We Are The Rejected – Beth Spencer

The rejected in love
come down to sigh in the park
at Glebe Point.

The rejected drive down late at night
crammed in a yellow two door sedan
radio blaring,
arms flailing out of windows
hair a mess, mascara running.

We shout
‘We are the REJECTED!’
across Blackwattle Bay

and wait

and the shark coloured water
creaks against the bank
‘Hmmm… Hmm…’
like a $90 shrink.

again, just to be sure
because it is comforting to be something
even if it’s only this

and up on the other side of the bay
the cars cruise by
headlights politely averted.

But we are everywhere,
in the dark in the bushes, on benches
kneeling or leaning against the white rails
resting our foreheads against lamp-posts
bumping them against fences (boop, boop).

As dark falls on Glebe Point
you can hear the rustling of the
grievers, the deceived
listen to the
‘Hmmm… Hmmm…’ of the bay
and see the cars drive away
(the unrejected, with places to go, busy schedules).

The chimney stacks:
(no comment).

The skyline glitters
out of reach
like a big birthday cake
for someone’s party that the rejected are
too dejected to go to
(and weren’t invited in the first place).

We are the world’s nocturnal shuffling creatures,
hunched shoulders, long thin overcoats
pale lined faces.

Short, fat, balding, beautiful, long-legged,
smart, witty, dull and mean.
We come in all types.
Shuffling through the trees,
leaning against the white rail,
knocking our heads against lamp-posts
doing hand-stands in the dark,
avoiding the dog shit.

‘We are the rejected,’ we shout and we hear the echoes
and sighs all around us in the bushes and on the benches,
a woman is kneeling at the white rail.

‘Hmmm… Hmm…’ says the water.

‘We are the rejected!’ we shout.

‘Not my problem’ say the cars going up the hill (somewhere).

We are the weepers, the left
the ones with
big question marks in our eyes
the ones still hoping.

Gnawed fingernails, chewed hair.

‘We are REJECTED!’

‘Hmm… Hmm…’ says the water.

We are the rejected.


(Originally published in Things in a Glass Box, FIP New Poets, 1994 and reprinted in The Party of Life, Flying Islands/ASM, 2015.)