A Soothe of Monsters

You may choose to escape
your life,
cast away your world
to succeed you go
without light, no shadow will be cast
your talent would be
suitably rewarded
a contemplative nature
the only person in the world

a person you love
something you recognise
one wonderful
a display of love and affection
charm and courtesy
you are happy
a candle for the night

to warn

something may choose to eat you
you may choose to find a way to escape
this is no choice of yours

for nature is a display
of light and shadow
one will succeed
one, cast to the night

no one escapes nature
the wisdom of the world
for life to eat life
to succeed

no peaceful display, but a wonderful one
your talents to find something to eat,
you will be suitably rewarded. be
analytical, budget your good nature, cast out
your affection

but you are one with your nature
you recognised the shadow
cast with the candle
is good, a contemplative light

the wisdom to love that light
to charm the shadow
will turn your attention within
to find a peaceful life

with a good plan, you would make a good life
something with charm, a lawyer?
no, but your talents will be recognised, rewarded
you stay present, no detail escapes your attention

you would make a contemplative person
happy with, happy without
you make your way in the world
in love with the present

but, the present is a courtesy
your attention escapes the present, to
make plans. Stay present, find a way to
choose the present.
plans, life is plans, plans plans

no plans in nature
no plans but to eat
to eat is to be present
to eat, is a love

this love, to eat, to succeed,
the night we would make, to be present
would this be a good life,
a world you would love?
A night with no shadow..


Fortunes from Hong Sing Foo Fortunes Cookies

Jackson “Jackie Belle” Rushe is an author, poet, and artist from sleepy, little Adelaide. He moved to Sydney and now considers himself a man of the world. He likes to experiment with form and content in different mediums, with lofty goals for his literature and his travels; he often says, Icarus didn’t go hard enough.

DISTANT LOVER, Emiline Barnett

The sun set early that night;

The moon crawled out of its melancholy slumber –

A cold and lonesome torture,

To cast its silvery glow across the lake.

The sullen wind at its side tormenting drooping branches –

A plaything for the gale.

He emerges from the water;

Dripping with delight.

She sits upon the hill,

Beside the heavy oak tree.

Although she was waiting on him,

She had hoped he would not come.

Still in a soaking three-piece-suit –

Just as she had left him –

Face down in the lake.

She sees a glimpse of hope;

That he may still be the man she loved.

He floats to her, shuddering in the breeze.

She hums an unsettling lullaby as he approaches,

He listens and watches her with eyes that undress;

She withdraws her dripping shawl.

He sits beside her with newfound hunger.

Droplets slide between two pert breasts;

Twisted lips licked,

As her chest is made bare.

He’s searching for affection,

Overcome with lust,

Reminded of another time;

Where everything was perfectly pure and good,

When he did not need her touch to remind him what it felt like to be alive.

Pining for a love lost like a wreck in the sea.

For all his memories are in vain,

His worship lingers in her mind;

Curious whether she continues to fill the whole in his heart.

She desires to be known by him still,

And would die to be loved by him, still.

The rain returns with a sombre melody,

Hands find one another between blades of grass,

Lips crash together between breathy moans.

Naked and divine –

Tense under his cold touch.

He makes her feel something;

Lost in the fantasy of love possibly rescued.

Transcendentalist; boundless and surpassing.

Touching her heart of craving desire.

He knows what she needs is not what she wants,

Seeing the reflection of another in her eyes,

Yet he is as vulnerable as her – taking comfort in each other.

Marvellous moans of dissatisfaction.

It is as if it happens in an instant,

Feelings made bare as skin exposed;

It is no longer what they want, it is what they need.

She believes in a love she thinks she deserves,

What does she deserve?

If he cannot have her,

No one else should.

Tormented by corrupt sentiment,

Undressed with piercing eyes and wet fingertips.

A devilish thought creeps as hands wander.

She is not pure, and that, he cannot change.

An inevitable downfall transpires;

Troublesome and unsavoury.

Dear distant lover,

Is God always watching?

How does the embrace differ –

From the damp ground to a touch felt distant?

