Page 1

kiss me hardy

kiss me hardy

Contents 7

Kim Ireland

Underwater Cloud


Catherine Russ

Dustdevil 3


Lynn Davidson

In All Nations Park


Nicholas Haig

RembrandtstraĂ&#x;e 35


Rhiannon Jones

Untitled (shit), 2016


Jillian Sullivan

Three Poems


Eddie Allnutt

The Cigar Box


Qiankun Zhu



Stephen C. Berg

A Versatile Man


Marion Gilbertson

Spring Walk


Jessica Nelson

Genocide in our backyard


David Cohen

Red Letter Day


Dantelle Oates

Custom cakes


Jess Shirley



Louisa Hopcroft



Justine Whitfield

Two Poems


Deborah Sax



Brigid Lowry

Two Poems


Eszter Luca



Becks Wixon



Renee Hollis

I am sewn to your sail do not leave me


Natalia Chaplin

Woman at sea


Carol Maxwell



Marama Noakes

Tea House


Emily Herbert

Fuck it I’m going to be a unicorn


Brigid Lowry



Katie Pascoe



Diane O’Donnell

The Well


Jean Luc Buczinski

Best Before End


Carol Maxwell

Autumn Skin


Courtney Page

We See You


Bella Reid

Hera, I hear you


Justine Whitfield

The Lunar Eclipse


Erik Roeper

First Light


Joanna Plows



Petra Malkova



Julie Wilson



Tanya Lunn

The Tambour



kiss me hardy 1

A journal of writing and visual arts from NMIT’s arts programmes


Bridget Auchmuty


Marion Townsend


Deborah Sax

All copyright resides with the authors and artists. Apart from fair usage, permission must be obtained to reproduce from this work in any form or medium.

kiss me hardy is published by Last Leaf Press

Correspondence should be addressed to: Cliff Fell, c/- Arts and Media, G Block, Private Bag 19, Nelson or

With thanks to Eddie Allnutt, Klaasz Breukel, Justine Whitfield and Becks Wixon. Special thanks to Deborah Sax – wouldn’t have happened without you

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: ‘Rembrandtstraße 35’ was previously published in Pigeon 1

Kim Ireland / Underwater cloud

Intro kiss me hardy – isn’t this what Nelson has been waiting for, an arts and literature journal that sails under the banner of Admiral Lord Nelson’s famous last words? Well, perhaps not. Perhaps that’s a little overblown, but it’s not hard to see that the city once proclaimed the arts capital of New Zealand could do with one or two more forums in which arts, writing and ideas can be read seen and written about. Even more certain, a journal showcasing the work of writers and artists from NMIT’s arts programmes is long overdue. So that was the starting point for this first issue of kiss me hardy. Some students deciding to take on the project, a selection of NMIT’s artists and writers and after some wrangling over a title, the focus on the legendary last utterance to issue from Lord Nelson’s lips, spoken (the witnesses say) to his friend and comrade, Captain Hardy, commander of HMS Victory, Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar. The scene was rendered in an 1807 painting by Arthur William Devis, who was present. Lying in the cockpit, where the wounded were tended, its walls and floor painted red to disguise the blood flowing from wounds and amputations, the Admiral succumbed to a musket ball in the spine, the battle still raging around the Victory’s decks. Hardy, Trafalgar, Victory: these key-words reveal how much of the city of Nelson has been named – and so its culture shaped – by that man and battle, a turning point in the Napoleonic war. Alongside them, other Nelson place-names celebrate the illustrious Admiral: Nile, where Nelson won his other great victory, Collingwood, who was the Rear-Admiral at the Battle of Trafalgar, St. Vincent, Vanguard, Bronte – these are all named for the naval hero’s career. The last – not a literary reference at all, as some might imagine or wish – acknowledges the Sicilian dukedom awarded to Lord Nelson by the King of Naples, following the Admiral’s dubious – no, let’s be clear – brutal conduct towards Jacobin prisoners in the Neapolitan campaign of 1799. Of course, Aotearoa-New Zealand has its share of other British military place-names, Wellington, Napier, Blenheim and Marlborough among them, but this knot of Nelson street names shows how thoroughly the colonial culture was projected and then imposed upon the city lock, stock and barrel, far more definitively than anywhere else. It’s a legacy we have to live with, or perhaps contend with, here in Nelson, where our own other little battle of Trafalgar Street took place a few weeks ago, complete with masked anarchists in opposition to a reactionary demonstration against Nelson’s most notorious homeless person, a man with an adopted Maori name. Footage of that confrontation can be seen here: This legacy is something that, or so we might hope, these three words kiss me hardy – with all their erotic possibilities – will begin to prise apart. It’s not for me to comment on the work in this issue. But I will briefly talk about the processes involved in putting it together. As I’ve said, the journal began as a study project. Former staff and students

were invited to submit work along with current students. At some point we decided that kiss me hardy should also be a platform for final year visual art students. Editors were appointed, and assistants, a call for submissions put out. I know that we weren’t able to contact all our alumni and hope the message gets through to more of them for subsequent issues. Will there be subsequent issues? Who knows, but I hope so. At present, kiss me hardy 1 is available online on but the intention is to relaunch it on a website and hopefully open our next issue to wider submissions. For now, though, as you enter the journal’s wrought iron garden gates (Queen’s Gardens on Hardy Street) you’ll know that ‘Kiss me, Hardy’ were definitely not Nelson’s last words. Cliff Fell

