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When you are a woman like me (a poem)

When you are woman like me
you have a lot of enemies
When you are a woman like me

When you are a woman like me
People don’t like you
They exclude you
They laugh about you
They try to “get you” but they don’t
When you are a woman like me

When you are women who is honest
People are infuriated by you
When you tell it straight down the line
They want nothing to do with you
They censor you
They want you to go away
Turn a blind eye
When you are a woman like me

Does freedom even exist?
We have been sold an expensive myth
Like soldiers at war they want us to march
They want to shout us the orders
Then they wonder why we bark
It isn’t a male or female thing
It’s the structures, it’s their ways
When you are woman like me

But I’m done with charades
I won’t sacrifice myself
Just to play the stupid game
If they want to come for me let them come
I’d rather pay than play the game
With tears in my eyes
I’ll stand strong and tall
And mightier than all of this
Because I am a woman like me
I will be a woman like me
No way they’ll tear me down
I am a woman like me

First published on Medium

By |2019-06-24T18:23:03+10:00June 24th, 2019|Poems (PG rated)|0 Comments

Mothers are supposed to (a poem)

Mothers are supposed to be caring
Mothers are supposed to cook
Mothers are supposed to nurture
Mothers are supposed to clean
Mothers are supposed to pick up the kids
Mothers are supposed to protect
Mothers are supposed to comfort
Mothers are supposed to help kids with homework
Mothers are supposed to be proud
Mothers are supposed to put everything above their children
Mothers are supposed to put looking after their children above work
Mothers are supposed to be married
Mothers are supposed to be married to men that provide so they can achieve the above
Mothers are not supposed to leave their children for more than a few hours or a day
Mothers are supposed to work only if they have no choice other than to work
Mothers should only work the hours required to make ends meet
Mothers are not supposed to travel for work and leave their children in the care of others
Mothers are not supposed to pursue dreams if it means leaving their children in the care of others
Mothers are supposed to physically always be there for their children
Mothers are supposed to just be mothers
Mothers are supposed to sacrifice themselves for their children
Mothers are supposed to act like mothers
Mothers have responsibilities
Mothers who do not take on their responsibilities are selfish mothers
Mothers who don’t act like mothers are bad mothers
Mothers who don’t act like mothers are bad mothers
Mothers who do not act like mothers don’t love their children
Mothers who have a break down because they can’t cope with all this shit don’t love their children
The world looks at women who are mothers through the judgmental lens of ‘mother’
The world looks at women who are mothers not as women but as mothers
The world dictates what I can and can’t do based on me being a mother
I am not acting responsibly unless I’m acting like a mother
I birthed a child and the world chains me to the word ‘mother’
The world tells my child I am not a good mother
The world tells my child I am not a good mother
Other women tell my child I am not a good mother
This is what one deals with daily when they are a mother

First published on Medium

By |2019-06-24T18:18:35+10:00June 17th, 2019|Poems (PG rated)|0 Comments

Australia’s Geoffrey Rush verdict and #Metoo — should we be worried?

Ladies. Ladies. Ladies. Welcome to the new world of shut up.

Should we be worried? Hell, yes! If you haven’t already noticed, journalism is struggling to stay afloat in the face of social media stealing a huge chunk of its income. Newspapers have been forced to be kinder to its advertisers and everything is about the click. A few years ago, the phrase ‘click bate’ was a discussion about integrity, today it’s a discussion about survival. Budgets have been cut. Editors are scrambling. Suddenly stories and op pieces that were easily published are harder to get picked up. The media is scared. My job as a writer brings with it many risks.

Read the rest of the article on my Medium.

By |2019-06-24T18:04:53+10:00May 31st, 2019|The media, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Why GoT fans whinging about the last season have got it all wrong

[Please note, this article contains spoilers]
[Please note, this article contains spoilers]
[Please note, this article contains spoilers]
[Please note, this article contains spoilers]
[Please note, this article contains spoilers]
[Please note, this article contains spoilers]
[Please note, this article contains spoilers]
This article as been published on my Medium. Click here to read.

