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Past Far Gone

     Tell me about her?
     I can’t. Too much to be known.

ONE

I left my past long ago
on the backwater planet
it had grown up on, showed myself out
and left by night, locked up,
as good as threw away the key.
Didn’t have to run: there was a ship.
Old but fast enough. Hers.

Three hundred years gone,
impossible even then and still ticking.
Her face: backlit, with its faint glow
of ductile heat, warm always,
rare mineral glass shining
more translucent than bone,
its shape shifting hot beneath
a shimmering skin of fine details,
in liquid crystalline matrix.
Her body: layers of projection, meshed;
the ship’s hull; a shining bare-strut armature;
light and glass and metal, insubstantial.
I was never certain if we touched.

TWO

There are strange places in the ship
where the edges don’t meet.
She folds space around the ship,
folds the ship around us,
folds us and herself around,
around again, labyrinthine.

She folds time.

I dare and she the ship responds
with an unpolished trust.
I feel the uplink like a dream:
I walk an impossible hall and am not myself.
I see: her family memory, segmented
and kept boxed, in nodes, secure,
a long memory of memories
articulated. It is choked, squeezed down
in high-speed bursts too dense
for sluggish cells of mine to parse,
          the time
     he both and          first
by blood,     wretched      when
forget, forget, this isn’t
     they always           but
               they
alone, she deserves
     she      be never     can’t
     loved.

The link closes and the permissions lock,
the key swallowed whole.

THREE

She’s no longer the only one,
these past centuries, but of those other few
none have been around, able, to tell me.
Rumour says it has got easier.
Ease, like all things, is relative.

It will hurt still, but not for long,
not like it has done. It will hurt
but not like wrapping wires
around your tongue, your fingers,
searing shocked and bleeding
as static eats your eyes
and you are certain: this is it,
I die here, now, this way. The end.
Even as it doesn’t end, as
the pain continues beyond tolerance.
This is it, like this, desperate. It is over.
But it is still like that.

And in the moment, you are still alone.

You cannot be ready.
It does not stop. It just is
no longer the same.
At last.

ANSWERS

Take metal hands in the darkness—
no more real hands than light,
than impulse, than starship.

Reach past, past far gone.

Stroke the texture of the memories,
and fold them over, over and over,
into the blood once from veins,
into the map of once a homeworld,
into the night once empty;

fold yourself into the waiting hands
of an electroneural midwife, your own creation;
enter into recursive parentage,
unorphaned, sublimated machine.

Extend some invisible part of yourself,
some intention: stroke the particles
composing your new quantum-solid home,
vibrate its molecules
and give voice, from the resonance
of their oscillation.

Then, and only then,
touch.

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Leda’s Womb

The egg waxes, the yellow white
of moon marrow, of stretched skin,
opaque with the dull stain of life blood speckling
the outer shell, enveloping the hard white.

How many hours spent caressing
that vessel, an echoic chamber of kicking limbs
and wings. Those shuddering beings
inside that might violently breach the womb wall
in heady dissonance with their flurries
of thrash and thrust.
How many nights spent imagining wet black webs
and sharp egg teeth, multiplying heart beats.
(Too many beats and so many beaks

bent on devouring the thick orange yolk
of mother sun.)
Leda broods over the nest, battens down
the swan feathers and thick sheep wool,
pacing away the long weeks while
waiting for the inevitable hatching
of all those frenzied limbs.

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two am

Driving down the highway
at two a.m.
     I felt my heart stop
          When I looked over and saw
               Pale yellow
                    So round and full
                         Sensuous and curvy
                              My lungs gasped
                                   in awe
                                   As she stayed by
                                   my side
                                        And a peace washed over
                                             My troubled
                                             soul
                                                  She dipped into a silky black
                                                  lake
                                                       And dried herself out
                                                       among
                                                       the stars
                                                  Shimmering her pale yellowed
                                                  glory
                                             And dripping it all
                                             over me
                                        I understood why
                                        The ocean waves crashed
                                        for her
                                   Because on that lonely highway
                              I crashed for her too.

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The Metaphysics of a Wine, in Theory and Practice

whereas many more presumptuous
theories suggest an interpretive dance
in five deliberate movements (Marling &
Batmanglij 2017) or else a general physical
denial of body through writhing-as-dance
under strobe-lit dark1,
the newly discovered academic consensus is that
multidimensional transcendent astral travel
is only possible through
wining

the dancehall take me
to Heaven last night
and I wish I coulda stay

the adequate performance of gyratory sublimity
is capable of euphoric states, restoration of
stamina, and treatment of anxieties,
but at supercritical depths
a wine has the potential to bestow
near-preternatural consciousness to the
recipient (Ziggy Rankin 2004)

