Wounded children

Fear of exposure is predicated on shame. If one is not ashamed to be seen, truly seen for who one is, there is no way to be exposed by anyone else. Shame is predicated on wanting to hide and I do not want to hide.

If you show me to the world as I was born I will say “yes, this is me, see how beautiful I am.” There is no shame. I am not ashamed of my body or of that which lies under its skin. I do not hide.

If you try to sully my name I will freely admit my sins and say what I have done wrong. I take responsibility for all I do. I make mistakes and do not claim to be perfect. Perfection is a fantasy that maims.

If I cannot be honest with myself, there is no way I can relate to you. Those who cannot be honest cannot be close with themselves or others. I am able to be close.

I do not hide. You see my writing and in it you see me. You cannot take away my clothes or my mask, because I do not wear any. I walk around naked every minute of the day. I know me and in knowing me I know you too. I am brave, but are you?

I can see you behind your mask and your costumes and your skin. I see you clearly and this makes you uneasy. There is nowhere to hide and being seen terrifies you. I see you.

Rest assured, if anyone else could see beneath your surface, they would not see much, for there is very little there, nothing tangible. Maybe the ghost of a little boy unable to articulate his fear or secure the love he needs. He trembles. He cowers. He hides. He rages. He cries in secret. It is for him I have love and compassion. It is with him that I try to connect.

I do not love the shell of you. Your shell is old and it is hard, cold and impermeable. It is aggressive and greedy. Your shell takes and takes.

Child me connects with child you, for that is where we share DNA. You know me for I used to be like you, until the moment I was not. The moment you decided to remain more animal than human. Predatorial.

I have met you before, many times already in this life, but that does not mean you are safe. It only means I know you. I was born to one just like you. There was a moment when you all chose the wrong path, the sinister one, and now there is no way back. I chose the right path, so now, after decades, we are chasms apart. Yet somehow the ghost of you echoes within the kernel of me. You are a product of the path I refused to choose.

I do not love the shell of you. Your shell is old, gnarly and calcified. Your shell is punctuated by an erect, hungry cock. Your mouth is full of sharp teeth and your mind is full of chaos. You have eyes that cannot see.

You are grown now, and all you are is this carapace. You are a mirror and a mime. I will not be your muse. You are layers of defensiveness: sweat and hair and ink and smalls and thermals and shirts and jumpers and coats encased in armour, sequestered away on an island in a fortress surrounded by moats that distance you from those you claim to love. You are locked away in a state of arrested development. You are an onion with an empty core and I peel you back until you are no more. I will not be your whore.

Miss me, kiss me

You miss me like you miss your father’s missing love
Imaginary love you miss
You miss his utter lack of love
And kiss me searching for it

I miss you like I miss my mum
And love she never gave (nor you)
We mesh by prodding empty holes
And miss each other’s truth

Mother’s Day Slam (spoken word video)

This poem is for all of you who find mother’s day difficult, for whatever reason. Your experience is valid, it matters, and you matter. You are not alone. Much love to you today.

To read the text of Mother’s Day Slam, click here. You can also watch the video with auto-captions; please switch them on in the settings menu in YouTube.

Mother’s Day Slam

And so on this most feel-good of tributary days, on the day of the deification of The Mother and all that is maternal, loving, warm, caring, nurturing, selfless, giving and kind, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day.

To those who were unmothered, who were ignored, abandoned, abused, subsumed, repressed, oppressed, used, treated as a friend, or a play-thing or a no-thing.

To those who grew up without role models, so that a mother means mean and selfish and distracted and childish and foolish and unpredictable and explosive.

To those who mothered and continue to mother themselves, though without the guidance of role models do an imperfect job, alternately indulging the self ‘s every whim and punishing it with endless barrages of internal criticism.

To those who mother others, but not necessarily themselves. To those who had the mother-child role reversed, and learned to play carer, nurturer, listener, genie-in-a-bottle-granter-of-wishes, not just to their own mothers, who couldn’t mother them, but to everyone, stranger or friend, who needed a mother, at any time of day, or night, in any place, or any space, appropriate or not.

To those women who cannot or will not have children, you are not less of a woman for it.

To those of you who find today hard because of any or all of these things. To those who feel left out.

I wish you all a Happy Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day (spoken word video)

You can read the text of Mother’s Day here. You can also watch this video with auto-captions; please switch them on in the settings menu in YouTube.


This poem was originally published in 2018 after I experienced a miscarriage. This Sunday it is Mother’s Day in Australia. Every year I have two poems I post in order to draw awareness to the concepts surrounding motherhood and gender roles and the valorised, socially sanctioned, often unquestioned, myth of the ever-nurturing mother. Miscarriage is a devastating event. Being unable to mother when one wants to is also devastating. Being considered less-than by society for being unable to mother or for choosing not to mother, is blatantly wrong. Mother’s Day is about my miscarriage and about the lack of respect that women who do not mother are subjected to in patriarchal society. In the patriarchy, women are generally only valued in relation to others and what they can do for others, rather than for their own abilities and merits as autonomous individuals. My poem aims to address some of these themes and provides food for thought on a day when so many women feel lonely, less-than, or defective.

Mother’s Day

The blood
Marks me
As a woman incapable
Of mothering
Every moon

Stigmata
On cruciform sanitary pad
Growing stain
Reminding me
Of my irrelevance

I bleed internally
From excess womb
Invisible wound
Evidenced by bloated belly
Looks ripe but is empty

Embattled within
No red cross protects me
From enemy fire
I haemorrhage with ease
And lose credibility


This poem was originally published in 2018 after I experienced a miscarriage. This Sunday it is Mother’s Day in Australia. Every year I have two poems I post in order to draw awareness to the concepts surrounding motherhood and gender roles and the valorised, socially sanctioned, often unquestioned, myth of the ever-nurturing mother. Miscarriage is a devastating event. Being unable to mother when one wants to is also devastating. Being considered less-than by society for being unable to mother or for choosing not to mother, is blatantly wrong. Mother’s Day is about my miscarriage and about the lack of respect that women who do not mother are subjected to in patriarchal society. In the patriarchy, women are generally only valued in relation to others and what they can do for others, rather than for their own abilities and merits as autonomous individuals. My poem aims to address some of these themes and provides food for thought on a day when so many women feel lonely, less-than, or defective.

Mother(fucker)

On the outside:
smoothly impermeable,
swollen with smiles
dusty with sugar
That was then

Now:
little bits of the new me —
bitter little bits
cacao chips
emerge
as you bite in

You might be able to see
through my tiny soot-smudged windows
and be surprised
at what’s inside

I hope you are —
I keep myself to myself
because most of you have been quite horrid,
giving birth to an ire I now admire

I used to drench the flames
of my rage
at any cost until it cost me too much
But now I fan them with my feathers
to see what transpires

I like it, my ire
I like the fire I breed —
I like me
And for the very first time, what you think and want does not matter
Mother(fucker)