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1 poem

by Ursula Robinson-Shaw

Ursula Robinson-Shaw is a writer from Wellington, New Zealand, living in Melbourne. She is an editor and co-conspirator of sick leave journal and reading series. Her work has appeared in Cordite, Overland, Minarets, The Suburban Review, The Spinoff, and elsewhere. Find her @ursulabrs.

This poem was shortlisted for the 2019 Peach Gold in Poetry with guest judge Dorothea Lasky.


after Rosa Luxemburg

moral turpitude it’s a migraine of a life

here i am spectacle protesting
playing bubbleshooter in bad faith baby
ends are nigh and im chilling in my office


catastrophes!! they’re like masturbation
but you never come, like how
you wouldn’t write a song about a novel
(kate bush doesn’t count that one’s about


it’s like an airport toilet won’t stop flushing

i’m there at the sink hacking up
a tobacco-festooned hunk of phlegm
feeling pleasant like an outback saloon punter

knowing there was something i should have heeded
maybe the smell of egg sandwich (oppressive)

maybe that aborted romance


an ice rink melts in upper hutt
it’s funny. because it’s bad
i’m dressed like a trendy doll i’m dressed
like a vicar i’m dressed like a cabinet
i’m so dumb i can’t even
leave the house without getting kidnapped

there’s a knee on my chest, there’s the coming of the hour

next kidnap i’ll get gone girl for good


when people have no skills, you have to test them on something
how well do you respond to provocations:

wallow in the soup of life bitch                       
go to the sea and cry

real travellers don’t care for their surroundings
sport a cursed body on impermanent beaches

            eat hotel canapés like ships on fire

knotting in your stomach and            

            ensconcing the development

sickly fire like the blaze
of that first union leader         
falling hard from the firmament like a youtube gag reel


it’s a vine compilation of big earth failures    

too big for discussion. it’s minor literature time
get out your phone and feel
vague distress no revenge

somewhere for the groping is the fight for deliverance….

my good bitches
hurry to the front and trench

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