OUTspoken: Get a taste of Perth’s queer poetry showcase

LGBTIQA+ history has a rich rollcall of outspoken poets, individuals who tackled love, language, society, culture and education in revolutionary ways. Such luminaries and icons include Sappho, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, Allen Ginsberg and Carol Anne Duffy; but these icons all started out as nervous, emerging poets, uncertain of their words, let alone their future and legacy.

Here in Perth, the queer poetry scene is literally exploding at the seams. As the world falls apart, young queer poets are stepping up to speak out in attempt to heal its celestial heart. They do so in the face of a nation that, even as we speak, is infecting itself with hate, spitting venom from the throat… and all over a postal vote.

No doubt this topic – and many others facing our community – will be discussed at Perth Poetry Festival 2017’s upcoming queer poetry night, OUTspoken. Now in its second year, OUTspoken (sponsored by Crow Books and Town of Victoria Park) is a mega-mic showcase of how rich and varied queer Perth poetry is.

And yes, there’s an open mic, so bring your best words this Friday, August 18, to The Dutch Trading Co in Vic Park from 7 – 9pm as these poets raise funds for The Freedom Centre. Yup, all proceeds from the $5 door entry will be donated to ensure a new generation of queer poets has the opportunity to speak out.

Below is a tasting plate of what to expect. And don’t worry, this is just a sample of the 12+ poets who will be there on the night, ready to blow your minds and mend your hearts.


We start a garden together,

she grows flowers and I grow vegetables,

she reads me stories from the dinner table

while I cook us dinner –

our house is always filled with friends and children;

we are everyone’s favourite babysitters.

At night my tongue has dreams about her taste,

and in the morning all it’s wildest fantasies come true.

We paint the town lavender with all our light,

always dancing at backyard gigs, showing winter the

way to summer with all the warmth we have

between us.

I remember learning the language of love

surrounded by scab-kneed school friends,

and first sips of champagne. Now though my limbs are

no less clumsy, the bubbles have only grown

sweeter. There is no fear when she says loves me,

only a flustering in my chest when the light

catches her face, my heart is filled with all

the flowers she planted and the butterflies

can’t seem to escape no matter how many years

since first seeds sprouted into hopeful soil.

Tonight, I will curl up next to her on the couch,

she will finish sewing patches on my jacket,

I will read her poetry and the sun

will keep on rising.

Saoirse Nash

Ursula the Sea Witch

I am picked up off the floor

You are holding me in the palm of your hands

Constricting my every move

Until I soak up your venom through my soft skin


You held your hands around my throat

Giving some leeway when I choked on my tears

Snickering each time I squirmed some more

Your hands went tighter each time you felt me slipping


I pleaded with you to cut me some slack

Off the tension that I froze with each time I was around you

But with your usual suspected puzzled grin

You moved towards my ear


Whispering shallowly

The three words that you don’t even know how to feel

Until you saw my rib cages cave in

This was you only warming up for your escapade


You nailed my wrists to the wooden boards

Didn’t care if you saw the red stains dripping

Each time I begged you to comfort me

You would sow my screams shut tightly


What you failed to do was keep me safe

In the times I was lead astray

I told you I was swept out to sea

And you waved eagerly watching me drift by


Did you notice like I did

That ego sits at the start of negotiate

Honey and I know

That wasn’t something you will willing to put on the line

When you tore at my soul


So I spit saltwater out of my mouth

Choking on that bit of air

Scratching my skin until it blisters from the sharp sea winds


I scratch until the venom seeps out

Tossing you out to sea

I want to get rid of the cynical feeling

You injected into my heart


So I write a message in a bottle

Titled simply ‘you’


I don’t miss the tentacles wrapped around my waist

Or chewing on the sea weed you stuffed in my mouth

I don’t miss knocking my head on the rocks

I don’t miss hearing you out


So I now lay with her safely on the shore

She strokes my wounded skin

I tell her of you

And how I nearly let you win


Carissa Wright

Moonlight moments

… and as we pulled up, I felt myself too nervous to look for you. Though when you knocked on my door to get in, I understood. You see, we picked you up from a cafe called the moon and ironically in that instant I felt like you became it. As if I were the tide and the gravity from your being alone was pulling me in. Were you what I had been hoping for at night to bring light to my darkest skies? The sheer size of the universe can make it feel overwhelming. But you gave the universe perspective. For the first time looking at you, the universe made sense… and I was no longer nervous.

– Daniel Bacon

My Temple

My body is a temple and I will decorate as I see fit.

I will paint the ceiling in glorious sunsets.

I will string garlands of wildflowers around the pews and frame my altar with vines.

I will pave the floors with mosaic so intricate and beautiful no one will even recognise the broken pieces.

I will seal the cracks in the walls with gold, then let the sunlight in to make them shine.

Every piece of art I hang on my walls will make me more.

I am not a thing to depreciate in value.

I am a wondrous display of architectural beauty and people will marvel at me with stars in their eyes.

My body is a temple and I am the God it was built for.

I will fling wide the doors and let the people worship me.

I will invite them inside in droves to fall to their knees, and it will be my decision.

My body is a temple and I will make it strong enough to weather all the storms ahead, that I and others will bring to bear.

And I will make it powerful enough to magnify every inch of sunshine it sees, until the clouds themselves part from my incandescence, and spread the light wide.

I am the God my temple was built for, and I will make sure it is treated as I deserve.

Jessica Lowe

‘paradise found’


and god said to eve: swallow


and eve was grown in the womb of passive verb

and learned the taste of blood and roses

before she tasted her own words


and when adam kissed eve for the first time

he sucked the air out of her lungs

and god closed his gleaming white fist

and held her breath out of reach of her throat


and eve said: fuck you.

and god held eve in the middle of a tidal wave

and taught her to swallow every goddamn breath of salt,

saying: blessed are the meek.


so god made satan and gave him charm

satan said: i have a way out

eve said: show me


so god said: look how vain you are

eve said: forgive me, forgive me

and adam said: hallelujah

and god said: hallelujah

and god said: never forget what you are


eve said nothing,

and god was pleased.


and eve gave her tears to the clouds and called it rain

and eve gave her voice to the sky and called it thunder

and eve gave her rage to the land that called it fire

and eve gave her body to the dirt and called it life.


and god began to choke

and god began to writhe

and eve killed god and cried hallelujah

because god was never the only creator.


Luka Buchanan

Main text by Scott-Patrick Mitchell

Poster:- : Sheeds Mac (@sheeds_mac)

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