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Episode 4 EV4ET: Omar Sakr and Ali Cobby Eckermann
Posted 02.10.2020

Episode 4 EV4ET: Omar Sakr and Ali Cobby Eckermann

Duration 24min 33sec

For episode 4 of the Extraordinary Voices for Extraordinary Times podcast, Omar Sakr is joined by Ali Cobby Eckermann. A Yankunytjatjara Aboriginal poet, Ali is the author of seven books, including the verse novel Ruby Moonlight (2012), and the poetry collections Inside My Mother (2015) and the memoir Too Afraid to Cry (2013). In 2017 she was awarded Yale University's Windham Campbell Prize in Poetry.


Ali Cobby Eckermann

it appears where it has always been
our senses jarred to awaken
dragging the heavy door open
movement is forced to purpose
we step inside as a song wafts past
in a language we do not understand
we watch it escape to the clouds
in the building we start renovating
sweeping debris from the flagstones
the tiles a golden hue of promise
we wash soot off the windows
revealing a crisp mountain view
we recognise from legends of old
gently we wipe the dusty walls
searching for the fresco stories
that can no longer be seen
the garden is thick with thorns
we chop until we see the tree
adorned red with temptation
a wind chime of snake skins
draped over branches pointing us back
retracing our steps to the crypt
we find her with a gaping jaw
her mouth still open as if calling
the people who could not hear
we stoop in our ignorance

Things That Saved My Life Lately

Omar Sakr

Dark rye toast with peanut butter. You know,
the thick tang of the nut on the mouth’s roof.
The long lovely of close water: the deep green
canal, still, except where a shaggy German Shepherd
surges, only its head visible, as it struggles toward
the waiting leash. Further on, the bay, a blue feast
full of leaping fish and darting birds, white boats
and mirrored cloud. The water holding my worried
weight. You, queer boy. You, queer joy. Singing.
My departed father submerged in the curve of my smile.
The people searching for the possibility of a heartbeat
beneath the buried rubble in Beirut, day after day.
This list, for what it’s worth, contracts and expands
like any heart, lately, small, wracked with tremors;
there remain the working men in high-vis vests, hot &
busy constructing detours for the walkers, the women,
the writers, around deadly ground. My mother, traumas
unresolved, and for whom, as much as love, I continue
to wade through the hungry hours, snout in the air, furious
in search of her hands, and what, together, we might unknot.

Show notes

Ruby Moonlight by Ali Cobby Eckermann

Inside My Mother by Ali Cobby Eckermann

Too Afraid to Cry by Ali Cobby Eckermann

Love dreaming & other poems by Ali Cobby Eckermann

His Father's Eyes by Ali Cobby Eckermann