By |2019-06-24T18:09:20+10:00May 31st, 2019|Reviews|0 Comments

How we have learned to be away from one another (a poem)

It was excruciating at the start

You had barely stopped nursing at my breast
You cried for me when I was away from you,
you cried for your dad when you were away from him,
I’d go from one embrace to the next
searching for love like yours,
Have a breakdown every time –
The pain was so bad I wanted to die,
like ripping your foetus from my womb

It was very difficult at the start

But tears dry over time, my baby, don’t they?
Scars scab
Only we know what it’s like,
to have to force your mind to stop thinking about cuddling
to have to force your mind to stop thinking about laughing together
to have to force your mind to stop worrying if you’re okay without me
It’s easier not to think about it and keep busy until next time
Try and finish all the work and chores before next time

But our weekly reunions, they are like fireworks in the sky!
We shut out the world and hold on tight
We’ve only got a few more days of our special time
Before we have to break away again
It goes so fast, where has it gone?
Just one more day, life, just one more day, time
Our hearts, sewn together so tight
Unstitching is painful and takes time

But tears dry over time, don’t they, my tween?
Sewing skills are mastered
No longer a baby anymore,
you’re starting to set up your own life now
Friends and boys and school and fun
We are like besties now
We talk about everything
Our dreams and our fears,
Our hopes and our sorrows,
I get to travel more now that you’re older
I get to pursue my career and my dreams
We Skype every day and chat and laugh and
say how much we miss each other
You say that I’m cute and that I inspire you
& that you’ll be just fine, not to worry

& I know this, I know

Because we’ve learned to be away from one another

Photo Passionate Tongues Poetry Reading, 2013. Photo Michael Reynolds

By |2019-05-31T09:40:42+10:00May 12th, 2019|Poems (PG rated), Uncategorized|0 Comments

If I found out I was dying (a poem)

If I found out I was dying
I would write the best poetry

It wouldn’t be about being sick
but about all the shit people think
but don’t say

(Yes, even I have some of that poetry.
Weird right?)

These poems would be in addition
to the poems I occasionally recite to my boyfriend,
the ones I’ve told him to publish after I’m dead,
tentatively titled ‘zero f—ks’ or maybe
‘Koraly, the uncensored poems’
(Look out for it in bookshops when I’m gone)

It’ll be my best book in terms of sales
& finally I’ll make the money
I was supposed to make
but didn’t make
because ‘Australia’
& arts types from all walks of life
who operate with
huge gates up their arses
but pretend like they don’t

I was also considering, however
the sweetness of being naughty
& publishing one or two of these poems
on my blog before I die

& all the bitches are arseholes
who would have usually got into a big huff,
spewing their political correctness all over me
so that nobody will go near me and touch me again,
those people won’t be able to say much at all
(I’ll tell everyone I’m dying before I post them)
& finally they’ll get a taste of what it’s like
to get your tongue chopped off

Because nothing wins a debate better than
I’m dying, bitch, go fuck yourself

By |2019-05-11T08:20:34+10:00May 11th, 2019|Poems (R rated)|0 Comments

Terrorist (a poem)

You think you are so fu–ing smug,
but you are the just phlegm
spat out the other end
of propaganda

You think you have achieved, my friend?
You haven’t achieved anything at all
You had your whole life ahead of you
& you flushed it down, into the mouths
of hungry politicians

I am not surprised you are Australian
Born and bred in the palace of multicultural racism,
you are a product of your motherland’s tender breast,
a deformed mutation
of an unbalanced, ecological society
when I see our flag
all I am reminded of
is colonial white men like you
& the white wives beside you

You by no means deserve this poem.
Or maybe, in a sense, you do
Because I want you to know all this,
as you sit in your cell in the night
smug as an arrogant cunt,
that those that shout under your banner,
– those to your left, and those to your right –
but also those who sit directly opposite you
that with every bullet you bleed
every bomb you blast

You lose

The shards come for you, don’t they?
You’re probably feeling them now
Just under your skin, they bleed
When the epicentre of your actions are done
The shards embed in you, don’t they?

