DSS in the 90’s


See, I’d gone to the counter and they said

it’ll be twenty six weeks and I fell

a pop in the popliteal

my boyfriend pulled me off the ice

(there were people in the queue)

the trannies behind me were lumped with the crazies

all in frocks and Docs

makin’ a mess with their mewling

we lined up for the boxes

conscripted losers without a war

I had no food or fridge and the young guy behind the counter

hadn’t understood

we had the carton in the sink sometimes

a luxury

but it was only every few weeks

I held a Caramello Koala with a fervour

a fever

the delirium of the hungry and uncertain

then I got a call

would you want to join other young people and work

I wrapped the phone cord in rings on my finger and smiled

like I got a call back


we started out in Arden Street and walked past the lost dogs

their shit and desperation rising through the pens

we all howled

I could smell the pies of the tradies

I wore a tartan skirt and a fitted jacket

fit for work at a record shop where you hired a CD for five bucks

they were all there in clumps of weirdness and youth but I can only see a few

the rest came later

the Phillipino model and her friend

long haired Preston beauties

Catholic school girls who thought me a slut

for talking

Adonis, the liar, who saw Care Bears

fly out of his girlfriend’s cunt when he was chroming

and he thought getting old

was the worse thing to happen to the elderly

Kieran talking with the vowels of Kalgoorlie

I thought you’d have a boyfriend

I thought the ease of his confession

was a labourer’s lunch

the naturalness startled and pleased me

Steve the Deer Park Beckham with his fine coat and rusty throat

who thought he could call the Hotspurs on his lunch break

and the facilitator, a Kerrie or a Kerryn

who thought she could hold us together

to get us to the end

to a lengthy tome and a change of office

litter in the city


we planned and plotted and ate 2 buck meals

while men across the office planned and plotted

their skiing holidays

their new wives

and we tried to be quiet

but Georgia, who claimed lineage she didn’t have

used outings to ask about genitals and preen and pout

and rub against cars and fur and soccer balls

the men wouldn’t look at any of us

cheap shoes gave our poverty away

Dee from the West

the smiling firecracker

not buying into hysteria as the report took shape

Kismet the child bride, crying in the bathroom

posters of romance on her desk

the only one in a life she didn’t choose

the others, the darker ones and stronger ones

were in and out

as dry humping on the stairwell

was smack in the toilets

and Kerrie or Kerryn frayed


Kieran was off his meds since the 2 buck meals came in

he could buy heroin at smoko

and the pleas of his family gave out

the baton had almost passed

before the need to admit himself

he’d laugh of wiping me out after work


the tiny dyke, with the soft mouth and the BO

left in tears and I didn’t care

someone got a job at a jeans store

we were proud and she was engaged

the new boy

with the buzzcut and the dealer Mum

and the Swanston Street Macca’s mates

Sunshine on the street

tagged the beautiful view and we heard rumours

of spottings and lies

we were ready for binding


the launch was flowers and sandwiches

with some of the lights already turned off

the skiing men counting the minutes

until they didn’t have to see us

no one came and Kieran injected inside for fun

we left with photos of team building

and quotes

Kismet’s Kevin Costner wallet size smile

to use this experience wisely

when dealing with a UTI and a man breathing into the phone

because he wants to kill you


adulthood for the petulant and needy didn’t work

in a city office

we should have all planted trees at Laverton

Kieran could have scratched on the platform

with the blokes in short shirts


we saw Kerrie or Kerryn on the street

and she ran

we couldn’t blame her


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