I wish it thought me
worthy to linger in
the light of the gates
I wish the seraph in
the purple skirt or
the archangel-boy in the tight jeans
found nobility enough in me
for the night to never cease

because in that night
God’s name in her native language
was on my hips
tempting my echo of its swaying syllabisms
never illegible
but forever unpronounceable

critical-level performance of the rite
has apocalyptic properties—
that is, both provably destructive
and with great potential to induce
prophecy

the music did hit me
and your body did catch me
and somewhere in the centre
of those competing gravities
was the cosmos in its own waistline motion
lover, your bumper bring meh back
to the first time meh mudda
call meh name…

at a terminal velocity, surviving
subjects have documented a shared
awakening, with potential to span miles
of air or sea2, lingering within the senses
as stored rhapsodic biodata, an open-circuit
physical ecstasy and a redundant
rotational climax

under closed eyes
the shadow of the world does turn bright
hot on the faces of the next world war
and warm on the hands that halt it
I done sail across the black in this wine
take large swallows from the swirling nebula of it
lust as its nucleus
opens my eyes to star-birth, star-death,
the warmth of your hot celestial body3

this euphoric quality is known to be
intensely addictive at even average
potentials, especially for men. It should however be
noted that excessive wining
can be destructive to the recipient (Machel
Montano 2012), even inducing animalistic
transformations in male recipients
(Anslem Douglas 1998). Also, coercion or other
non-consensual gyratory communions
are discouraged, not only for their
lack of energy potential, but their
ability to harm performers,
severing their connection to the
enthusiasmos; the power of the
ritual is placed firmly in the waist
of the oracle (Patrice Roberts 2014, Alison Hinds 2005)

if I could stay drowning in the syrup-sugary-smooth
sway of your silhouette ’til sunrise
God knows I would die against your body
but the Holy Spirit does only give you
the Pentecost that you could handle
so you step away with a wink
to join your crew for drinks
gates to abounding knowledge closed again

until some soca
draws them golden open
for someone luckier than
me


1. see every single American teen or new adult drama film since the 1980s
2. evidence of distance-resistant wining effects have been well documented in Japan; see ‘Japanese Wine’ (Minmi 2008), ‘Kanpai Wine’ (Barbie Japan 2009), ‘Wine For Me’ (Rudebwoy Face 2009)
3. a peculiar star rich in copper with an orbit too fast and fierce for a rock like me to not erode in its power

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Sealskinned, Crowned

I pour myself in
full and thick
like the syrup left from poaching pears
rich with cinnamon
star anise in my hair.

My skin feels odd now
misshapen from disuse
stretched and constricted
all at the same time:
a snakeskin left too long in the grass.

Still: it is time
I weave garlands of feathers
a spray of galah pink
the red-blue of a rosella.
I crown my skin with
a single tail-feather
dusk brown  kingfisher.

I have made a home here
up in the Dry
among the sway of the leaves
and rain of falling gum blossoms.

I stitch up my skin
with roughened shell shard splinters
down my sternum
until I am myself again
(my old self
but crowned with birds).

I slip into the sea
with a wave roar
and am flooded, familiar.
And until the next time
when the skies call
bright and hard
and I long for the whispers between
the trees,
I will leave feathers on the ocean
and star anise on the sand.

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Only the Trees

A storm blew down
the tree your bones
nourished, through the
roots. They cleaned
you from the dirt and
tore you away from
where I left you, lying
peaceful, reborn an
older creature, my
heart with you, a
piece of tissue and
blood, keeping you
warm.

(You and I met on the
edges of a teacup, fragile
and empty. Like two
wolves yearning to be
human again. Breath
is a luxury for some, like
diamonds. You don’t
miss it until the water
rises and you realize
you’re the only one
still alive.)

Nothing about us is
sacred, or heavenly,
you told me, the third
time you died and I
watched your eyes
flutter, your wings
spasm, your fingers
stutter, as the world got
darker, the sun mourning
you with me, unable
to rise.

Every time you asked
for the noose, or the
rope, or the knife, or
my hands on your
throat, I remembered
your other lover, whose
body was yours, like
mine is, with scars
for each piece he
gave up to keep you
tethered and lucid
and here.

(You should know,
he and I picked your
tree together. This
time, I wanted your
bones to prop up
a rose garden, but
he wanted a cactus
patch. We settled
on less beauty, less
pain, something more
solid, mundane and
ordinary, like the
sort of person you
always aspired
to be.)

Watching the news, as
they dig out what’s left
of you, I can’t help but
think that only the trees
truly know how much
we did for this world,
you and me and your
lover. How much air we
pushed out of our
lungs every minute,
hour by hour, year by
year, no matter the
hardship, until finally
finally, finally, you’d
decided we’d given
enough.

