A sentient being

A newborn fluffy chick

opens innocent eyes.

It  is riding the stainless steel processing line

jostled out of its waking state.

This laughless circus will kill it

render it faceless,



although the glossy picture of chicken product

on the waxed cardboard box will be attractive



to subdue consumers.

Its mother is not close or well

her bodyweight excessive for her legss

standing in excrement and hell.

Her only relief is that her term of entrapment

has been shortened from years to forty days.

These are the man-made terms of her ‘natural’ life.




sitting safe, away from unlikely peril

a young girl plays with the woolly hair of her rag doll

her young mama kneels before the soothing sound of rushing water

a river that has fed her, washed her, all her life

mama scrubs at sweat and grease on baba’s soiled singlets and

overalls are prepped for more of the work of living to continue

then the river undermines her foothold

sucks  a mother into it, carries her away

almost like a groom sweeps up a bride and cannot wait to be joined as one

there is agony and ecstasy, and agony and pain

her husband – thirty years her senior – they married for love

-not an arranged coupling- he is never to recover or hold her body again.

and a little girl, forever motherless.

when giving birth –  according to the celluloid people –

water always has to be boiling


youth plays at being grown up through waterslides, water pistols

bathing, surfing, the young are allowed an affair with water



looking at the chlorinated pool water, an old  daughter sees her mothers face reflected back; the dead wishing to hug the living.

when water is splashed on this mature-aged swim student’s face,

she can taste the salt of her tears in the pool water welcoming,  waiting for her

water turns a  cliff face into beach sand

and steel into rust through it’s  adrenalin-fueled wave

an old woman but still a young girl pining for a mother she barely knew,

dips her already prune-like toes into the shallow end of a pool

with one liver-spotted  hand with arthritic finger joints gripping the pools edge

( or is it a riverbank?), she lifts only one foot off the pool bottom

still unsure of that moment when life ceases and death takes over

or vice versa, all she knows is that water was involved

and she learns water can also lift her, not just let her sink or swallow her whole or take her out to sea. The living can also float.

water can give life

. water be a tiny drip or tsunami.


from a little girl who had watched her mother get washed away

‘to the orphans on the other side of the world’

this old woman at long last accepts

she too is seventy percent water

perhaps this has been  why she has carried the grief of loss in her being

like the crystal formations of water can also carry emotional vibrations

And finally, an old woman is no longer anxiety-riddled by grandchildren in baths or frolicking in a backyard pool.

An old woman is now comfortable to gargle with saltwater … without choking.

An old woman is now keen to drink eight glasses of water a day .

An old woman is no longer hostage to the pain of her childhood.

Kathryn is an emerging writer, poet, and playwright.She has been published in ZineWest, Social Alternatives, Otoliths,

Chrysanthemum, Poetry d’Amour 2013 – Love Poems for Valentine’s Day,

RedRoom’s Disappearing app, and various anthologies and online.Her plays have been read and staged by PlayWritingAustralia, Short&Sweet, and as part of Women Power and Culture by Sydney’s New Theatre. Her work has also won awards.

The Memories of Water

scientist Matsuru Emoto

photographed water

postulated that the hydrating fluid

remembers how it felt?responded?reacted?

to sounds, electromagnetic waves, words,

thoughts, emotions of its environment


I‘ll refrain from cursing when I get soap in

my eye or caught in the rain


I’ll aim to emulate the resilient wisdom of H2O

I’ll be still, calm, adaptable, flexible, unstoppable,

peaceful, soothing, refreshing, able to dilute, dynamic,

go with the flow, chisel mountains cliffs canyons,

store energetic healing imprints,


I’ll be open to the idea of holy water


pretend it’s part of my daily suggested &

lucky-to-have-it water ration intake


remember, people are three quarters water


and wonder why man’s extraordinary acts of kindness

often follows ordinary everyday miracles


like that of the Asian baby delivered into a sewer pipe

who nestled there, placenta still attached

he found a will and way to live, cried ‘I’m stuck, need help’ in infant frequency

gave a world that’s slow to show compassion a second chance


Water can wash away life’s shit, christen a believer into faith

hydrate a thirst, restore a jaded blue-collar worker to living God


(Published in Pure Slush Nov 2013)

Boxer shorts

Boxer shorts

(or jackpot for the patriarchal privates)


At arm’s length often with phantom peg

on my nose, I’ve handled my husband’s

boxer shorts  a million times.


God knows. Off  the floor. Into hamper.

Out of the washing machine

To keep them sweet-smelling and clean.


I have hung out with the aforementioned garment

In the wee small hours of a moonlit night,

In the rushed early morning of stark daylight.


I become one with the shorts

hang myself on the washline to dry

almost an affair to remember


the three of us

man, wife, and boxer shorts

washing machine is witness


These threadbare, shrunken boxers

that offer little scrotal-sac support

on those low-hang days.


As if hubbie is too old

to free-ball, go commando,

brave an uplifting chill in birthday suit


As I now fold and bury shorts

At the bottom of his undie pile

So I feel I’m a little like his  boxer shorts


Appreciated on the inside

Not for the world to see

Minder of crown jewellery


Signs of wear and age apparent,

But still treasured, a sort of keepsake,

Easily replaced but not.


