Ursula Robinson Shaw

LOCUSTS

          nothing is sexy
im building a body
im copying it out from wikipedia
          im giving it          a liver          & a nice disorder
im giving it ice skates          im gonna slice thru
the bad timeline          of modernity          into new terrors

          the rent prices climb          they cut into
your prescription speed budget          the rent prices are
implicated in deaths
          i get another woman’s cold          like a bad present  
          i take your paracetamol
i leave payments late          for the crisis effect 
                    it doesn’t have to be like this!!          ode to lizzy 
                    she reads naomi klein          makes pasta &
lives with her sister
but i came here            to do bad things  
& i have no crisis          but a cruel me project

          everybody is ugly          all dogs are boys & all
cats are girls 
human bodies are something else          dogs & cats don’t
stand at the protest murmuring platitudes like
crush patriarchy          free wifi          boycott
do you want to go
                                                                      for a drink after

          yes i do. god i do          want to go for a drink after
                                                            god is indifferent
to small sins and large ones          god only minds about
the middlebrow stuff          that’s why your art has to be 
                                                                                hella good or 
hella punk
you don’t want that big guy on your back no way

that’s actually inconsistent w my religion          we are 
that is                    my people
croats & presbyterians          gum-digging dallies
from northland doing hail mary in the subtropic sweat & their kids
                                                  at home fervent & bloodshot
thinking about hell          & the elect
          those 12 guys or something sitting up there
going sorry kid but you’re a
bad egg          you’re all bad eggs
sort of like a committee          sort of like an editorial board

art is fine i guess i just          i wanna get that parma money 
make it down to st kilda
have lunch          with a rich person          talk about events
we’ll be dead for
talk about how many          boys how many girls
i want to boil alive in my belly
while we skate downhill          about the portents of weather
how the skin of my stomach will spoil                    white cracks
in the land because 
in a breakdown of the global order          access          to coconut oil
will go fairly early          dont u think          ha ha          heather

          if you can look me in the eyes and say          i don’t care 
          you’re a danger to yourself          i have built bad eyes

god is there at st kilda too          god sips ice water
there are new terrors                   new terrors          but no new
                                                                                         happiness

 

 

SWEATERCORE

my professor said          don’t self-mythologise
i was fresh & tender & under the influence of gravitas
so yea guess I’m a mystery to myself          …….the myth
          the legend
he said stuff for example find instead the words
for the individual          moral adventure
write about the death of your friend          or your father
but use a metaphor
a nice one
like you’re knitting a sweater          or you’re looking
at a bird
or you are taking a walk          in the town
of your birth

repressed life returns
          as a crow in a city park          it returns !!
a reverse mortgage on your heart !!
as a portrait of the artist in a coma          in a bib
          with an epitaph
“she let poets lie to her”          in a cemetery
                                                            in a carpark
give her          one of those bells          you toll from a
deep grave
listen for sounds at the surface such as im not done
          with you fuckers          this isn’t over
til my body turns to chalk          til I’ve fucked the          entire
graduate course
restorative justice          is for cunts          pathetic fallacies
          are pathetic          it returns !!
in the non-storm          on a regular night
                                                            hunting blood

you are not a part          of the metaphor          & if you are
you are smooth like a stone
the professor admires your restraint          the sly arc of your
                                                                                                   neck
you are incidental          in the dry air of the room
the well-lit room                                                                      but then
          i bust in the door          covered in dirt
on a dragging mission
& it’s not feminist & it’s not cool          & it’s not postconceptual
& it’s not cathartic
& i get nothing out of it honestly except
                                                            public embarrassment
          the kind of art where if somebody else did it i’d be like
that’s some shit art right there why don’t you get a wordpress
& password protect it
          this isn’t the 80s          you should probably be a little
less                                          obvious
you should probably do something so abstract that it might be
about          alternative          emancipatory politics
or it might be          about like the ideological space
vacated by          alternative          emancipatory politics or
it might be about          the death of your father or it might
be about getting lied to and          thrown over for a 21
year old dancer

but nobody would be able to tell          because of the
high art obfuscating function          you press a button & it
scrambles the sentences          til they mean anything &
all things being equal that’s everything          here’s a fucking
arts grant

 

 

Ursula Robinson Shaw (Wellington, NZ / Melbourne, Australia) is writer from Wellington, New Zealand, currently hiding in Melbourne, Australia.