I sat at your table
with your chosen family
the 12 illegitimate children
that you all carry in the heaviness around you
the pills she pops
and ciggies she sneaks around the side of the house
I held my intellect in my hand like a broken bottle
mind slamming your other step son with the difference between equality and equity
equality: equal opportunity for everyone no matter their circumstance
equity: opportunity cultivated to create an equal playing field
I told him this even though it was he who was born with the black skin and the absent
but I guess we had more in common than I realised then
isn’t it funny sad how the most disenfranchised hold up the privileged without a
moment of critique
I conjured up the time when I was 15 and you asked me
with a glint and a snigger:
are you butch or the other one?
to shame you
to show these people
that your jokes
are insults cultivated to maim and disfigure
but as I sat alone facing the 5 of you
I found nothing but defence
he and his new found soldier identity
her and her self-reflexive jocularity
tut tutting my truth away
and finally your stay at home punch you in the face partner who you will never
officially make your wife who told me
to grow up when I was out the door
when I dared stand up from the that table
and walk out without saying goodbye and following social graces.
And I am reminded yet again
that my stories are mine and yours are yours
and your personhood is the statesman, like the one you used to drive down our
suburban street full of the women and families you had made us
I am the free woman
because in these months I have spent by my brother’s side wishing things were different
spinning that same old vinyl record
I found only silence
the stab of a skipping needle
and that same decrepit place
where I am the victim and perp and you are the poor misunderstood white man with
money in his pockets but no heart to understand.
I will always be broken in those places where you bent me to your will
where you splintered every hope I ever had of a world where love was unconditional.
And today I know, that the unconditional is only mine to experience, for as you stand,
I stand and we both exhale, shivering from who we have become and all the harsh
words we have said. You have taught me pain, and distance and the agony of wanting
love from someone who doesn’t know how to feel and I have become that too, let it
go, and here I stand, alone, waiting for the world to pull me further into my darkness
so I can be who I was meant to be, because of you.
Forgive me for I have sinned.
and as sinners must
but I don’t bow down to any patriarchal arrangement
least of all in this language where I have no voice but mimicry.
So I cry myself to vulnerability and back into the arms of the struggle between
becoming what the world order wants and what I need.
and here I breathe.
In sickness and in health.
Til death do us part
and these words
become my only imprint.
My flint that burns away a thousand cobwebs and creates new beginnings, finishes
chapters I left hanging there
by an indent
a missed comma
or a justified paragraph.
This looking glass is my last laugh
and when my voice hits the ears of my best mate of who knows these fairytales all too
he throws his head back lets out a roar and says
the day we start taking advice from a Xanax addict named Glenda
is the day we have lost our way.
- 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