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Roller Derby

I guess poets are all trying to swim in the same stream – the same stream as Shakespeare and Yeats and Sappho and Hughes and Carson – and whatever strokes we make, large or small, are a striving to be part of that same vast human conversation.
– Candy Royalle

The Scrimmage

There is violence here
an abundance of it
fists and elbows and tongues that lash out
ankles and knees that fight to keep balance
________this is violence.
There are gestures of thrusting hips
arms extended
anger exposed
speed enticed by wheels of rubber and steel
sounds of strained voices
________this is violence.

Apparently there is no fresh meat here.

These skates are worn
by bearers of flesh experienced
to the feel of burning skin
red raw from fishnets rubbing surfaces exposed
to the elements of an unforgiving floor
________this is violence.
One body is lost on the battle field.
A veteran flat on her back
cries out in agony
for she has been winded
________wiped out

All her sisters
on the same side and opposing
All her sisters
fall onto bended knee
– except for their wheels
which continue to turn
sighing in their trucks
perhaps the thoughts of those that wear them
as stripes flock about her
flapping squawking
placing hands with the lightness of feathers
upon her panting body
she rises with a cry
and all applaud
________this is violence placated.

The scrimmage starts again
the circle is skated
and if there were ice
it would be thin
bones be brittle
and tones be laden
with frothing spittle
declaring the calls of an imitated war
and the reasons (or lack of) for
________this is violence.

Candy Royalle has a practice that combines performance, monologues, poetry, storytelling and written poetry.

Wollongong Illawarra Roller Derby formed in January 2009, and have been a key force in the establishment of the Eastern Region Roller Derby Leagues.