Poetry archive 2020:
We are saying nothing
By Theressa Malone
written in a stolen pen
by my own hand kept
shake-free by the things i wandered-through-the-smoke-for, ray in hand
i, thirsty, frank, realise why
the smoke that morning meant so little, how i ignored it darkening the brown of the imported Harakeke--
Tapered on the curb like that. trampled, written about, smiling. The plant reminded me of something i saw in a notebook somewhere.
i grimace at night now
- The tan hard face of a juggler, tongue gone limp when he voids his ice cream to the footpath, my dad cries
- The woman eating a bowl of sand
Your face. I think of your face-- my own i am consciously unaware of,
yes. my face is unattainable without a mirror
- I, i could kill for a durry
- ‘Candescent thighs’--my shivering spine
and the dead:
- That ‘prefect’s’ shoes on grass, grass on linoleum, off, on, off. No, no, no Novi Sad.
Each new day begins a new flurry
In list form they bleed.
I hear them, you know, the images
I think of two-days-ago images,
Theressa Malone is the founder and editor of Milly Magazine. She is completing her Masters in Literature at Te Herenga Waka.
Hell and Back
By Aaron Capelli
Late in the afternoon, as I walk
past parked cars on the way to dinner,
the golden reflections of adjacent buildings
slide like bubbles up over the dark glass of windshields,
and I think of how I am, we all are,
bodies lodged in some kind of stream.
Over sushi we discuss our funerals.
Someone already has theirs planned out,
though it’s more of a prank, hardly possible.
What troubles me more is how to feel.
To feel is just on the other side of mystery.
There is no walking there,
though I am always trying to walk there —
rain and bow, oil and moon
continuing across evening indigo.
Aaron Capelli is a graduate student at the university of chicago studying creative writing
I like those irises
By Krista Maley
I like those Irises
tattooed with violets...
couldn't stop you
from leaving home.
Maybe you're a fishnet stocking
in a circus
of bad jokes
and words that won't stop-
For good opportunities
tailor-made for the likes of you
Krista Maley is a mum and English teacher from the stunning Coromandel. Hobbies include tramping, swimming, and faery walks, where she collects forgotten objects for her spells. A candle maker by trade, she is always whipping up a brew with oils and crystals in her cauldron.
that sea, that salvation
Three poems By Madison Zehmer
sick and seabound, we mined our bodies for stars, piled them up one by one until soul remnants
ached alone, separated from flesh. a sort of self-inscribed punishment, we buried ourselves
beneath sinking ships, let anchors spear us in two, our soulstars cleaved from each other, swirling
down towards shifting sand. we pressed lips of salt into prayer, let the words filling our bellies
rot in the emptiness.
some starving thing desired us and we longed for it, that slow feeling of nothingness, our food
and our flesh.
I was one of these girls or I wanted to be, cast out to the ocean to drown, cast out by my own
doing, my own sickness, my own desire to fall apart, to fall asleep. I hung in a netherworld
between consciousness, dead and breathing, alive, choking, something in between.
and then, when I desired to become more human than siren, I woke up slowly, grabbed an anchor
to steady me, let it bring me back to earth.
the world turns slow and solid and I mine the sky for stars and I leave my body alone.
a starving thing desires me but I do not desire it anymore, the heartache of losing oneself already
with me. how does one unite soul and stars and flesh? I let my skin grow when it wants, let
breath escape through my ribs and mingle with air, let sky guide me home rather than soil.
it still rains and I am still seabound, but I am no longer sick and I no longer want to be, the salt of
air as sweet as the salt of sea, sweet as stars.
Tonight / your breath ignites air.
I swallow cold and wait
for the rain to stop.
Frostbite bellies rumble away
snowpowder into rust / reassemble chest cavities
into craters / pulsing / like earthworms
born from fiery Arizona ash.
Let it burn slowly / or not at all.
You can freeze if you want / let your sour stomach
eat the sky / gray it into something dim.
Or you can smoulder / like wood without name /
into something pure and empty / a ribcage without lungs.
