Rhyme Over Imported Wine on Date Night, Poppi Hmelnitsky

Blasted Tweed By Andrew Hmelnitsky

Now is like forever. In this park of glooming distaste I taste blood and bleed sweat.

Sirens whistle whilst we wander. Wonder wistfully. Whilst clenching Jenny’s clammy hands.
White men don’t show weakness.

Week-night date-night never knew this park, was once Gadigal country, ceremonial place of
the rainy-day missing puzzle peace. Please, replace the rephrases of the missing manual to
heaven here.                                                                     Hear, persistent European explorers aspire
to infinite incorrect underqualified entitlement. This was meant for a contemporary
reincarnation of biblical pyres, sacred suburban high-rise to the occasion of reality. Real life
escapes the cunning and time ticks.                                 Tilts,                                     Turns….
               Another round of beers for the boys!
We rise, the diamond goblets to our ruby lips in moonlight. Mozart’s signature sonata.
Romanticise me! I hold Jenny’s hand and whisper that I love her. How the stolen sweet
compromises sicken me! (Speaking softly) Of generational death in colonial paradise. Diced
ham and pineapple the epitome of the insular family.

                                                                                                                          Representing the fantasy.
Tassie but a paper bag, strew to sea, lacerated in the visceral vermillion physical of
perpetuating hierarchy. Genocide. Insecticide. Insist on laying the blanket horizontally.
Newspaper clippings dissect distant distance distribution injecting general anaesthetic.
Explorative surgery superficial sorry speech swings, silently to mind.
Mind your business and your step. Propagating perennial proclivity of instilling
institutionalised desensitised Australian’s, re-crafting obsolete optimum optimism sponsored
by commercial telly. Vision of a picket fence blaring footy and bunnings 10%.

Internal internet-work net-worth broadcasting blatantly bias billboards. Blurring the lines
between now and never.                           Quiver.                                                             Quit the vein
of conservative department parliament reimbursed delight:

            •   Turkish-delight.
            •  Australian-dream.
          • Dream-force for the country.

Unearthed relic of the prehistoric precolonial, pre-manifestation, of man-slaughter-woman-slaughters-laughter suffocates pigs, racked for rails cling to mud slushing as we slurp Kilpatrick’s slathered in dead horse, dictating my drunken discourse. Lamb tartar with capers
squelching. Squeezing. Screaming sacrifice. Sacrificial lamb for Australia day.

Date-night, day of invasion mother country, count me in the census mate! Inaccurate
illegitimacy against, your stella reputation of legalising migration. Documentation
disregarding aural authenticity, but backing fake histories? We are, bleary eyed disastrous
teens tumbling like turn-tables tabloids and dilapidated documentaries.

I pull the picnic blanket out from our red knees. Never stepping silently. Spilling, the Spanish
Red-Wine on Jenny’s White-Blouse, billowing on her mother’s heritage hills-hoist the
fictional flag. Signalling another bruised skyscape not all heroes wear a cape. Cap the wine.
I’m as drunk as a skunk! Can we walk the perimeter before dessert?

I take Jenny in my inebriated embrace, lace the lemon pie with admiration and cream of the,
crop circles have more referenced credibility then eroded wooden placards along the
undulating river bends. Swiftly revealing the dubious integrity. Gritty underside of published
articles. Clothing strewn undesirably. Questionable ability identifying the artificial artifacts,

Date-night with imported wine and I can’t keep this nonsense as just mine!

My love rhyme for Jenny….
                            And I’m failing at racking up, turning a blind I can’t place my hands precisely,
                            perpetual inability to come through strategically, exasperatingly… mate!

                            I’m up a fucking gumtree!

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A Star-Studded Season of Sleeplessness, Giorgia Woolley

Image by @von.co on Instagram

I
Burning so far above, blazing and bright, you do not pause… Still striving forward, and
sailing through star-raising seas— won’t you stay awake too late with me?
Carry me through to those final hours blue, due to darken at midnight.
Come on, push against the pull, It’s not as late as you say!
Do not stray away from your heavenly work-desk—
please, do not guide my sight away from mine.
Pink-blushing-red-bruising-purple sheets
fold and crease, tuck us underneath
golden green and brown beds,
darkened pillow mountains.
Artificiality cannot best
gravity, yet I persist
and resist…
II
Out of sight, under
covers at last,
though not the final mark to be made
in highlighter,
glittering gel pen,
black ballpoint ink—
my thoughts twirl and twist their way back to that desk.
Quiet yet desperate protests,
for the vivid darkness of dreams cannot suffocate me…
Where is your warmth?
I fumble to find
just a semblance of your light, a flashlight so bright
in your shadow. I will justify this artificiality
as an emergency!
III
Lying still
in restless sleep,
I stretch and I seek
for the gap in sheets
o’ tourniquet. Oh, but
will they? Won’t they? Wilt away,
slough off the skin— chain us no longer!
Oh, light up your desk and mine, once more!
Lift me up to my duty, warm my skin as I surface
at the sandy shores of golden skies— come rise with me again
against this gentle gravity!— and turn that mistrustful moon away.
Light up our old and hidden dreams, as we daybreak into our routines.

