Bree Alexander: ‘In गति’

Bree Alexander reading ‘In Gati’

The first sensation of गति, my आज़ादी
rolling out, humming away
the rush to get here is washed away
the दिल्ली buzz, the crowd, the smog
I am stripped of it all as I lay my sheets down
stretch my body out, legs bent
लंबे लोग weren’t made for this bed
as the gentle side to side motion begins
rocking in crescendo as we glide forward, onward

the gentle sway, mesmerising dance
that will go on for days
that drives me to meditate, into an altered state
brings me into a शांत place with my प्यार
for this compact space, this flow, this flux
that will see me embrace my dreamscape
release my clenched fists, my downward gaze
let it all go, a state of calm, 
I surrender, let the गति take me

this solace in stillness I cannot taste
only ज़िंदगी in गति will see me sleep so deeply
as time and space take on another meaning
hours later when I wake, opposite me
auntie and uncle are seated खाना ready
packed and wrapped, they release their चपाती
सब्ज़ी in one टिफिन with another for अचार
my stomach is jumping, I lift my body slowly
feeling in my bag for foil, undo the पराठा       

that मेरे दोस्त had prepared at 3 o’clock that morning
You can’t take a train trip without खाना!
their fine work still holds warmth, rolled with their care
I tear away small pieces, wanting to savour it all
as I ruminate on धनिया, हरी मिर्च, आलू and गोबी
the मसाला of the आम का अचार made by रितु की मम्मी
I close my eyes, see the flavours all the more intensely
before I wrap it up, curl up once more
finding my dreamscape once more, captured
in a state of surrender, only in गति


Word/phrase Transliteration Translation
गति gati  motion
आज़ादी āzādī freedom
दिल्ली dillī  Delhi
लंबे लोग lambe lōg tall  
शांत śānt peaceful
प्यार pyār love
परदेशी paradēśī   foreigner
ज़िंदगी zindagī life
खाना khānā food
चपाती chapātī  A flat bread from the subcontinent  
सब्ज़ी sabzī  vegetable
टिफिन  ṭiphin tiffin – a metal lunchbox
अचार achār pickle
पराठा parāṭhā  layered version of चपाती madewith oil
मेरे दोस्त mērē dōst my friends
धनिया dhaniyā coriander
हरी मिर्च harī mirch green chilli
आलू ālū potato
गोबी gōbī   cauliflower

Bree Alexander (also Lika Posamari) is a multi-form Australian writer whose work has appeared with Eureka Street and Westerly, among others. She studied for a semester in Delhi in 2015 and continues to learn Hindi as she spends significant time in northern India. She was shortlisted for the Overland Fair Australia Prize 2018 (NTEU category) and she is the author of a poetry chapbook The eye as it inhales onions (in case of emergency press, 2018). She tweets sporadically @LaBree_A and blogs (mostly about films) at Roundly in the Eye.

Rosalind Moran: ‘You’d probablement detest this poème’

Rosalind Moran reading ‘You’d probablement detest this poème’

Fondée en 1935, notre mission est de normaliser et de perfectionner la langue française
-Académie française, Twitter

Most languages evolve – and then, we have French
Punished for growing older, going out « le weekend »
To drink socially with friends and imbibe some jeunesse
Through new mots, new argot. But no! Changing blesse.

So an institution formed: l’Académie française
Trailing obsolete grammar rules like so many sickly children
Pedantic, yet inventive; and I am fond of it, I respect it
takes a labour d’amour to carry language losing ground

Indeed, it must be hard being l’Académie française
Its motto À l’immortalité undermined by le franglais
and simplified speech; ’cos like, personne ne dit
« l’accès sans fil à l’internet » au lieu de « wifi »

Oh, Académie. Conservative, proud, and mocked
Eyes wide and staring as you sandbag crumbling shores
L’eau lapping like langues, tongues of water
Breaking over your linguistic seawalls.


