Gone Lawn
a journal of word-things
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Gone Lawn 52
beaver moon, 2023

new works

Owen Bullock



You seat yourself on a swivel chair at the bar table – you think I’ll get the job because I’m creating engagement projects with research outcomes. I expound. You make suggestions.


He asks if I’m the sort of person who holds a grudge – he got the job ahead of me. I’d seen him around and wondered who he was. I say ‘no’, express my disappointment but congratulate him. I ask what he’ll be working on. His expertise doesn’t seem to fit the job description – but that’s the way the engine grinds.


The following day, I discover we have a shared interest in pigs. I perform my alter ego: Piggie – he’s in love. We agree to meet next day for dress-ups.

I wear my piggie onesie and rouged cheeks. He dons a costume he made himself from old trouser legs and shirt sleeves. We scamper up and down the corridor on all fours begging colleagues. Nn. Have you got any rotten pears fer Piggie? Hhuachh! I’m in love.



A young man turns up at my place, asks me to let him stay; he’ll help out with chores. I want to be alone. He tries to kill himself by hanging. I haul him down, take him to the local surgery. He’s okay. He’s known to social services. He’s sixteen, but they don’t know where he came from. Is he a refugee? I let him stay on, try to find jobs for him to do, help him with his education. He doesn’t say much. We settle into a routine of working and studying. He doesn’t bother me, yet I worry something will go wrong.


I have a goat I lead around the property to different patches. It stays pretty much where I leave it. One day, I find several other goats hanging upside down on branches. One of them struggles and makes a gurgling noise. I manage to unhook its neck and carry it down. I give it some water and, gradually, hay and dried barley. The other goats are dead. The survivor has long, curled horns, the point of one horn almost reaches its eye. I tie it up and chop the last inch off the horn with a pair of loppers. I tether the goat over the coming days but don’t like to leave it for long in the same place – it gets tangled easily. I walk it around the paddock – goats like walks – and bring it odds n ends to eat. I don’t need another goat, but they’re companions, intelligent.


I’m walking down a long dusty road with a young man who’s staying at my house. An older man looms up. My guy mutters something about going on ahead – he doesn’t want to cause trouble for me – and strides away. The other man blocks me off. He has short blonde hair, tough looking. He says ‘d’you want a thump?’ and swings his arm.

Owen Bullock’s latest poetry collection is Pancakes for Neptune (Recent Work Press, 2023), following three previous poetry titles, five books of haiku, a bilingual edition of tanka, and a novella. He teaches Creative Writing at the University of Canberra. poetry-in-process, also @OwenTrail.