she’s slouching in the shade on the sagging metal bench outside the servo caf waiting for what the bus might bring the only bus, the city bus waiting to see who might stumble down the steps, eyes shaded from the glare with the hand that should be holding on to the step rail

she’s waiting, the bus is late, she’s cleaning grubby nails with her skinning knife sliding the shell holder from back to side for a decent lean on the cool metal wall, bracing the 12 gauge shotgun upright off the gritty cement with her boot she pulls the Tally Ho paper off her lip without bringing half her face with it

she knows her visitor is a fancy, unlikely and unexpected, chimera of the city and her imagination

this visitor being a visitor so far out of her comfort zone the galahs will be shrieking at her face tense with the stress, reddening from the heat her soft cotton trousers already

sticking uncomfortably into every available bodily crease and angle
and no believable cover-story for what this visitor might conceivably be doing on this visit…

waiting, dreaming, looking for a girl-friend in that river town, border town is as futile as looking for shade under a baobab tree as unlikely as halting the invasion of cane toads by scaring their tadpoles

straight-forward gender-queer interdiction in seven words

On December 15, 2017, as reported in the Washington Post, the Trump Administration gave a directive to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that official documents being prepared for the 2018 budget were not to contain the following words:  Vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, transgender, fetus, evidence-based, science-based.

it’s more than a haircut, no clue in the clothes, our life and times are loaded, identity locked in binary, while the whole world is playing at drag

our position is unstable, from birth we are contradiction, looking different is one thing, a dangerous interdiction — not being clear is unwise, cross-wise

we’re careless with androgyny, insouciant with psychology that’s non-specific with inventions of desire both tactical and strategic

transgender is transcendence, vulnerable multiplicity — in cross-dressing we show intention, providing evidence-based intervention

it’s in the foetus and the embryo — our conviction that variety is more than in the binary… our entitlement is diversity

ambiguity is chameleon, identity is fluidity, science-based incorruptibility highlights truth — that’s in the evidence… it’s all something etymological

the words-based imbroglio of jeopardy in heterogeneity sees our queer bodies as vulnerable to the evangelical

we’re pushing back with queer, at odds with norms spelling false legitimacy, an unaligned body is gender-queer, what’s queer is clear— ambiguity

queer is bright in the spotlight, what are you looking at? what are ya? a straight forward, chameleon, interdiction

Note: interdiction is a military term for the act of delaying, disrupting or destroying enemy forces or supplies enroute to the battle area (Wikipedia)

Susan B turns in her grave

in the year of the angry, old white men
they vote because of people like her—
in Rochester Cemetery the queue wraps
twice around her grave
like the line to vote

one side of the road chants his name
the other outrage, they vote for racial
patriarchy— this campaign is not poetry

she is bleeding from her eyes, bleeding from her ‘wherever’ …
his vindictive natural register —

Susan B turns in her grave
she knows these angry old white men—
their fortress against the other,
their mandate for misogyny

( Susan B Anthony voted illegally in 1872. She was tried, fined but refused to pay any penalty. )

On our Earth

Io Europa Ganymede Callisto: from our Earth we can see the moons of Jupiter, the Jovian moons, held by a gravitational tide, providing the dust that creates Jupiter’s rings—not all celestial bodies revolve around the Earth… in this company, is a gun a small thing?

from our Earth
we see the moons of Jupiter —
can they show us how
to know ourselves as bigger
than we seem

on our Earth
our freedoms consume themselves
race, religion
sexuality, guns, collide
and fracture in Orlando

on our Earth
politics is too afraid
of lgbti
to say yes
so everyone can marry

from our Earth
we hear your daily insults
free speech
twitter and facebook ugly—
hear your guns between us

from our Earth
we turn the other cheek
respond to hate
with weeping— how long must we
restrain our rage?

gun question

it’s the way we ask the question, creating guilt and mystery, cementing dogma and righteousness… we know the guilty are full of questions, even when they believe they are right.  one of the questions is are we also the guilty?

buying clothes
for Eid peace celebrations
—buying guns and coffins
that is what a gun is for/
—why else do you pick it up?
you know that when you hold a gun you must be expecting to kill someone… it’s your action; your bringing of death…

how easily
the gun comes to hand
brain disconnects—
hand gun, assault rifle
who is in your sights?

What’s new


Acting Like a GirlWaistcoat and hat. Text: Acting Like a Girl, Sandra Renew.

Acting Like a Girl (Recent Work Press 2019) has been shortlisted for the ACT Book of the Year 2020 award. (See The Canberra Times announcement.)

Acting Like a Girl (Recent Work Press 2019) was also the winner of the 2020 ACT Writing and Publishing Award for Poetry.

Latest release

It’s the sugar, Sugar (Recent Work Press 2021)
It's the sugar, Sugar cover

‘Master’s tools, Master’s house: All the old crimes’ (Axon: Creative Explorations, 10/2, 2020; Issue theme: Manifestos, diatribes and interventions)



Acting Like a Girl reviewed by Melinda Smith in Not Very Quiet (September 2020)

Acting Like a Girl reviewed  by Julia Clark in Plumwood Mountain (August 2020)


‘Munga Thirri’ (Meniscus, Jen Webb and Gail Pittaway (eds), Vol 8.1, May 2020)

‘The bionic enhancements queue’ (Getting On, Griffith Review 68, Ashley Hay (ed.), Text Publishing, 2020)

‘Legs’ (Australian Poetry Anthology Vol 8, co-guest-edited by Melinda Smith and Sara Saleh, 2020)

‘Mungo’ (The Anthology of Australian Prose Poetry, edited by Paul Hetherington and Cassandra Atherton, Melbourne University Publishing, 2020)

Hue Poodle daily press briefings

Dog chasing flock of birds in a green field.

Check out my covid19 offering from the Ministry of In-Home Entertainment: Hue Poodle daily press briefings


Not Very Quiet’s founding editors, Moya Pacey and Sandra Renew, received an award last night from the Canberra Critics’ Circle:

For their influential work in exposing Canberra women’s poetry to view through their biannual online journal for women’s poetry, Not Very Quiet.


Acting Like a Girl (Recent Work Press, 2019)

Monthly event

Not Very Quiet at Smith’s Alternative
Suspended for Covid 19 duration
Sandra co-convenes a varied program of women’s poetry in a relaxed cafe venue.

Smith’s Alternative
76 Alinga Street, Canberra City
7pm to 9pm