'Poems of Sex and Culture' – Patrick Gunasekera

On The Page is a series of writing and poetry submitted to the Centre for Stories as part of the 2019 Centre for Stories Inclusion Matters Hot Desk Fellowship.

Patrick Gunasekera is a queercrip Sinhala interdisciplinary artist based in the Whadjuk region of the Noongar nation, disrupting white and settler epistemologies of art through writing, visual media, performance-making and advocacy. He has been published in Voiceworks, Australian Poetry Journal, Seesaw, Pelican, and Wave After Wave, and is a contributor to the upcoming Black Inc. anthology Growing Up Disabled in Australia. He is currently working on his first play and his first poetry collection.

Get to know more about Patrick here.

[Extracts from Poems of Sex and Culture]


I once wanted to colonise already opulent theatres with commands of reverence,


paint this body porcelain like the moon,

bayonet the night with the breath of my scapula.


Dance came to me again as an adult,


we embodied queens of ourselves

and chewed elegance apart under curtains of strobe.



– – – – –I don’t want to say goodbye

I left the kettle from the drawer on the countertop,

its silhouette sees me in the shadow and says nothing

The bedsheet beneath my seeking palm

rises with tender quiet, too

– – – – –I don’t want to say goodbye just yet.

When will I find home again?

The comely biryani

from down the street?

I have learned a new meaning to being savage

I am not ready to leave this here

– – – – –I don’t want to say goodbye

One day I will be free again

The next day I will remember how to make love

with a body of sacred teeth


I am he who grows

I am transgressing into new terrains of knowledge and body

And I have always been ready for this

Have always been growing

Have always confounded the bitter whims of adversaries

Always shaken their gape loose like unspooled string

With my heart pounding gaudy at the peak of life

Always rebirthed with greater voice

Every time he dared hit my little body stiff with fear

Always stood unafraid at the end of the world

Carrying a rainforest under my skin

Ahead of everything which seeks to destroy me under this state—

In one way or another

This has always been who I am


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