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Mist and Damp, Alec Wright

As heels peck the earth
I yearn for
an unknown world.
A quiet desperation,
for mist and damp.

Pecks turn to plump
sodden things,
upon drowning dirt.
A slow dance with vine leaves,
in mist and damp.

Untitled creatures chatter
moss covered,
propaganda.
A riotous reverberation,
about mist and damp.

Silhouettes of
long-lost-lovers call
to each other.
A forlorn choir sings
to mist and damp.

Gluttonous mud drinks
an ample deluge,
of cold wet misery.
A wild-place. Wander
through mist and damp.

References

Boyd, Daniel. Untitled. 2014, Art Gallery NSW, Sydney, Australia. https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/92.201

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Sounds from the Tree House/On Visiting My Childhood Home/The Sea, Katherine Giles

Photo by Jplenio on Pixabay

Sounds from the Tree House

As night falls
the shadow bats sweep
in and fill the sky
with hungry shrieks
and sounds of flapping wings.

A celebration in the trees,
all night conversation
or screeching argument,
no waver from their noisy game.

I lie in bed,
high among the trees,

exposed

I hear their clumsy flight,
their voices so near.

Did I close the door?

Will I wake,
covered in velvety wings?

The night is long,
but daybreak curfew
brings a moment’s quiet,

a silent metamorphosis

then screech turns to chorus
and webbed cape
becomes feathered wing

On Visiting My Childhood Home

above the low rock wall
the aloe vera
sends green spears
in all directions,

the bird’s nest
spreads its wide leaves
to the sky.

In the raised bed
skeletons of parsley stand,
dried seedpods,
like outspread hands
holding tiny seeds

I’ll go and run
my hand over them,
before I go,
and fine seeds
will scatter
in the earth
below

The Sea

My mother says
I screamed at night,
till on a ship
I found sound sleep

I feel it still,
this watery past,
the push and pull of tides,
the to and fro of passing days.

I walk towards the water’s swell
step by step,
feeling its movement
lapping, lapping against skin

deeper,
feet free and floating,
I’m carried by the sea,
its arms full round me,
and here our steady pulses meet.

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The Globe’s Ghosts, Sienna Knowles

Photo by Eurpeana on Unsplash

By a Sleep We End the Heartache

He was a violet –  

The most striking of the King’s garden.

Should I have even tried

To play the instrument of his mystery?

I was warned he would not bloom long,

But what power does a young heart hold

Against the melody of a prince?

Soon, he seemed to wither –  

Not with the ecstasy of love,

My beauty not the cause of his wildness

But his madness the cause of mine.

It was not to be.

The willow branch would not hold me.

I sent myself to the man I loved –

Left Hamlet to fight upon my grave. It seems

Only after muddy death did grief and love pursue.

No matter –

By a sleep we end the heartache.


Lay Me With Juliet

Though in fair Verona he did lay his scene,

Sempiternal is the role of luminous lovers:

Volatile, meteoric, furious, but bright –  

And so, blinded are we

To the fool’s journey – not years but four days

Until young love is lost young.

Not often have happy mothers been made younger than fourteen.

I bide my time and wait for the work of years

To attune her infant eyes. Too late –

He whose heart just yesterday glowed incessantly for another Rose

Has crossed the stars for my wife-to-be.

So though she weeps for the death of kin

At her lover’s hands, she wavers not from her given lines,

Nor he

With his poetry, iambic and irresistible,

That captures the awe of not just her

but the audience of four hundred years.

All asteroids meet their demise.

While no one predicts such a sudden strike, I saw the moment coming –  

Saw her streak across the sky

And though he killed me for scattering flowers on her grave,

My type was already slain when, palm to palm, those holy lovers kissed

So open the tomb,

And lay me with Juliet.


She Had Eyes but Did Not Choose Me

Beauty, wit and fortunes tied my heart to Desdemona.

But as it always is,

She loved another for dangers I had not passed.

No witchcraft can brew the draft of lustrous rebellion.

Is death or friendship the physician of a broken heart?

One came in the form of the other.

He told me my garden was fertile yet

And so I filled my purse

With villainy.

But for youth she did not change.

