She, A Writer

She  writes  of  a  whale  born  lonesome
Consigned  by  a  larynx  misshapen  to  blubber
Unheard,  in  a  pitch  as  voiceless  as  a  rustwrapped
Tuba,  honking  on  the  ocean  floor.

I  watch  her  hands  wring  restlessly,
As  I  thumbover  this  draft;  she  is
Twisting  untwisting  an  absent  sheet
And  it  makes  me  think  that  she,  a  writer,
Has  never  quite  dispelled  the  woozy  sense
Of  a  foetus  eavesdropping  on  the  world;
A  world  beyond  this  maternal  blubber.

It  makes  me  shudder
To  think  of  her  tugging  on  shutters,
Shuddersome  in  bed,  in  the  presence  of  gods,
Countless  gods  now  debunked,
Who  once  extorted  sacrifice
And  willed  the  world  into  being
Out  of  indifference,  as  though  it  were  the  powder
Of  a  cigarette  butt  they  were  stubbing  out;
To  think  she  hears  still  their  omens,
As  a  whimpering  wind  in  laneways
Or,  in  her  words,  let  us  use  her  words:
A  whale’s  song;  sombre  tuba;
Mouthpiece  filled  with  sand.

Some  mornings,  escaping  her  muggy  room
She,  a  writer,  can  be  spied
Playing  Grand  Inquisitor:
Stately,  but  still  groggy,  heaping
Her  tortured  scribblings  on  the  pyre
She  watches  them,  windborne
Like  the  churning  silhouettes  of  distant  bats.
The  soot  departs
But  carries  a  secret  longing:

To  bewitch  some  wanderer
Who  finds  ash  upon  a  beach.


Image: Caleb Roenigk


Louis Klee is an emerging poet, playwright and writer. He is currently studying playwrighting at NIDA and working on a play about the extinction of indigenous languages. He is well-known for his activism – most notably in the fight against deregulation with his ‘Read-In’ protest and for his pivotal role in the ANU Fossil Free divestment campaign. He is also engaged in philosophy research, having just graduated from a Bachelor of Philosophy in contemporary European philosophy, critical theory and modern Jewish philosophy.
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