In 2010 and 2011 the Melbourne media was filled with stories about a “St Kilda Schoolgirl”, a branding courtesy of the news reporters based on the seventeen-year-old having a consensual sexual relationship with the Australian Rules football player, Sam Gilbert from the St Kilda Football club. The media then had an absolute frenzy over her later sexual “relationship” with 47-year-old football player agent Ricky Nixon and the controversy has continued in recent times with the girl in question failing in her court attempts to stop the release of Nixon’s biography.
Tomorrow night sees the winners of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, a very handy $25,000 for each category, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Drama, Poetry and Young Adult writing with a bonus $100,000 available for the winners of each category as they go on to contest the Victorian Prize for Literature. I’ve personally cast my vote in the “People’s Choice Award” with the winner getting a bonus $2,000 – for local writers this prize pool is a great incentive.
flirt with the man who cuts keys, fixes heels.
They can’t help being won over
by the light that glowers at his shop-front.
Too sure of himself by half
my mother would say.
He dyes his hard unflatteringly dark.
Once I took him shoes,
a second-hand pair.
God, love, he asked,
what have you been doing in these?
I laugh at the histories I could invent
for these strangers – sleep-walking, bacchic dance.
I laugh and say nothing
as he hands me the little green slip.
But I don’t go back for a long, long time
(life more ruptured than the wreck
of shoes I handed him, impossible to unlock).
Where have you been darl?
(if I could click my heels).
It’s a story I cannot tell –
what kept me from redeeming
At night the women in these suburbs
unlock their doors
with keys fashioned
by the man at the kiosk.
They kick off their shoes
shiny and re-heeled.
They smile without quite knowing
how the man with the dark, dark hair
has eased his way into their smallest secret places,
snug in the palm, firm at the ankle.
And I chide myself gently
for not telling him the story of the book
I swapped for shoes
or why I had been away so long.
will be dispatched about the world,
their underwater silvers and greens
flashing in the dark aquariums of shop windows.
and the noisy, populous park
(that shrill of infantocracy),
I was entering our building when
a magpie swooped – taut dart of surprise.
Day too blithe for amour-propre,
I grinned at the bird, but it was sharp,
implacable, bobbing on the wall like
a boxer in a ring. He would do it again,
and the next time he would aim closer
(that much I knew) –
no veering taunt this time.
self-flagellation followed by recrimination.
Stop lying to your go-go girls,
those dizzy flatterers in the brothel.
It’s not true what you say – it never was.
Catullus may despise you
but he’s never done you an actual injury.
Who took you to Casualty
when you passed out at the discothèque –
who pulled you out of the hedge
when you fell off your bicycle?
acted out for another, nothing that can be seen by
anyone else – but the act of scribbling, or scrawling
marks on paper, independently of any semantic
reference or attempt to ‘tell a story’ or inform or
persuade or move – as a straightforward function
of the body that can be done well or badly – and
independently of intention or expectation or
nature or the politics of result
or experience at any moment
hem of the underworld
of language left to us
in all the tongues
from all the times
from every place
piled up in a heap
merely copy words down, another
Bartleby, who’d prefer to do
nothing else with is time
with his body
of the world to drop, like this unexpected
place, and no longer care
what others think poets ought
to be doing
- Fever of Animals by Miles Allinson (Scribe Publications) – Brunswick, Vic
- The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop (Hachette) – Springwood, NSW
- Clade by James Bradley (Penguin) – Darlington, NSW
- Forever Young by Steven Carroll (HarperCollins) – Brunswick East, Vic
- The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau (Bloomsbury) – Earlwood, NSW
- The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood (Allen & Unwin) – Marrickville, NSW
- Modern Love: The Lives of John and Sunday Reed by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (MUP) – North Fitzroy, Vic, and Fitzroy, Vic
- Thea Astley: Inventing Her Own Weather by Karen Lamb (UQP) – Dulwich Hill, NSW
- Australia’s Second Chance by George Megalogenis (Penguin) – North Caulfield, Vic
- Second Half First by Drusilla Modjeska (Knopf) – Birchgrove, NSW
- Something for the Pain by Gerald Murnane (Text Publishing) – Goroke, Vic
- Mannix by Brenda Niall (Text Publishing) – Deepdene, Vic
- Mortido by Angela Betzien (Currency Press) – St Peters, NSW
- Broken by Mary Anne Butler (Currency Press) – Rapid Creek, NT
- SHIT by Patricia Cornelius (Melbourne Theatre Company) – Thornbury, Vic
- The Guardians by Lucy Dougan (Giramondo Publishing) – East Victoria Park, Vic
- Crankhandle by Alan Loney (Cordite) – Malvern East, Vic
- The Subject of Feeling by Peter Rose (UWA Publishing) – Melbourne, Vic
- Sister Heart by Sally Morgan (Fremantle Press) – Bicton, WA
- A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay (Walker Books Australia) – Hamilton Hill, WA
- Welcome to Orphancorp by Marlee Jane Ward (Xoum Publishing) – Brunswick West, Vic