Overheard School Break


By Khairani Barooka / Photo: Wasi Daniju


Kids’ recess a

Barrel of battle drums,

Each former

Squawking fetus an airhorn.

Who sperm-’n’-egged to make us,


Screechy and greased up,

Chocolate-crumbed mouths in

Rapture rapture rapture rapture

10 minutes straight?


In the spilled tumbleleaves of their

Tracheal yells, I hear the confusion

Of their bodies at 40, oil barrels,

Dying things, refuges self-sabotaged.

Mass acts of screaming as a way

To stab air with the hot poker want

Inside for a life sipping calmly

On the hot gin of kindness.



Khairani Barokka (b.1985, Jakarta) is a writer, poet and artist. Among her honours, she was an NYU Tisch Departmental Fellow for her masters, Emerging Writers Festival’s (AUS) Inaugural International Writer-In-Residence (2013), and Indonesia’s first Writer-In-Residence at Vermont Studio Center (2011). She was recognized in 2014 by UNFPA as one of Indonesia’s “Inspirational Young Leaders Driving Social Change», for highly prolific, pioneering international work in inclusive, accessible arts. Barokka is published internationally in anthologies and journals, and her last book Indigenous Species is expected for publishing in November 2016. / NWCC says thank you for the poem!

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