Dominique Hecq

Arrivals: Dominique Hecq

Andrew picks me up in his yoot
(he’s late)
I can’t bring myself to call him Andy
(he is a Professor)

My ears strain to attune to new sounds

Andrew keeps saying eggs jelly
talks about an eminent gess vonner from Sinney Yooney

I look through the window

We shoot through a makeshift landscape — wayward
fields of concrete, rusty skies over rows of identical boxes tearing through glare past loud billboards and neon signs

Then, Mirabile Dictu, Andy does a uey and as we swing around
I figure what dent shoe worry means
terror souse and scona rayn
(I try not to worry)

Higgledy-piggledy architecture

Brick-veneer houses vie with weatherboard bungalows, wrought-iron verandas, carports, granny flats, pubs, car-yards and graveyards, milk-bars, bottle-shops, drive-ins. Jasmine and bougainvilleas clambering fences. Hills Hoists sporting carnivals of colours. Ravens and magpies. A prison. Community halls, bowling lawns, construction sites. Motels. MacDonalds.

Suburban gothic

Gumtrees. The bush, at last! Wait. A car park like a runway

The University: no roos ere, only blowies ‘n chtewdence

In the Arts Building we meet chair-free who smells of beer, Sue who kenardly bleevit and chiffon who tells me to tiger teasy

(I try to take it easy)


Left behind, bleak days
a snow-smothered land

Here spindle trees rise
pale as dancers in a tumble
of colours I can’t name

Here wind and light lift
the sky to breaking point

Here spindle trees rise
pale as dancers in a Sidney Long

Here wind and light scour
the backbone of the earth

Here all fake certainties

vanish with language


Light pours down
the unrelenting sky

To earth ridged
with Van Gogh brush strokes

I track words
for hues and shades in books

Envy the skill of artist-explorers
who forged new ways of seeing

The cries of crows fall
on a Drysdale landscape

Blues on rusty ochres
pulse with dust

This place blinds my eyes
stills my tongue

Tracks: autofictional fragments of a journey without maps is slated for publication with Recent Work Press later this year.

Dominique Hecq grew up in the French-speaking part of Belgium. She now lives in Melbourne. Hecq writes across genres and disciplines—and sometimes across tongues. Her works include a novel, three collections of stories, and ten volumes of poetry. Among other honours such as the Melbourne Fringe Festival Award for Outstanding Writing and Spoken Word Performance, the Woorilla Prize for Fiction, the Martha Richardson Medal for Poetry, the New England Poetry Prize, and the inaugural AALITRA Prize for Literary Translation, Hecq is a recipient of the 2018 International Best Poets Prize administered by the International Poetry Translation and Research Centre in conjunction with the International Academy of Arts and Letters.