December 1, 2016

Catherine Russ / Dustdevil 3

LYNN DAVIDSON In All Nations Park

The red breasts of rosellas make small deep fires in the gumtree. The dusty-pink bellies of galahs make clouds of warm ash in the gumtree. The birds choose separate trees. One for rosellas. One for galahs. Each shakes with birds. I stand under the tree that flickers with flame. I understand the tree that shivers with ash. I see that the ash is a dirty pink – it has not finished carrying the fire. In the body of each bird, ghost gums unfold into the hinterland. In the body of our nature we bear each other. We think we stand apart in our burning and transforming. That nothing could be further. But the friction of our touching makes tenderness. It rises like blister-skin, lit from within.


NICHOLAS HAIG Rembrandtstraße 35

In late August of 2013, I set off to find number 35 Rembrandtstraße, a house lived in briefly by Joseph Roth in 1913. I had travelled to Vienna with the hope of finding the source of some of my wrong-turns. I steered through the gloss and hubbub surrounding St. Stephan’s Platz, over the Danube canal and onto a street lined with typically balcony-less Viennese townhouses. It was empty. A sigh escaped it. Up above hung clouds like freshly packed plastic shopping bags.

Emerging from a side-street, a man with a considered limp, the sort that has been thought through, approached me. He stopped at my side, stared up at a white net-curtain unfurling out an open window and moved on. He mumbled something as he left. I moved to the opposite side of the road. A little cry came from another open window.


Roth, who was born in 1894 ‘where the Empire of the Hapsburgs dissolved into the Empire of the Romanovs,’ and died drunk and penniless in a Parisian sanatorium in 1939, was a peripatetic novelist and journalist. Though a socialist and anti-fascist who spent time in post-revolutionary Russia, Roth remained ‘devoutly obsessed with the old Empire of Franz Joseph,’ seeing in it not pomp nor power, but the promise of a trans-national entity which could transcend divisive nationalist sentiments. Roth wrote: ‘I hate nationalism and nation states. My old home, the Monarchy, alone, was a great mansion with many doors and many chambers, for every condition of men. The mansion has been divided up, splintered. I have nothing more to seek for.’ Michael Hofmann, a Roth translator, writes of coming to view him ‘as his own solar system.’ Roth, for Hofmann, ‘was a man whose element was turbulence. He claims to have been an alcoholic from the age of eight. He lived out of two suitcases in six countries. His characteristic mode of progress was the somersault, his temperature

generally off the scales.’ Out of respect for Roth’s loathing of domesticity – he once said “I shit on furniture” – I moved on. Not knowing what to do, I walked on, away from the centre and within minutes found myself in the Augarten. Famed as the oldest Baroque gardens in Vienna, they stretch out across the flatlands of Leopoldstadt for 52 hectares. Destroyed during the Ottoman siege of Vienna in 1683, the parks were restored on the orders of Emperor Joseph I in 1705. They were opened to the public on the 1st of May 1775. Within these gardens are housed the second oldest porcelain factory in Europe, a Jewish campus, swimming pools, a retirement home, concert halls and so forth. Though I missed it, the inscription ‘Allen Menschen gewidmeter Erlustigungs-Ort von Ihrem Schaetzer’ (A place of amusement dedicated to all people by their Cherisher) can still be read at the main gate to the Augarten which leads to the Augarten Palace. A young man, having bird-like conniptions, was making puzzling maps in the dirt with his sneakers. Couples lolled on the grass. Over them loomed a Flak Tower. Built after the RAF’s raid on Berlin in 1940, these immense constructions (there were eight completed and many more planned around “Greater Germany”) were used as anti-aircraft gun towers, air-raid shelters and centres for air-defence coordination. Hitler, it has been said, took a personal interest in their design and made sketches of these fortifications which were built to be impenetrable.

With concrete walls up to 3.5 meters thick, the German rail schedule had to be altered in order to facilitate the shipment of construction materials. Though purportedly invulnerable to the ‘usual ordnance carried by Allied bombers’ it is unlikely that they would have withstood Grand Slam bombs. Apparently, however, and unsurprisingly, aircraft generally bypassed the towers. The Augarten Flak Tower, which stands at 180 feet – remained unfinished. It rears out of the gardens like some obscene Dalek. It seems not to cast the shadow of its own destruction before it but our own. It will stand and we will fall around it. Cutting through a patch of scrub in the middle of a maze of chestnut, linden, ash and maple avenues, and just off one lined with balloons, I found a young woman, hoodied despite the heat, sitting on a stump


