Last Wednesday night, in some god-awful wet and windy weather, I travelled to Geelong with my writer friend Zoe Werner. We both competed in the Australian Poetry Slam heat being held at the Geelong Regional Libraries.
It was a fantastic night of passionate poetry and I was very proud of myself for coming second! This means that I am off to compete at the Victorian Finals on Friday 4 October at the State Library, Melbourne.
See the video of me performing this poem at Words Out Loud or you can listen to the audio and read the text below.
We never switch off.
And it’s any wonder we’ve got so many balls in the air.
No pockets, see?
But we can’t surreptitiously fondle them like you do on the train.
Or at work. In a queue. On the couch. At the cricket. In a lift.
We too manipulate constantly
To avoid dropping the ball
Coz that shit’ll get you killed, man.
We keep juggling until the terror is back in the back of our minds.
We keep cool.
We keep our hands where you can see them.
We keep our shirts on.
We keep cracking our perfect non-committed smile
Like a dropped egg’s thick yolk
Reminiscent of the blood that stained the grouting that one time
But he didn’t mean it.
We’re on our hands and knees, scrubbing
To ensure we don’t end up on the evening news.
We run surveillance.
We run to the other side of the street.
We run a constant stream of ‘what will I do if he does that’.
We’ve run home, balls to the wall like harpies
To find our secret safe places drawn upon by sharpies.
Yours truly, dicks & balls.
Your genitalia emblazoned across the paper, and the paper-thin walls.
You turkey-slap us on the train.
At work. In a queue. On the couch. At the cricket. In a lift.
And you can’t understand why we keep walking home with our keys
In our fists like some kind of budget wolverine?
Well, it’s simple.