In the denouement of 2006 film It’s a Boy Girl Thing, bookworm Nell (inhabited by the consciousness of jock Woody as the result of a body-swapping Aztec curse) is in the midst of her entrance interview for Yale. When asked her opinion on contemporary poets, she fumbles, saying that they ‘suck’, then backpedals by waxing lyrical about rappers: ‘It’s urban poetry, sir. They talk about their lives … They can be very brutal, but often undercut with a dark humour.’ The trope of rap—and of other artforms tied to marginalised communities, like jazz and street dance—acting as a leveller is […]
There was only one thing on Janet’s shopping list, but she still tore the strip of paper from the sticky-pad on the fridge and tucked it into her purse. It was a frog-shaped pad which Marcus had begged her to buy when she was picking up extra Christmas decorations at the pound store last November. She was brushing the dusty strings of tinsel, watching lines of foil float to the ground at the lightest touch, when he had spotted the frog pad. He had loved how its round cheeks suggested it had just finished a delicious meal. She was not […]
J.G. Ballard (2009) The Complete Short Stories of J.G. Ballard, 1st American Edition, W.W. Norton & Company, New York. 978 0 393 07262 4 (hardback). I went on a road trip through country Victoria last month. In the hamlet of Yarck in the Goulburn Valley, I happened upon a wonderful cottage bookstore called Books at Yarck. It is pretty much every booklover’s wet dream. There is a fine section of literature, an excellent choice of Australiana and some very tasty non-fiction. There is also a wood stove (not in use in February), and a couch. Oh dear. I promised Pip […]
While International Women’s Day has been busy pressing for progress, various organisations who run IWD events have yet again pushed women of colour into a corner: a corner of non-existence. The UN’s Women Facebook page applauded the support from several organisations for their International Women’s Day Campaign. Nonetheless, many events and panels failed to include any women of colour. The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), for example, gave a fine example exclusionary feminism with its IWD event: its ‘Women in Leadership’ discussion did not feature even one woman of colour. Diana Sayed, a human rights lawyer, currently based in Melbourne, […]
The international release of Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin was attended by two fitting ironies. The first was that Vladimir Putin’s Russia—after this month’s election result, it remains undoubtedly his—banned it outright on the grounds of its ‘extremism’. (Yelena Drapeko of the Duma’s culture committee said she had ‘never seen anything so disgusting in my life.’) The second was that one its stars, Jeffrey Tambor, then the award-winning star of Amazon’s Transparent, was swept up by the #MeToo movement after being accused of inappropriate conduct by members of show’s production staff. He was quietly ‘disappeared’ from the poster for […]
Within the last year and more, I’ve watched myself and other marginalised people around me tell their truths, truths I thought I knew even as our realities keep changing. Whenever I log on to the internet, I’m pressured by the need to continually identify, specify and classify, even if I am reticent offline. My finger is on the page, but movement is disjointed. This happened to me. This is what’s happening right now. Listen, everyone, this is wrong and we need to make things right. The feedback loop picks up on what is more popular and makes them more visible, […]
I can give you statistics and talk in depth about how complex the welfare system is. I can tell you that the recent commentary from David Gillespie and the all-white Sunrise panel is incorrect and insensitive. And, I will. But first, do you know what an Indigenous Placement Principle is? It’s simple. When welfare decides to take an Indigenous child away from their parents, the process begins to determine where they are placed. These are the 3 steps to the process in descending order of priority: 1. A safe family member 2. A safe Indigenous family 3. A non-Indigenous family […]
The women taught me things. One showed me how to hold onto the sleeve of my shirt when I pulled on a jumper so the sleeve didn’t roll up and bunch around my elbow. Another showed me how to press the top of a milk carton into a beak so the milk could pour out.
all on their own achieve
Hung from a feather,
a soft noose.
It’s never too late
to cut me down.
Clara had long dark hair that was as limp as swimming seaweed, and her skin was pale and speckled with tiny dots in patches, like little dot families. They were so small, these dots on her arms and legs and face, that they were not freckles but rather dust, and often I felt the urge to wipe them off with a face washer when I looked at her.
I don’t remember the first time I noticed my family’s racism. It was probably as a teenager during a Friday night, Sabbath meal in Melbourne. An event in the Middle East would have occurred in the previous weeks, a suicide bombing in Jerusalem or a terror attack against Israelis, and one of my cousins would predictably erupt into a diatribe against the Palestinians and their leader Yasser Arafat. This was the late 1980s and early 1990s, before the internet, so knowledge about a country on the other side of the world came from only a few sources. Sometimes I stayed […]
Midwinter—rainwater, and the quick running creek; how we trudged down the hill towards it. Sunlight falls through jarrah, gilding the gravel track, and glints off the gully’s eddying fjord. Some way off, upstream, there’s a bridge across the creek; a log we’d balance on, all but airborne. Gazing into the silt-rich stream as far as light allowed, trembling depths turned mirror, where the moon might appear in any cloudy noon, a drifting ghost, or petal; poetry. Another metamorphosis in memory— the creek, speaking its tongues into my sleep. Tannin, cold water’s fall and flood-rushing […]