Eyes lock together…


Mustn’t one be afraid?

A force so strange she cannot withstand.

Fingers intertwined with amber hair,

Palms gripping the maw.

She set passion free for she has followed him to this spot –

What shall prevail from this?

Leave her as she is, so young and unsought?

Their love was made to last was it not?

A tightening grip.

A fragile feeling;

A shaky last breath.

Infatuated, he stands silent.

Not a word from above.

He picks up her limp body with a toothy grin.

He carries her down to the water from which he rose,

(A ragdoll in his tight grip)

And saunters in so quietly.

Distance was not desired,

Now distance does not exist.

Emiline Barnett is a young, Sydney based poet and writer with a passion for romance and psychological thrillers. She currently studies English and Creative Writing at Macquarie University, indulging in sports and video games in her free time. With a captivation for the morally grey, Emiline aspires to immerse others in the beauty, and the ugliness, within literature.



My father’s radio.

Its rousing chords mark the first sounds of the day

the morning hour, the national bulletin –

My eyes open onto angles of weatherboard walls,

stooping on their black-soil foundations.

Under a single sheet, I lie listening and still

his soft footfalls on the kitchen’s lino,

the burst of the tap filling the kettle.

A match’s strike doing double-duty

for the stove and his cigarette,

a new packet’s foil usually folded into a silver crane

and set atop the waxed tablecloth.

I rise when the kettle whistles

scampering to fall behind the man

like he did with his father

and his father before him.

The day braces for Summer’s heat,

early morning dew teases.

Galahs, teeming pink and grey, fleck the horizon’s blush

while Painted Honeyeaters play amongst

a tree’s collar of mistletoe vine,

so blessed with colonising tendencies

it’s deemed a ‘noxious weed’.           

The yards, an old jumble of logs, split and stacked,

with calves penned overnight to lure the milkers,

hocks soiled with anxiety.

In the shed rafters a tin of Marconi’s Goanna Salve,

the Diggers’ cure-all, to soften cracked skin.

(Those fearsome swaggering lizards

somehow rendered a fragrant paste!)

A cow is tethered and tied,

her calf free to feed –

for not long enough.

His nod signals me to wrangle the pair apart

so his hands can take over from where the calf left off.

An odd moment of connection, each offspring

looking to their parent

for direction, for assurance.

His head settles near her warm flank

the waiting bucket wedged between his legs.

Fingers squeezing and trapping along the teats,

the scene’s score a meter of guided gush and a target’s ting.

All bindings released,

Nature’s pair restored,

the calf soon bunting for more.

Back along the path long pressed into the ground.

His steps.

My steps.

The bucket’s sway leaving creamy foam dashes in between.

These lessons are easier than those in the classroom:

the embodied rather than the inscribed.

Dawn’s banner now pierced

he walks glowing in his own world.

The path’s grass gives way to the house’s garden,

a skirt of lawn drawing from all around

to flush its folds with green.

The backdoor squeak preludes the next hourly bulletin.

Years have passed.

I can only visit that place

in the story of my childhood.

Then, I took all in blind.

Now demands a revision.

Butch was your best stockman,

Harold your hardest worker.

Their tongue lingered in local names – towns and rivers and falls

but Their mob lost

in soundbites – ‘Good for nothin’ ’

in jokes – bull bars and corrugated iron.

In the white man’s law.

My children – I have three—they opened my eyes.

Projects brought home from school:

referendums and Free Riders,

all that went down at my local pool.

I see now, in stark relief against the everyday,

like Light Horsemen drilling on parade,

the logic of elimination – for the land, the land, the land.

Memories from my childhood’s home –

the traditional land of the Kamilaroi but back then,

crops of sun-baked grain an empire’s Golden Triangle,

and time marked by ‘Majestic Fanfare’ across the radio waves.

The landscape’s tussocks

punctuated with Belah, Box and Brigalow.

Those trees, timber shadows cast millennia before

like a star’s travelling light, Their history in our midst.

The shade lines sway with Their songlines –

every leaf an ancient note, an ancient beam.

