LION WOMAN

Unto the forest she drags herself

spectral Queen with more than a bite-

quite the talker.

Lion woman could cut out your tongue

devastate you like meteorites

flung like punches under satellites

mistaken for comets.

The noble trees mark her transit

some stand, others are sold to the ground

like chopped limbs, barbecued

to lessen the risk

of caving in your skull.

Lion woman with her atlas hands

nothing but clear cracks and tears

from chemical burns

walks half full, fear fossilised here

in the wake of man.

She wants nebulas for irises

the warm hug of a space suit

like the tin foil blankets

they give you outside a hospital room-

at least then they’d save her.

She yearns to pluck the stars

and keep them near her poached heart

but they already belong to the galaxy

and the moon has the sun’s love.

 

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CALENTURE

There is a sense of belonging

in wanting to touch the sun in gentle strokes

to smooth it in, acrylic smudge,

valley of yellow on your shoulders-

two proud beacons burning, feeding us with enough light to grow

from the rotting bark that has pulled apart to nothing.

The ends of my hands hold firm the beach rope that has longingly

held together our sleepy boat house

strawberry red cuts, gentle stings

and there is little now except the words that tremble

that rip apart my throat like a tangled mess of phone cord

spilling over berry bruised organs exposed for bird pickings

as the line breaks.

How is it that you slip so silently to garner wood and ill- strung words

when death turns under every stone

unscathed, when the wind slices so neatly at my cheeks

and its been weeks since we’ve seen home-

now nothing more than the fire we blow through our hands

to keep our lungs from collapsing.

BED HEADS.

I turn over to you restless, fingertips at your jaw

I’ve been waiting on you, I’ve been all on my own

and I think you know.

 

The sun has crawled into bed with us,

seeping into our clothes

wrapping her arms around the smalls of our backs-

and I’ll give each day of my life

for that familiar nose, field of pollen specks

and the way it nuzzles the warmth of my neck.

 

Snowed in, I nudge at the covers avalanching you

wake you like lightning in Arizona

hitting deserts, fingers feathered out

like the hours that you licked tenderly from my face

lifting up my head like the wilted sunflowers-

darling they broke me.

 

This generation gave birth to machines

manufactured dreams suscitated with thumbs

an art collective, and we’re just two bed heads

two fuzzy bums keeping out the cold.

I FELT THE EARTH SHAKE- BEN ZAMO

It’s okay; we can both take the blame

I’ll take on most ‘cause you don’t need that again

But your frown remains

Determined that my being around means I’m kinder

Means I’m caring

And I suppose you’re not wrong

I just dare not think of the reality:

You lacking sleep

Unpacking memories in a rented apartment

Playing Tetris with your feelings

As though squeezing your eyes closed will make them disappear

Your ceiling feels like it’s getting lower

And you’re slower to respond

I don’t think much of what’s going on

You’re just-        distracted

That’s it

I think it’s a little bit of both of our faults

Because I didn’t realise you were still scratching love letters into her front door

Slumped

The cold floor numbing your bones

Vaguely hoping she’s not home soon

I just want to be there to tell you it’s ‘Alright!’

Hold tight

Pull your weighted body home

Pretend I don’t notice how you change with the moon

I’ll ready myself to take your hand

Turn it over

Pick out the splinters as my stomach churns

Learns all the ways you wish you could change her mind

And your eyes spill secrets

Hitched breaths

Turned head to hide them

I’m not blind

Still, I don’t ask you the ‘why’s that have been hiding in my mouth

My lips can’t quite pronounce them

When you’re sending me thank yous in your Halliwell smiles

Insisting I’m kinder than

I am

A blessing of poor decisions

I kiss away the dampness on your cheeks

Use the saltiness to soothe my chapped lips and hiss

Your body shakes the bed

Tries to break away

Struggling to catch your breath

Pushing me-

Back

The attack of memories still plaguing blue

And you

Somehow apologising

Still crying

And I’m prying at fingertips

Apologies kissed in pink welts on my wrist

I-

Had a hollow heart when empty arms held me

Couldn’t breathe

And like I wished my mum’s arms were hers

I know you wish these lips weren’t mine

Even as you remind yourself that time will change things

And I’m scared because I wanted to prove that some people stay

But I’ve never known a pain that makes the Earth shake.

 

Ben Zamo 

 

GIRL WITH THE DULL DEER EYES.

I opened up my chest

ear to the low-frequency

tender as tenderness goes

wool soft and bird-boned.

If only we had read the signs

girl with the dull deer eyes-

I caught your head first heart

sunken in like the rain.

The evening it dissolves

this dwelling feels a little the same-

Ghosts prefer the chance of you

but this home is needing you

as I, your candid stillness.

We walk in the sun’s demise

girl with the dull deer eyes-

feet drag along smashed bulbs

that know the same hunger

deep where the light reaches them.

I opened up my chest-

it’s been stitched shut

by your implacable sweetness

cupped desire

we held up to the sun like water.

MIGRATION.

I fold the night around me

and I wake up in my bed of molten blue

beneath the shade of the Banyan

as I sniff the last patches of sunlight you sat in

where sometimes the light settled on you like pollen.

I’m here in your Supernova wake

thinking that the brightness will keep you safe, here

and the wind vehemently pushes the cotton sheet

running canyon along my back-

I can only think that your hands are strong

when mine are spent ripping tokens overdue

from the earth by the handful.

I fold the night around me

and I wake looking for some benign truth

as to why the earth was much bigger when I was four

when every day was forever and people like you

were blown like kisses to the stars.

I often wonder if gravity only keeps me here

or whether you’ve found yourself a better place

migrating, instinctually inside the cupboard or the sheets

so you can go in there to hide.

HABITUAL ISLANDER.

I do not know her now

but in between I do, somehow

pearlescent moon, title of traveller

far flung from her orbit

onto greensand, shifting shades-

little sea reveller with graffitied arms

habitual islander

pulling apart with the currents

tendons afloat, wide sargasso

torn ritually from bird skulls.

Hands sifting, searching

for love in the spaces of pumice

but it was just wet sand.