Common Words


Common Words

what we eat comes from our roots
if we stop sharing there will be nothing

                ‘Whole Lot’, Ellen van Neerven


We wake in the morning and there
are words. We shake off our dreams,
words scattering to the floor. Words
crunch underfoot. We flick the word

on. Words look back at us in the mirror.
We swirl words in our mouths, and spit.
Words go down the drain. Words have cut
us. See: we are scarred by words. Outside,

the sky is heavy with words. People open
umbrellas and words bounce off them.
We are walking bareword in the rain.
We are getting worded to our very skins.

We breathe words. We search for the right words.
We grow and feed words. We will never stop words.


Eileen Chong

Author: Eileen Chong

Eileen Chong is a Sydney poet. Her books are Burning Rice (2012), Peony (2014) and Painting Red Orchids (2016), all from Pitt Street Poetry. She has shortlisted for the Anne Elder Award 2012, the Prime Minister's Literary Award 2013 and the Victorian Premier's Literary Award 2017, among others. Her next book, Another Language (2017), is in the Braziller Series of Australian Poets with George Braziller in New York City.

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