Above, constellations, strung across the Milky Way

the Kamilaroi’s astral watercourse Warambul.

And the brightest star? Their goanna, the Guugaarr.

To think of it –

that charged landscape,

its thrum makes the great Australian silence deafening.

What I was taught, pestilence in thy ear.

Generation to generation,

we waved to Their new ancestor, Ordeal.

Today my hands sit idle,

I acknowledge, on unceded lands.

But my hands are haunted –

with those of my father

and his father before him.

I am still 









“logic of elimination” Wolfe, Patrick. “Nation and miscegenation: Discursive continuity in the post-Mabo era.” Social Analysis: The International Journal of Anthropology, no. 36, 1994, pp. 93-152.

“great Australian silence” Stanner, W E H. “After the Dreaming.” Boyer Lectures, ABC, Sydney, 1968.

“pestilence in thy ear” Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Othello : 1622. Oxford :Clarendon Press, 1975.

“new ancestor, Ordeal” Whittaker, Alison. ‘Many Girls White Linen.’ Fire Front First Nations Poetry and Power Today, edited by Alison Whittaker, University of Queensland Press, 2020, pp. 57-58.

“Warambul” “Guugaarr” “Kamilaroi and Euahlayi.” Australian Indigenous Astronomy, www.aboriginalastronomy.com.au/content/community/kamilaroi.

Katherine Hoskin has a multidisciplinary background in Design, Economics and History, having lived, studied and worked in Sydney, Hong Kong and the United States. All this now provides a fascinating font for her Creative Writing studies at MQ. Especially those instances where her family’s history collides with formative national events. This is her first published piece.


Visions of Victor Frankenstein

stalking and hunting me through

bitter snows and

whipping winds

plague my waking and sleeping hours.

Pried-open eyes watch my creator

burn carefully harvested organs

required to recreate myself –

reducing desperation into



chrysalid flesh

tumbling towards the smoldering scrapheap of Hell.

Desire to defend my worth

bleeds out

against His knife-like words




their way through cells and sinew –

demonstrating such a body will prove




to the world around me.

Warnings from His sharpened tongue

strike my eardrums –

reciting recurring traits of

previous, failed experiments like me:


blacking out,


on syringes of toxic substances –

awakening to sickening acts


by their own hand or mouth.

But shall I be led to believe potential

future transgressions

give others the right to

prematurely banish me, or

bury me, forgotten,

beneath the frigid, unforgiving earth?

Hack axes against my foundation?

Throw stones through shattered bones?

Relentlessly, He ignores my




reformations to my body’s blueprints

to be seen as something far greater:

a safe, separate model of Man

frantically erasing its

primitive form

until no trace remains.

He shakes his head at the

alienated disturbance before Him –

neither resembling Adam’s seed

nor the egg of Eve:

my biblical inaccuracies enough to justify

power-clad policies,

pitiless preaching’s,

piercing pitchforks

propelled my way –

dangerously unaware

how a lazily angled mirror shall reveal

the true face of a monster,

rushing reckless weaponry

straight for His own rotted heart.

Reference: Shelley, M., 1818. Frankenstein.

Jay Best is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community currently completing a BA in Creative Writing and Interactive Design. They are an avid fiction and poetry writer who enjoys reading, gaming, and photography in their free time, with future plans surrounding publication, cinematography, and video game development.


The crunch of pages and the scratch

of the pen against my brain.

A piece chips off, and is born:


Method and mode for her

and I to become us.

Made in my image,

under your watch.

I’m judge, jury,

executioner and accused.

Working by your captious light,

we fear to tread the unbeaten path.

One stone out of place,

the titan chews

and spits up his son

like gum that’s lost its flavour.

For my penance I lash the whip

on her back and feel

the sting in my writing hand.

The synchronal strikes spur me on.

Let me justify my means, I’m almost done

I promise.

She and I,

our ribbons tangle and blow away –

to be unseen and forgotten

(we pray), hand in hand,

pen to paper.

My fingers clutch the rim of the ship.