Glossary

le weekend: the weekend
jeunesse: youth
mots: words
argot: slang
blesse: wounds/hurts (verb). [It’s a play on the English word ‘bless’ in the context of this poem]
l’Académie française: the ‘French Academy’, a linguistic institution which presides over the French language and decides which words, phrases, and rules are official and accepted.
d’amour: of love
À l’immortalité: To immortality
le franglais: French/English patois
personne ne dit: nobody says
« l’accès sans fil à l’internet »: access without wire to internet (i.e. wireless internet)
au lieu de instead of/in the place of
L’eau: water
Langues: tongues/languages


Rosalind Moran has written for anthologies, websites, and journals including Meanjin and Overland. She co-founded Cicerone Journal and was awarded 2018 Undergraduate Awards Global Winner for her research into biopics. Learn more at her blog or follow her on Facebook.

Rhea Kuruvilla: ‘Enne Ariyamo’

Rhea Kuruvilla reading ‘Enne Ariyamo’

I cannot speak this language.
It is not mine, but my father’s
Not mine, but my mother’s
It was lost to me long ago, hidden
In a secret space, deep in the wells of my memory.
This language is not mine. It is another’s.
But sometimes
It floats from this long-forgotten place
To the surface of my tongue.

Enthe peru Rhea. No, say ende
Roll your tongue back to the roof of your mouth.
Come. Let me teach you. 

Ma is for mazha
Tell me: how does it feel on your skin?
This is the water that birthed you.
That beat on the roof when you were ill
Mad with grief, trying to get in.

Enne ariyamo?

Aa is for antharjaanam
veiled-headed, bare-breasted
Crouching silent in the lamplight.
Eyes moving unknowingly
over these words.
The hunger takes her. For her sins, again
She goes into the water.

See how she looks at you.
See how she sees you
through the fog
of time
and circumstance. Ahankaaram.
Be grateful for what we have given you.

How bad did you have it?
Did they beat you, rape you, starve you?
All of these things, and more
they have done to me.

But I stayed, and was buried in the womb
From which I had sprung.
And yet you: free woman, cold woman,
have betrayed your mother
To suck at another’s breast.

Come back, come back.
It is not too late.
The earth and water still know you
as one of their own.
Your sisters are calling
Come back, they are falling
Va chechi, nammudoppam
uranukka

Enne ariyamo?


Glossary

Enne ariyamo? (ennay ariyamo): Do you know who I am?
Ende peru (enday paeru): My name is Rhea
Mazha (mara): rain
Antharjaanam: literally translates to ‘one who lives inside the house’. It was a term used to denote upper-caste Hindu Brahmin women in ancient Kerala, who lived highly restricted lives confined to the house.
Ahankaaram: arrogance, insolence
Va chechi, namuddoppam uranukka: come older sister, sleep with us.


Rhea Kuruvilla is a Canberra based Indian-Australian writer. She was the inaugural winner of the City of Casey Young Writers’ Competition in 2009.

Kathryn Hummel: ‘Buried Even Under’

Kathryn Hummel reading ‘Buried Even Under’

‘Khachar bhitor ochin pakhi kemne ashe jay…’
-Lalon Fakir


Never had the taste to travel in pairs
have I : I let the sheet of each country
slip off me

Bondhu! what it used to be is not 
where it once lay on this
skewed board of play : I try
moving in lines, smooth as the Queen

Each shift shows how far from arrival 
am I : bountiful the time
when thought sketched the shape
of my imprint, the rearing heads of its pattern
buried even under the crust of Kushtia
or some other dust of its ancestors : inlaid
like innocent grain in the decadent earth

Loneliness is the same
wrote he : a pillar 
as constant as five elements 
seeing off six seasons, the peeling away
of their limited embrace


Down to the river to cry me
a lesser one : this way went the
flow : no ache remained
but the rainbirds seeking water 
long before barsha : 
saturated with the stains of
birthing, a lep skimmed 
the current : in its discardment,
a cleansing


Sounds heard but never recorded :
tearing masalina into fine strips: the 
pull of water through the iron pump : the
crack of rat’s bone in kitten jaw : red
yarn unravelled and re-bound: the
swollen clatter of a ghungur : the
creak of the rosy descendent sun : a
break in the music for the azan : the
turning of earth under delicate hands : flames
snapping within their ring : the
foot-drop of the last to depart : or
the first to rise, following 
the dark-brewed dawn


Glossary

Khachar bhitor ochin pakhi kemne ashe jay: the unknown bird in the cage, how does it fly in and out?
Bondhu:friend
Barsha:rainy season
Lep:quilt
Masalina:muslin
Ghungur: circlet of bells used in song and dance


