by Leila Lois
’...the very springs, the very orchards here were calling for you.’
-Virgil's Eclogues, Part I
Amaryllis lean to sun, burst
stars of sparkling pink,
crimson veins; blood
upon marble. Naked ladies
with glossy stems, bright
and bare, sit aflame
in the orangery, sweet,
citrus jasmine scent of mock
-orange on the wind.
In a vat, I could squeeze
petals for days, only
to extract a tiny drop
press it on my wrists
and behind my ears or drip
amaryllis oil into my eyes,
dilate pupils like night
stretches across sky, unfolds
its dark shroud, my crimson gown.
I could see you everywhere;
sundial shadow, moving swing,
a fallen book, broken spine on red tiles
An underground spring bled
up through stone, leaked into cold
-room where we stored meat.
By the wall, yew, dark lover,
above where pets were archived
in tiny plots: Tabby, Ginger, Lulu.
Lilies all weighed down,
turned away. Life is an empty
urn without you.
Leila Lois is a dancer and writer of Kurdish and Celtic heritage who has lived most of her life in Aotearoa, based now in Naarm/ Melbourne. In her poems, Leila explores a personal sense of origin that, like the ocean, binds several landscapes and times, coming back to the idea that a timeless, boundless love pervades. Her publishing history includes Southerly Journal, Djed Press, NoD Literary Journal, Next in Colour, Lite Lit One, Bent Street Journal and Delving into Dance.
by Kye Lay
A shore assures
The message inside
To be thrown again
Into the abyss
Kye Lay is a meanjin based multi-media artist @klaypoetery + Kye Lay on youtube
by Jordan Barling
that you arrive with cigarettes and beer
not even a change of clothes
only a toothbrush in the cloth handbag
that you wear bandolier
collect the Vietnamese take-away and empty the bins
chaining on the apartment balcony as I make calls
that you stay for days even though the best I can offer
is the fold out couch
purchased for a beach house in 1986
each evening we bend the armrests back
this is what it must feel like to
realign the spine
Jordan Barling is a Melbourne-based writer. Her poetry is included in the upcoming issue of Overland.
by Jax Bulstrode
on your bedroom floor
the whole room swaying
and the evening breeze
a storm rolling in
and potatoes in the oven
she is telling me about the bird
on her arm
blackened and eyes open
staring back at me
how do we start again?
with the colours
okay, the purple skyline outside
cool static glow from the tv
now, the scent
of the cool rain coming
my favourite part
her voice beside me
calling my name
Jax Bulstrode writes poems in Naarm/Melbourne. She is usually writing about rivers or fruit or being queer. Jax has been published in Anti-Heroin Chic Journal, F*EMS and is forthcoming in Southchild Lit, Just femme & dandy and Enby life. You can find them at @jaxbulstrode on Twitter.
paperbark mouth drinks
floodplain blood, orange
into veins that spill sun,
light pushes itself into albino
flowers, dense and misshapen.
I stand on your roots, spread
beneath wetlands, body
quivers, shakes with tethered
new seasons that rub
salt into fresh wounds.
I crisp into paper, skin
golden brown and peeling
like an alphabet long-written
and forgotten, now speckled
yellow sun-bleached memories.
I shed leaves, susurrating
through a murmur of wind,
tunnels through kaleidoscopic
light that burns nocturnal
eyes and laughs and laughs.
SoulReserve is a wistful poet. Her poetry explores love and its tumultuousness, the fantasy and zest in nature, and allegories that provoke thought and evoke tender feelings. Read her published works in – "Across Vast Horizons", "Poetry d’Amour – 2019 & 2020", "Letters To Our Home", “Recoil 12” and WAPI’s “Creatrix.”
by Lou Smith
knee deep in swamp
slick near swamp-edge
sludge under tread.
The blueberry ash, that grew as lanky
as a cattleman, is what this
place was named after – Ash Island –
its petals like faeries’ frilly slips
under tiny pink / white dresses.
We hauled fish when it was safe
–when islands hadn’t been
cemented as land with slag–
when the slick didn’t fill their gills
Lou Smith is a poet based on Wurundjeri country in Melbourne. Her writing has been published in journals and anthologies including Soft Surface, Nine Muses Poetry, The Lifted Brow, and The Caribbean Writer. Her first collection of poetry riversalt was published by Flying Island Books in 2015. www.lousmith.net
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)
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