Charybdis, censorious,

swirls and spits and seethes.

Both hands full, Scylla before me.

She takes her place,

and offers the whip.

I’m contradictory,

and I have a stainless history.

The skeletons don’t clatter

when I have guests over –

we have an agreement, you see,

gravely written in secrecy.


To be limited to oneself

is a horror I’d wish on (n)one,

but in the shelter of fiction

I’ll shoulder the guilt,

until I’ve made something worthy

of the standards you’ve set.

Scylla stops in her scene,

frozen by a shiver that turns her head

to the chill, a pause.

My touch on her shoulder

she can’t feel the warmth

or her mirrored fingers at my neck.

I’m a wraith to these pages

and I’m the only one there.

Clamping my head in place

and boring holes in the paper,

trembling at the canyons between

each letter that spans the sea.

It’s a pretty reflection

of Claude’s world.

Don’t lean so close,

it’s bad for the eyes.

I’m under the microscope

and I’m looking in

but we’re both just strokes.

I step closer,

head to the canvas

and marvel at the atoms.

So three cheers to authors

who haunt their narrative

and four for those who’ve

left theirs behind.

I’m on my way

and I know the road.

Mia Koch is a Canadian-born Australian writer who definitely loves to put words on paper and doesn’t dread it all. They have been Long-listed for the Future Leaders Prize in 2022 for poetry.

a collection of somewhat related love letters and poems titled ‘stargazing in an earthquake’, Jacob Ditchfield


all that is well is splitting at the seams

i’m upside down and above the ground, can’t you see?

mother whisked away in pluto’s chariot

he left behind his sceptre and his keys

make pristine your peace with me

at her headstone, a ghostly garden buried

her name marked in black liquor

under sultry moonlight, warm and honeyed

‘‘tis all a part of the plan’

the worlds fall apart between my crooked teeth

heartstrings frayed and violent at the edges

from grapes and sourdough to pomegranate seeds

but how candescent her spirit was on a starless night!

an angel harpooned from the heavens

now all that is left for her daughter is

a passed mother’s perfume

the vial shattered on my bathroom floor

watch her final elixir bleed and bleed out

until all her scent has drifted away

and the dappled tiles stain sickly sweet

i am still a child  /  carry me to bed

in my wallet in my jeans

they say it’s very beautiful over there

your contrary heart will be safe with me


your eyes are hasty and wanting

upon the fiddle leaf fig in our bedroom

obsessed with its nurture and dress

its wiry frame has all but consumed you

‘come lay for a while’ in your heart

caress me, your comely festoon

i’m splayed out on the kitchen floor

you light a cigarette and sing a drunken tune

you are the summer shower

your kisses are tender, almost kind

you are a terrible storm

undying and tainted in my mind

i’ve been spinning all around you

like spiderwebs before the dawn

legs tangled between sullied sheets

your hands are too heavy to mourn

my eyes are cloudy like apple juice

swimming in the pool of your whiskey

yet you are not dignified nor refined

you were found out in a rusted flask (kiss me)

i am so adored by you

i’ve never been so in love

my makeup runs and these apples are bruised

my tears are almost always never sometimes enough


My dear, I couldn’t help but notice

how rather out of sorts you’ve been as of late

Tell me, how is an empty cocoon

so heavy and hulking amongst the poppies

aching in a sea of wildflowers so gentle they take your breath away

Now you’re falling asleep in the car,

warm fingertips on your neck,

soothed closer and closer to a long goodnight

Cinnamon sticks melted down into that faraway concoction

seeping softly through your veins

I must go now, but not before I tell you how

the vast plains of the universe,

with all its bloodied moons and anxious stars

couldn’t stretch far enough to contain

all my affections for you

Nor the deepest of blackholes

could swallow the violet sunrise

that awakens in my heart every day you come around

My dear, we are just stargazing in an earthquake

Watch how the comets fall for you

whilst I pray for the daffodils to spring between our fingertips


There’s a bee sitting on me

and a pocket in your corduroy jeans

Oh, wouldn’t you like to know

            just how deep the rabbit hole goes

I was spiralling, now I’m climbing

A picnic for an old friend

is helping this wilted heart to mend

I’m exhaling for the first time

in a long time

This is my excavation

and Vernon is thy minister

Ouch, i’m sitting on a bee!

