Excerpt from 'salt'

We huddle under the eaves while it rains hard and you whisper something in my ear and it feels so good and I want to stay here a little longer but we have to make a run for it. The pavement is cracked and slippery so we take half steps in a bid not to lose control of our own bodies.

Later I go to the gym and lift small weights above my head. I’m very weak so I put the weights down and just lift my arms above my head in time with my slow, deliberate breaths. I look ridiculous but it’s a good way to pass the time.


We cram into a small, dank room and take our places on the carpet among the papers and trash. Slowly we start to take apart an IKEA bookshelf, making stacks of the chipped and warped MDF panels.

We make a plan even though we know it’s futile and then we get drunk. On the way home I think about the fate of the hypocrites in Dante’s hell who are defeated and worn down by having to journey while wearing robes of lead that cloak their eyes.

I worry that this too will be my fate.


J Clo visits and we go to the beach and eat Thai and talk about M.I.A. At his talk the next day he says it’s as simple and as difficult as finding a way to block all the routes they use.


I read Hartman on the train on my way to work. She argues that we must mistranslate the concept of the general strike so as to not forget those battles waged in the realm of social reproduction, the resistances of those who fail to be recognised by the category of worker, struggles large and small. 

When I get home I put a big pot of lentils on the stove, adding salt and a dried chilli and a bay leaf and clove of garlic and some pepper corns to the pot.


We bump into Bianca and Grace outside Charlie’s show. Inside, a sheer yellow curtain divides the room in two. It’s a delicate threshold that feels good to pass through. The work is small and slow and kind of sexy. 

We sit on the floor of the gallery and have a makeshift picnic. When we go we leave a few pepitas on the floor as an offering.


While we wait, I think about this line by Moten: ‘communism is how you get nasty with enjoyment.’

Later, we go dancing and afterwards I try to hold onto the warmth of our collective body.


Read the rest of Poetry in Lockdown, edited by Toby Fitch and Melody Paloma

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Andrew Brooks

Andrew Brooks is a lecturer in media cultures at UNSW. He is one half of the critical art collective Snack Syndicate and a co-editor of Rosa Press. He lives on unceded Wangal country.

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