Questions from a Student Who Works (a Tribute to Brecht)


Brooke Nolan is a PhD student at The University of Western Australia in Anthropology and Asian Studies. She was born in Sydney and has studied in Germany, Hungary and Indonesia. In 1999 she was a finalist in the Sydney Morning Herald Young Writer of the Year competition.

Brooke Nolan

Whose mop scraped the floor digesting
vomit-muck flesh-gunk?
In the bing-bing room
the lurid circus
you will plead
drowning with your bing-bing prince.
Did he clean up your vomit-muck?

And bile, flesh-gunk, rotten old beer-splash?
Who scraped it up so many times?

In what rented rooms of distorted, bing-bing Perth do its students live?
Where, on evenings when the insipid bull-men hunched at the bar
hurl beer-glasses,
do the part-timers go?

Great casino-carcass is full of triumphal oafs.
Who serves them?
Over whom do the oafs vomit?
Has Crooked Capitalism, much praised in Sloppy Slogans, only palaces for its oafs?

Even at 4am on Tuesday morning, engulfed by bing-bing,
the drowning widow cries out for a win.

The multi-men hunch round golden troughs.
Are they alone?

Twiggy lifts a knife.
Who laid his table?
The drowning widow weeps when
bing-bing declares she is
at 4:26am
on Tuesday morning
is she the only one to weep?

No one wins the bing-bing war.

Every night a defeat.
Who cooked up this lurid circus?

Every ten minutes an order.
So many shifts.
So many questions.