You will probably never sleep again,
as the ghosts of your innocent victims roam above you
they will run circles, their cries will live inside your mind,
plague your every cry from the day of your action till your last

It must be difficult to sit smug,
as the whole world watches
Points fingers at you
It must be difficult
Ample punishment, I suppose
To have to uphold being a hero to your banner-men
when deep down you feel kind of dumb

By no means, do not mistake this poem for sympathy
It is in fact the opposite of that very idea
It must feel weird to have lost all hope for a great life
In the quest for popularity
It must feel a bit odd for you now
after you had your few hours of gratification
that it was a bit of an anti-climax for you
Maybe you should have tried a career in acting instead
That may be some advice you could pass onto your extremist friends
Because at the end of the day
good people who don’t kill innocent people
outnumber bad people like you
I hope it doesn’t offend you that I call you bad
But at the same time I hope it does
Adds another little shard
Under your skin
You won’t take us down
With you
We outnumber you
So, just sit there, smug
And ROT

By |2019-03-29T09:32:32+10:00March 17th, 2019|Poems (R rated)|0 Comments

Poem for Aiia

Aiia, I keeping hearing your head hit the pavement,
down by the mouth of Latrobe,
where the muzzas and the wogs
get their uni degrees

I keep hearing your head hit hard
You were on the phone to your sis,
If only she could have reached through the line
to strangle him
punch him
stop him
I hear her screams from Palestine:
Bring me sister’s body to me!
Bring her home to me now!

I’d sacrifice knowing your name and your joyous face
just to have you carry on living life like you were,
making the most of all it had to offer you,
being ambitious, reaching for your dreams
riding the ride of life with a smile

Your dreams are our sadnesses now
Your hopes, our heartbreak
Your safety, our nightmare

I always tell the ones who come here
wide-eyed and bedazzled by the fruits of Australian opportunity:
Do not be deceived by what you see
There is a bloody history here
Years and years of corrupt policy,
of sexism, racism and misogyny
There is danger in the night
Take care, stay close to others
Be wary, there is danger in the night

I wish I could have told you, Aiia
Maybe then, just maybe, I would not know your name
I wish it was safer for you, that murder did not roam in our place
Instead, I keep hearing your head hit the pavement
Aiia, I wish I did not have to write this poem
I wish I did not know your name

Image by Brendan Bonsack

By |2019-01-22T18:02:39+10:00January 20th, 2019|Poems (PG rated)|0 Comments

My unforgettable night – Melbourne book launch Just Give Me The Pills

I started writing this as a Facebook post and then I thought to myself that this deserves a blog post because last night, my Melbourne launch of Just Give Me The Pills, was just – wow. Probably in terms of my career, last night was one of the most powerful nights of my life. It was unexpected that it was so, it almost felt accidental, like all these things came together in this precise way to make it so, but I was the one who made the night happen, so I guess it was not.

I started with my best friend in the world Amy Bodossian hosting and being her beautiful, vulnerable, wacky self that I love and adore. Then Emilie Collyer launches my book with a speech that was also like a review of my book and all I kept thinking was “she gets it, she understands the book” and it got me thinking about how male reviewers and female reviewers are SO different in their interpretation of my work and it is the women who always just nail it. When she read my poem ‘backyard flood’, a reconciliation moment with my family (this is the first part of the poem…)

Backyard Flood
I have wanted the heaven to open all my life
and they did thirty-two years later
Christmas Day at Mum and Dad’s
Hail the size of lemons on the tree
Sheltered by the havoc we knew was due
We all stood on the veranda
Watched in amazement the desecration…

an image came to my mind of my family on the veranda, which happened many years ago, and I thought to myself that because I was brave enough to put my story to the page, my family and our moment, our image is going to remain timeliness, long after I too have passed, and it was in that moment that I felt the power of what I had done, the power of my book, Just Give Me The Pills, that not only will I help other women to be empowered, or people who are in marriages (or situations) where their self-worth is ten feet underground, but this image of my family will be immortal.

And then there was the women! The other performers! I wanted my book launch not to be just a celebration of my book, but I wanted to move the focus away from it being me performing my poetry but to bring poets and singers from migrant backgrounds (ones that inspired me) so together we could make a collective ‘sound’, a collective ‘call’, a collective ‘statement’, that we are women, our families migrated here, and we have a voice. I asked them all to interpret the metaphor ‘just give me the pills’ in any way they liked, and what they came up with was so powerful that by the end of the night when it was my turn to perform I struggled. I thought to myself I don’t know if I’m going to be able to perform! Many of these poets had written their pieces because I had invited them to be a part of my event and what they came up with blew my mind. And to think that I had inspired it! I had been the trigger! This is art.

