Kerri Shying – part two..

Kerri Shying is a poet of Wiradjuri and Chinese family, publishing across many journals and anthologies. 

She is the author of a bilingual pocketbook of poems “sing out when you want me”,2017, Flying Island Press,   “Elevensies”, 2018 Puncher and Wattman and “Knitting Mangrove Roots”2019, Flying Island Press.

Kerri held the Varuna Dr Eric Dark Flagship Fellowship for 2019 for her current collection  ‘Know Your Country” 2020, Puncher and Wattman, and was shortlisted in 2017 for both the Helen Ann Bell Prize and the Noel Rowe Award. 

Kerri has been convenor of Write Up for 5 years, a free arts/writing group for people living with disability.

She lives with disability in Newcastle, NSW with her famous dog Max Spangly. 

Kerri is a nominee in 2020, an activity of the Human Rights Commission, for disability activism in the arts. 


Speaking – Uncle Ray Kelly snr

what i’m doing   today    wishing i was 

with   the bronze winged pigeon   cousin
she’d make me laugh   the hairless cats

the dachshund made of ball bags  pickled
grey pink asked her once if an animal with

hair arrived   at their place would they shave it
she made that face  that went back years

crossed the generations   we are the arms
the legs the bodies mouths speaking gumar

spilling laughter    hiding  feathers

Emptying tea leaves in autumn

this half moon   golden   stuck

by mist along the nest side 

of the yucca tree   night

calls winter       one quilt

        nestling animals   grown indoor

in weeks

books and porridge 

talk to me from behind

say  its time for fire

we’re waiting on

the other side

Nothing like Nimbin

suffering   the climate doesn’t

lend itself to   real hard  scour

for the poor   see the bastards
loll   about in board shorts

growing veggies  like the climate

eggs them on  a failure

to participate  is no great thing
the ferals    like the old blokes say

some in every town  back out where

the dairy farmers were  before the soy
the nuts   the milk that went the way

of lard
I’ve been running round all week

on the chase   for how much heroin

it takes to kill a normal person

just try coming out with that   and

they say decency

is dead
I wish it was you
before you get    the wrong end

of the stick      in my own defence

I have to say   love is

consensual    the underclass

could mind their business too
I’m knitting mangroves    root by root   surviving

night and day    the inrush of the tides  i’m 

waterlogged I’m dry   I’m all the decades  of fringe sitting

knitting  and unwinding   telling    keeping secrets

all the words destined to wash up    this
kitchenette my laundry  torn apart by crabs
sluiced to sea    relying as I do on you   the moon

aiding and abetting   sun   if they can prove it    

so many other crimes    I live between the heat the bats

this under over     day and night    the leaves the 

tips the roots the air the water   knitting    all the time

parental advice

you can disguise the way

your past stinks

            fake a shallow grave      just

            halve the normal depth   so your decoy

fuckwittery can be inserted  

as a gravel bed   to divert a nose from

sin        guilt      shame  

your belief that

others ought not  look your



take the corpse of something small       a

crime of less significance                       classic

            is the body of a dog

            to hide the remnants

of a man 

the finding of the one   account for the stench

of that it pains you to explain    admit 

account for nothing
who digs 

deeper anyway

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