Tag Archives: mourning

Alexis Rhone Fancher

“I want to write poems that people want to roll around in, get dirty, and come out the other end tarnished, spent, and a little less alone.”

Image -Alexis

Alexis is another exciting poet I met via social media.  It was over an American GI we both ‘unfriended’ the instant we sniffed a scam. We started talking poetry and I found her bold and sassy style refreshing. At the same time I discovered her photography and passion for the arts. There’s a great interview and photos here where I learned a lot more about Alexis, including what we have in common; we both saw Hendrix live on stage in the Sixties and acknowledge how much music and art informs our writing.
And speaking of the man, Alexis was the first person in the US to buy my collection, When I Saw Jimi, and she generously featured my work in Cultural Weekly soon after.

Congratulations are in order right now because her first collection, Losing my Virginity to Michael Cohen is about to hit the world, and I know it will arrive with blood and heart. Alexis has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. If you want to know who Michael Cohen is, just ask.

virginity picon


I want Louboutin
heels with those trademark red soles,
I want them sexy, I want them high.
I want them slingback and peep-toed
so I can flash the purple polish
on my tootsies.

I want to wear them out of the store, just
you try and stop me.
I want to wow them on
Washington, saunter past C&O Trattoria
and Nick’s Liquor Mart, those bottles of Stoli
stacked in the window, calling my name, past the
summer-clad tourists in December, shivering,
barefoot, like LA has no winter.

In those shoes I’m hot,
stop-a-truck hot, prettiest
girl in school hot, and this
time, I know it.

Flaunt it. Hell, I own it. In those shoes I can
pick and choose, not settle for some loser.
Not drink away regrets, pound back Stoli at
Chez Jay’s, flash their scarlet bottoms when I kneel.

I’ll wear them like my own flesh,
like hooves, like sin.
I’ll keep their secrets, won’t spill
where they’ve been.

Better those shoes with their lurid soles
than you with yours.

first appeared in BoySlut, nominated for a Pushcart Prize, 2013


Now the splinter-sized dagger that jabs at my heart has
lodged itself in my aorta, I can’t worry it
anymore. I liked the pain, the
dig of remembering, the way, if I
moved the dagger just so, I could
see his face, jiggle the hilt and hear his voice
clearly, a kind of music played on my bones
and memory, complete with the hip-hop beat
of his defunct heart. Now what am I
supposed to do? I am dis-
inclined toward rehab. Prefer the steady
jab jab jab that reminds me I’m still
living. Two weeks after he died,
a friend asked if I was “over it.”

As if my son’s death was something to get
through, like the flu. Now it’s past
the five year slot. Maybe I’m okay that he isn’t anymore,
maybe not. These days,
I am an open wound. Cry easily.
Need an arm to lean on. You know what I want?
I want to ask my friend how her only daughter
is doing. And for one moment, I want her to tell me she’s
dead so I can ask my friend if she’s over it yet.
I really want to know.

first appeared in RATTLE


Alexis Rhone Fancher’s work can (or soon will) be found in Rattle, The MacGuffin, Carnival Literary Magazine, Fjords Review, Cliterature, The Chiron Review, Good Men Project, Deep Water Literary Journal, Broadzine!, Poeticdiversity, This Is Poetry: Women of the Small Presses, Gutter Eloquence, Slipstream, The Mas Tequila Review, H_NGM_N, and elsewhereIn Australia, her poems have been published in several anthologies put out by Blank Ruin Press, as well as in Fierce Invalids, A Tribute to Arthur Rimbaud, published by Blind Dog Press, and she’s been a repeat guest at Little Raven. Alexis’s photographs have been published worldwide. In 2013 she was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. She is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly.

Links    www.alexisrhonefancher.com
                www.culturalweekly.com    click on “poetry.”

BAZ took that hot shot of Alexis.



Tricia Dearborn

I met Tricia via Facebook in 2012 when I was panicking about launching ‘Jimi.’ We found that we’d both been in The Best Australian Poetry (UQP) in 2008 and she’d written a fabulous poem where ‘Women are sea creatures’  which happened to coincide with one of my obsessions at the time – seals. Her take on it was much sassier than mine with her missing ‘that brine-lapped cleft, the way that sealskin glides on sealskin’. It’s one of those poems I wish I’d written.