Kathryn Hummel is the author of four books of poems, with Lamentville (Math Paper Press), splashback and A Few Franks for Dearest Dominic (Prote[s]xt Books) forthcoming in 2019. Uncollected, her creative and scholarly works have been widely published/presented/translated/anthologised/ recognised. Recipient of the NEC/Meanjin Essay Writing Competition prize and the Melbourne Lord Mayor’s Dorothy Porter Award, Kathryn’s writing has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, The Atlas Review’s Non-Fiction Chapbook competition and Overland’s Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize. A former writer in various residences, Kathryn holds a PhD for studies in narrative ethnography and edits non-fiction and travel writing for Verity La.

(Photo by Omar Faruque)

Grace Feng Fang Juan: ‘Wei Wei (喂喂*)’

Grace Feng Fang Juan reading ‘Wei Wei’

Du-du-du
Circulating the infinity.
Wei Wei
Your familiar tone
Swings upwards.
Wei Wei
I mirror the warmth.
Through a spider web across the sea,

I imagine
That is how our breath
Sinks into the big white noise:
Thin, frail, in permanent repair.

Du-du-du
Waiting is longing.
喂喂                                                                                                                              

You radiate through the winter thickness.                                                    

Wei-Wei
I hide behind a poster of surreal heat.
I imagine
Your nose tip taps on my eyebrows gently as if touching invisible foams.

Du-du-du
Longing is remembering.

喂喂                                                                                                                       

Silence.
Memory rewound
Into a paper dragonfly.
Inert atmosphere, minimal wind.

Wei Wei
I am incapable of making a sound,

Inhaling like a broken jellyfish.

Du-du-du
Remembering is reimagining.
Wei Wei
I project your hair with reduced sheen,
White strands flow among the myrtles at the balcony. You freeze the petals in an old smart phone,
Send it to me
In prompting immediacy.

喂喂                                                                                                                           

You are the flowers, you are the petals.                                                                    

You are the continuum of morning rays.                                                                      

You tell me.


Wei Wei                                                                                                                

I am the petals of the myrtles.                                                                         

And I am the petals of your myrtles.

I say.


Grace Feng Fang Juan is a writer and filmmaker based in Melbourne. Actively engaged with the multilingual and trans-cultural space, she writes in Chinese and in English languages, exploring the in-between-ness and fluidity created by her diaspora experience through poetry, essays and arts reviews. She has written for the ABC and Peril Magazine.

Dženana Vucic: ‘gore gore gore gore’

Dženana Vucic reading ‘gore gore gore gore’

our equivalent of the grammatical joke
buffalo buffalo buffalo and etcetera
is gore gore gore gore
which, to an english speaker,
looks appropriate for a country
best known for its well-televised genocide

i write genocide both because it is true
and to avoid the glib rhyme that
english would produce
in bosnian, gore and rat do not rhyme
though arguably, they are related.
our rat, for example, was the najgore genocide
in european history post-holocaust.
this is what we are known for: gore. war.
there’s also a famous bridge.

if an english speaker heard it
gore gore gore gore
the trilled rs and vocalised es
would render it non-sensical
like so many buffalos buffaloing about
even google translate will not help
up up up it says and asks:
translate from croatian?
up above it says and asks:
translate from serbian?
up up up it says again.

if an english speaker asked about it,
if they asked some person who spoke
one of three languages that are actually just one,
they would find out it means
up there, the hills burn worse
and this too, seems appropriate for a country
best known for guns and landmines
in the hillsides around sarajevo.
at 1,425 days, it was the longest siege
of a capital city in modern history
and is therefore, memorable.

for bosnians too, gore gore gore gore
seems appropriate. it is nešto besmisleno
and bosnians love to laugh & know too well
the meaning of meaningless


Pronunciation and Translation:

Rat raat war
Najgore nigh goh reh worst
Nešto besmisleno neh-shtoh bez-mis-leh-noh something meaningless


Dženana Vucic is a Bosnian-Australian writer, editor and critic. She’s a commissioning and copy editor for The Lifted Brow and former Associate Editor for Arts, Culture and Books at In Review.  Dženana has been published in Going Down Swinging, Australian Poetry Journal, Scum, Rabbit, Film Focus, Lip Magazine and Junkee.com.

