Words by JOSHUA CRAM
Poetry by KATIE KENDALL
Lofty Words is the UTS Writers’ Society spoken word and poetry night, traditionally held at The Loft bar (hence the adorably bad pun.) The event is a safe creative space where developing writers should feel comfortable sharing their work with their peers.
The Lofty on May 14 was the second of four scheduled for this year. It stands as our most attended event since 2012. Thank you to all the encouraging, courageous people who shared their deepest darkest feelings – especially to the first-timers.
With what were we regaled? A ‘politically correct’ love song; an improvised song about insomnia and paranoia; poems about unrequited love, unconditional love; oranges; a Buzzfeed-style list of secrets; generosity to older people; losing an unborn child; outrage over people defaming Tony Abbott, evil space reptile; and a devastating excerpt of a non-fiction exploration of a family member’s disappearance. Alcohol served by two extremely helpful bar staff softened the mood whiplash.
The Writers’ Society executive is planning another event before the end of semester, so join the Facebook group here for more information when it appears: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Writers.UTS/
Also, be on the look out for information regarding our workshops during the break – for poetry, prose, and drama.
Here’s an audience favourite from the night, from first year Communications student, Katie Kendall.
I. On the Morning of Her First Confession
She knew what it meant to be hiccup in the bloodline,
a mistake for which she would always be held accountable,
She was a fractured limb,
The broken bough severed from a pristine family tree.
So she called herself consequence
and believed everything she touched would turn to dust,
God no longer played the part of saviour,
so she said to me, ‘Perfection is hard to let go of,
Now He is exiler, vanquisher, neglecter, betrayer.
The sinner’s heart is heavy,
And my slowly rotting cross is a burden I do not know how to share.’
II. On Awaiting Resurrection
It seemed He had always demanded to be her first and last conviction,
but now she was strung up on her own crossroads,
between sin and symbiosis with her own biological makeup,
sin entrenched in the sweat on her brow,
in the dimming light and the worry lines time would only thicken,
Her mattress stained with the holy spirit and kisses pressed to pillows.
III. We Are Stripping the Madonna
Her mother was a hollow lullaby,
a figure that haunted like a spectre,
leaving a daughter drenched in gospel kisses,
She grieved the loss of motherhood,
believing her daughter, in sin, to have rendered her childless.
IV. On Observing a Stale Breeze in Our Eden
Our grandmothers both wore rosary nooses
and counted their loveless marriages as the will of God.
They clung to those comfortable restraints,
even after serving fifty years in faith’s prison,
they only ever had enough air in their homes,
to whisper their prayers.
V. On Attempting the Resurrection
She was both ash and flame,
yet I said to myself, love on.
Someday you may be enough.
But she was a house on fire,
there were nights I knew her tongue
was burning someone else’s teeth,
trying to reverberate intimacy
through the cavities in her self-esteem.
I couldn’t cup enough love, or sand,
in my hands to save her.
To this day she is still burning herself to the ground.
A belief in the sanctity of life and the will to die
are the most incompatible of afflictions.
When I was seven years old,
with lopsided pigtails and a swingset heart,
looking across the playground at the new girl
feeling butterflies for the first time,
I was somehow already evil.
I must be sin’s prodigy,
I’ve been falling in love with twilight for a while now,
the way the sun plummets from the sky every night
and brings out the stars that remind me,
there is so much more beauty than fear.
VII. The Gospel
Perhaps she isn’t a burning branch,
I think there is just enough love left in her,
that she could be a seed.
I close my eyes and imagine her with a family,
with a daughter who holds herself like she deserves love.
And when she’s fourteen she brings home a boy for the first time,
her mother smiles all the way through dinner.
After the gentleman leaves,
she kisses her daughter and says,
“I will always love you, no matter who you fall in love with.”
“Mama,” the young girl says laughing “That’s the line for gay kids.”
“No, it’s not,” she replies, stoic and wise,
With the roots of her new family tree only as deep as her daughter’s smile,
“It’s something every parent should tell their child.”