The Double Session


Consider the problem of VIPs and their

need to avoid attention. I’d rather you didn’t.

For the lingering pitfalls of shallow content

try out-of-town openings and location scouting

or get yourself a bankable hobby:

a humble half-timber fixer-upper

built for an aging child-star.

You can drive all over town in search of

Hollywoodiana: a model galleon

like the one on Errol Flynn’s mantle

or chinoiserie and chintz, name your poison.

Where does a woman’s sympathy end

and her indiscretion begin?


Mimesis can be your friend if you’ll only let it.

My problem is secondary process,

how to swap psychotic transference for another city.

I’d cry my eyes out in a movie palace

every day if I could find the time

but insurance rarely reimburses labile affect.

I’ll nod and then you can pick up

where you left off last time:

what the woman said to you,

how it made you feel small and want to leave,

searching for the lift and then the bus-stop,

the distant clack of typewriters in the night.

When our work is done these tapes will be yours.




Tatterdemalion estate

waste and wild


I’m bound to it as if it were you

your disinhibition


Anachronic from first to last

what’s left to confess?


Eat my words to keep them

from resembling your loose lips



This scatterbrained year read roses

wattle for laurel


Names pass you by

too far gone


Like a seance in the woods

bruises bloom


You are living on nothing but air

and out of wishes




Baghdad Grammys


Prince and Beyoncé

tearing up Purple Rain


The White Stripes

thrashing like the Carpenters

returned from a sojourn in hell


Where is the Love?

We are the Funk

This House is not a Home


Faith Hill comes out to say goodnight

a Pan Am hostess circa 1969


Hurry back to Nashville, Girlfriend


The guide for foreign scholars tells me

elation leads to disappointment


If supermarkets confuse you close your eyes


Forget about the food groups

once a sodomite

always a sodomite



[Kate Lilley teaches feminist literary history and theory at the University of Sydney and has published widely on early modern women’s writing and contemporary poetry. She is the editor of Margaret Cavendish, The Blazing World and other writings (Penguin Classics). Her poetry collection, Versary, was published by Salt.]

Copyright © 2009 by Kate Lilley, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.