Ana Maria Gomides: ‘oração’

Ana Maria Gomides reading ‘oração’

Pai nosso que estás no céu
you made
          men
who thought themselves
          better
santificado seja
          Teu nome
on whose will
they claimed
          Teu reino
came
but it was really
ours
          paradise
na terra
as it is no
          céu
they took
          o pão nosso
          (and our women too)
and
we
never forgave
          as dívidas
          from those who
          trespassed
against
us
our
naked
          bodies
that did not yet feel
          shame
were called
          tentação
and
You never did deliver
us
          do mal
but delivered them
onto
us
          in the name of the
          Pai
they forced
us
to bear children
they would never father
          in the name of the
          Filho
our
sons came out lighter
          in the name of the
          Espírito Santo
our
bodies and
our
land were raped
to reap fruit
to their likeness
          Pois Teu é o reino
          Teu é o poder


Translation and Pronunciation guide

oração: (oh-ra-sa-oom) prayer
Pai nosso que estás no céu: (Pa-eeh noh-so que es-tah-s noh seh-oo)  our Father who art in heaven
santificado seja Teu nome: (san-chee-fee-cah-doh she-jza Teh-oo noh-meh) hallowed be thy name
Teu reino: (Te-ooh heh-ee-noh) Your kingdom
na terra: (nah teh-ha) on earth
céu: (seh-oo) heaven
o pão nosso: (o pan-oom no-soh) our bread
as dívidas: (as dee-vee-dass) the debts
tentação: (ten-tah-sa-oom) temptation
do mal: (doh ma-ooh) from evil
Pai: (Pah-ee) Father
Filho: (Fee-lee-oh) Son
Espírito Santo: (Es-pee-ree-toh San-toh) Holy Spirit
Pois Teu é o reino: (Poh-ees teh-oo eh oh hay-noh) For yours is the kingdom
Teu é o poder: (Teh-oo eh oh poh-dehr) Yours is the power



Ana Maria Gomides is an Afro-Latina writer of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, working and living in Birraranga. She writes reflexively on experiences of race, womanhood, queerness and trauma. Ana Maria received the Hot Desk Fellowship in 2017 and the Kat Muscat Fellowship in 2018, when she was also shortlisted for the Scribe Non-Fiction Prize. You can find her work on Djed Press, Cordite, Junkee Media, and FOLK Magazine.

Natalie D-Napoleon: ‘Careful’

Natalie D-Napoleon reading ‘Careful’

Squid ink risotto dark as the depths of the Mediterranean Sea; handmade gnocchi that dissolve in the mouth; lamb neck, cabbage and fennel stew, sharp and astringent to a seven-year-old’s tongue; whole lamb on the spit, turning, waiting, cracked peppercorns, bijeli luk, sol and capula, fat that melts and spits, spits, spits, made with my mother’s hands, my father’s hands, sol, bijeli luk stuffed into the flank, capula overflowing from the cavity where the stomach once was. Flaky, powdery twisted bliss a thousand Venetian years in one crisp-fried pastry hrustule. Kiflici: shortbread biscuits, curved Ottoman quarter moons, a brief rule of delight. Cobbler stew, flesh that melts, made with krumpir, capula and bijeli luk — in shallow night water, the price of a cobbler barb in my father’s bare foot. “Keep peeling bijeli luk until you think you’ve peeled enough, then peel some more.” Snapper fish head soup, creamy, sodium, rice absorbing the dense goodness of the flavours of the riba head and bones, topped with fresh flat leaf parsley from the home-garden – “Pazi kako to jelo ideš, moje dijete”maslinov ulje and bijeli luk, whole riba over coals of banksia bones, the bars of the gradeja tether the riba in its metal ribs, holding the flesh in place until it’s cooked and falls apart. Eat the crispy skin of the tailor and herring first, the sweetest meat by the tail, then eat carefully around the gut, child; careful, removing the thicket of bones. Kupus, krumpir, maslinov ulje and bijeli luk, paid for with the tail, fresh grilled from the shores of Korčula to the shores of Woodman’s point, Coogee; eating the thicket of bones, tail flesh that dissolves, maslinov ulje and bijeli luk; whole green beans, the beans my baba picked with her own hands, piling into rusted tin cans and topping them with a wet hessian sack to keep cool while sitting on her verge waiting for the vendor to stop by and collect the beans for market; pickled red and green paprika with peppercorns and capula; the crispy riba skin of delight; kruh, a bone broth soup; the splintered bone shards of family. To think I’m eating the stomach, to think I’m eating my words, or the world, or the whole sea; more more more more — once, it was the sweetest thicket of meat by the tail.


