Vasilka Pateras

Vasilka Pateras is a Melbourne-based poet and emerging writer whose work is published in n-SCRIBE, Mediterranean Poetry, The Blue Nib and Poetry on the Move. She regularly reads as part of the Melbourne Spoken Word community.



Pusteno oro1

The curve of my spine
I sway
with the clarinet’s call
I am in its grip
pure majestic phrasing
scattered gradations
time signature

a gentle hop step of feet
if there was a verse this would be it
if there was a curse it would be my love
for the life of notes that gather as we gather
in the oro
a step in unison
in memory
a circle’s embrace
this is our protest
of release in the rattle and clack of
the drum
catching me

I wipe the sweat from my brow

the clarinet’s hold
into the unknown
people unstitched
frayed across new and old worlds
trying to pick up the lost stitch
in this I am found


Melbourne how do I love you?

at Tullamarine
blazing glass
industry, billboards stream
flat grey basalt plains of the west
into freeway channels
of fast fast fast

how do I love you
true wog wogness of north
Veni vidi vici
market square of Preston
an escape
from the ravages of war
to tamed lions, eagles
white balustrades
lemon trees lemon scented
bitter sweet
fruit of dislocation

how do I love you
endless endless suburbs of east
Metricon, Glenville and anon
faux Provincial, Federation, Bungalow Californian
the home beautiful of
low maintenance thinking
to the row row of hedge groves

how do I love you
southern white-burbs
foreign beige of aspen
dales and vales
that sonorous
lap of bay
against the hush hush hush

how do I love you
oh Yarra, smell of brown
waste replete
the glass sheen of Maribyrnong,
canals of Elwood
concreted Moonee Ponds creek
do I dare dip my feet?

how do I love you
oh big city heart
Victorian genteel
Paris end
playground of successive elites
huddled laneways of mystery
artisanal, literary, labyrinths
cannibalised by capital
that cannot been seen
once crane adorned
now pandemic forlorn

oh Kulin Nation
of Naarm
people, country, language
with stories of legend and lore
I hail the cries for restitution
of what was
and is yours yours yours



1. Translations from Macedonian:
pusteno – to release/let go/set free
oro – folk dance