Found text manipulation by Melinda Smith

Hello poets and readers. Have you listened to the podcast with Melinda Smith yet? Don’t forget we’d love to hear any comments about what resonated with you. Today Poetry in Process is excited to bring you one of the found text poems Melinda referred to in the interview, about Ernie Ecob. Hope you enjoy it!

Ernie Ecob . . . was arguing against providing bathroom facilities in shearing sheds for female shearers because he said women only want to be shearers for the sex. My mind melted at the number of levels on which that was the weird and wrong thing to say. Melinda Smith

Poetry in Process Podcast, 28th February 2019

Ernie Ecob as a Bare-Bellied Yoe

Women only want to be shearers for the sex
– Ernie Ecob, former Secretary, Australian Workers’ Union


She takes me by my hind legs, which are
my only legs    Women want for shearers

to be the only sex    Looks through me,
intent, a pack face seeing a herd face

Sex be for shearers. To the women,
only want    Slides me into position,

grasping her machinery    To be women,
only sex the shearers for want    the teeth

glint, the dark comb    dangling    Shearers
want sex only to be for the women    I kick

and stumble    Sex be for women.
To the shearers, only want    – bleating –

glory if she gets me    Shearers only want
to be women for the sex    If I hold still

she might not draw blood    this time
Women want the shearers to only be

for sex    I freeze and brace, my sheep eyes
blanking    blow by blow    she peels me

After, nearly fleeceless, spent, I feel her
bend, take me in gentle headlock, lips

in my white ear    Her low growl: ‘Women,
Ernie, women – women only want    to be.

Melinda Smith, 2019

(forthcoming in Listen, bitch, Ampersand Duck & Recent Work Press, Oct 2019)

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