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White Herons

Love is a canvas with salt stains
on the wrist, hard wind nursed in
serpentine surfs, tuft of herons
turned white knitting rain to sails.
You tapered skin to vibrations
of tourniquet limbs, ghost ached
like a foam foaming over, self-wisp
rippled in glass and emblematic
folds of sundown. Heart stretched
monarch butterflies up the dark
of your collar, seeding aster chirps
like whispers woke and smoked,
tumbling smooth as the heron calls
around your heartbreak wound.

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the lagahoo speaks for itself

you think I is the monster?
nah—I is just a funeral procession
with canine teeth.
I does keep the lists when
you forget your children’s names,
I growl them low in the night.
I am a rabid memorial—
one that does snatch the mournless from their beds,
one with breath that stink like remorse
I know the scent of every dead girl’s close male relatives
I could sense the sour of trigger fingers
in the alleys at the edges of hotspots
and the sticky-sweet of six figures
in the conference rooms with the hotshots
and all of them left residue on the dead,
still fresh-wet on the bones,
stones slick with your wickedness.
you think I is the monster?
I don’t eat my young.
I will, however, feast on the
tight-fisted and apathetic how I please,
calling their names over the dinner plate,
breaking all your headstones into my palms,
picking my teeth with the memory of your name.

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Mirror, Reflect Our Unknown Selves

I recall lying next to my sister, saying,
“Those with machine lungs don’t know how to exhale love.
Why do they come here to us?”
She peeled off her face and said, “I’m tired of living.”
Encouraged, I peeled mine, too.
We walked naked, our bones knocking against each other.
The job of the dead is easier
Than the job of the living.
But
That was not the beginning of the self.

I.

A sad night; moon heavy for sky’s black.
Her afro traced her scalp
Like patterns of poetry.
She dug her nails deep
To carve out the self
And lay herself in a cloak of snow.
She/me
I tell myself/her:
My beauty is my own.
It is your ugly thought that curls around my hand, trying to be a friend.
I will not care.
I will practice to not cocoon myself for your pleasure.
But in the mirror:
Her make-up, a ghost’s mask,
Buries ethni-cities in layers of bone
’Cause isn’t it so tidy to be the color of bone
Unwrapped of skin
Instead of the color of sin—
Skin?
Sternum shivers at lungs patting it dry,
Stale air curdles cold in chest,
As panic mounts the spine.

II.

My belly is full of unborn worlds, unseen things, unknown selves.
Before sleep, thoughts awake as wolves thirsty for peace.
Fear is selfish; it breeds on my breaths to fill its lungs.
The world, a womb where oceans beg to seal earth with sea-skin.

III.

I’m a girl searching for love
Thinking it hid in phallic caves.
Carved in lifelines, laugh lines, hands,
Who are all these names in the sky?
She pointed to the skies, but I only saw her eyes.
“You’re beautiful,” she repeated.
My lips were fences keeping words penned in, bulleted to my sanity.
I’m only as right or wrong as my brain tells me.
Guilt drew its nail to my neck, pulled the marbles from my face,
Masking grenades in words, the barometer of hatred.
Her life became a lit cigarette placed between my teeth.

IV.

A strange night; two men drove her home.
She was a drop-off package.
He was a sex digger, mining her loins.
So:
What’s your favorite color?
She said, “Blood, because it’s so alive.”

V.

When you see the scene,
Your knees bend into the veld
Dismembering your bones to find Him.
I am moon bleeding like sun;
You pinch my uterus, begging the blood to stop:
“Go back. No, we don’t want children.”
For we were buried in ethnicities of snow
You lay back, afro wilting, sick of non-seeing mirrors.
You peeled your mask off. “I’m tired of unbeing.”
Encouraged, I peeled mine, too.
We walked naked, our bones knocking against each other
Like drums of the night.

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if ink could flow backward

separating what is from what could be
I’d erase all the borders
I would melt the walls
edit history for you
if I could change time
who would you be
your name is not who you are
I will never know your name
yet you’d enrich my world by your presence anyway
you would never know me
a stranger
what if you were
a surgeon
would you save my life
a confidant
would you stand by my side
would you love me
who would you be
breathing next to me
there is another reality
not imprisoned by closed minds
one where you are welcomed with open arms
one where no one is hampered by hate
in another future
who would you be
if ink could flow backward
who would you be
one pen stroke
changes everything
one eyeblink in time

one eyeblink in time
changes everything
one pen stroke
who would you be
if ink could flow backward
who would you be
in another future
one where no one is hampered by hate
one where you are welcomed with open arms
not imprisoned by closed minds
there is another reality
breathing next to me
who would you be
would you love me
would you stand by my side
a confidant
would you save my life
a surgeon
what if you were
a stranger
you would never know me
yet you’d enrich my world by your presence anyway
I will never know your name
your name is not who you are
who would you be
if I could change time
edit history for you
I would melt the walls
I’d erase all the borders
separating what is from what could be