Tracy RyanTracy Ryan

Working Note

I don’t adhere to any particular school of thought, except in the broadest sense that my writing is inextricably bound up with my feminism. This would be the only real connector between my books. I am interested in trying to find ways in which language may be interrupted, disrupted and rejigged for feminist purposes (among others). Usually this attempt would arise from something in either my personal life or the world around me. My home state is currently enacting a legal clamp-down on women, with regard to street prostitution—passing laws that restrict women’s movements and rights to occupy space. Though such factors are often what ‘provokes’ me into a poem, the poem equally draws life off other books (like most poets, I spend a lot of time reading). I work by a kind of principle of immersion in particular poets at particular times.








A Larger Tedder

Out there where the only steps
are sharp or jazz-tango, bit
between his teeth and he’ll
have his head or death of, safe
in that alabaster chamber your
cold bed/fast bolt/bills mount
you hold out for a way will make
an honest woman of him yet.
Red-eyed in the red light.
Moss grew red with projected
blood of the saint, however you rub
your eyes. He reattached
her head and she lived happily.
Roll model, the only spring
you’ll trigger a bedspring.
Count every muscle, Ophelia
practise with lulls in traffic this
the one floor you’ll ever hold
limp as excuses and a hobbled
walk. Because you’re mine/I keep
a close watch, walk the skirt the
verge of something a break-
through like in love for the very
first time, the fixed foot brings them
home like fetishists, lean and hearken
so I bend where I lonely began.




Your command of space is impressive. You
move like a sweeping statement. You
order the world. Magisterial the magic
fascicle. I upright on the edge. Smith Street
that spreads its goods north to south. John Doe
Jane Citizen avid vector line uncrossed. Yes you
to whom I’m speaking. No eyes averted. It’s all
for the taking. I shrinking. I subsidised
your fare home and you took that as to the
manner born. Golden. That’s what the boys do.
Sail on. Resident on the verge. Awaiting
wholly innocent collection. This strip is
narrowing and I must show
I can toe it with the best of them. All the world’s
a whoredom and all the men and women
merely. Know which side the bread’s
cast on. River of oil slick. Hard rain
down can rain and turn us. Leechlike inside
out. In a word our walls are pervious.



Cavity Search

(with acknowledgment to Germaine Greer & Kate Bush)

She said love your cunt not lumber
it around like hunger. Nobody else
will, remember, forgotten how. Poor
Miranda, no other treasure. Eye for a
bargain, eye for an eye. You can let them
in there, they won’t find a thing. She said
seize back the means, they try to
privatise but you can put it out there. What
does it have in common with a 747. What
needst thou have more covering and
so on. She said Lady, love your cunt but
Fred Nile is in touch with the beating
heart of Australia and police
can authorise a nurse or a doctor I assure
you it has no nerve endings and on the
screen, worn as the battered aperture
of an old camera the soft musk of her hollows
the oncologist is awed before. Imaging such
dilation. Stainless, like steel.




Lincoln Street a scotched line I
retract, reroute
for the nearest interior.
He’s very lonely young lady and it’s
open season all year eighteen I was
expecting passage Pigalle, sensually
immune. Still here and counting.
Troll unshaken
from Magdalen Bridge, Rome’s vistas
not for the likes. Angel
out of the house, red balloon to
float on no preparation. Or Doris
snatching the map and steering
it her way a Homburg through
centro città hot for it and on top inviting
who dares while
I kneel at the shrunken skull
of St Catherine, let her paint an inch thick.



Watch this space

Each patch and fetish a
pitch to stopper it, each
posture to quiet it,
loud mouth

this flag this red rag as it
moves tenuously
                         like Ruth
cover me
            freedom would be
oblivion or
            possession of it



Bio: Tracy Ryan was born and grew up in the suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. She has recently been teaching writing and literary theory at three different universities, and has worked in libraries, offices, and book stores. For most of the past five years she has been living in Cambridge, England, though she has spent much of 2000 in Perth, working on a new full-length book of poems called Hothouse, as well as on a shorter work, Precinct. Tracy has been a poetry editor on magazines and worked in small publishing, and has a deep interest in language-learning and translation.


Killing Delilah (Fremantle Arts Centre Press 1994)
Bluebeard in Drag (FACP 1996)
slant [pamphlet] (rempress 1997)
The Willing Eye (FACP and Bloodaxe 1999)
ex opere operato [pamphlet] (Vagabond 2000)
bloc-notes [chapbook] (Potes & Poets, forthcoming 2001)
Vamp: a novel (FACP 1997)


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