Madison Zehmer is a poet and wannabe historian from North Carolina, United States, with published and forthcoming work in Déraciné Magazine, Drunk Monkeys, Gone Lawn, LandLocked Magazine, Kanstellation Magazine, and elsewhere. She is editor in chief of Mineral Lit Mag and a reader for Lily Poetry Review. Her first chapbook, 'Unhaunting,' will be released by Kelsay Books in 2021.
you lean back, call me babe, call me honey, call me nothing at all. I feel your teeth chatter. you
worm your way into my blood, brain cells oozing dark matter, oozing dusk. you wait for pain
like a leech, like a star about to burst. don’t sing a lullaby,
sing an elegy. see, your lullaby breaks against my ears, sickly sweet honey on your lips. you still
see all of the stars, I can tell, let them burn away your teeth. the smoke from your cigar dances
the dusk into something pretty and deadly, like blood
red nail polish laced with snake venom. blood blue sunsets mist the air with lullabies, ancient and
raw. you prefer dim and dusk to sunlight. you prefer salt to honey. the sky magnifies the white of
your teeth. I pray to God, wish on Saturn and stars
that you’ll leave, but you can’t. a dying star won’t lead you home. I’ve seen dead skin and blood
in the sink, seen decay of eyes and teeth. I wish you’d stop singing that lullaby, sugar sweet and
sick. bees without honey wait for the world to end, to become dusk,
and there’s nothing you can do about dusk and there’s nothing you can do about stars dying fast.
nothing as nice as honey has touched your lips in months. from your tongue, blood sinks down
into a hell of lullabies and dirges. stay away from the sharp teeth
that want to make you their host. shining teeth of ghosts and Gods haunt you at dawn and dusk.
you will never be safe with lullabies of death in the back of your mind. the stars are bright
tonight. watch them blur like stale blood crushed on the pavement. don’t call me honey,
call me gone. the lullaby in your teeth is crystallised as honey, sweet as dusk, sharp as starlight,
cruel as vulture-sick blood.
Dinner à la rotunda
Two poems by Keith Nunes
The circular wall is covered with a Seraphine Pick frieze
Built around the wall, one long stemware rack
A greenstone door and
Covered in a mirror
And the domed ceiling
Covered in a mirror
Table of obsidian
A standing-room only
Soundtrack to Valerie
Up on it
Lava red atop the bobber
Ink-on-arms pump pumping
‘Baby, check it out
But not in half
Get a circumnavigation
Throws the shade
She’s risen on
Of higher toning
Keith Nunes (Aotearoa/New Zealand) was nominated for Best Small Fictions 2019, the Pushcart Prize and has won the Flash Frontier Short Fiction Award. He’s had poetry, haiku, short fiction and visuals published around the globe.
by MariaH Marquez
to exist solely in the space between your arms,
to exalt in the scent and shape and very texture of your chest,
to capture in these, my frail words, the beauty in your eyes and smile that, itself,
to lay myself down next to you,
to feel every coarse thought in my mind soften,
to find in the air around you the ability to simply
Mariah Marquez is a graduate student at San Diego State University, pursuing an MA in
English, specializing in American Literature. She has been published in pacificREVIEW’s 2020
annual Synchronous. She doesn’t know much, but what she does know she writes poetry
about—love, art, and falling apart.
i was a lot in one country
Two poems by Isaac Daramola
i was a lot in one country. because my mother told me that snithing an earthworm would only result to two novel earthworms, i tried to be so many in this one body. all i did was become the earthworm in her story, true or not, compacting so many selves in my lengthy strand of brown
Isaac O. Daramola (he/him) is a poet, writer, and a Biomedical Science student at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He’s currently working on his debut crime/thriller novel and a poetry collection. His work has appeared in journals such as 'Cephalopress,' ‘Mineral literary magazine,’ ‘What are birds,' 'Pangolin review', the University Editorial board, and forthcoming in 'Thorn magazine'.
a sermon for the country
i've always wanted to tell the preacher man that anytime he instructs that we bow our heads to pray, i can only fight back throwing up. i try. i try. i try so hard to cry dead gods to existence, but my nerves get twitchy, and that's when breakfast can't sit it out anymore
Love and finer things
By Grace Kaemper
I never liked fruit.
