i’m writing in the dark
without a light while the
coming-of-age movie narrates
on the screen it’s a déjà vu
landscape i know the scene
gumtrees overhang the road
like a cathedral a bushtrack
meanders to some place
of transgression the nostalgia
of a country town where there
were always too many hours
when nothing begins this
story is about boys

but i want to talk about girls

i always followed the risk-taker Wendy
the wilful one the husky-voiced one she
went where she wanted like Angelina Jolie
in Girl Interrupted so normal to be naughty
your mother frowned ‘she’s a funny one
wish you’d choose nicer friends’ but we
rejected her routine churchgoer collection
plates hymns sung out of tune cake stalls
cross-stitch samplers hung on the walls –
God Dwells In This House

we lived at the periphery
where it was easy to fall off
though we could never let go
of our delinquent dreamscape

how game i was then kissing a boy from
a bodgie gang in the dark after the school fete
while everyone waited & watched & when
Wendy and me were pursued through paddocks
& drains by a boy we knew with an Elvis pompadour
high on something wicked & a loaded rifle even today
could never understand why we were prey luckily
the bullets never hit but the fear was left inside

i am i am i am

until I’m not

I am I am—–until I’m not’ – quoting Maggie O’Farrell

Carolyn Gerrish


Carolyn Gerrish is a Sydney poet. She has published five collections of poetry. The latest being The View from the Moon (Island Press 2011). She enjoys performing her work and is currently working on her sixth collection.

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