Writings

Reviews, interviews and academic writing

Poetry

Feature poet at Perth Poetry Festival's LGBTQIA+ Poets night: Friday 9 August 2019

Feature poet at Spoken Word Perth event 'Fortitude', October 2017 (Paper Mountain):

https://www.instagram.com/p/Baqi2IZFCAz/ 

Feature poet at Literary Youth Festival Polylingual Reading Night, April 2017 (City of Perth Library) 

Borders

My grandmother speaks of her mother’s quickening heartbeat.

She is two years old and frightened.

There is a border crossing and my grandmother is pressed against her mother’s chest.

She cries, as babies do.

She does not understand that if they make too much noise they will be caught – and if that happens they will be sent back and then her crying would cease altogether.

And still today the sight of an alleyway or a tall fence is enough to bring back the tightening of her chest, the shortness of breath.

She was a wanderer between countries – maps broken and twister and the borders are the dictators.

 

Today, my grandmother strokes my knuckles and my hair.

She sings me home when I am far away.

I am far away.

 

My ancestors are all beings trapped between onion farms and tall wire fences they never escaped from and now I reside here – in this place that never was mine anyway.

Today, my grandparents hold official documents the way I hold people.

Today, my grandmother watches the news wearily and warily, and when she calls me across the ocean I hear her sigh long and loud – and I am still.

 

 

i put my hand out

 

i put my hand out for the policeman to shake and I do not remove it until he has shaken it,

until he has acknowledged its presence in the 50 or so centimetres between us.

i will my eyes to meet his.

i do not look away

i pull myself up to my full height (which is still pretty small) but I will my presence to surpass the limits of any building, to reach every horizon, to transcend this body.

i wish my presence could stop this mine we are protesting.

i wish my presence meant something beyond this interaction, beyond this room.

So i planted my feet firmly, as we planted seeds of resistance.

 

i put my hand out for the policeman to shake and I do not remove it until he has shaken it.

I tell the policeman my name and i make him say it back to me, pronounced the right way.

 

After Loyce Gayo’s How We Forget

We forgot we were worshipping bricks

We forgot who laid the bricks and who lay under the bricks and who had to be slaughtered for the bricks to be laid

We forgot fast-food napkins and burnt Australian flags and broken beer bottles

We forgot to write small so our notebooks wouldn’t run out of space

We forgot to pace our poetry and almost fizzled out

We forgot poetry needed pace

I forgot my mother never had a middle name but gave me one anyway

I forgot I never told you that

I forgot women don’t say kaddish and tried to learn it anyway

I forgot to give myself permission to be a firework.

We forgot fireworks were legal

I forgot that time we lit them in the garage and it was raining: mum, dad, benji, adam, me and our neighbours ken & jill

I forgot how Australian my dad thought he looked; like he was surprised to see it rain while he was conjuring fire.

“Water”, my grandfather used to say, “is the only problem this country has.”

And how I wished that what he’d said was true – that water was the source of all this empty unknowing and not merely a symptom.

We forgot concrete was once swamp, once fireplace, once home

We forgot footpaths were once wetlands and people still seem to ask me why I get sad in the city?

Don’t they know?

That we forgot the unmarked graves under the train station, under Parliament House?

We forgot footsteps have colours and shapes and we forgot to look at the marks ours made

We forgot that things we’re wary of still have names.

Like – how I forgot these white, white palms and this white face staring back at me in the mirror and these blue jewish eyes and how I forgot the irony of that statement and how maybe it never really was that simple anyway?

 

So I squeeze my eyes shut and try remember something – anything

But everything I try to remember is just a story and not truth and never can be and all I remember is how silly it was lighting fireworks in the rain, dancing under the downpour while my father tried to coax a flame from pieces of moulded plastic and paper.

