Ouyang Malley: The Kingsbury Tales: the shirt

26 November 2005

Lying in a corner of my room, the shirt
Is a gray color
I shed it as soon as I put it on this morning for the Court
As my back, the back of my neck, and, in fact, my whole upper trunk
Started getting itchy
It's a strange shirt in that sense for it never fails to make me itch
Far as I remember it this is a gift shirt from Ming my brother in October 1999
Back then, he was alive (what a redundant thing to say)
Now, he is dead
Today, finally unable to take the itchy load, I stripped myself bare
Of the gift, the memory, along with the guilt
That by so doing I might have committed an act of betrayal
I said to my wife:
I'm going to dump this itchy shirt
I'm not even going to give it away to the Australian poor
For philanthropy
China-made, it should be Chinese-trashed
Good idea, she said
After putting on a different shirt, I remembered
Once again for the hundredth time
That Ming was tortured to death in a Chinese prison
On 20 August 2003
Because of his Falungong belief

OUYANG MALLEY is an unknown Australian poet whose first published poem is ‘The Kingsbury Tales: the shirt'.


As reported on Cordite News Explosion: “While it may seem obvious in hindsight, Ouyang Malley (whose poem The Kingsbury Tales: The Shirt is featured in the issue) is actually Ouyang Yu.”

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About Ouyang Yu

Ouyang Yu is a Chinese-born poet, novelist, editor and translator based in Melbourne. He has published over 90 books of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, literary translation and literary criticism in both English and Chinese. He edits Australia’s only Chinese literary journal, Otherland. His poetry and translations have been included in major Australian collections such as The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry, The Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature and The turnrow Anthology of Contemporary Australian Poetry.

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