by Mike Russell
after Luke Howard's song "Dappled Light"
Light is all around me, breathe
it in and out. Touch it
with a fingertip. Feel the grooves
of light speckle your forehead.
This is love and lust and power.
Light is all around us and it listens.
See if you can listen back to its pulse,
its shimmering gold. I see colours eat
me up but there is no pain.
I am falling through the cosmos
and flying through the sea.
I am found in this open space
and I am free.
Mike Russell is a non-verbal communicating poet with autism and PTSD. He is the leader of Brotherhood of the Wordless, a talented group of likeminded individuals with similar conditions. Mike likes to write and slam his poetry across Meanjin, Australia.
by Natalie D-Napoleon
The weather in my head says
a storm is coming,
the headache switch is on again.
Dust rain sweeps down
over the cabbages in the field -
little heads curl at the edge, like
books discarded, unread.
The cabbages wait to be rid
of the white moths, dots of eyes
on each wing unblinking at us think-
ing animals. As a child
I used to swat the moths with
my hands, white dust puffing
into the air, a magical game of
to extinguish lives.
I go to Farmer’s Market,
buy an organic cabbage,
peel back layers and layers
of leaves, a few ragged
punctures here and there. When I think
about it, the weather in my head can be
calm, too, sometimes crystalline, blue.
Maybe my headaches are a longing?
Memories left on a patch of dirt,
cabbage leaves scattered
like discarded moth-eaten
book pages in an unploughed field.
Natalie D-Napoleon is a writer, singer-songwriter and educator from Fremantle, Australia. Her writing has appeared in Meanjin, Cordite, Westerly, Griffith Review, and The Australian (Review). She has won the Bruce Dawe Poetry Prize (2018) and KSP Poetry Prize (2019). Ginninderra Press released her debut poetry collection First Blood in 2019.
by Lorretta Jessop
Lorretta is a covert café polygamist living in Sydney, Australia. She has been featured on the 2RPH radio program New Voices as an emerging writer and is dedicating 2021 to drafting her first novel: Phoney which aspires to take a literary-selfie of what it means to live in Sydney.
by Simon Donohoe
I don’t believe in sea monsters.
You lingered at the water’s edge.
Sea foam licked at the hem of your gown,
your feet submerged in briny green,
seaweed tendrils tangled around your legs,
old iron corroded your wrists.
It rose up and washed upon you.
fierce teeth the colour of sea glass,
maw open wide,
tunnel of blue, green, black.
You turned your head
and held your breath
as it collapsed and crashed over
you. Underwater, broken-bottle green
shattered and refracted sunlight.
You rose drenched,
gasped for breath,
fierce teeth grinned
a row of pearls.
I swung you over my back,
knees on my shoulders,
ready to crash bravely
into the next mouth.
Simon Donohoe writes poetry and short stories; usually, while stuck in traffic. Inspiration strikes at red lights. Previously published in Gargouille. (Instagram: @ohno_poetry)
by William Fox
Walking the back streets of beach towns,
how often do holiday houses get robbed?
is all I would think to ask the local cops.
I like visiting most in the mists of winter,
when the fish & chip shop runs a scant trade
for brunching carpenters and beneficent locals,
out to keep a parent from the school afloat,
and FOR LEASE signs start getting superglued
where old milk bars and general stores
have given up the ghost at being galleries.
The bypass was a disaster for this joint,
a heavy man says when I get to the newsagent,
plonking a goldie on the vacant counter
and grunting his newspaper out the door.
William Fox is a poet from Melbourne. His work has appeared before in places like Meanjin, Overland, Island, Southerly, Stilts, and the Best Australian Poems series of books. He completed a PhD on 1960/70s Australian poetics at Melbourne Uni in 2007.
by Oakley Ayden
i live inside a woodland hearth
untethered me daydreamed of once.
i’m now no childless woman.
out there, mum mountains, milky snow.
in here their clamor never lulls. i watch
flakes fall and feel her — the me i
could/should? have chose eight,
then five years ago. she never goes.
to ride the unbound snow
and sloppy slurp the silence
Oakley Ayden (she/her) is an autistic, bisexual writer from North Carolina. Her poems appear in Ghost City Review, Not Very Quiet, The Minison Project and elsewhere. She currently lives in California’s San Bernardino National Forest with her two daughters. Find her on Twitter (@Oakley_Ayden) or Instagram (@Oakley.Ayden).