If you must make me,
draw me forth through that
have a care for this raw skin
what abrades it, how
it may be sliced and sutured
I was pure electricity, pure simian ululation
If you must cage me
box and bottle me
in a clumsy bucket
you will learn the sorrow of mangle and botch
of the warp and the scorch mark
You will see it is no sorrow
With luck I may multiply
I may layer, matrix, palimpsest
I may go choral, become geology
Take your hand from me
set me among a swarm of eyes
As they move over me
they will mark me, too
* The poem ‘manifest’ won category 3 of the 2016 ANCA (Australian National Capital Artists) Art Writing and Criticism Awards for a creative response to Material Poetics.
ACT poet Melinda Smith won the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary award for her fourth book of poems, Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call. Her poems have been anthologised widely in Australia and overseas, and translated into multiple languages.
Melinda’s next collection, Goodbye, Cruel, will be launched on Saturday 8 April at the 2017 Newcastle Writers Festival, where she will also be making a number of other appearances. A Canberra launch of Goodbye, Cruel will take place on Thursday 20 April, with appearances at Muse Canberra & Manning Clark House on the 23rd & 27th.
Melinda is currently poetry editor of the Canberra Times.