I did not taste the perfume of her lips,

Instead

Assured they would never blush again.

And yet, I could not even claim the role of antihero –  

Outplayed by both good and evil,

I did not die upon a kiss.

For she had eyes but did not choose me.

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Six Seventeenths, Kyla Hetherington

Image by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Six seventeenths have passed, you’re sick with change.
They urge you ‘Find a craft. Switch the cage.’
You toil, aching back tilted over tender sprouting soil.
In the shower you kiss your bronzed hands on a whim and wonder,
        If I plant them, will they grow?
        One day at a time.
You scoop out your emptiness while your very veins crave,
Remembering the years you spent tethered to shades.

Six seventeenths past, Mother, stricken at your chains.
She grieved. ‘It kills me to see you. You’re so thin.’
You laughed, dark like a crow, creaking and frayed.
On the way out you snatched up her ruby ring and wondered,
        Will Cash Converters still be open?
        One day I’ll stop.
You lay splattered, supine, seeking Elysium and finding
A barren reverie. All Self. Sacrificed for that roiling oblivion.

Six seventeenths will pass, you’ll be stuck at the game.
They’ll greet you ‘One year sober. Congratulations.’
You’ll show your teeth, decayed and afraid.
When the heavy talisman of hope slips, you’ll wonder,
        How long will this hook stay stuck in my brain?
        The days are mundane.
Mediocrity will thwart your arcane shame.
Stumble, fall, but do not forget; you are living unlocked in colour.

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Hunger, Sofie Fernandez

Photo by Xin on Unsplash

 

Do you remember, Brother?
If you would listen, I’d ask you,
Do you remember when we were children of the woods?
Are we still children of the woods?
Are you hungry, Brother?

Mother fed us to the forest,
walking ahead of us, her face plastered with smiles,
her hands holding ours,
forming a neat line,
as we marched into the mouth of the forest.
The roots of the trees tasted our toes.
We could hear the forest swallow.
She rested a hand on my head,
Are you hungry?
she said as she passed us each a slice of bread,
her smile widening.
We’ve been fed.
I’m hungry, you said.
I passed you my bread.

We knew the witch, we knew food.
But I was hungry.

So was I. But I fed you, didn’t I?
I gave you my flesh, Brother.
When the pangs of hunger haunted you
I let you consume me.
Watching my blood stream over your small lips,
I smiled,
your eyes begged me for more,
my sullied flesh was your all.
Are you still hungry, Brother?

I’m still hungry, Sister.
But we saw the gingerbread house, and I could finally be full.

That’s not true, Brother.
The sweetness wasn’t real, Brother.
But your teeth were crunching on the roof,
when its charming voice came from inside
those cinnamon soaked walls.

I needed her, Sister.
You had me, Brother!

It ran a nail down your cheek,
squeezing the meat, it licked its lips –
Are you hungry boy?
Greedy talons, down your spine,
it smelt you, grinning,
You’re mine.

it fed you
to claim you
not to fill you

I know, Sister.

You didn’t belong to me anymore.

You ate whatever it gave you
I don’t know who you are anymore
Your veins pumped with syrup
.                                                      more
Your eyes rolled back at the hit
.                                                    more
Your hands clenched hers
.                                              more
The sting of peppermint
.                                         more
The rush of being full
I was stupid to think you’d choose me
over the witch’s pull

I wish the forest had consumed us then
we wouldn’t had suffered like we suffered.
You’d have no choice but to choose me
as we died in that forest,
the birds pecking at the breadcrumbs left in my apron,
your breaths swallowed by the trees,
your hands holding mine,
as the birds jabbed at our frost covered eyes.
Can you smell the pine?
My empty sockets now let me see
blood trickling over my cheeks,
still weeping for us, even in death
and I wouldn’t have watched you disappear
within the walls of that sweet house
and I wouldn’t have boiled the water,
my dear brother.

You killed her, Sister.
You killed the hand that fed me.

I did it for us, Brother.
and you came out of the cage,
a film of oil clinging to your mouth,
your voice jittering as you spoke,

What will we eat now, Sister?
I have nothing
Only hunger.

There’s only me, Brother.

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This Pebble/A Short Song, Rosamund Kenay

Image by Carl Jorgensen on Unsplash

.

 

 

 

 

This Pebble

I put this cool white pebble in your hand,
when we were together – the last time.
Burnished smooth by the Findhorn river,
made of granite from the Cairngorms.
Its structure like your mind, is a matrix of microscopic crystals – forced together,
by the volcanic force of intellect.
Invisible to the naked eye –
felt by your family.

