Amelia Walker – Guest Poet

Each month I hope to host the poetry of a South Australian (or, in this case, former South Australian) poet on this web log.

This month I am very pleased to introduce the poetry of Amelia Walker.

Amelia has been writing and performing poetry since she was sixteen. Her work has been published in magazines and journals throughout Australia, the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Germany and online. In 2002 she was awarded the Independent Arts Foundation Scholarship for Youth Literature, which enabled her to publish her first collection, Fat streets and lots of squares: Poems for Adelaide.

When I think of Australia

I think of my childhood
that distant land
on the other side of puberty.
My family moved house
the same year I got my first bra’.
When I think of Australia
I think of star shaped cakes
dusty with icing sugar
of homegrown tomatoes
and loud Greek voices.
Our neighbours, three generations
in one house. A bungalow
like ours, maybe smaller.
They always brought us food.
I think of the deli’ on the corner
racing my sister on our bikes
to buy icy poles
and eating them, half melted
in the backyard
wearing bathers
running under the sprinklers
sopping and sticky.
Summer seemed hotter in those days.
Just like winter seems colder
and colder.
Australia is getting colder.
I switch on the TV and see wire
with children behind it.
If this isn’t their country
it isn’t mine.
I came here on a boat
smuggled piece by piece
like a jigsaw, in many boats
over more than a century.
I came as a refugee, persecuted
I came for work, a better life
I came from Prussia
from Germany, Scotland
and Ireland.
I was born in Australia. But
my bones were already millions
of years old
and bones remember everything.

previously published in Voiceworks

Bread and Cigarettes

The Man

His skin is pale.
He opens the curtains
Inside his house
he eats toast
and smokes cigarettes.
He goes out
to buy bread
and cat food.
He wishes he could
get them
from a vending machine.

The House


The Cat

Siamese sleek
she makes little
flicks of her tail
catches rats
rejects his offerings.
She sometimes sleeps
curled up, almost
making him believe
she is not cruel.
She sometimes demands
to sleep in his bed
(a futon)
when she wants to
on his pillow.
After such nights
he wakes unable
to turn his neck. However
after such nights
he wakes having slept.


Electricity Bill
Water Bill
Bank Statement
**Look 10 Years Younger Overnight!**
(conditions apply)
Library Notice:
‘I’m Okay, You’re Okay’
two years overdue.

Thoughts Running Through His Head On A Sunday Afternoon

I should get out of bed…
shouldn’t I?
I should.
I’ll only have to
get back in later. If
I get out of bed
I can eat toast.
But I’m sick
of toast. I do
need a cigarette
and a piss.
I wonder where
the cat went last night.
Hope she’s okay.
I really should
get out of bed…

Items On His Table

Coffee Cup
Ash Tray (overflowing)
Copy of ‘I’m Okay,
You’re Okay’
(book mark in page nine)
Porno Mag (edges tatty)
Photograph of a woman
with brown hair
green eyes and a gap
between her teeth.

previously published in Salt Lick

First Job

Submersed in the hum of fluorescent lighting, the meat shop girl
is mopping blood from a cracked floor and dreaming
of love. She can do this
because she is fifteen. And she is beautiful
but does not know it. Her mouse brown hair smells
of death and her boss’s pack a day habit.

Out back, he hangs pictures of women with breasts
bigger than the meat shop girl’s head.
He gazes at them whilst whittling flesh from carcasses
a sculptor, cigarette between his teeth.
The meat shop girl is fascinated
by the women, huge cats shaved, lounging on motorbikes.

Alone in the bathroom, she peeks
at her own breasts. Bigger than they once were
no where near the size of the picture women.
The meat shop girl touches her nipple. It touches back
surprising her. Face red, she pulls her baggy t shirt down
a tent, almost to her knees.

Still, the meat shop girl dreams of love
as she mops blood from the cracked floor and listens
to her boss call his ex wife a witch.
His nose is red with wide deep pores; thin purple veins
knit his cheeks. His red hand falls heavy
on the girl’s shoulder. She tenses, keeps mopping.

previously published in Pendulum


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