Jake Goetz

La Paz

       houses of earth
           -coloured brick
crawl up to El Alto in steps
                      a patchwork fabric
       of intersecting lives
freewheeling data
       of a country
   constructing a hard drive
all in the hope of dying
           from old age

     but i won’t say everything
                      is nothing
just as a bottle of coca-cola
     traces back
to the hojas de coca
                      chewed in the mouth
   of colonial slaves   the powder snorted
           by Sigmund Freud
and millions from the west
        in search of new extremities

then blamed for this nation’s poverty
     deemed illegal by the UN
against thousands of years
                      of Andean history
        and there are thousands
of caves in the mountains
               of this country
where the indigenous have become
     industrial slaves
          refusing to join the masses
in urban poverty
     are left to stamp the leaves
day by day

   while in the distance
          Casa de la Democracia
sits like a question of relevance
   another subject of nature
      withering below mount Illamani
each red letter rusting
      into an empty patience
the incessant beeping of traffic
          as clouds gather   dissipate
reveal waking

      for the world began
with a question   an intention
          that split the day
    into a reverberation of colour
              and in the barrios
      i hear a child cry like a country
hung by its ankles
        from the neighbour’s frangipani



In the clouds above Delhousie

white saturates day’s vibration
as cigarette stained insomnia
surrounds like a question
for here is never a part
of the unconscious desire
to feel place – merely a shadow
in the jet-trail of a promise
drifting into the upper ozone
and melting like ice cream on a bench
or cheese in a sandwich of free association
in the disintegration of logic’s apartment
where a tenant holds no right but to
a different moment falls, plays with light
like water in a puddle in a dream
in the most broad sense of the term
when all our freedom is our regret
and all the wants fail to be more
than just routine assessments
of what’s intelligent, what is proper
what fits the form, enhances the metre
and interests the reader – how rhymes
are ancient clapping sticks
carved from old growth eucalypt
and the skyline is just the sky
held back by what is possible, primitive
and what, in a greater sense, may never occur





Jake Goetz currently resides in Brisbane where he is writing a long poem with the Brisbane River. His poetry has appeared in Plumwood Mountain, Cordite, Rabbit, Mascara, Otoliths and The Sun Herald (amongst others). He recently finalised a manuscript of poems through the ASA’s Emerging Writer’s Mentorship Program and is the editor of Marrickville Pause.