Bees are shy and sweet

They cater the clovers evergreen

where the poppies used to sell to me

I’m wearing all corduroy

and it’s all perfect as far as i can see

Jacob Ditchfield is a Macquarie University student with a passion for creative writing. Growing up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Jacob enjoys playing guitar and reading young adult and romance fiction. His creative writing major work was long listed for the Macquarie Future Leaders Writing Prize.

DAMINI, Priyasha Janhavi


Lightning stricken Damini. I 

Paint my lotus feet vermillion 

With demons’ blood. A crazed tandav.

Devi, the divine riverine!

Your daughters’ corpses float upstream.

Your sons pollute your high esteem.

The bhuvans tremble as demons 

Run unbridled, raise foreign hells.

They masquerade as gentle men. 

They scale my sparks and fleeting shocks

Electric ladder, heaven’s bowl

fissured above, chaos below.

I must return to my earthen

womb, or remain, exiled and burned. 

My chastity chortled away. 

I, the root of all desire

Will dance upon blazing pyres, 

til my flesh bubbles cosmic black. 

Let my body find comfort in 

the sky’s bed of swollen rain clouds. 

A stormy shelter, heaven’s brew.

Devour me in your darkness, 

Mahakali, silence my rain!

Mother, render me obsolete. 


Do hidden relics lie beneath my skin?

Crystal marrow, or diamond bones? 

Engulfed in puckered tissue

Sheets of lipids and sinew.

My soul is trapped in a lost tantrika   

Her face is puffy, marred and pitted.

Her hair reticulates, a knot of spitting snakes.

Limbs of cured leather, skin of boiled milk. 

What grotesque ogress

Have I grown into?

Who cursed my flesh 

To sag and dimple?


I turned my back on

the Enlightened One

for rouge, and crushed micah.

I drugged those serpents with golden oils,

Slick, entwined with jasmine pearls. 

A budding Buddha, defiled with material desire  

Send me off in milky waters

Let my ashes chase the floating lamps downstream 

A last resort for a sinner like me 

Barred by yantras of my own design 

Shameless, I still covet the divine 


My words sear as they leave my lips 

I swallowed their daggers and swords 

Blades hide behind a silver smile

The rivers of my patience thin,

Men quench their thirst at my dried banks

The crocodiles lay, jaws await.

My sitar strings no longer sing

My fingertips long for the cool, 

Of a trident, weapon and shrine.  

Wake me when the world is ready, 

My stars now droop, watching your wars

My waters have turned to venom. 

My thoughts retreat back to their source;

A mountainous tributary 

will now bear my eternal flame. 

Give me the strength to cut them down 

those who lust after my shadow,

sharp, like the moon’s vibrant laughter.

Just a spark from your flaming mouth, 

Mata Rani, would be enough 

to topple them to their knees 

Dark warrior, I send tremors 

with every step, shower the Earth

in sanguine offerings. Pralaya

A noose of my sooten tresses 

to strangle those lecherous heads,

A skullcap my new drinking bowl.

I will bathe my sisters’ graveyards

in their blood, til rivers flow red

once again, as they bled, infinite.     


Damini – lit. Lighting, though often used to describe a woman.

Tandav – A vigorous dance performed by the Hindu god Shiva. 

Devi – Goddess.

Bhuvans – Realms in Hindu cosmology.

Mahakali – lit. Great Kali, the Divine Mother and Goddess of Time.

Cintamani – A wish-granting jewel in Hindu and Buddhist mythology. It is said that a Cintamani can be found in the ashes of a Buddha. 

Tantrika – Someone who practices Tantrism, a taboo practice that preceded Hinduism and Buddhism. 

Yantra – A geometric design originating from Tantric practice that holds great significance in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain traditions. There are many yantras associated with various deities for particular uses. 