and reading what looked to be a medical manual. The opened page appeared to show some sort of dissection – of what I was not sure. My attempt at conversation unsuccessful, I turned back. There was roaring in the distance. In the Volkgarten, the indolent silver shimmer of Richard Wright’s wall-painting at the Theseus Temple had drawn a murmurous crowd. This temple, a copy of the Theseion in Athens, was built between 1819 and 1823 in order to house a single work of art: Venetian Antonio Canova’s neoclassical sculpture Theseus Slaying the Centaur. Removed to the Kunsthistorisches Museum in 1890, this bit of marble made flesh now stands on a staircase, somewhere. The day before I had come across a passage discussing centaurs in the editor’s notes accompanying W. G. Sebald’s posthumously published poetry collection Across the Land and the Water. Apparently, French poet Paul Valéry had a keen interest in equestrianism and compared the equestrian art with mental and aesthetic training. The mythical centaur, for Valéry, was a model for ‘perfect control,’ a creature able to ‘walk without error.’ However, in Ovid’s Metamorphoses the centaurs get drunk at the wedding of Pirithous and Hippodamia, attempt to carry off the womenfolk, and are then slaughtered, with Theseus slaying Eurytus, the ‘fiercest of all the fierce centaurs.’ Earlier that day I visited Klimt’s Beethoven Frieze at the Secession Gallery. This piece of mythical cartoon-erotica with gold-leaf has been meticulously preserved in a purpose built cellar cool-room. Up above, the dream stories of fourteen Venetian inmates from a Women’s Prison on Giudecca Island played on a loop. Up above, American artist Robert Irwin’s ‘site-conditioned’ installation Double Blind, was a work responding to the specific aesthetic and architectural properties of the space. A work, he said, which asked the viewer to look and look again. Consisting of ‘thirty room high frames with translucent fabric stretched over them following exactly the lines of the grids that define the room and thus forming three volumes,’ I spent some time staring through the gauze and out the door which opened onto the garden. Up above, Thomas Locher’s exhibition Homo Oeconomicus was strangely deserted. Exploring the nature of gift-giving and exchange, Locher asked: ‘Under what conditions is a gift so true that it does not come with expectations of any kind, thus constituting a break with economic relations based on exchange?’ But Vienna belongs to Klimt. Vienna is Klimt. Back on the Burgring, I found the source of the roar. A crowd had gathered around two canopied trucks with their sides down. On stage, an MC was shouting: “We’re Austrian Motherfucker. You’re Austrian Motherfucker. You’re in Austria Motherfucker. Motherfucker get out of your mind. Get out of your mind Motherfucker.” A little taken aback, I pushed through the clusters of families and tourists, and found a bench in Maria-Theresien Platz. The man with the limp limped by. Claudio Magris, commenting on the famed laissez-faire attitude of the Viennese, noted: ‘How quickly live and let live can become die and let die.’ But up Mariahilfer Straße, all was well. Gelatos were being licked, H&M was full and synchronised steel-drumming buskers in black polo necks made cadenced thunder. We applauded. And moved on.


Rhiannon Jones / Untitled (Shit), 2016


Beneath the straw imagined fields where this grass grew and now falls; stacked golden rectangles cranked down. I’m juggling fear and awe: my private regrets, a past snuffed, the fact of this house at all. Now I must forget I ever lived beside the sea and on a mountain. This propensity for nostalgia drives shards like baling needles into the heart of a wall  



Before we lie down in final darkness we could un-name the things we became addicted to. It’s not about soaring in broad daylight. Did we take heed of the practical well-being of our neighbours? And that includes the hills the streams and the flat lands where we unfurled our most potent desires for water and soil and all they could give us, and beyond.


Noblesse oblige Don’t even start me on fracking, she said, Can they not see? We went out in the rain instead and walked along a road between stone walls and seeded grass. To succeed is to destroy ourselves, says Monbiot. It seems a far point from here. The West Antarctic ice-sheet nothing to do with these wild blackberries nor the woodchuck, chipmunk, deer I saw today. I’d like to think all of this is safe: the plantain, fireflies, lake. It’s not Dostoyevsky’s pleasure of despair. It’s how to even begin. Does planting tomatoes count? Must we watch from the hedgerows while Yasuni burns, or the land under our homes? On the way back a trucker stops for an old dog ambling past his tyres. Such small noblesse obliges in a world of malefic adversaries


Eddie Allnutt The Cigar Box I undo the tarnished clip lift the poker etched lid brass hinges turn to release redolent sweetness Black market bargained— with the help of mi amigo’s silver tongue, as we walk Havana’s seawall at rough tide Twenty-five Cohiba stogies all lined up like a band of hand-rolled rebels and diplomats Rum pours on the roof while smoke rings salsa to Sierra Maestra’s buena vista


