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The Rhonda Senbergs Collection 2017 Pictures and Music: Rhonda Senbergs Slide Night (SLV)

Layers of archival ‘wash over’. Chill-loving dad watching his son repeat his patterns, holding a glaze-dipped coffee cup. Bright blue Monaro with a P plate. Plus smoking, lushes, Hawke and other people other people know. Strong invincible women. Slide night, family favourite.  

Equal Love 2017 Equal Love Rally and Mass Illegal Wedding

One of 20,000 rallying for yes. Generous invitation, all that hurt, yet arms open to cis-ters. Brides with curly hair on their arms, size fourteen heels. Joy. And an unexpected and appropriate pleasure, feeding the second baby of two long-loving women.  

World Day for the End of Speciesism 2017 Melbourne March (Treasury Gardens to Bourke Street Mall)

Creating a square of peace in the guts of consumption.  Buyers think outside this gentle blockade of Christians and Muslims and Buddhists and Sikhs (these the faiths I’m sure about). Surely a matter of time before the paddocks are reworked into care.

Stephanie Lake Company 2017 Pile of Bones (Arts House)

The mechanistic body, that old Newtonian trope, mesmerising put to music that techno-grooves to the didge. Fluid streams of shared sweat, beginning as one, moving apart then together like water under stress, pushing the flow of the other to the gawp.

Rebecca Skloot 2010 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Crown)

Got me wondering. I mean, who owns what part of this story? That scholarship fund best be getting the proceeds or I’ve been consuming ill-gotten gains. Oh, those cells you’ve donated or had tested? No longer yours. You too could be immortal.  

Elizabeth Gaskell 1855 North and South (Oxford World Classics)

More questions than answers. What’s a ‘fern-harvest’? Are wasps ‘impudent’ or privileged? Does kneeling together really do ‘no harm’? How to wear ‘pomegranate flowers’? And when (at last) might we listen alertly to speeches on ‘capital and labour and labour and capital’?

Julie Ducournau Raw 2016 (RTV)

See the work from wherever you’re situated, so why not read these sisters as eating the patriarchy, baring teeth to the cult of stolen flesh. Vindication, cold despair, waxing fingers nibbled to the bone and a two-finger (what a waste) hairball choke.

Melbourne Chicken Save 2016 Rally (Bourke Street Mall)

Some give two hours, I give less, yet there despite scaredy-cat excuses. Walking past is hard but people manage. A mum and two little ones duck-run, a manboy chicken-walks. One brochure taken for thirty-plus refusals. It’s hard. To receive is to change.  

Claire-Louise Bennett 2015 Pond (Picador)

Nails, like me/us, sullied with scrabbling from those ‘dank and wretched’ (17) ditches that life creates. The expressiveness of jam stains, soaring shifts in syntax. I am the protagonist’s friend, I  put my loving hand on this book, declare myself ‘ensorcelled’ (151).

Dinesh Wadiwel 2015 The War Against Animals (Brill)

Political grace, comprehensively argued, to the songbook of Derrida, Foucault and Girard. Harmony with Adams, descant with Haraway. Depicts nonhuman resistance in prose that weeps. Inspired call for a move beyond sacrificial eating. A day of truce from killability, following Andrea Dworkin. Pecking (new) order