Her advice on launching a book was spot on: don’t trust Facebook, invite people you know and it will be fun however many people turn up. We swapped books and last week I used one of her taut and beautiful poems, ‘The Long Goodnight’ in a tango poetry workshop which went down well. I love Tricia’s sparse and yet sensual and sensuous poetry and I love her wry and sharp observations of the familiar. I bring you Tricia Dearborn…


Tricia Dearborn pic


The quiet house
for Scarlett Vallence, 7.9.2008

i. Family portrait

At the top of the photograph,
J’s face. Grief pours off him

like a glacier, monumental.
My eyes move down to you,

your gaze on the child
who lies across your ribs.

Your face a wall. Behind it
the gathering tsunami.

ii. Nightmare

on the drugs that are meant
to help you sleep,
you dream —

a camera pans along a row
of fat pink wriggling infants
the line is long, the camera

moves swiftly
you struggle desperately to wake —
you know your small still baby’s

last in line

iii. Small comfort

At the wake, champagne in hand,
J and I amuse ourselves inventing
more offensive ways of swearing­ —

J’s brother poses our family photo,
tousling your hair and mine,
dragging our brothers’ ties askew —

I’m handed a cigarette, inhale
the small comfort of an old habit.
It ends

when J sobs in our arms
then struggles free. Your urgent whisper:
What do you want? What do you want?

iv. The quiet house

I sit in the cool leather chair
in your back room

looking out to the morning garden
with my cup of tea.

Such peace — when what I want
is her, here

squalling against my chest
while you have a grateful shower.

v. Ashes

My suitcases
stand in the hall.

I hesitate, but when I
finally ask

you say Of course.
I bend to lift her

from the cot.

I rock her, pat
the quilt-wrapped box.


What to wear at five

I avoided the wedding cake hat —
tiered, hard and white. But wore
the coat with the brown velvet collar

as long as I could, until it encased me
like a sausage skin.
I was not allowed to wear

my purple overalls every day.
Was cheated of my brothers’
airy shirt-free summers.

I sat on the front steps with the Sun,
black cotton thread, a needle.
Sewed myself newspaper wings.


Both poems are from The Ringing World, Puncher & Wattman, 2012

Tricia Dearborn’s most recent collection of poetry is The Ringing World (Puncher & Wattmann, 2012). Her poetry has been widely published in literary journals and has featured in anthologies including Australian Poetry Since 1788 (UNSW Press, 2011), The Best Australian Poems 2012 and 2010 (Black Inc.), Notes to the Translators (ASM Poetry, 2012) and Out of the Box: Contemporary Australian Gay and Lesbian Poets (Puncher & Wattmann, 2009). She has been a featured reader at many events, including the Sydney Writers’ Festival in 2012, and has received several new work grants from the Australia Council’s Literature Board. Tricia has degrees in biochemistry and arts, worked briefly in a research laboratory and now earns a living as a freelance editor. She lives in Sydney.

Poems available online

Four poems in Polari Journal’s ‘Strange Stars: Bright Lights in Queer Poetry’ issue: http://www.polarijournal.com/issue-6.php

Eleven poems featured in Caught in the Net #79: http://www.poetrykit.org/pkl/CITN/citn%2079.htm

Someone else reading my poem ‘Come in, lie down’ rather sexily on Poetica (at about 16:20): http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/poetica/round-the-nation/4842874

Videos of a reading and an interview — part of the Red Room’s The Disappearing project: http://redroomcompany.org/poet/tricia-dearborn/

Reading ‘Are we there yet?’ (from my first book, Frankenstein’s Bathtub) and ‘Scan’ for Varuna’s ‘Writer-a-Day’ blog and app:


‘Making pipettes’, from Frankenstein’s Bathtub, for National Science Week 2013: http://www.scienceweek.net.au/science-poem-of-the-day-18-august/

‘Fig’ and ‘Mapping the cactus’ in Mascara Literary Review #9: http://mascarareview.com/tricia-dearborn-2/

‘Canary’ in Snorkel #11: http://snorkel.org.au/011/dearborn.html

‘Night vision’, ‘At the laundromat on rue St Florent’ and ‘The answer’ in Bluepepper: http://bluepepper.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/normal-0-microsoftinternetexplorer4_13.html

‘Everything we’re made of’ in Holding Patterns: Physics and Engineering Poems: http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/about/docs/holding_pattersn_booklet_in_science_made_marvellous_series.pdf

Puncher & Wattmann author page:

Review of The Ringing World in Famous Reporter #44: http://walleahpress.com.au/FR44Dearborn.html