Qiakun Zhu / Japan

STEPHEN C. BERG A Versatile Man

Vincent Van Nezla had a fetish. He preferred to call it a selective desire, but it was more than that. He also liked to party and when in Paris did so, with the gay set. His favourite party trick was to ‘neck’ the champagne bottle using a sabre. It was impressive when done well. His Parisian friends all had fetishes too of course, which is why he felt comfortable in their midst. Although his father’s head office was in Paris, their factory was in Rheims. The family had been in the glass manufacturing business for five hundred years. Beginning in the 16th century when they had sold glass, imported from England, to the monks in Champagne who needed stronger bottles to hold their fizzy wine. Dom Pérignon was pleased with their quality and blessed their endeavours. God has been on their side ever since. Life in Reims could not compare to Paris, but Vincent enjoyed it nevertheless. He was easily satisfied with the best. His time was divided between playing tennis at the family-owned Château Les Crayères, dining at the Brasserie Le Jardin and clubbing with his friends. He also showed his face now and again, at the factory, when he had time. Their products included not only champagne bottles, but fine glassware, all forms of optical lenses and recently, in conjunction with Swarovski, crystal mirrors. Vincent, due to his friendship with the crystal producer’s son, was responsible for this latest coup and took credit in his usual modest way. Standing naked in front of his full length bedroom mirror he admired what he saw. His long-limbed body, still youthful, was slim, taut and tanned. He practised an hour of Wim-Hof breathing and yoga exercises every morning, then took a ten-minute ice bath to keep in the best shape possible. His most charming features, he had been told, were his winning smile and dark, wavy, shoulder-length hair. He brushed it now, being careful to avoid his ear. It had been almost ten years since he had gone through the front screen of the taxi whilst crossing the Sydney harbour bridge. A car had crossed the centre line and hit them head on and Vincent, who was not wearing a seatbelt, flew straight through the glass then through the front screen of the car that hit them, ending up in the front passenger seat. The taxi he had been in was then crushed by the ten-wheel dump truck that was following behind. Ironically not wearing a seatbelt had saved his life. The glass had cut away half his ear and scarred the left side of his head and face. It gave him a roguish look which he liked. He sauntered over to his double bed and lay down on the unmade silken sheets. It was still early. His meeting with Henri at their favourite cafe was not till eleven. He gazed up at his mirrored ceiling and fantasised, listing the things he would like to do with Sofia Coppola. The list was long. She, along with Claire Danes and Gisele Bundchen, were his favourites. Scarlet Johansson also passed the test; the husky voice was a bonus. But Sofia he would crawl over broken glass for. She had that Roman nose he loved. The face and body were important too. Like all men he could appreciate shapely legs, firm breasts, full lips and


sensual eyes but the nose was what turned him on. The nose was the pièce de résistance. He felt himself getting hard and decided he had time. Recently their company, Nezla Glass, had had a breakthrough in innovative design. They had discovered how to transform a window pane into a one-sided mirror then back again, with minimum fuss. The product had sparked the interest of the Japanese whose minimalistic approach to interior decorating suited such things. Vincent being the heir to the family empire was given the task of establishing relationships. He knew very little of the technicalities—Vincent said a designer could follow him to explain the boring details if necessary—but his father knew his demeanour would impress and so first class tickets for Tokyo were purchased. Vincent arrived at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in good spirits. Despite his hangover he was excited to be going somewhere, especially Tokyo. It was well known as a party town and Vincent had an unlimited expense account. The only thing, he said to himself, was that the Japanese girls had small noses. The ten-hour flight went all too quickly, movies, champagne, a chat with the air hostess, who had the desired visage, a sleep, and then the Captain’s voice was on the speaker, announcing their arrival into Narita. The Japanese had arranged a limousine to drive Vincent directly to The Conrad Hilton in Shimbashi. Checking in he noticed a tall girl behind the concierge desk. Her name tag said Masae, but she looked exactly like Sofia Coppola. He devised a plan to approach her once he had unpacked and freshened up. He had no meetings until the next day, so the evening was his to indulge. Masae looked up as Vincent strode across the lobby. He cut a striking figure in his tight fit jeans, royal blue tailored dress shirt and gold Audemar Piguet watch. His black leather soled brogues, tap tapped across the polished lobby floor announcing his arrival. When he was close he smiled at her. ‘Bonjour, I am Vincent and I would like to find a good restaurant for tonight.’ ‘Certainly Mr Van Nezla, any particular style?’ Her husky voice caused Vincent to pause before continuing his rehearsed speech. ‘I heard there is a Michelin rated sushi bar close to here, in Ginza.’ ‘Oh, I love sushi. That would be Jiro. It has three stars and is only a short taxi ride from here, but I think it would be very difficult to get a booking for this evening.’ ‘I would be disappointed if it was not difficult. By the way you are tall Masae, like the Kenyan tribe the Masai.’ Her large eyes and long slim face balanced her nose superbly. Vincent admired her form. He hoped her legs were in proportion, but he couldn’t see behind the counter. The makeup she wore was a little overdone. He wondered if she had an acne problem. ‘I could try if you like.’ Masae gazed at him as if he was the only person in the lobby and Vincent knew he needed to act upon his instincts. Daring ran deep in the Van Nezla veins, especially when fired with desire, so he said,


‘Please, and why don’t you book for two and join me?’

