No one checks your ticket. Outside
the train, whales arch across noise
and blue static. Take off
sodden sneakers, socks.
Get comfy. You didn’t bring a book.
Watch your window.
Split lightning flashes /
clouds seeded with bats
over slurred vine / bruised fruit pelts
out the knees of toothpick huts
/ arch from mud. The swelling shore
licks the palace lidded on bamboo / sway.
The train pulls to a stop
to take the tide in, with a few
tired eyes, dripping.
The next town lit up radioactive:
neon on puddle / every store
a corner store, each street one bodega long
/ a maze of corners / each sign a lighthouse
Doors shut on blurry glow
of adjectives. A tunnel.
A man in red embarks and slides
a red umbrella in beside you.
“What’s your blood type?” and you
point to your headphones / shrug / he thinks
you’re pointing to your neck. Nearly miss your stop.
Squelch. Into pavement’s grey inch of water.
Doors slurp — your shoes inside
and gone. Your lover won’t pick up his phone.
Cross the city’s heft / a wet cat / awning
to awning / feet blistered and pruned.
He laughs at the dank surprise of you.
“That’s sweet. But I have company.”
Foyer so white, his teeth glow. Ha. The elevator’s
big mouth. He leads you to a room you’ve never seen.
An aquarium. You’re so tired of water.
In the tank, women float like weeds.
“These / my former loves” / fingertips
on glass: “I wanted / to think them over.”
Fumble in your pocket for the ticket home. Breathe
faster. His teeth again. He leads you to his waterbed, slicks
blonde hair / watches you.
Morning retraces hot steps on stone.
Buy clear gumboots in the market square. Fail to find
a hot breakfast.
At the station, a machine dispenses novels.
Choose one about a child detective. Block
your lover’s number, pick the longer route
home, unblock the number, crack
the book’s spine / crack your own.
The train hurtles over railed ocean, past
disused amusement rides hoisted on
old sailing ships / a city of pirate rigs in rags
/ rollercoasters link decks / Ferris Wheels spin
listless off of masts.
In the sky, no movement.
- FREE: 20 Poets anthology
- 92: NO THEME VIIISUBMIT to C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow, coming soon! 90: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith S Umar 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
- Aidan Coleman Reviews New and Selected Poems of Anna Wickham
- Ivy Ireland Reviews Ali Whitelock’s and my heart crumples like a coke can
- Editorial to AFRO AUSTRALIAN
- 4 Works by Guled Abdulwasi
- The Platonic Split
- you have no idea how far i swam
- To the still
- Garden of Grace
- Bloody QnA
- The Physics of Self
- Life Poem
- go ahead, call it magic
- Chalk to Charcoal
- (un) learning
- 3 Sisters
- Blood Fuel
- Raelee Lancaster Reviews Alison Whittaker’s Blakwork
- 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