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Sandra Renew – Walking both away and into

Profile Renew LEP&W June 2021

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing June 2021.

Sandra’s poetry has recently been published in Griffith Review (Griffith University), The Blue Nib, Canberra Times, Contemporary Haibun Online, Ribbons, Hecate (University of Queensland), Other Terrain and Backstory (Swinburne University), Meniscus (University of Canberra), Axon (University of Canberra), Australian Poetry Journal 2019.  Her recent collections are It’s the sugar, Sugar Recent Work Press, 2021, Acting Like a Girl, Recent Work Press, 2019 and The Orlando Files, Ginninderra Press, 2018. Acting Like a Girl was the winner of the 2020 ACT Writing and Publishing Award for Poetry.

Walking both away and into

an old felt hat
brings back memories
of the desert treks
no footprints for 500 kilometres
Oh! the space of it

wind worrying sand
leaves evidence
of prescience
sand swirls, ridges dry, desiccated fragile
ephemeral waterholes

Parchment desert spreads a full vista, wrinkles of dunes, spinifex and dune grass as far as far. Wildflowers, muted pinks and yellows, already dried, a gift from the parched. Walking both away and into. Steps punctuated by camel bells, creaking camel saddles, occasional sighs from the camel string, soft-voiced cameleers. Rush of budgies, thousands fingerprinting the blue — unison magic.

line of horizon
clear and uncluttered along dune tops
on the ridge, camels
miniscule in perspective
underlining the enormity of universe

back light    

it’s never a good thing      always a bad look
when a backstage roadie     is sure they’re being robbed of the limelight
kept in a back room      taken for granted

grabs centre stage    the spotlight
proving they’re more than just background music
deserve to be seen    front and centre

their electric effect        on the rest of the cast
we’re shocked by their player skills       searing sciatic pain
brought to our knees    bowed to the floor     crippled on every level

all play stops while we soothe, sedate, centre our attention
on the backside player   our offerings are wrapped in silver sleeves
golden promises of immediate relief      massaging more than the ego

strange, exotic choreography: glute bridge, single leg dead lift,
crab walk, donkey kick, glute squeeze    strange moves       crouching  stretching
relieve the agony, a momentary relief

until hurt feelings assuaged enough, largesse of attention
causes stage fright, the glute reverts behind the scenes to a finely tuned,
finger-in-every-pie               posture


Note: The gluteus maximus muscle is regarded as one of the strongest muscles in the human body,
responsible for movement of the hip and thigh.

Seasonal nomads

Restless souls, itinerant drifters, our forward momentum miniscule, we smell the rain, newly fallen on dry earth and parched eucalyptus, before the earth is slaked, seasoning of petrichor rising around us, looking ahead, asking what is free? Tinkers of the universe, banging our pots and pans, tapping at the edges, mending where we can.

seasonal nomads
caravan trailing an unreliable rig
track the backroads
fruit harvest, digging potatoes, working a yabby farm
retirement shelved for a living wage

© Sandra Renew