Masae smiled and calmly dialled Jiro. She spoke for some minutes in Japanese. This gave Vincent time to observe her more closely. She had a certain je ne sais quoi about her and she was truly beautiful, in a virile way, like an Amazon. Her hands were large but elegant with slender fingers and her nails were French tipped. ‘They have had a cancelation and have space for two at the counter but not until late. I am so surprised we could get in.’ ‘It is meant to be, Masae. What time do you get off?’ ‘Not for another hour. Can you wait for me in a bar near here? I can give you directions.’ Vincent sat sipping his Campari and soda at the counter of the cosy street level bar one block from the hotel. His seat gave him a clear view of the front door. Each sip calmed him. He felt like a school boy on his first date. When Masae entered Vincent was immediately struck by her size. Her legs, with the added length of high-heels, seemed to go on forever. She wore white jeans, a white t-shirt and a black, long cut blazer. Her jeans were held up by a studded belt and she wore large hooped earrings. Her hair was no longer up but flowed down to her lower back. They were eye to eye when he stood to greet her. With time to spare they fell into an easy conversation. Masae was witty and caring and Vincent enjoyed her quick, interesting responses. She asked questions also, not intrusively, just enough to tease and tempt him into opening up further. He felt he could tell her anything, as he did with his best male friends. Her way mirrored his. It was as if they had already slept together many times and this was their second month of dating. The advantage of running with an alternative group of friends is that one is exposed to the immoral and risqué. Vincent preferred these gay circles because he found the conversations stimulating and honest. He encountered amongst them cross-dressers and transvestites who intrigued him. Masae reminded him of those encounters. But she was stunning. He could not take his eyes off her face and was mesmerised. His feelings were beyond control and despite a growing realisation he wanted to explore further. Masae recognised his dilemma and placed her hand on his knee. ‘Vincent, in Japan they call me a new-half or lady-boy. It is not easy for me. I am all alone and I really like you. Can we still go for dinner? I can give you what you need. I am versatile and I want to make you happy.’ Vincent hesitated in his reply, pondering the advantages and disadvantages of versatility. Two for one sounded like a good deal and he was a business man. Perhaps God had saved him from the accident for a reason. ‘I, too, am a versatile man, Masae. And we do have a booking at the best sushi restaurant in the world.’



Plum blossom: (Prunus mume) An Asian tree species classified in the Armeniaca section of the genus Prunus. The flower is a beloved subject in the traditional painting of East Asia and frequently features in Japanese haiku. I decide to take Room 2 on a spring walk. I want the children to notice how nature is waking up after its long winter sleep. There is a particularly eye-catching row of plum trees in blossom beside the railway reserve. We can easily walk there from school on the cycle path that runs along behind our classroom. The snowy blossom will surely captivate the children’s imaginations and unleash some fine stories and exquisite artwork. The railway reserve is a sealed path hugging the hillside for several kilometres between Nelson city and Stoke. Commuters use it to cycle to and from the city, people walk their dogs on it; and joggers run up and down its length. ‘OK kids, so listen up. Stay in a line behind me. No running ahead, no jumping off into the grass, no pushing, and don’t, whatever you do, wander over to the other side of the track. People come speeding down here on their bikes and if they hit you you’ll be squashed as flat as a banana skin!’ Rawiri, who is busy poking the boy in front of him, looks up, ‘Banana skin? Are we getting a banana?’ The kids laugh. Lennox suddenly remembers he hasn’t got his glasses. Hamu, ever helpful, offers to run back to the classroom and get them. Ranea McDonald, who has asthma, says if we are going on a walk she will need her inhaler, and she thinks her mum forgot to pack it in her school bag, so can she ring her mum? ‘No!’ We set off, me at the front. After a few minutes I look back to see that the line of children is weaving all over the path, like a drunk crocodile. Rawiri is swinging a large stick and Lennox appears to be studying something in a bush. Ranea waddles at the back, Hamu holding her hand. Progress is slow. The railway reserve is currently under review to be turned into a motorway. This new motorway, if it were built, would allow traffic to flow from Richmond into the heart of Nelson. Motorways are an efficient way of moving traffic. Cars purr along them at 100 kilometres an hour; drawing level with each other, changing lanes, flicking indicators on and off. Motorways are designed for high speed traffic. In Germany they are called Autobahns and in the Netherlands the ‘Snelweg’. The Americans appear to have different rules to the rest of us; there they are called the Freeway.


