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The Dog-headed Girl, by Janis Freegard
(after a Lucy Casson sculpture)

The dog-headed girl
goes to the beach for a swim.  She splashes about in the
salty water barking her joy.  Woof! says the dog-headed
girl.  Woof, woof!  She dog-paddles out to meet the waves.
If you threw her a stick, she would fetch it for you.  When
she emerges from the water, she shakes herself frenetically,
flinging droplets across the sand until she’s half-dry.

The dog-headed girl wears no shoes.
The dog-headed girl has a red dog.
The dog-headed girl plays the ukulele.

The dog-headed girl
goes to the bookshop to find a book she might like to read
(one that’s not too dog-eared).  She roams up and down the
shelves trying to sniff out one that she’ll enjoy.  Finally she
settles on a novel by Banana Yoshimoto.  It does not smell
of bananas.

The dog-headed girl chases seagulls.
The dog-headed girl does not like cats.
The dog-headed girl sometimes gets fleas.

The dog-headed girl
buys a hot-dog and chips from the takeaway bar on the
corner.  Her mouth waters when the shopkeeper hands her
the takeaway parcel wrapped in yellow paper.  The dog-
headed girl wolfs it all down as fast as she can.  She grins a
jowly grin: it’s a good life being a bitch.

This was originally published in JAAM in 2002, and later reprinted in Viola Beadleton’s Compendium.  (I’ve made one or two small changes since).  Lucy Casson is a UK artist who had work in a show at the Dowse in Lower Hutt in 2002 (“Reclaimed”, about making art out of rubbish).  One of her sculptures was of a female figure with the head of a red dog, who was walking a red dog.  I still have the poster on my wall.

More Tuesday Poems here.

I have news.  It concerns poetry and spiders.

When I was about eighteen, I started writing about the adventures of a character called Alice Spider.  And I kept on writing about her, on and off.  A couple of decades after I started, I realised all the little Alice fragments were part of a prose poem sequence.  Sections of Alice have since been published in Turbine, AUP New Poets 3, JAAM and US-based Anomalous Press.  And now Alice is getting her very own chapbook, courtesy of the wonderful folk at Anomalous.  And it’s not just any old chapbook – it’s 3 types of chapbook: a  limited edition of 26 handmade, letterpress-printed chapbooks with images by Jill Kambs (I’ve seen the proofs and the book looks beautiful), as well as a regular, offset-printed chapbook and an e-book.   Very exciting!

This would not have happened without Mary MacCallum’s Tuesday Poem site – the Christmas before last, the Tuesday poets all had a “secret Santa” poem-swapping session, where we paired up with other Tuesday poets and posted each other’s poems.  I was paired with US poet Melissa Green, who writes stunningly beautiful poetry.  Melissa graciously hosted Alice on her blog,  where she was spotted by Anomalous Press and invited to appear in their new journal, and now Alice is moving on to her next adventure.  Many thanks to Cat Parnell and Erica Mena of Anomalous Press for this opportunity and to Jill Kambs for making beautiful books.  I”ll post a photo when the books arrive.

Also, Anomalous Press has just announced its first chapbook competition.  Entry fees are $US15 and all submissions will be considered for publication in the Anomalous Press journal.  There is a separate category for translations.

Shopping is part of my DNA

The modern hunter-gatherer. Shopping trolley sculpture in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.



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March 2012

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