My hair defines me.
My land, my country is held in my hair that grows, and holds me
I touch my hair. It is fuzzy, soft and enjoyable to play with
I have hidden treasures in my hair.
Once, I carried a strong wooden comb, it sat cradled in my hair
I felt a sense of being safe
I combed my hair with it, and built up my Afro
I have tried to tame my hair by plying it with foreign poisonousness chemicals
but to no avail, my hair rebelled
fell to the ground in huge lumps
new short tight fuzzy hair grew in its place.
I tried to put heat to my hair with a hot iron
but again, when interacted with water my hair positioned itself
back to its natural state.
I have tied it, bound it, twirled and plaited it
wrapped a scarf around it, placed a flower in it
and still it creeps out and reveals itself.
My hair was on show when I was young
a teacher in primary school stood over me one day with a pencil in her hand
she searched among my fuzzy hair.
My hair took the brunt of hate
called dirty and smelly.
Hated. It was uncontrollable.
Hard to deal with,
Could not be tamed.
Yet, my hair knows me, and I am starting to know my hair.
My hair connects me to my father,
my grandmother, my cousins, my family.
I don’t want my hair tamed
I don’t want my hair controlled.
I look at my grandma and see her hair deeply rooted in her background
She is beautiful.
I look at my grandma and see her
the backbone of my grandma, the smile of my grandma
the eyes of my grandma, the hands of my grandma
and most of all the beautiful, shiny, clear skin of my grandma
See her hair deeply rooted in her background
She is beautiful.
And now, I call to you all.
Who speaks? Who listens? Who hears?
In this here place, Baby Suggs in Toni Morrison’s Beloved says:
We flesh, flesh that weeps, laughs, flesh that dances on bare feet
in sand on Indigenous lands
Love it, love your feet.
Love your legs as they carry your beautiful body that you think is unloved and despised.
They out there can’t love you, you must love you.
Love your skin, love your neck that have held chains, unshackle yourselves.
Don’t let your neck be their tool for death.
Straighten up your neck, face them.
Love your hands.
Raise them up.
Touch others with them.
Stroke your face.
Love your face, because they have tried to change us.
Love your mouth, and hear what comes forth.
Love your hair.
Most of all … love your beating heart.
Take in air.
For each time you breathe is a political statement.
For we have survived.
Occupy and enjoy.
- FREE: 20 Poets anthology
- 91: NO THEME VIIISUBMIT to C Gaskin 90: MONSTERwith N Curnow, coming soon! 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith Fiona Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith Vladimir Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith Judith Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith Keri Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with Dan Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with Pam Brown 52.0: TOIL with Carol Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with Luke Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with Bonny Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with John Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with Tracy Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with Corey Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with Michael Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with Felicity Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with Jan Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with Derek Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with Kent MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with Ann Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with Gig Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with Duncan Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with Kent MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with Libby Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with Sarah Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with Sam Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with Astrid Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with Sean Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with Alan Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with Jill Jones
- Submission to Cordite 91: NO THEME VIII
- Judith Bishop Reviews Phillip Hall’s Fume
- Bella Li on as Associate Publisher
- Alex Creece on as Production Editor
- Review Short: Diane Fahey’s November Journal and Carmen Leigh Keates’s Meteorites
- Review Short: Vahni Capildeo’s Seas and Trees and Jennifer Harrison’s Air Variations
- To Outlive a Home: Poetics of a Crumbling Domestic
- ‘The Rally Is Calling’: Dashiell Moore Interviews Lionel Fogarty
- Jackie Ryan: Teaser to Burger Force 3
- Dispatch from the Future Fish
- Introduction to Cordite 89: DOMESTIC
- 7 Portraits by Ali Gumillya Baker
- Selections from 3 Yhonnie Scarce Series
- Kathy Acker and The Viewing Room
- To Live There: on ‘Dispatch from the Future Fish’
- The Wild Workshop: The Ghost of a Brontëan Childhood in the Life of Dorothy Hewett
- Externalising the Symptom: Radicalised Youth and The Membrane
- On Deep Breaths and Friends Forever: Im/materiality and Mis/communication in Happy Angels Revisited
- Letter to Anne Carson: Work of Remembrance and Mourning
- Translated Extracts from Chantal Danjou
- Translations from Old English
- The Poets: Pejk Malinovski Self-translates
- Carnage, Crosses and Curiosity: 13 Images by Yvette Holt
- Body of Sound
- ‘Eat’ from Horse
- Stereocilia for 2 Ears of 1 Person