Emilie Collyer – Game day

Emilie Collyer LEP&W V3 Dec 2022

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Three December 2022.

Game day, poems by Emilie Collyer.

Game day

none of the strategies will work
it will rain on game day

ball slippery as a newborn
none of them know how to handle

grasping at torsos like tree trunks
they will keep kicking slant

seeking a pocket on the edge
of play but only finding

scrubby tackles and stoppages
it will be as if all the training

has been for nothing

captain playing with a strapped thumb
one player off then another

blood rule head snapped by an elbow
crash onto mud-stuck ground

straight kicks will wander
always finding themselves behind

as if they have forgotten how to run

clench of loss grips tight
they will want to cry and some of them will

in homes on couches they will want
to cry and some of them will

others will grab whatever slamming object
can absorb the hurt for a moment

maybe reach for it slam it
and once more saying

piece of shit team
or the boys tried hard

either way the next game
will come how to wait

that’s what matters
for the breeze to shift

or for the foot to steady
kicking into the wind

Corner of yellow

crowds like dazed sheep
gallery dream state just because
tourism because fame
but also the moments of arrest

a corner of yellow peels open a hole
shapes seem to sing
make you sad or gasp in recognition
a falling in love

teenage you
the top corridor room
pushing charcoal onto page
follow the curve

you drew ordinary people
old women park bench
guys at the local footy club
your best friend her shiny hair

last night television Rohingya refugees
a camp in Bangladesh
kids play net strung over dirt
keen bean boy eyes shining

excited at the camera
he wants to be a soccer player
practices whenever he can
he has no parents they were killed

that paralysis
why anything when that boy
why painting why writing
because soccer

reading Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed
you are on a fulcrum
are you oppressor or oppressed
what you can access is real it is material

walk out into calm streets
evening lit gold by the sky
in this suburb
would you walk alone after dark?

the question is not just about your body
in the suburbs at night, who else can’t walk freely
and you are both the person who can’t
walk free and the person who always can

you were terrible at art
but how you loved those classes
quiet work benches charcoal dust
fingers sunlight through glass

© Emilie Collyer

Emilie Collyer lives in Australia on unceded Wurundjeri Country where she writes across and between poetry, prose and performance. Her work is published and produced widely. Her debut full-length poetry collection is published in 2022 by Vagabond Press: Do you have anything less domestic? Emilie is a current PhD candidate at RMIT where she is researching feminist creative practice.

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