The Come Down (Kerri Shying)

Verity La Heightened Talk


Earring swishing   fell from favour
when the big fake ear vaginas  started to get stretched
in all good ears round town   a whole damn generation missing
the sensation    of throwing long strands
of   hair   around  like air–styles
the light pull felt across your skull skin
our real earrings    quiet talismans
the way we would take them off   when the time came
when night wore down   and the   hard core remained
stoned drunk   drug-fucked   and
as quiet as my breath
in the space below your nose
I’d place them    so gently in the palm of the chosen
sex object  you  would close that fist   and
smugly  everyone would

The come down

completely reveling in sloth  the Sunday
nummy num nums   all that’s on  your mind
nothing complicated  hanging like a string
from last night’s hem   it all went off
a treat   the band the glam the     we are
family   that never fails to bring down a house
the anthems  binding us like eggs or now in the
globo-vego  I guess the pumpkin slurry substitute
that slips in all the crevices and keeps us all
moist    that and the forty years of hormones
face cream  botox when you can get it   plus the
diet of a milk-fed veal calf if they lived on coffee-flavoured milk
and for tea  oh it is soup for sure  it is so important
to hydrate   I’m plumping up the cells    at 55
I can buy an arse
to match the face

Conglomerated Sorrow

I found the bags left over   from when you still dealt drugs   hidden up the back
of our old shed   it’s  been there for all our wars    just behind  the little Queen cat
her sat up like an ornament  inside the thick gloss paint   of the 1950’s cabinetry
fat with the black fine dust  our suburb tries to hide  in the up and coming
world of houses we hold all our sins in sheds   impacted as back teeth

                love silted in conglomerated sorrow   what never came to pass

our life as a dung heap   I had the windows fixed  I had the men come in     to sort
to drag us   into light  I found your Lithium    each one told me stories   I had not
heard   you whistle   and I come      back up the days  on disc  on film
on fire     is where it needs to be   the nothing    something    nowhere files
of all the worlds you were with me

and bulbul means heart

songbirds  woke me
this morning   absent  the alarm
no wonder I forget things
I look down
into a clothes morass
see my brain pill
nestling there
a small synaptic fowl
doing    not much good
to torn pyjama pants
all of us who take them
why  make a pill so small   to treat
the loss of feeling    in your hands
sometimes the skull
is a bone cup
holding words
on paper slips
my big dumb hands go diving
in Awabakal
bulbul  means heart


Kerri Shying is a poet and sculptor of Chinese and Wiradjuri family. Her book of poems sing out when you want me was published in 2018 by Cerberus Press (Flying Island Books—ASM) as a bilingual Pocketbook (delighting her family). She is currently at work on a chapbook for Puncher and Wattmann’s Slow Loris imprint.

Kerri has been published in Cordite, Snap Journal, and shortlisted in the Helen Anne Bell Prize and the Noel Rowe Prize in 2017 for the manuscript Know Your Country. She was grateful for the support of the NSW Writers Centre in 2017 while writing these poems, and the mentoring of Kit Kelen. She is disabled by a degenerative disease and lives in Newcastle, where she facilitates a group for other writers with disability, and tends garden with her famous dog Max.