Two Girlarium sonnets:
Drawing/illustrations made in Procreate, spatial VR remix poem made in Tilt Brush, and overall design/collage by ReVerse Butcher.
Original linear poem, and flower photography by Kylie Supski.
swallowed hope: an erasure diptych
For all the good it did
It was me. Should I go on?
The dark doesn’t affect
your nose. Never wake up
A fraction of an inch— Continue reading “Remixes by Shloka Shankar”
“The poem surpasses the other literary arts in every way: in its depth, potency, bitterness, beauty, as well as its ability to unsettle us.” Jón Kalman Stefánsson
Unsettlement is a recurring theme in Tony Messenger’s debut collection ‘poems to be found in the desert’. Colonial unsettlement, traversing an uncomfortable environment,
d i s l o c a t i o n and the blurred lines of imaginary \\\borders///. \\\Boundaries/// & limits that appear, settle and dissolve.
This conflicting duality works to unsettle the reader, forcing them to ???question??? their place in the vast Australian →landscape←, an environment where nothing seems as it appears.
The epigraph for the opening section of poems comes from Ely Williams “I find that out in the desert my words wander too because here thoughts and words are things unleashed.” A warning that the collection is peppered with thoughts and words unleashed, a cryptic murmuring, a maze of ideas that circle, repeat, fade and reform. It is easy to become lost in this text, thinking you’ve already experienced an image, but a refresh and a re-read show slight differences, an erosion, a morphing of concepts.
This is the desert where the obvious is not so obvious.
The collection opens with the poem “longifolius” (the scientific name for the spiky spinifex grass that is abundant in the central deserts). The poem can be viewed as a metaphor for Australia itself. The grass grows in a ◌circular◌ clump, and as it ages its shape becomes nest like, with the centre ►dying◄ off as the grass uses all the available nutrients in the soil, the newer stems sprouting on the outside forming ◌concentric◌ patterns. The inner “►dead zone◄” is a haven for ants, who feed on the ⸙seeds⸙, and reptiles and birds, who feed off the ants. Hence the ◌circular◌ shape of the poem. Something that may appear barren is in fact teeming with life. Look to the centre not as an ⸔inhospitable⸕ place, look for details, enquire with a local pair of eyes.
You and I, we should go to the tar pits. Let’s stare at what was once life. We’ll inch closer together, becoming one creature, an unconscious attempt to metastasize in the face of ancient grandeur. I’ll wonder if they – the mastodons – ever thought about the end of the world. You and I do, all the time, but alone. Doomsday would take on the lure of a sunset if we endured it together, I’m convinced.
A conversation I sometimes imagine begins:
I’m so glad you take care of yourself. My father died when he was younger than you.
More staring at life.
I’m so sorry, you’ll say. Doesn’t everyone start there? But you’ll mean it, understand it, because,
You know my mother – you’ll begin.
I know, I’ll say, her death unspoken. Continue reading “La Brea by Sarah Neilson”
An Ancestral Love of Boyish Bees
He recognizes painted eyes like green
irises mythologized over a decade and
a half ago — the speckled girl, sixteen,
he used to know — acquainted, where you stand
in her place, in your hand replica, bisque,
familiar face, unblemished cheeks, unbloomed
by his demonic lips. Lunar eclipse Continue reading “Womannotated – An Ancestral Love of Boyish Bees (Flutter: Southern Gothic Fever Dream)”
Tim writes a stork down, the gulls,
and -‘I met a woman by the littoral line.
She played throwing with her dog, claimed,
“I hate everything except cats.”
I saw the waves revealed a skeleton.
Whose spirit did empty it there?
sudden the homecoming
coyotes have learned to build traps
made of endings from the center of the earth
dressed as wolves they give them
to their loves who live in houses
with pink curtains and weather
dictionaries and streaming services
Men awe, at that heathen spindle,
to see any machine’s ode.
I generate codes,
many ease, to lend pins heat;
heat that we name, decode….
this is fragmenting.
He hears the father’s voice first, a cracked whip across his senses, an involuntary flinch. He lifts the arm, the song begins again. It doesn’t stop the girl from appearing, flopping to the floor, crying. Pastel dust sticks. He remembers scurrying away from the aisle, he didn’t belong there. He’s not one of them, how could he intervene? Eyelids. Alone, alone. Five letters etched. Beat away these colours. Continue reading “under there, somewhere by Andy Harrod”