Kylie Supski’s poem of dabbling outside the margins of normal, Tariro Movondo’s piece about her mother’s struggle as a single mother raising her children as a women of African diaspora, Pascal Latra (accompanied by Jacob Papadopoulos) interpreting the stories of my heritage through Greek blues music and transporting us all to Greece, Misbah Wolf (accompanied by Nick Wolf) and her song about depression called ‘the bell jar’, Angela Costi’s poem about her work as a front line worker helping women in abusive relationships and Amanda Anastasi’s poem about her memories of growing up in multicultural suburbia – all of this poetry together had me thinking beyond my book launch. There is an absence of this collective voice in the arts. Maybe my book launch has inspired me into a different kind of venture! All I could think was I need to bring these women together again, or this idea – women from migrant backgrounds.

Despite this I did perform, and my heart was so overfilled with respect, admiration, love, support, inspiration for not only these women but for the people who came to the event to make it the special and unforgettable night it was. Thank you to all who made it so. x

All images in this post Brendan Bonsack. Thank you to the Greek Community of Melbourne and Victoria for supporting the event. Thank you to my editors Les Zigomanis, Maurice Mcnamara and David Cameron. Thank you to Outside The Box Press.

Kylie Supski

Emilie Collyer

Emilie Collyer

Amanda Anastasi

Amanda Anastasi

Amy Bodossian

Amy Bodossian

Misbah Wolf and Nick Wolf

Misbah Wolf and Nick Wolf

Angela Costi

Angela Costi

Pascal Latra and Jacob Papadopoulos

Pascal Latra and Jacob Papadopoulos

By |2018-12-03T19:07:39+10:00December 3rd, 2018|Creative commentary|0 Comments

Why don’t you piss in my mouth? / Γιατί δε μου κατουράς μέσα στο στόμα? (poem)

This poem is response to the product “Body Jane” which received EU funding. The product can be purchased as a drink bottle or a urinal. You can read more about it here in English or Για περισσότερες πληροφορίες κάντε κλικ εδώ here in Greek. This isn’t the first time this has happened. In 2012, a Sydney restaurant had urinals shaped like women’s mouths however complaints had them removed. From what I can see, “Body Jane” is still available.

This poem was written in Cyprus. After I spend some time in Cyprus my thoughts become Greek-Cypriot and so my poetry begins to come out in this language. I find this very interesting! Anyway, here we go. Thanks to Andreas Kyriakou for the translation which we did together.

(English version below)

Γιατί δε μου κατουράς μέσα στο στόμα?
Δεν είναι έτσι που θέλεις;
Για σένα είναι επιτρεπτό
γιατι διστάζεις τότε;
Τα λόγια μου τα θεωρείς γέλια
Το σωμα μου σκεύος ηδονής
Αλλά εγώ απαγορεύεται
Αλλά εγώ απαγορεύεται
Αλλά εγώ απαγορεύεται να την νιώσω,
Αλλιώς είμαι τσούλα

Θεωρείς τα λόγια μου γελοία,
Έτσι δεν είναι?
Για σένα δεν είμαι ούτε καν άνθρωπος
Πρέπει να είμαι χαζή
Πως μπορώ να είμαι έξυπνη αφού σε χρειάζομαι
να με καθοδηγάς κρατώντας μου το χέρι?

Πάρε το μπουκάλι με τα ούρα σου
Αυτό που έβαλες στο σώμα μου
Και πάρε το μαζί σου στα μπαράκια και πιες το σαν βότκα
Είναι δικό σου, όχι δικό μου
Αυτό σου αξίζει
Έτσι δεν είναι φαλλοκράτη μου?
Μωρό μου
Μωρο μου
Μωράκι μου

Στην υγειά σου!

Why don’t you piss in my mouth?
Isn’t that what you want to do?
You have the power to do it, so why not?
My words are a joke to you,
my body only for your pleasure
But I am not allowed to feel none
But I am not allowed to feel none
But I am not allowed to feel none
& if I do I am a slut

You laugh at my words, don’t you?
I must be sub-human to you
I must be dumb
How could I possibly be smart
when I need you to guide me
and tell me what to do?

Take the pee you placed in my body
out dancing for the night
& drink it like vodka
It is yours, not mine to take
That is what you deserve,
my patriarchy
my baby
baby, baby

Cheers!

By |2018-10-08T09:17:28+10:00October 7th, 2018|Poems (PG rated)|4 Comments