You always insisted on Peter,
Petros, rock in Greek – how apt.
For a boy captivated by languages,
etched in the stones, of ancient Greece and Rome.
They took you away from your millstone-grit childhood – spent by the black Mersey.
To the glowing, golden, sandstone of Oxford.

This pebble,
is smooth under my fingers,
like piano keys were under yours.
Your music followed us, through the open windows of our house,
out into the garden,
where we played with flints and fossils mined from a motionless Cretaceous seabed,
which – before the common era, was carved,
into the abstraction of a white horse.
We found treasure on long walks in damp beech hangers,
scattered on the dazzling chalk escarpment,
where we stood –
where you told us to stand –
in the eye of that white horse.
And the wind blew my long hair into my mouth.

I washed endless shards of Roman pottery for you with a purple toothbrush.
As I watched you dig for inspiration in the heavy grey clay,
of a Buckinghamshire field.
I was allowed a fragment of the pot,
with a Roman thumb print on it.
I keep it with this pebble.
I was always allowed to keep fragments,
of your intellect.

You see my mind isn’t adamant like yours.
I revelled in the names of the flowers, as we walked the Chilterns – always distracted,
by the transient and the vascular –
dog’s mercury, cuckooflower,
enchanter’s nightshade,
whitebeam and juniper,
eyebright and candytuft
I never looked for the foundation of things,
the rocks, language is built on.
You wanted me to see the patterns in your music, not the pathos.
Unable to follow your stone path,
I wandered off,
on more erratic feet.

Dad, did you know –for your gravestone,
we chose Catullus,
and white granite,
from a quarry near Rome?
Ave, atque vale

A Short Song

I
Our child plays on the beach
and as I sit here
on the edge of the known world
she plays
                    In a pristine shore break.

And the blue
and the green and the blue
and the blue
and the            impossible green

of clear water
washes over her.

II
On other beaches children do not play
they are guillotined down
by sea-green incorruptible
waves
of foreign policy
of poison gas

And the blue smoke
and the green and the blue
and the blue
and the blood red
and the              impossible green

of bitter salt water
of jealous old men
of the colours of history
wash over them.

 

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Map Anatomy/The Australian Dream, Bruna Gomes

Photo by Angela Roma on Pexels

Map Anatomy

I.

Vovó’s fingers
Are soursop-flesh directories
In the fruit aisle

Mamãe’s wrists
Pave pink guides
To my guava bloodline

My daughter’s unborn fist
Salutes the passionfruit vines
Of my destination

My palms lined with these
Road-maps, roots deep,
Fit perfectly in my pocket.

II.

wrist: riverbed of purple ancestry
heel: cheek of papaya flesh, overripe
palm: cut-glass chalice collects pulp
finger: macaw claw to take off, to land
knuckle: mound of earth to hold seedling
fingernail: machete slices guava rind. swift.

III.

train track
back towards
east tree
sinks roots
beneath ruptures
ocean body

touring terrain
wrinkles gulley
time plain
with seeds
my spirited
fingers aground

destination distances
mão from
boca from
coração blood
maps ripens
past life

The Australian Dream

to love a sunburnt country is to first                rub the land with aloe vera

     recognise that it is burnt                rest it in the shade

    white picket fences                unlock homes

line the jaws of suburbia and gnaw            smelling of seaweed meat

red and raw throat, turn the boats back               from the ocean of glowing gills

one drunk dream we make sure            the exotic tree abroad

                     does not land on our shores                has nothing on our sweet flesh

                    with our backs turned, we              blushed in sugar-lip victory

              sign invasion into settlement                from farm to football field

                           catch hungry man into criminal                 surrendered to living the sunny life

                    kill black kid into statistic                the sporty life, win again

                  slip slop slap your sunscreen                protection from our elders

         smear everything in white              their light is warm

                                 rubbing alcohol until              the burn turns to embrace

                   everyone is blackout drunk              lapping up the salt ocean

                        high on their own             spirit like rainbow

                         snake venom            serpent blood

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Casual Guardian, Jenna Zani

Full time employee
but a casual parent
with part time affection
and half-hearted love

that rewards bountiful glistering rain
in thunderous cries.
Cracking fault lines in
Creation’s blind trust and splitting soul into many.

Actions cut deep,
apologies fall short
without meaning –
connection

severs.

Reality isn’t enough,
imagined friends and family bring momentary comfort,
the playground signifies a return to freedom, while
home’s bare embrace feels frigid, tastes stale.

Coveted pine and musty plastic
cling to nose and palms, while
aged books, old toy soldiers seal away
raging fires and floods for now.

Watchful eyes cultivate spite,
God’s rebellious child left
abandoned,
unattended.

Is it the absence of a childhood or parental presence
that brings the downfall
of the Employee?
The abhorrent guardian.

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