Glossary

baba: grandmother
bijeli luk: garlic
capula: onion (Dalmatian)
gradeja: a hand-held stainless steel net mesh grill for cooking over coals
hrustule: thin pastry that is folded and fried, similar to Italian crostoli
kiflici: a shortbread biscuit made in a crescent moon shape
kruh: bread
krumpir: potato
kupus: kale/collard greens
maslinov ulje: olive oil
more: the sea
riba: fish
paprika: capsicum
Pazi kako to jelo ideš, moje dijete: Careful how you eat, my child. (Dalmatian)


Natalie D-Napoleon is a writer, singer-songwriter and educator from Fremantle, Australia who now lives in California. She was raised on a farm by her Croatian-immigrant parents, who both left school at 14. She has an MA in Writing from Swinburne University and currently works as a Coordinator at a Writing Centre in a California city college. Her work has appeared in Southerly, StylusLit, Hippocampus, Westerly, Australian Poetry Journal, and Writer’s Digest. Recently, her poem ‘First Blood’ won the prestigious Bruce Dawe Poetry Prize, through the University of Southern Queensland, Australia.

Bree Alexander: ‘Cruzando’

Bree Alexander reading ‘Cruzando’

Contigo y sintigo I began
until I arrived at a point sin ti

Eres guap@ became
¡Qué guap@ eres!
and in a particular moment
¡Qué guap@ estás!

I was not sure if el cielo era azul
o naranja until I realised that
era azul, y estuvo naranja
from time to time

Me siento en otra dimensión became
como si estuivera en otra dimensión

vino vino vino…Qué?
Yes…it’s missing la uve

Panuelo panuelo
¿Alguién tiene un pañuelo?

Rosa rojo Roma reloj rama perro
(don’t confuse it with pero o porro)
repeat ‘til you have it
on the tip of your tongue

Ascensor, piscina (con θ)
Yeah…I will practice that sound
a little more

Estar ser estar ser
el problema el sistema el poema el idioma

Conservativo…quiere decir conservador
don’t confuse estar caliente y tener calor
Voy a por ella y tengo una de cosas esas

aunque sea un ridículo
aunque es encantador

I love the subjunctive
for those subtle distinctions
es una pasada

Menos mal que sigue el aprendizaje
forever
I will never reach perfection
pero cruzando sigo


Translation and Notes



Bree Alexander (also Lika Posamari) is a multi-form Australian writer whose work has appeared with Eureka Street and Westerly, among others. She spent three semesters (2009-10) studying at the University of Granada, Spain before getting her C2 DELE from the Instituto Cervantes and her love of Spanish continues. She was shortlisted for the Overland Fair Australia Prize 2018 (NTEU category) and she has a poetry chapbook called The eye as it inhales onions (in case of emergency press, 2018).  She tweets sporadically @LaBree_A and blogs (mostly about fims) at Roundly in the Eye.

Lesh Karan: ‘(Ir)responsible memories’

Lesh Karan reading ‘(Ir)responsible memories’

nine years old
potato curry
rice
an egg cracked in
carbs upon carbs
cooking

ten years old
bus   walk   siblings
to school
from school
swimming day
sleep   drool
pooling in lap
seeping home
library   rain
promise
of penalty
hill   cousins
bee stings
तुम बड़ी है
a goody-two-shoes
lace-looped
with adults’ duties

thirteen years old
camouflaged
in heels
conceivable
paternal fear
balloons
हाथ पैर काट के
room में बन्द

one claims
one denies
both there
neither present
memories fly
fragments stitched
in my fabric 


Transliteration and Translation

तुम बड़ी है /tum badi hein: You are the eldest 
हाथ पैर काट केhaath pair kaat ke: sever limbs
room में बन्द / room mein band: lock in room


Lesh Karan is a former pharmacist turned writer and recent poet. She is Fiji Indian and immigrated to Australia over 30 years ago. Lesh happily calls Melbourne home. Her website is leshkaran.com.