The tang, the soft flesh, the juice
my arm with sticky sweetness.
I plucked all green off my pavlovas
and scraped the cream clean,
through my teens
through my twenties
through murmurs her taste will mature.
give me the vitamin C tablet instead.
Grace Kaemper is a final year veterinary student who has learnt to love the pancake landscape of Palmerston North. Her work can also be found in Small Loves: A Queer Microfiction Anthology.
God's Easiest Wrath is Absence
By ADEDAYO Agarau
I know this because I live in a body that is drowning
I spend eternity learning where birds sleep, sky or
nests, the road to peace is where a bullet splits open
the cerebellum of my friend, my mother throws herself
at the train, they say it is madness, I say it is knowing
when to jump into a fire, and when to jump out
a cigarette burns out and the flames go home
a man sings to his children, I imagine my father
distant like cities buried inside a throat
we still will be drowning if the earth is turned upside down
I take the first pill today, the doctor says my dreams
will come like a stranger, I scream out of a dream again,
my body a bead of sweat, my body a bead of sweat
in the last poem I wrote, I killed a bird, in this one,
an owl tells me my name, says the street where I grew
a bean, my first crush turned a coin into a cowry
I breathe into this room, my bed warm enough to bless an egg
I dream of my mother throwing herself at a train, her head
a blend of chronic depression, my overwhelmed sister shouts, oh my God,
oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God
again, a drunk father didn’t make it home early
Adedayo Agarau is an editor, poet, and the author of The Arrival of Rain. His Chapbook, The Origin of Names selected by Chris Abani and Kwame Dawes for the New Generation African Poet, is forthcoming in July. He is the Assistant Editor at Animal Heart Press, Contributing Editor at Barren Magazine, and a poetry reader at Feral Press.
Jesus Shopping for the Apocalypse
By Lincoln Jaques
Every morning, getting off the 243
I see Him sitting, sewing a new pattern
of silence into the skyline. Hair tangled
up in hawthorn, sandals stained in blood.
I catch him, lunchtimes, in the 7-Eleven,
aisle 5, junk food. It’s what He loves;
moving with a limp, quietly, in case
He disturbs the cockroaches in aisle 4,
hiding under the stuffed olives past expiry date.
I’m loading up every day. Ready for
the apocalypse. Ready for the sun to burst.
Waiting for the Extinction Rebels to kidnap
the corporates. I move gently too, so as not
to disturb the cockroaches.
We have the same tastes: sour cream
and chive chips, mallow-puffs; I’m
stocking up on tins, on jars past expiry,
for soon I’m going into hiding, with the
cockroaches. But we’ll miss Him;
the streets will empty out, the waters will
come. Afterwards I’ll find pieces of Him
running in the cracks of the tarmac.
Lincoln Jaques holds a Master of Creative Writing. His poetry and fiction have appeared most recently in Mother Mary Comes to Me: A Pop Culture Poetry Anthology (Madville Publishing), a fine line (NZ Poetry Society), The Blue Nib, Mayhem, Fast Fibres, Shot Glass Journal, Poetry New Zealand Yearbook, and Flash Frontiers. He was a finalist in the 2018 Emerging Poets. He lives in Auckland
A poem by H. Mark Webster
H. Mark Webster's previous publishing credits include work in Anastamoo, Poems Niederngasse, elimae, printout, Blackmail Press, and otoliths. He currently lectures in cultural studies and literature at IPU NZ in Palmerston North.
The car is equipped with fog lights.
The kitchen is equipped with a fan.
There is nothing of importance happening,
Where the placenta of our nation is buried,
Alas, Sir. I wonder, Sir,
Would you like to have another little drink?
Is it far? Is it far ahead?
In spite of the fact that he was not built like a brick shithouse
I harassed and bullied him all the way to the park.
Stuart Ryde. Age 10.
Bilen är försedd med dimljus.
Köket är försett med fläkt.
Have you been drinking, Long Hair?
And some believed the things which were spoken,
And some believed not.
Your impulses will no longer be tolerated,
Said the infant in his cradle;
No murder, nor mayhem, until the hush.