Rogue Waves or Inventing Terra Nullius
Discovery is always political down to the roots
Of all rumours in nature such as wild animals
Lost slaves and abandoned buildings. No science
But the science of empire building that drains
Marshlands as a form of shipbuilding. How many
Latter-day plagues from economic miracles?
Waves occur in media other than water not
Caused by land even as we are in the end all
Confirmed by the sea floor. Do not pose a threat
To shipping or compose new folklore from
Theoretical analysis: roll up preventable sleeves
As the seasons change with thermonuclear pace
And accept combat for breakfast; rethink what
It means to be late when a lighthouse is found
Way offshore in the cliffs of salt breaking
Lit by fires that can only come from deep water
There is serious debate as to whether the mere
Institutions of language and family constitute
Mixing labour with the earth in a permanent way
As if the most technical advance to hope for is
Settling on conquered or settled as truth of term.
These your options on sovereign shoals: submit
With fiduciary duty to legal fiction or seizure
For the straw man has always been the basis
Of statehood. Given that we’re all descendants
Of company towns cinched in the historic centre
Probably don’t speak of the wealth of material
Giving evidence for dispossession. But I am
Familiar with nuclear dollars and confident in
Their decay. . . A poor return on open-ended
History⏤a humanism within an inch of its life.
Few know what it means to be delimited with
The precision of ocean⏤infinity in never being
Able to decide the precise moment something
Becomes abandoned for to walk is desolation.
Chemically white sands like icons of design
Always on the move in our abortive hourglass of
Individual waves merged at their peaks like telco
Giants;⏤are we not all permanent witnesses to
The breaking point of industrialised comedy?
I appeal for a non-participation trophy but
Whaling is still whaling even if for no master.
Our high-octane sailor stories crash to shore
With apocalyptic care; the heavy metals in our
Solar footprints erode as a bonus; a lifeboat hangs
Like the moon alone in the havens. Build only
On doctrine that has been forever overturned.
Chris is a poet and bookmaker from Aotearoa New Zealand. He directs Compound Press, and his first collection Gorse Poems is forthcoming with Atuanui Press in 2021.