Halfway along our walk Dylan Moss has to do a wee. He can’t hold on. I tell him to jump across the ditch beside the path and climb up a little side track that leads to some bushes. He leaps over and gives a yell of pain. ‘Shit, prickles!’ Rawiri gives a whoop of glee and begins to bash at the long grass in the ditch with his stick. Hamu immediately searches for another stick to help. By the time I have freed Dylan’s leg from the strands of blackberry; three more boys urgently need to go to the toilet. Dylan, now with beads of blood on his knee, leads them manfully up the steep path to a toilet spot. Ranea, grateful for the delay, plonks herself down in the middle of the cycle way. When we reach the flowering plum trees I stop the children and look for somewhere they can all sit down. On one side is the ditch full of long grass and blackberry and on the other side the bank drops away steeply. We will have to sit down on the path. I instruct the children to sit in a tight group leaving enough room for a cyclist, if one should whizz through. For a moment the low hum of traffic, moving steadily along Waimea Road is the only sound. I hold my hand up for silence. Suddenly Kalley-Bo gives a whoop of delight, ‘Hey! I can see my mum! Mum! Mum!’ He has evidently spotted his mother in a suburban back yard below us. Some of the class jump to their feet and wave wildly. A woman hanging out her washing stops and shades her eyes. I tell the boys to sit down. ‘Ok, everyone, looking this way.’ I want to draw the children’s attention to the blossom on the branches beside the path. I want them to notice their snowy-whiteness, their delicate petals, how they epitomize the essence of spring. I decide it is time for my ‘coup de grace’. ‘Angel, come here please.’ The smallest girl in the class gets up tentatively and comes to stand in front of me. ‘Now, hold onto my hand, there’s a good girl, and pop over the edge and stand under this branch. I’ll hold onto you, It’s quite safe. She gives me a nervous look and creeps over the side. ‘All right children, look carefully at what happens when I shake the branch with the white blossom on it above Angel’s head.’ Angel doesn’t quite trust me. It’s a steep bank and she holds on tight. With my free hand I take a grip on the bough above her and begin to see-saw it up and down hoping for an impressive shower of snowy petals to flutter down all around Angel like a delicate snow fall. This, I hope, will arouse a welling up of wondrous appreciation in the children’s minds and make our spring walk an enduring and rapturous memory. Angel cowers as the branch flips dangerously close to her head. The blossom is stubborn and not a single petal lets go. The children watch warily as I continue to maul on the branch. I am still hoping for a spectacular flurry of petals. Dylan Moss, meanwhile, has picked a long piece of grass and is setting it carefully between his cupped thumbs. The pleading look in Angel’s eye wins over and I give up. As she climbs back up, a tiny breath of wind blows one petal down from the


tree and it lodges in her hair. Motorways are very good at their job. Think of the time saving; no traffic lights, no pedestrian crossings, no pesky kids on bikes; just an uninterrupted drive from home to work. The new ‘Southern Link’ will connect the Annesbrook roundabout to the central business district in one snake-like artery. It will glide around the hillside on the same embankment once used by the railway line. Vehicles will hum along its length like bees to honey. It will, however, cut directly through Victory Square and be within spitting distance of three schools and a kindergarten. The students will not be able to cross it to get to school. There will need to be a tunnel built for pedestrians, or perhaps even an over-bridge. A study has noted that a key issue in the building of the new southern link motorway is the effect of PM10 emissions from motor vehicles into the air-shed around the Victory area. These emissions will have a marked effect on air quality. Respiratory research has shown that asthma symptoms could be worsened by increases in the level of PM10. It is time to go back to school. As we line up Dylan Moss cups his hands around his mouth and sounds a triumphant fart-blast on his piece of grass. A startled blackbird erupts from a nearby bush and Ranea McDonald waddles quickly to the front of the line. As we return I notice a fine layer of yellow pollen from the mimosa trees above the path covering the surrounding greenery. It seems to cloak everything in a subtle protective dust. Before long the children are spread haphazardly over the path ahead. I turn around to check for cyclists. Far back behind me I can still see the flowering plum trees, like a row of white peaks. In another week all the blossom will be gone.


Jessica Nelson / Genocide in our Backyard

David Cohen Red Letter Day

Goddammit! I wish she’d stop swinging me about: I’m not a bloody hula hoop. Bouncing along through the woods is all very well and good, but I’m getting motion sick. At least she’s taken that hideous red cape out of my insides - the wool makes my basketwork itch. She put it on when she was talking to that woodsman. Sleazy sod, the way he eyed her up. Wood boy never looked higher than her cleavage. Surprised she didn’t brain him with the can of spam she’s got rattling around in here. Probably good to get rid of that. It’s gone free range on us and been gouging the fruit, given the sponge cake a hell of a hiding and what it’s done to the poor bloody lasagne is unspeakable. I could hear squelchy screaming coming from the pan at one point, but now it’s all gone quiet and I can feel tomato sauce oozing, nastily. You’d have thought she’d have noticed, but she’s still skipping along like the coked-up little knucklehead she is. She’d better not get that little phial of Columbian marching powder mixed up with the food, or Granny’s really going to go all knees-up-Mother-Brown on us. Oh. And what fresh hell is this? A wolf. A talking wolf. Seriously? Am I getting a contact high or has she spilled some of that snow? Nope, no tingly-wingly feeling on the bottom of my wickerwork like last time, so I guess not. And he’s standing on his hind legs. In a waistcoat and a rather well cut, considering he’s basically dog shaped, tweed jacket. Hmm. How does he manage the buttons with no opposable thumbs? Still, he seems to be genuine, or he’s the best hallucination I’ve had in at least, oh, a month. Carrying Red’s stuff is interesting but it has its hazards. They’re still talking, her going at a pharmacologically-fuelled million miles an hour and him looking nonplussed at her compulsive oversharing. Great. Now she’s said goodbye to our anthropomorphic lupine friend and we’ve returned to a manic bounding along the path, while she waves me around as excitedly as a bailiff’s writ at a debtor’s door. Hello again to my old friend nausea. I hope I don’t lose it or there’s going to be heaving basketry and comestibles everywhere. Thank God, we’ve made it to Granny’s without me hurling. You know, cleaning out the gutters and hacking back the aggressive shrubbery might be a better idea than bringing over a few days of perishables that are going to wind up as compost in the kitchen cupboards. And in we go, no knocking as she’s always pretty presumptuous after a toot. It’s as dark as the inside of a cow in here, and the whole place whiffs of antique food and wet dog. Red seems oblivious to it but, given the state of her nose, she may not be able to smell anything. That, or the work-shy little madam wants to avoid any possibility of housework. She carries me up to the old lady’s bedroom and calls out for Granny into the reeking half-dark. Then we have what I can only describe as the weirdest tweaker conversation I’ve ever heard, and on Red’s arm, I’ve heard a few. She asks Granny about the state of


