The Knee Monologues

[Older longer poem in five parts. It was a runner up in the Overland Poetry Prize for Emerging Poets in 2008. The title is a play on a famous play called ‘The Vagina Monologues’. The poem started off by my exploring a twinge sensation in my knee and took off from there. Shot the photos for the two collages in a Canberra Mall.]

The Knee Monologues

Coming to receive from us
Knee-tribute yet unpaid, prostration vile.
– Milton, Paradise Lost, V, 778-9


we’re concave convex like the universe all your strength centred in us as long as you’re upright and not a stiff but springing like a jack or jill in the box in the tilting toy shops of life that’s why you go weak in us when lust hits your eye balls you’re neither hot nor cold or you’re falling from a skyscraper as the brakes fail or you get your maths marks we can even flip the fifties into the sixties by dimply flashing ourselves from under the new lift of a hemline at the races like jean shrimpton and bring down the empire of lamingtons white gloves hats doilies smoking picket fences sheila-free pubs and god save the queen at the cinema stand up straight chest out hats off march in line six of the best short back and sides lest we forget the iron knee days the bended knee days the attention stand at ease days the odd tight red tunic topped by a furry pyramid of a black bear hat keeled over on the pavement like christine under a minister as she passes by equally oblivious to her knees that rule the world my brothers and sisters the great kneedom of hinges that silently swing the body’s door midgard between ground and sky until we slowly rust and freeze into walking frames wheelchairs finally flatten our concavity down into the depravity of the homely soil our convex bit discretely embalmed in white silk eyeing off the receding heavens as we fall legless into space


young we bounce children
through the trampolines
of their days

in the evenings
on the nature strip
they squat happily

from the exciting
tragedies, timelessness

of serious play
rest their heads on us
breathe in

the sweet smell
of our daily fading
fusion of sweat and bliss

we contain the forgotten
chemicals that bind them
to themselves


growing we closely connect
to our cousins
the elbows

we’re proudly grounded
in ankle, calf and thigh
while our little friends

have just got forearm
biceps and shoulder
to play with

they’re all up in the air
like swings
or air guitars

half the time
the other half
getting calluses

it’s all that resting
heads on tables
and shunting

their determined way
through the hard
jelly of the world

of course to spite us
they say
their concave bit

is especially sexual
but that’s just because
most mouths

seldom come
down to us
to test the waters

of our suppleness
they would be


of course we too
can be callused
to buggery

you just try scrubbing
floors on us
all your life

for the gentry
to go gliding
over tippy-toe

waltz away
their willed ignorance
of our suppressed

and lowly state
that keeps them
in the largesse

of their powdered
ankles and sexy
soft silks


and just for the record
we were there in 69
on the moon too

felt the impact
of his big leap
for man-unkind

up from his big
boofy boot

Armstrong, my foot
strong KNEES
are what landed him

in that fine dust
he later violated
with a flag

~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on June 10, 2017.

2 Responses to “The Knee Monologues”

  1. Wow….love it…an ode to ones knees, who’da thunk…!

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