You may choose to escape
cast away your world
to succeed you go
without light, no shadow will be cast
your talent would be
a contemplative nature
the only person in the world
but a person you love something you recognise one wonderful detail a display of love and affection charm and courtesy and you are happy happy a candle for the night
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
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
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..
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.
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.
“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.” AustralianIndigenous 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.
tumbling towards the smoldering scrapheap of Hell.
Desire to defend my worth
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:
on syringes of toxic substances –
awakening to sickening acts
by their own hand or mouth.
But shall I be led to believe potential
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
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
propelled my way –
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.
upside down and above the ground, can’t you see?
whisked away in pluto’s chariot
he left behind his sceptre and his keys
pristine your peace with me
her headstone, a ghostly garden buried
name marked in black liquor
under sultry moonlight, warm and honeyed
all a part of the plan’
worlds fall apart between my crooked teeth
frayed and violent at the edges
from grapes and sourdough to pomegranate seeds
how candescent her spirit was on a starless night!
angel harpooned from the heavens
all that is left for her daughter is
a passed mother’s perfume
vial shattered on my bathroom floor
her final elixir bleed and bleed out
all her scent has drifted away
and the dappled tiles stain sickly sweet
still a child / carry me to bed
my wallet in my jeans
say it’s very beautiful over there
your contrary heart will be safe with me
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
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
are the summer shower
your kisses are tender, almost kind
are a terrible storm
undying and tainted in my mind
been spinning all around you
like spiderwebs before the dawn
tangled between sullied sheets
your hands are too heavy to mourn
eyes are cloudy like apple juice
swimming in the pool of your whiskey
you are not dignified nor refined
you were found out in a rusted flask (kiss me)
am so adored by you
i’ve never been so in love
makeup runs and these apples are bruised
my tears are almost always never sometimes enough
dear, I couldn’t help but notice
rather out of sorts you’ve been as of late
me, how is an empty cocoon
heavy and hulking amongst the poppies
aching in a sea of wildflowers so gentle they take your breath away
you’re falling asleep in the car,
fingertips on your neck,
closer and closer to a long goodnight
sticks melted down into that faraway concoction
seeping softly through your veins
go now, but not before I tell you how
vast plains of the universe,
all its bloodied moons and anxious stars
stretch far enough to contain
all my affections for you
the deepest of blackholes
swallow the violet sunrise
that awakens in my heart every day you come around
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
a bee sitting on me
and a pocket in your corduroy jeans
wouldn’t you like to know
just how deep the rabbit hole goes
was spiralling, now I’m climbing
A picnic for an old friend
is helping this wilted heart to mend
exhaling for the first time
a long time
is my excavation
and Vernon is thy minister
i’m sitting on a bee!
are shy and sweet
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 – 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.
In the garden’s delicate foliage His springtime rays enthralled Blinding me to decaying undergrowth I was beguiled – foolish and senseless Artful speech burgeoned laughter Away from aging. In blooming times His allure fostered Insecurities out to live My wonder masked his faults.
“Careful.” Hush, I told whispering insects The signs were small His embrace slowly became thick vines A stranglehold on my conscious Revealing black thumbs disguised as green fingers Encased long-twined anchors into soils of dryness To compacted root balls, dying. September’s light winds dissipated, Too quickly, seasons moved.
Humidity’s summers crept Where mould began to grow Spotting mildew corroded our house Vinegar, we took as medicine Acidic and sour to one another Your rising tempers flared – unbearable. Gnats gathered in warning You became the owner of my lands A master of tropism. I learnt not to grow in light, But via veiled deceits darkness.
“Don’t forgive him!” Hush, I tried to soothe my worries. When grappling thirst hit From your ashes of destruction You would come with water, new promises Forgiveness soothed cautiousness Led astray in your tortuous garden maze Lost, I let you treat me as a weed To prune pieces of myself by your selfish gardening Actions you reasoned with love.
Month passing, my leaves fell Bruises of red, orange hues – limbs weak Became dependent on your ties Barren days approaching, actions piercing daily Relief to nursery’s empty land, no bud willed to foster In a home, resentment grew. Browning shrubbery My white roots turned yellow Resistant lost, no spring sparks Awakened to the denial of your control.
“Seek help!” Hush, fighting against the ringing Autumn created mud flats for sinking bodies Where sludge flakes occupied crevices of peace Rough sow thistle I became, sharpened my leaves to hurt back Wrathful for blood to be returned Far gone – our garden bred bitterness. Friends, family oblivious, unaware of who you truly are Scared to make them question Whose truth should be believed?
At Winter’s edge that came abruptly Your wandering interests Was my door to escape Yet still, hesitation kept me shackled To the rot we lived on. Eyes once filled with love or what is it ownership? Only showed icy disinterest in my being. Stem stretch in trail, fearful at my independence Left me wishing for even painful summer’s heat return Conditioned I had become from us.
“Be strong!” Hush, I scoffed at my comforting mind In the early days of isolation Only bitterness was left behind Feeling hollow even in freedom How easily he blocked my glaring judgment Removed gloves dirtied No trace of remorse Hands clean Away from sullied grounds, he ravaged.
Cheirlene is in her final semester studying Creative Writing and Interactive Design. She enjoys experimenting with interactive storytelling in poetry and children’s stories that explores identity and belonging. Summers in Philippines fostered her imagination from running in rice fields, picking coconuts, and having playdates with carabaos on her family’s farm.
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.
It roars inside and mauls my ears, building walls with
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
‘here’s what you wanted!’
Little pearls floored by my fists
green bloodied fingernails, lava spewed across the
talons rake the earth and stoneware
acid rainfalls lining grooves in my cheeks
ashen casts of faces caught in the pyroclastic surge.
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,
so this creature’s wails become
whines become whimpers wept shamefully pleading
These are childish reactions in their
but my claws comply with contempt
compression upon my skull. Oh, thought, your absence is
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
when I say they never will for us in this tantrum
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.