Jwalamukhi – lit. Flame-faced Goddess, The Goddess of the Eternal Flame, associated with Goddess Durga and Shaktism. 

Mata Rani – lit. Mother Queen, an epithet for the Goddess Durga and her many forms, particularly Goddess Vaishnodevi or Sherawali. 

Pralaya – lit. Destruction. A period of apocalyptic dissolution in Hindu cosmology. 

Priyasha Janhavi is a Sydney-based poet and writer. An avid traveller, she traverses the world for artefacts of identity to preserve in her verse. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing at Macquarie University, and was long-listed for the 2022 Future Leaders Writing Prize. 


Big Bad Wolf

With the booming voice even thunder envies

Whispers of a frown furrowed in his brow

The wolf sees what you could be and

Eats up your confidence

Spitting out your dreams in “shoulds”

With quick-witted quips

Big Bad Wolf

With footsteps you’ve memorised

The jangle of keys against coins

And the tempo of the tread

He walked fear through your mind for so long

Footprints left in the setting pathways

No longer erased so easily

Big Bad Wolf

Cannot deny his nature

When his attempts to nurture

Present backhanded

Stealing his sting from the cold

Bark and bite weaponised

Against the reared head of the past

Big Bad Wolf

Intimidates, he is a heavy shadow

Full of forceful words, pervasive and demanding

Urgent and desperate

To shield you from mistakes you are yet to make

The wolf feeds you doubt to keep you close

Stale water in an empty vase

Big Bad Wolf

With eyes just like yours

A storm in summer

Capturing the world in your wake

His forecast is made with outdated equipment

Not able to measure your floods

As it once detected his hurricanes

Big Bad Wolf

Is softening his touch

And making better choices

The smoke that clings to him has dissipated

The shadows fade as they feel more sunlight

He is loosening his grip, retracting his claws

Giving wounds a chance to heal

Big Bad Wolf

Looks so small in that bed

Scary in a whole new way

Once ever present, overbearing

Suddenly withering

The way you often have before him

A whole new wolf to fear, it seems

Big Bad Wolf

Becoming more like a dog

Claws clubbed into flat fingernails

Teeth ground down by gnawing troubles

Inescapable insomnia

Attempts to delay the inevitable

But the world passes by regardless

Big Bad Wolf

Hesitates and ruminates

But the extra time spent counting sheep

Has pulled the wool from his eyes

And he has adjusted his view

Funny how the dark can make you see clearer

As you huddle closer to share the way

Big Bad Wolf

Is being memorialised

In truths you never recognised

Until the past felt bigger than the present

And the future was empty of him

You are learning who he is

Like a new language

Big Bad Wolf

Isn’t bad, he never was

Just misguided, and your perception warped

By the typical tenderness of childhood

And you wish you could have told him

You are proud to be like him

Before you could hold all of him in your hands

Jaime Berglin is a queer, neurodivergent poet and aspiring editor, who is fascinated by the impact of time on both process and product of writing. They most enjoy volunteering, seeing live music, sitting by the ocean, and learning about the structures and use of language.


There is a creature caged in my ribs.

It carves curses into prison bars of bone

for every instance there appears a nuisance: a taste

too poisonous for its deadly diet, or even a dish much-loved could

send it spewing! This volatile varmint

demands a volcanic outlet, and I cannot let it

shame and shape me again into no man’s island!

Oh please, let me be heeded:

don’t beg and grovel! Else, bed and shovel will be needed.

I know it is unsightly to be seen harbouring such a monster,

and they will tell me so, always. When I hear this thing has port-docked,

I must run and hide behind the door,

raise the anchor high to beat the creature down— Just kill it

choke it quickly quietly come now

sit encircled by waters still and silent,  

unwilling to welcome my waves upon their peninsulas pristine.

Peace and quiet falls and stifles

troubles trivial.

My plate tectonic

shifts beneath others and buckles under the weight, unstable.

Peas with dinner.