her eyes and ears and teeth, and Granny’s replies are surreal. Not unexpected, as it’s the wolf in drag and if you weren’t buzzed off your tits you’d notice that, you complete muppet. I mean, really? A mob cap pulled down low, and covers pulled up high, don’t exactly hide the huge yellow eyes, radar-dish-sized furry ears or giant teeth. And you actually ask about them all! Idiot. Red, you kind of deserve this for going in to the enchanted forest while you’re off your nut. For God’s sake, you’ve got to know it’s kind of a mythological free-fire zone by now, but when you’re this far gone in the white line fever there’s no stopping you, is there? And I wonder what happened to granny? Or maybe not, given how frequently the furry fiend’s licking its chops. Ewwww. Oh. Now she gets it, starts screaming and bolts for the door. And it won’t open. A hint, Red: it opens inwards so don’t push on it, you F-tard. She drops me with a wicker-loosening thud – thanks, by the way - and things get a bit confused after that, as I’m upside down. It looks like wolfie can’t run in granny’s suspiciously stained nightie, so his chase of Red is a weird, strangulated totter. From where I’m lying, it looks like she’s way past any kind of rational thought, what with all the bouncing off the walls like a demented chicken. It’s only a matter of time before they intersect and it all goes Quentin Tarantino in here. But what now? There’s a hell of a crash, the door flies open and the forester’s here, swinging his axe. I guess he heard Red and, yep, it’s all the bad scenes from Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill rolled in to one. There’s blood everywhere. The cleaning bill is going to be astronomical. Say goodbye to the carpet and the drapes. And the bed linen. Oh, and a really good arterial spray there, so probably the wallpaper as well. Maybe redecoration is a better option than cleaning. The wolf’s trying to make a desperate, nightgown-hobbled break for it and meets what sounds like a particularly gristly, grisly end in the passage, so I guess the hall runner’s toast as well. I’m lying in a pool of wolf ichor and I’m probably going to stain. Thanks a bundle, chopper man. And now she’s a hysterical, sobbing wreck and he’s all comfort and inappropriate touching through their shared patina of canine bodily fluids. Jesus, he doesn’t any waste time, does he? Sleaze.  


Dantelle Oates / Working Cake

Jess Shirley / Lola


Ma had always walked by the lake at dusk. She loved the colour and the sound of everything submerging below and beyond. When I was younger I would go with her and collect moths in old pickling jars, poking holes in the tops so they could breathe. At home, we would watch them through the glass before releasing them back into night. As I got older, I stayed home. She’d knock quietly on my door when she arrived back and I’d let her in. I always thought she looked lonely as she emerged into the phosphorescent light, her eyes full of melancholy. August has been bitter. Stretching its cold out for far longer than I remember. I look toward the lake, a big gaping hole that lies isolated between hills. Ma didn’t come home one night. Papa woke me up, after I’d just fallen asleep. He said he’d waited for her return, but it had been too long. For a week we called for her, walking slowly and watching the tide reach in and out. Neighbours, friends and the police helped too. Our calls funneled their way through every quiet crevice. ‘Jaaane’ Her name became abstract. The long aching sound of the letters in the presence of an approaching storm. The starlings burst from the budded branches overhead, and I thought about her hair and her hands over and over. The new cuts, the old scars, the many times I saw her tunnelled by something I couldn’t recognise. Once I watched her from the kitchen window. I swept the curtain across to find the moon, but instead found her. Crumpled into a wooden chair, scratching at her face and breathing loud and fast. I felt like an outsider. I filled my glass with water, and shrank back into bed. The image of her in the chair was so solid and strange. The lapping low tide inched further from me as it dried against the rocks. I sighed as I decided to walk back home. They called the search off after a month. Speculations rose about where she could be. She was alive, but somewhere else. Her body was on the lake floor. Her body was no longer whole. I saw her ebbing and flowing through it all. A half clothed woman, drifting through and between. Things had stopped moving: the absence consumed us. I caught her breath in and between spaces, my one-eyed reflection in the window or when planes crossed over the sun. Everyone looked at us with kind eyes when we visited the market or the bakery. Kind, but deeply pitying. The day that she’d come home would be a blue one. We’d look at each other for a long, melted time. A knock at the door, with muddy feet, and two steps to reach the hallway. She would have a way of explaining everything. ‘I am sixteen,’ I say aloud to the officer, clinging to the door frame. I reach into my wallet, producing my grim school I.D taken in March of last year. My hair hung with a plait at the front, so much darker than I always imagined it to be. I was wearing the fitted crop top she


