Little Mumbles

Dear Dad

The bike that you bought me is shit

All the bolts have decided to split

So when I ride home

I must go alone

For my friend now has nowhere to sit


Ceremony for the Closing of the Mouth

You and I were having a fight

in the street where we fell in love
with our accident.

Several artful lampposts instructed me:

How to point.
How to spin the lights.
How to sit one chair away from myself
in the auditorium of mistrust,
where a piano lid crashes
inside the stomach.

You taught me to connect
music to the will,
though I did not say loudmouth,
busy as I was bending
spoons that were the exact shape
my pain made.

Marni Ludwig

Notes for a Short Story

-       peer pressure

-       money pressure

-       drugs

-       beach houses

-       keys to the car

completely whipped

by rich daddy and

vulnerable mummy

-       clubs

-       clothes

-       romance, cheating

-       control

-       eating disorders

-       perfection

-       higher education

the threat of loneliness, poverty, alienation:

pretending to be the same 

Each technology for knowing necessarily has a dark side, that which it has to bracket out so that it can function as a machine.

—Stephen Muecke, No Road: Bitumen All The Way, p. 61

collecting snippets and fragments

cut from the wind and

strung in a shoe-box

of plastic diamonds

and hand-collected shells

Otherness becomes empowering critical difference when it is not given but recreated.

—Stephen Muecke, No Road: Bitumen All The Way, p. 99

How does one justify the transformation of lived culture into museum culture?

—Stephen Muecke, No Road: Bitumen All The Way

It is, he says, as if he wanted to spill his soul into an absolute otherness: it’s not loneliness which drove him towards this aboriginal woman, it is the fact that they are as different as he can imagine. And he can’t disengage the “her” and the “them”. The tug of alterity is like a smooth suction or surface tension, drawing him in, ineluctably, in the same way as his episodic flirtations with suicide.

—Stephen Muecke, No Road: Bitumen All The Way, p. 109

"Identity palpitates, like


in and out even

while walking along.

Both space and time are 

involved, pause

and movement.”

~ Stephen Muecke, No Road: Bitumen all the Way (line breaks added)

From time
I float
In an eternal sea

Nick Cave retains the power
to wrench a deep sigh from me
maintaining authority/control
over those highways/threads
of emotion;

driving in your car down
all those arguments we used to
have in those days
we used to share;
moving back and forth in time.



is the only time

to work on poetry. 



I also lied about the therapy;
I lay back on a bench instead
and told my troubles to a drunk who stank
of stale cider and relieved me of my cigarettes.
I lied about my one good kidney
and the ballet lessons.
And the contraceptive pills.
I lied about my childhood in Somerset
where I learned the taste of crab apples and swam
like Esther Williams in a turquoise lake
modeling a costume splashed with orange sunflowers.
The Yew tree with Y branches is still waiting to grow
in the back garden I never knew
I have always believed in God and I do not speak Portuguese.
Cape Cod is a mystery to me.
You might be wondering about the man
who waited with me outside the tobacconist, his hand in mine until
the rain eased off.
But that is all beside the point and too late now.
There are other things we ought to get cleared up:
I never got beyond the shaving scene in Ulysses.
It was me who took the wheels off your car.
Your shoulders really are lopsided.

Kathryn Simmonds


still life


fruit in a glass bowl:
you are bruised
and I am rotting slowly
inside out,
a sweet pungency
marked ripeness, red
tinged green, we
are decomposing dirt brown
by the bread box
waiting for consumption
by one thing or another;
you frown
while i am grinning 
at the juice, pooled below 

Stopping the Clock

An animal suspended in ice

   for over two thousand years

   to be (pissed on) dissected by men

   in lab-coats who assume


the whiteness taking over

with its supreme sense

                               of superiority

and a proper job – a real job –

                               to do

occupying that space of authority

(conservative, conserving, conservationist

“the one who knows”

and says, why don’t you get a real job?

                                a real life?)

Uncovering secrets and pinning them

to a board with neat labels and

diagrams pointing

to a universal > sign of order

and acceptance and love and deeper


neatly categorised and contained

on gallery walls, in museum spaces,

in research papers conducted by

white men in white coats on white

pages. See them all standing there

in their profoundly visual culture

perfectly aware and not caring

(and feeling quite proud actually)

of their accolades accumulated accosted

at the expense of all those Others

OUT THERE who couldn’t get in

who didn’t know the logic, the language

the secret door code uncovered

in all those secrets dug out of the ground

and suspended in ice, waiting

to tell their stories

to have their stories told

to be told to tell to

stop speaking their own language

assembled, displayed and arranged

into foreign symbols

You say, keep it.

                  Don’t tell


Voice locked in a larynx long dead


dissected on a laboratory floor

and suspended in a jar.

We don’t keep black people’s parts anymore.

Her vagina has been returned:

labia opened, parted and labelled

to a new home where her body

no longer lies

         long gone from her

returned empty of


for her, to consume, open her up

   into a regime, an order: the need to

   make sense of her

for her, acceptance, to be cherished

    and no longer laughed at and prodded

She came in good faith

and look what we did to her:

cut up in little pieces and sent home

two hundred years later

in separate specimen bags

We cannot survive such scrutiny.