Not my favourite. Metal claws squash through soft flesh to

clink-clatter-TWANG upon crockery

scraaaaaaape against my ears with laughter, filthy canines chewing in their loudmouths.


Vibrations ripple the beast’s blood flooding the floor

of my artery chambers—oh lord, it lives still! Be still!


It roars inside and mauls my ears, building walls with brick-red blood, cell by cell

beating furiously against the pressure—

‘don’t ignore me!

With those words it crawls it wrathful way up and out of my mouth and


The parasite speaks over me, vaulting over my tongue:

‘here’s what you wanted!’

Little pearls floored by my fists

green bloodied fingernails, lava spewed across the table

talons rake the earth and stoneware

acid rainfalls lining grooves in my cheeks

ashen casts of faces caught in the pyroclastic surge.

Guttural glue hot garroting and burning me inside out,

the steam blinds me as I scream.

The judges’ gavel falls faster than my fists

upon the plate CRACK, cutting edge judgement follows:

I am too much for anyone to bear beyond myself.

Do so now, send the dog back out, quietly, quickly, go to your room,


And so this creature’s wails become whines become whimpers wept shamefully pleading

‘hold me’.

These are childish reactions in their infant-sized enormity—

but my claws comply with contempt

compression upon my skull. Oh, thought, your absence is noted

only when you return!

When did you desert us?

Or, did I, you?

No, do not retract these talons now

that the moon is high and fully frames them as mine. Its light what glistens upon my gashes

spotlights the source for me to reciprocate

my suffering upon it. Suffocate it

quickly, quietly. To me acquiesce and listen

for once

when I say they never will for us in this tantrum state.

A flood of guilty and ugly conscience rises—

with every hatchet buried in my chest,

I unearth another.

Giorgia Woolley is an autistic poet and writer who can find a song to suit every possible occasion. She spends her time writing experimental poetry pieces exploring things that are important to her: the preservation of information, neurodivergency, her emotions, and people being kind to each other.


Blushed, scorched and puckered.

You’re a long shower kind of girl.

You love to purge;

To shuck and to be shucked.

Bloat your membrane like a sponge,

Swollen as the dregs of being trickle


Soap, brine and blade.

I always knew you were meek.

Cluster by cluster, scraping

Barnacles; little eyes,

They cling and make you dirty;

A bioaccumulation.

Disfigured, dilated and inauthentic.

You’re wasteful—tasteless as the sand.

A lamprey latched to an earthen visage;

She spins to loosen limpets;  

Polyps on her mottled rind.

At least you get to shower,

Consume, deprive and devour.

You’re late for girls’ night, hurry!

Or stay until your skin peels.

Emerge anew—hairless

Immaculate; inhuman delicacy,

Poreless in the midnight air.

Saliva, barbs and pearls.

For once, impress me;

This is a bathroom not an exoskeleton.

Let your fingers prune:


To lick and scourge the parched soil

With the fatal crack of your footsteps—  

Forget yourself.

Elegant, torrential spectacle.

Hermit crabs are social creatures;

Make it scold enough you have to leave.

Your hydrothermal vent,

Withdraw when you are crimsoned,

Tender— a crustacean kind of girl.

Exquisite, soft and terrifying.

You look hot.

Ready to be dredged up?

Ogled at and sun-bleached

Simmering in the throe,

A strobing sea; disempowerment;

You are a vision in the open ocean.

Bodies, bodies, bodies.

This is getting embarrassing.

The porcelain has calcified and fused—

It carries you on its back

This shell is too lofty to lug around;

Gouge it off.

Get out, get out, get out.

Tonight you are a fucking Kaiju,

Cthulhu from the depths of Darling Harbour.

A kraken shirks a husk and spreads

Warp yourself and tower.


It’s shameful, but

This is the kind of beast you have to be

To be seen.

Amy Condren is an emerging writer studying Law and Arts Majoring in Creative Writing at Macquarie University. She loves experimenting with fantasy, gothic and surrealist fiction, but enjoys poetry most of all. This is her first published work, and it was Highly Commended for the Future Leaders Writers Prize.