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Hi, I’m Nandi Chinna. I’m going to be reading two poems from my book Our Only Guide is Our Homesickness.
The farmer yelled that the bones were a nuisance
getting caught in the plough tines
when the steel teeth cut them from the earth.
My father and the other workers
tossed the bones in a pile
legs, arms, hips, heads
ripped up and stacked like mallee roots.
Dad put some of the bones on the back of the Landrover
and took them home. They lay in a hessian sack
in the cool limestone darkness of the shed,
small children crept in, playing games with string
trying to tie the bones back into a person.
Later, when he learned
about what had happened to the Ngarrindjeri,
dad wrapped the bones in newspaper
and put them carefully on the back of the Toyota.
Amongst dunes woven
with blue bush and sword rush
he dug a hole in a swale.
He wept as he returned the pieces one by one
and sat down in the sand
for a long time
an old man.
Theresa Perry pushes
me up against the cubicle wall
and holds me there
with her breasts
her school uniform short
and tight squashed into the thick
smells of pine-o-clean
and stale piss
she takes a long drag
on her cigarette
her lips millimetres from mine
she could come closer
she hisses ‘LESO’
into my face
on the exhalation
smoke and the hot
inside of her mouth
the bite of her laughter
stings my face
in the echo of running footsteps
of toilet doors
ABOUT NANDI CHINNA:
Nandi Chinna is a writer and environmental activist. Her first collection of poetry, Our Only Guide is Our Homesickness, was published by Five Islands Press, 2007, followed by the chap book How to Measure Land, Picaro Press, which won the 2010 Picaro Press Byron Bay Writers Festival Poetry Prize. She is currently a PhD candidate at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, for which she is writing poetry about wetlands and walking.
“I took part in a Poetry Masterclass at Varuna in 2006. Returned for a reading at Varuna with the 2007 Five Islands Press New Poets launch tour. Last visit was in October 2011 when I attended a poetry reading by Mark O’Flynn, Deb Westbury and Peter Minter.” Nandi Chinna
Passion in Our Mouths. ASP House publishing. 1996
Transitions. Ed. Justina Williams. Published by City of Fremantle 1996
Mandurah Arts Festival Anthology. (second prize winner. 1998)
Poets Corner. Readers from Pages Café. Frances Macauley Forde.2005
Reading the Collection. Fremantle Arts Centre and City of Fremantle. 2006
Weighing of the Heart. OOTA anthology June 2007
Voices from the Meadow. Woolongong Workshop 2007.
Out of The Box, an anthology of Australian Gay and Lesbian Poetry. Eds Micheal Farrell and Jill Jones. 2009
Antipodes, Ed Margaret Bradstock. Phoenix Education 2011
Law and Implulse, Maths and Chemistry Poems. Ed Carol Jenkins. 2010
Other Poetry Publications
Whereabouts Unknown. a night in the living room. Big Idea Prodtn. Artrage 1993
Hot Gos. #20,# 24. Editor Ceri Alder.1993
Navigations. Broadsheet. Issue 10. Blue Crow Press. Ed. Mike Williams. 1996
Pemberton Northcliffe Post and Rail. Editor Chris Roycroft.1998
Going Down Swinging. #24. 2006
Pendulum. Chisholm Institute. Dandenong. Vic. Oct 2006
Blue Dog. Vol 10. Poetry Australia Foundation. Oct 2006
The Weekend Australian.Ed Barry Hill. Oct 2006
Arena. Feb-March 2007
Indigo. June 2007
Urthona, UK based Buddhist Journal, 2008
Birdlife. With Michael Farrell, Graeme Miles, Nyanda Smith, Perdita Phillips. Lethologica Press 2011
Our Only Guide is Our Homesickness. Selected for the Five Islands Press New Poets Publishing Program. Oct 2007.
How To Measure Land. Picaro Press, Winner of the Byron Bay Writers Festival poetry prize. 2010
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