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Barbara De Franceschi

Barbara De Franceschi a poet who lives in Broken Hill, a small mining town in outback Australia. Her works have appeared in literary journals and anthologies in Australia and Ireland, on-line USA and Switzerland. Her work has been featured on Radio National's PoeticA; she has also read her work live to air on ABC Radio. Barbara was recently included in the Thylazine Foundation's Australian Poets at Work Series ( Her first collection Lavender Blood was published in 2004; the manuscript for a second collection is being compiled for publication in 2008. Being married to an Italian migrant has influenced her writing and her concept of life; she was awarded an OAM (Order of Australia Medal) in 2002 for her involvement in multicultural affairs. Barbara was instrumental in the establishment of Sharing the Lode the Migrant Heritage Museum in Broken Hill and is Chairperson of the Migrant Heritage Committee. 
crossed cultures - special issue
From Constantine to Con 

kindergarten scissors cut his name 
condense his pride
a hulking lad
vulnerable despite his size

survival is held within a shrug
enforced by a clenched fist
unbeknown afraid of his victims
more than they are of him

we share a school desk
I share my lunch treats
(jam sandwiches and Sao biscuits)
with someone else

school yard leers with brutal jibes
at a time when everyone
is Alice in Wonderland
or Roy Rogers

any person outside the mould
comes from an alien ship
just landed
on pre-claimed turf

I have a scar on my wrist –
a small crescent
from a thumbnail
dipped in immigrant DNA

a warning
in case I contemplate snitching
on erasers chewed
or pencils gone missing

the mark will always brand me
a reminder of nose-bleeds
mixed with jacaranda trumpets
on bicycle tracks edging parklands

I often see Con/ a big Greek man
he smiles recognition
(a mouth smile that stops midbrain)
turns away before I can say


even the way he peels an orange
is different
a pantomime played out
in elaborate sequences

how is it we blend

my tongue cast in Irish bracken
his in pasta sauce

I understand his need for chestnuts
he complains about my stew
other parts fit into a pattern

lightning strikes
the air balloons
with things we forget to say

we are a tallow flame
each flicker melts the imbalance  
until finally we dissolve
into the same pool

where love is thicker than blood

Featured Artist Fiona Holding