Saradha Koirala


So far away

The first words I ever pretended to read were Dire Straits as my mum handwrote the album details on the cassette she’d just dubbed Brothers in Arms onto. My brother whispered to me what it said and I repeated it aloud to the surprise of already proud mum, who I quickly put straight, never wanting to be seen as anything greater than I was.

This morning I woke with ‘So far away from me’ in my head and there I was back at that kitchen table, that kitchen of so many homebrand haircuts and baking afternoons, tears over flooded lino, burnt muesli and frustrations I will never fully understand and those lyrics that I just didn’t get or know I one day would.

And there’s Mark Knopfler again telling me passion can be mumbled, electric, eighties and understated, cheesy with rhyme and as powerful as those words printed, whispered, shared, confessed, recalled. As powerful as memory itself.

The Full Spectrum

In the season of rainbows and tough decisions
I take photos of the sky while driving

easily bamboozled by others
and their desire for me to be okay. I’m not.

I make lists headed Joy and Frustration
feel my body shrink…

and e x p a n d again with determination.

In the season of sun showers and changing rooms
I am the light that reflects and refracts

ride a lazy arc from ex-haustion
to some stifling form of relaxation

and just as I’m bored of the same three chords

this storm turns out to be the perfect combination
of light dispersal in cool precipitation

so I chase it down the back streets home.


I’m a little bit in love with the world again today.
Not just the bright courtyard outside my bedroom door
that eases me into another morning here

or the sea-beyond-rooftops view as I walk down the hill
to this quiet city I know too well

this afternoon city of doors pushed closed
alleyways blocked by bins

streets swept clean by a northerly at least
– it’s the world outside this that fills me with light.

Sent words map out wherever it is you are
snippets of your day in exchange for my evening

a little bit in love and a gallery of images
on trains, at stations: forever moving
or waiting to be moved again.

I am

I am the smell of the unshaken rug
dust warmed by the shifting shapes of sunlight
this long afternoon.

Blossom that once lined streets
russets in gutters like pine needles
its crimson now blooming in bruises above school socks
burns on the backs of our hands.

I am the expected next beat of your raggedy heart
never this beat or the beat just been
I cling in the chill of the pre-rain air.

Talking to boys

Remember when those boys from high school finally grew tall
came back for summer holidays with stories
mostly about drinking, but often about girls
or older women, brazen
emboldened by experience, confessing teenage-long crushes
on you and your friends
using phrases like ‘out of my league’ and ‘punching above my weight’
sporting metaphors incongruous with their still-spindly arms
and narrow shoulders
your own awkward laugh?

Remember when you wanted to start a band, but everyone you knew
was a bass player, like you
and you’d given away your amp anyway after it proved to be
the heaviest thing you owned?

Remember, too, when the sun seemed to beam down on your life
for several days in a row
bright warm views and long evenings
of an active mind ticking off the last of things
last classes, last weeks, last pair of stockings, last days of boots
last time you let yourself dwell in a situation
that keeps you up at night, eyes open, you’d tell yourself, but still in the dark
last days of low-fog on morning hills
a hazy view diffusing street lamp glow
haunting hoot of morepork
last time your pen or mouth runs dry?

Home World

Wake to the sound of birds sun urging at the curtain
mundanities of an incomplete (whole-wide) world
thick clouds lower as the sun does
old windows rattle but no more than most nights
no more than they usually do with the momentum of life time tunes wine
ink paper brain (both sides) darkening
and cooling room (keep pace keep up)
chest both hollow and bursting heightened heart beat
sun back next day connecting
one by one by one
bringing it out from behind lingering clouds
wispy clouds long low clouds that cling to the horizon
too much and just enough all at once
this life
keeps happening
heart beat rattles too full too empty – let it
make itself heard felt known
heat words input output output output
heart (flesh) beat skip
frightening – out of control
but beat beat on
it’s keeping you alive
this world
this (fuck it) beautiful
this things work out things fall apart world
this moving on and staying upright world
this yours to own have live in it world
this hot and cold
this tears of joy sorrow and mediocrity world
this laughter of joy sorrow and awkwardness world
this heart leaping heart break
this moving on and moving on world
this all yours
this departure lounge arrivals gate
this stay away until you’re filthy exhausted until all you want is
this sweet smelling silence of home
this you know when it’s time to come home
this heat sweat and heart beat world
this life
meet connect move on move on come home
come home come home come home (move on).


She unpacks an endless suitcase
in a room she shouldn’t be in
the woman on the bed cries, “This situation,
you don’t understand,” the woman on the bed is her.

She pulls out clean clothes, dirty clothes
old clothes neatly folded
unfamiliar clothes
that she somehow knows are hers.

A crowd gathers to watch
hovering over her as she removes
evidence of life, receipts, used tissues
the debris of getting on with each day.

“The trick,” she tells herself
lotus-legged and wise
from her position on the bed
“is not to unpack too much at once

not to pour out your heart
when there’s nowhere to pour it
no one’s cupped hands for it to trickle into
be held gently in for a moment

before it’s handed back
more than just neatly intact.”


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