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
- 93: PEACHSUBMIT to L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIICOMING SOON with C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith S Umar 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 F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D 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 P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones
- Introduction to Zenobia Frost’s After the Demolition
- Phillip Hall Reviews Robert Harris’s The Gang of One: Selected Poems
- Adam Ford Reviews Rae White’s Milk Teeth and Anders Villani’s Aril Wire
- Jennifer Mackenzie Reviews Elif Sezen’s A little book of unspoken history
- Introduction to Charmaine Papertalk Green’s Nganajungu Yagu
- Brigid Magner Reviews Michele Leggott’s Vanishing Points and Elizabeth Smither’s Night Horse
- Jack Kelly Reviews Liam Ferney’s Hot Take
- Submission to Cordite 93: PEACH
- Introduction to Cordite 91: MONSTER
- Poetry, Whatsoever: Blake, Blau DuPlessis, and an Expansive Definition of the Poem
- On Being Sanguine: Two Years of Panic and a Response to Terror in Christchurch
- A Deaf Rough Trade: Defending Poetry to ‘regular people’
- 12 Panels by Chris Gooch
- 5 Translated Yosuke Tanaka Poems
- A Buzz in the Retina: On Translating Luljeta Lleshanaku
- ‘That is some crafty bite’: Trisha Pender Interviews Melinda Bufton
- ‘You’re never disembodied from the action’: Dylan Frusher Interviews Judith Beveridge
- Excerpts from Neon Daze
- Chorography and Toute-eau in the Waters of Lower Murray Country
- 6 Poems from Robin M Eames
- Aussi / Or: Un Coup de dés and Mistranslation in the Antipodes
- Every other Friday
- I Still Love Without My Head
- Heath Ledger’s Joker
- Only fair