for lantana, come for me with your libidinous
knives, eat me like swamp wallabies and superb fairywrens, drink me like a
bottomless cup of Starbucks—I have seeds and holes for all of you. Deflower
me, bury me in your new backyard, astroturf all evidence. Burn citronella

in 44-gallon drums, get your golf clubs and cricket bats from the shed, set up
drinking chairs and wait for the rain. The cane toads and the foxes have not
forgotten what we’ve done. But when they creep out of gothic suburban
night and you crack open cold beers for them, rocket frogs will deluge
from the sky in benediction, lantana will sprout effulgent from the earth,
cradle bicycles & recycling bins.


Previously published in Long Glances: The Jean Cecily Drake-Brockman Poetry Prize (2013), edited by Theodore Ell and published by Manning Clark House.

Chris Lynch

Author: Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch grew up in Papua New Guinea and is now based in Melbourne, on Wurundjeri country. His poetry has appeared in Cordite, Tincture Journal, Apex Magazine, Blackmail Press, Brisbane New Voices II, Islet, SpeedPoets, Stars Like Sand: Australian speculative poetry, and the 2015 Poetry & Place Anthology, among others. At work on his first collection of poetry, he blogs occasionally at