 

Pledge – After Safia Elhillo’s ‘Self Portrait with no flag’

 

i pledge allegiance to my brother’s awkward dancing in a club at 2am,

& to my grandfather’s singing voice trembling on the long-distant skype calls,

i pledge allegiance to all the brilliant teenage girls I have ever met,

to the kids with absurdly long names like mine & to all the times a teacher skipped over their names on a roll because it was ‘too hard to pronounce’

I pledge allegiance to simcha and naches, the Yiddish words for heart-warming goodness & joy that do not/cannot translate

To the drawings we make on street corners and in dusty playgrounds, to my mother’s hair dye, to her kneading of the beigli dough, the stirring of the soup…”lasan, lasan” (slowly, slowly), she murmurs…

 

Je promet moi-même a aucun pays, aucune frontière qui décide qui va vivre et qui va mourir, aucune langue qui ne forme pas dans ma bouche – et aucun mot, d’aucune langue appartient à moi, à mon souffle, à ma inspiration et ma expiration.

 

I pledge allegiance to no country, no border that decides who lives or dies, no language that does not form in my mouth – & no word belongs to me, to my breath, to my inhalation and my exhalation.

 

I pledge allegiance to the trees: (balga, eucalyptus, banksia, sheoak)

 

To my friends confronting authority with courage and grace, to those suffering in silence in cages we ourselves built.

Never will I pledge allegiance to a document or an army or a white man in a suit smiling on tv

 

I pledge allegiance to the rays of sunlight filtering through my window each morning & to the lines that form on your back.

& the country does not exist

& the pledge is only for this: for joy, for endless mitzvah, for the roar in our bellies & our wide-open throats & outstretched hands reaching for stars

 

Beeliar

it is autumn & I am squeezing your hand

& the ground underneath is soft and the wetlands are glorious & seven months from now you will be arrested while trying to protect these wetlands

& you will find the carnaby’s cockatoos dead on your friend’s porch & the police will be out in their hundreds just to show you how powerful you really are

& they will slander you in newspapers & on radio & in the halls of parliament & still you stand

      unfazed

& when this happens I am far away

            in a stranger’s apartment

            in a strange tall building in Singapore

& I am watching the photos trickle in on my facebook feed & I wish we could go back in time

                        to a time before bulldozers & before sniffer dogs

& we are sitting on your picnic rug & you are glowing

you, rays of sunlight exploding from your chest

you, woman made of fire & courage

& the air is gentle and warm on our backs & you ask if you can kiss me in public & my body floods like the wetlands in wildflower season & I say of course & afterwards I lean against your shoulder & we stay like that for a long while without moving

 

& the banksias are all still there and whole and

            we

                        breathe.

 

 

Inspired by Danez Smith: “let my body be a godless church, holy for no reason beyond itself.”

 

i don’t want to have sex in the dark.

 

            i want my body to be a shining orb:

                        my pleasure a cascading fountain or the world’s most excited-joyful-site of riot.

can pleasure be a riot?

a defiance – a rallying cry for all that is sacred

 

and when I say sacred I don’t mean what cannot be touched or held but these magical parts of ourselves we can open to desire if permission is given?

 

how stubborn can my desire be?

can it open doors?

Decide to speak before being spoken to?

 

sometimes i touch myself and instead of thinking of you or the one before you i think of myself.

            i practice saying the word ‘wank’ out loud.

 

                        still scary

 

 

(untitled)

Yesterday it rained down on this mixed-up broken town of ours.

And then the downpour came – coating our tongues & breaths in a light film

            bringing relief

 

& on the other side of the country people are dressed in yellow because Jem is gone

yellow                                   Jem’s favourite colour

 

im not there

im here

under this apocalyptic-coloured sky (bushfire nearby), cars stop to capture a moment in time (smoke covering sky) trying to find the yellow

 

the sky reminded me of January 2003

huddled around my parents’ radio

waiting for evacuation warning

the day blackened gum leaves dropped from the roof,

gutters heavy

  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Instagram Icon
  • Grey Vimeo Icon

 © by Noemie Huttner-Koros 

I acknowledge that I live, work and play on the unceded sovereign lands of the Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation. I acknowledge all First Nations Peoples across this country and pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.

noemie cecilia
huttner-koros