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All the aphorisms in the world suddenly extended.

All the aphorisms in the world abruptly snuffed out.

A place of visitation: words can be pilgrims.

I don’t need flow: my muse, interruption.

Stopwatches unite. The day when no one reads poetry is drawing closer.

She was not used to curtailing conversations, but she thought she should vanquish this one.

He’s weird, she said, after she had had another hopeless exchange with him. But is he stranger than anyone else? No, probably not.

They died on the south coast on New Year’s Eve in 1989. Ethan Gooding and Rachel Dawes. They were both under twenty. Saluted with flowers (who puts them there?) every year at the roadside.

When you put your plastic bags in the garbage they disappear, but they don’t leave the world.

Air-breathing sea turtles drown in nets. They often swallow plastic bags and suffocate.

One moment clutter, the next moment space.

In the gallery she saw Campbell Patterson’s ‘Lifting my mother for as long as I can’. The photographs dramatized various stages of his lifting as he turned older. The time limits on the photos varied. She did not notice whether his mother had aged or not.

I rummage through the chest and uncover my mother’s past in bits and pieces. The letters, the photographs. Amidst the chaos of ephemera, the allusions to dressmakers and cleaners, an oblique feminist drama unfolds.

I don’t always recognize people even when I have seen them several times before, he said. I think I must have that face recognition syndrome or a mild version of it.

It’s a challenge to match birdsong with birds. You rush to the sound file and by then what you heard has evaporated.

A lyrebird imitating a chainsaw?

It’s your particular way of solving problems, she said. Your dedicated algorithm, your way of managing the world: this person has created their own problems.

I supervised the project but am I to blame for its failings, its early demise?

I don’t like looking at myself so why would I put my photograph on Facebook?

He was attracted to uncertainty though he did not pester risk.

James Comey answers ‘possibly’, ‘I don't know’.

There was something she desperately wanted to achieve but she could not recall it.

A writer wants to be known, he insisted, not known in passing but really known.

The difficulty of completing a task moves in an inverse relationship to the deadline.

Every grievance is distinct, all atrocities are alike.

Convinced that you are to blame for the death, even though you are not.

Vexed that you have swallowed words you should have spoken.

A full-time writer, is that a real profession?

Hazel Smith has published four volumes of poetry including Word Migrants, Giramondo, 2016, and numerous performance and multimedia works. In 2018, with Will Luers and Roger Dean, she was awarded first place in the Electronic Literature Organisation’s Robert Coover prize for the work novelling. Hazel is an Emeritus Professor in the Writing and Society Research Centre, Western Sydney University. She has written several academic books including most recently The Contemporary Literature-Music Relationship: intermedia, voice, technology, cross-cultural exchange, Routledge, 2016. Her web page is at