I used to see how far I could flirt with you, you say. A cool descriptor
for those solar interventions, the way you draped yourself across
the stair rail like a scarlet boa, slouchy, ever-ready in my path—
the ungentle comet of your smile.
But not at first. At first you were on point, dizzyingly vertical, haughty
as a freshly sharpened pencil, staccato with the intensity of your sharps,
fearful of breaking. That’s what caught my eye.
The way you’d jolt from standstill to over the speed limit to curt-braked arrest
in a sentence span.
We were spellbound. We laughed in the shock wake of your commanding
awkwardness. You trembled— a routine tremor trembled you—
and didn’t blink. The class moved on but I never did.
And from that day, you seemed to commit to ambush.
You were always already in rooms when I entered, studiedly scanning
a dog-eared paperback. Not that you’d acknowledge me, necessarily—
too busy with the important stuff— but your presence was sticky
with spider silk.
But then you might: acknowledge me. Ask with poe-faced
concentration with zero lead-in vibrating down that breathless runway
speech Ah— how would you feel about a dog-sized elephant?
I discovered we had the groke, Bruno S, oversized cardigans,
a love of lilac, Jarvis Cocker, and the neurasthenic in common; that
some days you had to leave the house early because you were having
too many negative thoughts.
King of the spontaneous mood descriptor as intimate offering,
you favoured those melancholy-shaded words fallen from grace:
gingerly or meek, as in I feel very meek.
Am I just an experiment? you asked.
Am I? I wondered back.
And when we spoke again by phone after a two-year drought,
I’m bathing in this.
I wasn’t the only one struck by your habit of cutting to the
fundamental, but I noticed your what do I feel right now?
had the power to fleetingly anchor,
to alight you from the restlessly far flung, sidereal place
where you spent so much time. Still do.
Words suspend you and balloon you out: the spider at his silk
casting those tensile safety/signal lines, words.
Silky, might that word always be yours:
your floss of hair your soft abrupt the effortless slide
your presence makes into the sounding depths.
- FREE: 20 Poets anthology
- 91: NO THEME VIIISUBMIT to C Gaskin 90: MONSTERwith N Curnow, coming soon! 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith Fiona Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith Vladimir Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith Judith Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith Keri Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with Dan Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with Pam Brown 52.0: TOIL with Carol Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with Luke Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with Bonny Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with John Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with Tracy Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with Corey Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with Michael Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with Felicity Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with Jan Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with Derek Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with Kent MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with Ann Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with Gig Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with Duncan Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with Kent MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with Libby Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with Sarah Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with Sam Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with Astrid Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with Sean Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with Alan Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with Jill Jones
- Alex Creece Reviews Marion May Campbell’s third body
- Ivy Ireland Reviews Steve Armstrong
- Magan Magan Reviews deciBels 3
- Claire Albrecht Reviews Manisha Anjali’s Sugar Kane Woman
- Review Short: Simeon Kronenberg’s Distance
- Review Short: Judith Beveridge’s Sun Music: New and Selected Poems
- Melody Paloma Reviews Keri Glastonbury
- Submission to Cordite 91: NO THEME VIII
- Judith Bishop Reviews Phillip Hall’s Fume
- Bella Li on as Associate Publisher
- Alex Creece on as Production Editor
- Review Short: Diane Fahey’s November Journal and Carmen Leigh Keates’s Meteorites
- Review Short: Vahni Capildeo’s Seas and Trees and Jennifer Harrison’s Air Variations
- To Outlive a Home: Poetics of a Crumbling Domestic
- ‘The Rally Is Calling’: Dashiell Moore Interviews Lionel Fogarty
- Jackie Ryan: Teaser to Burger Force 3
- Dispatch from the Future Fish
- Introduction to Cordite 89: DOMESTIC
- 7 Portraits by Ali Gumillya Baker
- Selections from 3 Yhonnie Scarce Series
- Kathy Acker and The Viewing Room
- To Live There: on ‘Dispatch from the Future Fish’
- The Wild Workshop: The Ghost of a Brontëan Childhood in the Life of Dorothy Hewett
- Externalising the Symptom: Radicalised Youth and The Membrane
- On Deep Breaths and Friends Forever: Im/materiality and Mis/communication in Happy Angels Revisited
- Letter to Anne Carson: Work of Remembrance and Mourning
- Translated Extracts from Chantal Danjou