Wild Court

An international poetry journal based in the English Department of King’s College London

‘Ghost and Chrome’: a poem by Nicholas Hogg

Ghost and Chrome

I wanted a life like a burning comet, and got an engine fire
on the Nullaboor Plain. I was riding at the heart of Australia,
the red dirt towns and crocodile creeks, tin roof shacks
and termite mounds. But I was doomed to expire
in the middle of sand, a motorbike ditched
by the side of a road. So I hitched, walked, and slept.
I drank ice cold beer with violent men. I dreamt
about the bike. How the curious, desert drivers would slow
by the wreck, and stare. Weeks later, where the nearest farm
was a two-day hike through trees in flame, I found
a pictograph palm in a sheltered cave, a wandering soul
now fixed in ash. I held my own hand above the print, to measure
the span of time, and dust. In memory and rock, beyond the rise
and fall of nation states, a wooden ship plied with guns and shot.