Coral Hull

Guns, Dead Goats & My Black Heart
1. Black Heart

a razor back piglet, was strung up by the hind legs in my aunty's loungeroom, my cousin troy had killed it & had pierced its nose with a hook, i slid the hook back through its skin, like a needle from a black cotton reel, i put it down on the soft carpet, then a joy came to life in my hands, soon i was gladly carrying the piglet around with me, i called it my "black heart", now we are living together, he rushes from room to room on his stiff back legs, bum up, tail circling & flicking in excitement, when i sleep he snuggles in close to me, i use his small razor back as a pillow to rest my head, he's very careful with his little tusks that are slowly emerging into a facial unit, at other times he goes to sleep across my stomach, he is so light our breathing synchronises, so we breathe together for awhile & then we breathe apart, our gentle moving lungs backing each other up, he is so happy that he has life, we eat cornflakes together in the morning, his eating is so sloppy that he makes me look good in front of visitors, during the day we go about our separate business, he has jumped straight into the house of my heart, when i wake up, the sun has hit the pillow of the next bright day & we are in love with each other, the razorback walks with me, stands directly in my footsteps & looks out of my eyes, he puts his little black heart into the world that was unsuccessful at his annihilation, i give a wink & blow a kiss to stupidity & evil, my footsteps are cloven, my head is in heaven, together we are the guardians of all razorbacks, at 7.00 p.m. i bend down to clean his tusks with herbal toothpaste, he goes out & roots for dandelions in the overgrown garden, for a cup of hot green tea in the lamp lit evening, i shake dirt off the roots into the kitchen sink, we enjoy the same music, at this stage it's all fairly domestic, the adventure is within, but i am intensely happy, i eat my food in a sloppy way, have developed sensitive skin, will squeal & kick if disturbed, walk jauntily with a twinkle in my eye

2. Guns In The Townhouse Garage

there were about five varieties of illegal firearm stored in the Townhouse garage, but i was cautioned by dad & mum, both of who would have gotten into trouble, but for dale's sake they had put themselves into this situation, dale is sadistic & short tempered amongst other things, today the firearms are legal, the law has helped him along, in the humid townhouse in liverpool, where all the guns are stored, everything is legal now, whilst i was writing about the extinction of red kangaroos from the brewarrina district, dale took the firearms out with some mates, he was looking for things to shoot, he had recently split up with his girlfriend & was feeling a bit edgy, i prayed silently, which had more power?, shooting or poetry? dad said that they never got anything, this time anyway, but i was devastated, sometimes the gun is mightier than the pen, i don't know whether he said this to make me feel better, or because that in reality, brewarrina, which is where dad lives, is now so barren & devoid of any life that there was nothing to shoot, similarly when i look into dale's eyes, i find this same shot out barrenness, so prefer to focus on his forehead, once i made the mistake of trying to hug him & he smacked me away, now having dropped all expectations of blood ties, i am no longer hurt, but the animals out at brewarrina, who don't know any better, fall victim, as dale irons out the land into that same emotional flatness that he feels inside, but alas no australian animals left to shoot, effectively this would have meant that these blokes, or "old high school friends & work mates" whom dad labels as "boring," would have gone back to the western suburbs sydney disappointed, with the guns loaded & tensions still on the rise, the guns would have then been wrapped in cloth & stored back in the townhouse garage, i knew both the guns & them well enough, to know that for a time their fingers would be sweaty & itching, even left alone for a few days there would be a certain amount of energy unreleased, built up in those guns, they would be twitching away inside the cloth in the dark garage of the townhouse, if they were still loaded, one would most likely blow out the small window, the garage will be never be the same with guns stored in it, i should have dobbed them all in & i would have saved a few lives of animals at least, but something very stupid occurred inside me, as if i was bound to some weird family loyalty, which could mean, that i will have ultimately put my own life at risk, my brother is likely to lose it completely one day & will. shoot anything, he has guns not guts, he is not intelligent & he hates me, this is not a good combination, strangely, he is also a favourite of the family, he fits in well, gives the most expensive Christmas gifts, has a good decent job in a bakery, has bought an expensive car, takes the newspapers around to my grandparents' every week, but look at his leg jumping like a jack hammer under the table, listen closely to his conversation, if you don't believe me talk about sexuality & throw in some compassion for him to respond to, he seems socialised but, this is exactly the type that will do it, he will send you a birthday card if you have sent him one first, has a few girlfriends but never for long, brawls at discos, is a user of legal drugs, he's my brother, but as a human being, i do not like him much

3. Dead Goats As Gifts

cigarette smoke hung in the air of aunty Karen's loungeroom, my grandfather was clicking his mouth as he unwrapped long strands of grey hair from the big sheets of Christmas paper, i saw the silver wrapping fall away, nanny who was sitting beside him, grabbed his bony old knee as the two big curly grey horns appeared, Karen said "oh dad, it's lovely," mum hovered over to stroke its hide in a loving way, my hand came quickly to my mouth, as that long grey goat hair fell down over his knees, the stuffed head suddenly crashed to one side, lolling with its glass eyes, "geeze, he was a big one," click, my uncle brian & cousin troy had shot it, so now it rolled out, so that its hair was of some comfort to my grandfather's skin, like slipping into ugh boots or wearing a fur coat, or believing that sheep's wool is healthy or that leather allows the skin to breathe, then he got hot & sweaty, the overhead fans rotating out over a december Christmas, stirring up all the smoke clouds & whisking them into dissipation, my grandfather went onto the next parcel, shaking it up around his head, his false gold teeth glinting, he knew that there was ginger & chocolate nuts inside, the goat had been dropped onto the lounge, onto its long old fur so that the smooth tanned insides of skin were exposed, dale plonked down & almost sat on it, "careful dale, you don't want to crack his horns off," pop said, as if dale might hurt the goat by doing so, Christmas in revesby being the time when all inanimate objects took on their own warped spirituality, i knew that if any real spiritual entity walked in at that time, the men would rush & get the guns with the women urging them on, whatever might be standing at the door, for example a goat or a reindeer, they would shoot it, wrap it up & make a gift out of it, most likely for nanny or pop, if it was jesus christ they wouldn't recognise him & would most likely ring the cops, saying that a "drug addict," a "thief" or a "dole cheat" had just walked in, all along the loungeroom floor were these goat rugs, flat & sweating with the opened presents resting across their hides, the little coloured glass eyes & bob tails sticking up out of one end, the heads standing upright, all horns & horror as the main feature, the next year there was a row, when my brother brendon, who was meant to be a vegetarian, placed some fried rice with little pieces of prawn in it on his plate, i ended up standing up & saying that they were not celebrating the birthday of christ, but the murder of god, i walked out, it was the last family tolerated, not only was i an embarrassment, but i also quickly they all clamped shut together like a fortress, sent out & coldly enquired about my mental state, there whispers of medication & "she can't help herself," five they went back to eating & gazing into the still glass eyes of the goat rugs, my emotions conveniently beyond their comprehension, in their eyes, i was ready to be unwrapped & put away, like the horns of dead goats, beneath the dying pine tree