Just as if I were to donate the boxers to charity

Or demote them to a cleaning rag,

The normally sensible fellow, I imagine

might miss me too if I went awol,

and weren’t in his drawers.





I presented him with our expensive entourage of walking, talking lookalikes.


Many moons ago, for his birthday, they presented him with the boxer shorts.


Now offspring too , wish they’d presented him with at least a  dozen pairs.


Because, as the children have grown up, Dad has grown out.


And on at least one occasion, this has been glaringly obvious, except to Grandma who is a little short-sighted.


I’m still trying to forget the one time, the man was sitting on the sofa. I could clearly see the boxers had shrunk too, and BOO.


A cushion was quickly thrown at him interrupting his viewing of State of Origin football on telly.




© Kathryn Yuen July 1, 2012

No Apology for Liz

Here lies Liz
she’s tiredHere lies Liz
she’s lazy

Here lies Liz
this is fiction

Here lies Liz
truth untenable

Here lies Liz

Here lies Liz
earning her keep

Here lies Liz
unable to get up

Here lies Liz
like roadkill

Here lies Liz
told to keep still

Here lies Liz
too scared to move

Here lies Liz
accommodating a man

Here lies Liz
in silence

Here lies Liz
a snack for wild dogs

Here lies Liz
cold and hog-tied

Here lies Liz
grisly find for joggers

Here lies Liz
aka jane doe

Here lies Liz
on an autopsy slab

Here lies Liz
not donor material

Here lies liz
In bits in bags
weighed, examined,
& here lies Liz
cut and sliced,
& here lies Liz
labelled, numbered

Here lies Liz
dead (assuming she once lived)

Here lies Liz
safer in a long box

Here lies Liz
burning again

Here lies Liz
in the

in a

Kathryn Yuen (New South Wales)

Two poems published in Clockwise Cat

Who the f#%k  is Derrida?

And Sappho ?

And Batho ?

You have trespassed

onto my private poetry haven.

Nuked my pleasure.

Like nose rings and nipple

rings and ‘greek flute’ rings

on a Christian minister or

Buddhist monk…..

You don’t belong.

Get! and take Icarus with you.




Homer of Simpsons

And MadMen of TV


Turn polite and attentive to

their partners or comforters

Like mere mortal males

There is an uncomfortable

Dangerous buildup of sperm

During the ratings and mating



a Rorschach blot on

Brad Pitt’s butt.

The inkings of a drug-sick

Drug-high tattoo-artist

Who’d rather paint walls


Icarus with concrete boots and

wings stiff with copious birdshit

there are

Turns of phrase to end hostilities or

Kiss away sorrow or tweak pleasure


Re-created as a hard bowel movement


The alchemy of turning honey into @#$%

Is ordinary everyday immanence.


Author bio:


Kathryn is a poet, writer, playwright, theatre reviewer, and storyteller. She has been published in ZineWest, Social Alternatives, Otoliths, Chrysanthemum, Poetry d’Amour 2013 – Love Poems for Valentine’s Day, RedRoom’s Disappearing app, various anthologies, and online. Her plays have been read and staged by PlayWriting Australia, Short&Sweet, and as part of Women Power and Culture by Sydney’s New Theatre. Her work has also won awards. She adores mucking about with words and telling stories. It’s better than playing with knives or other people’s decapitated bodyparts. She figures she can’t get put away just for writing stuff.


Published in Clockwise Cat, Nov 25, 2013


Scar Tissue

Steel succumbs to air, water, time –

Imposing skyscrapers are
dismantled by nature
without man around
to maintain their structures

A man’s joyous birth quickly turns to
a last weak  gasp from a corroded body

Nature takes less
than a lifetime to reclaim him

for compost

A baby daughter born into
a poor rural village
becomes more valued
as live fresh squirming pig feed

Big pigs  salivate and masticate
Pork Choppers flossed with human DNA

The only joy
is swine not going hungry.


On the first-world urban frontline,
stiff with rigor mortis
heart perma-chilled
baby fat depleted
skin yellowed
no re-thaw potential of any worth
not for human consumption or
black-market organ trade

a still-life in infinite slumber
awaiting the warmth of a delayed spring
is offered up for city council’s clean-up collection

welcomed by crushing arms and compacting  jaws
of a houseproud, territorial litter truck

bub’s cadaver could have been recycled
a dead mule stuffed with drugs
smuggled through customs in the arms of
a female acid-washed of motherly instincts


Politicians avert their eyes
on cue with
dramatic ‘humility’

no little bundle of joy
doing good for mother earth as future compost
no burden on a non-existent or crook  welfare system

‘the world is the way it is’


And about our innocent displaced siblings
stranded in civil strife who’ll starve silently
off-our-screen, off-our-radar:

Not on ‘our watch’

‘not on today’s agenda’
Man does his best to save Himself.

Published online and in print by Papercuts, Desi Writers Lounge Dec 2013