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Gail is a Punk

What happens when an eccentric Australian poet decamps to Berlin with an inheritance from her right-wing aunt? That’s the premise of my new story, “Gail is  Punk”, out now in Grain magazine.

“Gail is a Punk” is one of several stories I wrote while living in Berlin in 2013, and follows Gail, a nervous Australian lyric poet who finds herself in a complicated, tenuous relationship with a hot young Swede during her year abroad in Kreuzberg. It features punk music, installation art, and some pretty wicked limericks. Here’s an excerpt:


On her third day in Berlin, while eating falafel on a tatty blanket beside the Saturday crowd gathered at the Admiral’s Bridge, she met Daniel. It was a Friday. Kreuzberg was full of creative types and do-it-yourself foodies and thousands of young women in soft, flowery hijabs all gathered along the banks of the filthy canal for the weekly Turkish market.

“Hallo. You look lonely,” he said, laconically, rising up on one elbow and zapping her in the heart chakra with his lazy, sardonic smile.

He was tall, the caricature of a big Swede, with sturdy-looking limbs, short blond hair, a blond-reddish beard and blue eyes. His eyes were like little ponds, she thought, with splashes of fishy motion here and there, or drops of misty rain.

She high-fived her inner self, her giddy, Strong Woman self, already fairly certain of her next move.

“In fact I am a little lonely, since you asked.”

Then she flashed him an inviting smile.

The rest was about what you’d expect.

They walked the canal that afternoon and threw sticks at rangy German Shepards in Gorlitzer Park and pored through the used art bookstores along Oranienstrasse and ended up on the living room floor in a flat he shared with a gay Algerian radio DJ named Mohammed. The sex was fine, nothing really to tweet about, but she liked the feel of his big, Swedish body on top of hers.

This is my second story in Grain. Thanks to the folks at Grain for taking this one on. To find out how to get your very own copy, check out their website or visit your local bookseller.