States of Poetry 2016 - TAS | 'Reply from the Women of Tangier' by Louise Oxley

Reply from the Women of Tangier


after Brett Whiteley’s The Majestic Hotel, Tangier (1967)


So secretly together do we wear
our separateness, we’re so complete
he gives us the white stare.

Easy to see decay and disrepair
in the spittle and hashish-ruined streets.
But secretly together we all wear

our place and time, our rightness here,
our journey from antiquity.
He gives us the white stare

and calls us names: the Olive Mafia.
We hold our desert gaze, defeat
his envy, and secretly together bare

our hennaed hands, our loosened hair,
our thighs for marriage rites, our feet.
He gives us the white stare,

but cannot penetrate the haze, can’t bear
our vapour-of-midnight eyes, our heat.
So secretly together do we share
ourselves, he gives us the white stare.

Louise Oxley

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.