hated, and the high waist blue jeans I stole from the Sally’s. I pass it over, from my hands to his. He shifts between subjects; my photo then my breasts, photo, breasts. He pauses at my breasts for slightly longer this time, then hands the tiny image back. ‘Grab your father, Miss Lola Finch’ ‘My Pa’s talking at a conference today. It’s about the oceans, or something.’ He stares. Unflinching. ‘It’s a long drive from here,’ I add. He leads me to his car, which is parked at the beginning of our drive. We drive to the northern edge of the lake, where the lights of lined police cars seemed promising. She was waiting, wrapped in those horrible silver blankets. They’d found her, I was right. Hauled her up from the depths of the lake. Her body, I could imagine, was wet and dissolving, but I could only see a shadow beneath blue tarpaulin. Papa came home later that night. Frantic and sweaty in his pinstripe suit. He refused to talk about it. It just sat there, between everything. Once he’d showered, he drove us to the police station, and parked outside the church. ‘Stay in the car, now. I’ll leave the radio on if you like? But you’re not coming in for this.’ I listened to an interview with a conservationist talking about assisting native fish in our streams. The council provides ropes running through culverts and pipes which will help the tiny fish on their commute. Papa didn’t say much when he got back in the car. His voice was low and I couldn’t quite understand. ‘It’s your Ma. They found her somewhere deep, in the middle of the lake.’ I looked at him, searching for something more. ‘The police don’t know what happened yet.’ On the following Tuesday, I stepped into the day dressed in black. Magnolia petals lay abandoned on the pavement and a south easterly caught my bare shoulders. The sound of spring floated away inaudibly.



The Sideline of the Football Field While the children are running in the right direction and the referee is proficient enough and the houses on the far side of the field are tamped down quietly behind a receding cloak of quilt-pieced fences edited golden and Klimt-like by the open morning, the parents can stand calm, sucking milky coffees and moving their tongues against the elliptical cuts that a machine in an invisible, far-off factory punched into the rims of their takeaway lids. And because there is no rain she does not have to think of a toddler floating alone in the Aegean Sea, that the sun is ultimately finite or that, unlike the other parents, she has no spine that flinches forward or sinks with the ball, no voice that yells outside of her head. She does not care who wins. She breathes in slowly and lets the Klimt cloak be, watches the children running like small mosaic tigers, the kaleidoscopic movement of breath formed from dust, intricately fabricated scraps of universe pacing on a wild plain.  


Noah 1. Noah, I have shot the doves but the hawks we will keep. I like their solitary arcs on the barren sky, the rust in their brown molten eyes and the slow curve of beak that tears dead flesh from abandoned bone. There is no pretence of Ararat. 2. We raise the breathing to hand-lit pyres. I fear only for the last mothers. I imagine them as strong as Mary. May her grace hold their dark eyes still beneath the tattered bleeding veils that cover their young heads. 3. I find sacrament now in you, the peace and heat of breath and skin ghosting against mine, the night that comes in still even waves, the blastocysts of unborn stars that seep infinitely from the void, wild and silent like pale sprouts of wheat on the earth’s vast flats. 4. If God was here, she’s gone. Noah, I have shot the doves.


Deborah Sax Shelter

Imagine an old wooden barn, run-down and no longer in use. There is a weeping willow near the main door, and a view down a small slope to a river. Describe the barn through the eyes of a young man whose father has just died suddenly from illness. Do not mention the father or the death. Once loved now derelict. Broken beams splinter; rust grips glass shards like scars. The tree weeps its leaves into a cold, distant stream. They journey onwards. Describe the barn through the eyes of an older child who was once locked in a barn when very small. Do not mention the ordeal. ‘Keep out’ said the sign, like an invitation. A heavy door ajar. The irresistible scent of adventure, daring me closer. A ladder leading skywards – up, up, and away! The roar of the river carried in the leaves of the tree, the shaking of its willowy arms devouring my cries for help like peanut butter sandwiches. Describe the barn through the eyes of a woman who is expecting her first child after many years of infertility. Do not mention the pregnancy. A light decants through an unyielding oculus. An incandescent cradle this hay- filled crucible. Joyous, past whelping boxes, a fecund perfume radiates its genesis outward, onwards, beyond the rusted lintel of a proud door. A willow tree sways punch-drunk in the throes of the afternoon breeze; sends seeds of Spring to the river. Describe the barn through the eyes of a runaway teenager who has broken the law and cannot go home. Do not mention the teenager’s situation. The keystone hangs defiant in the bowing doorframe, like a last remaining tooth. Its polished wisdom grasps at spiteful wooden splinters desperate to disassociate. If the scarred sheltering beams could talk they’d cry over more than spilled milk. Spilled blood; thicker than water, thicker than these walls; deeper than the incalculability of consequence. Because they have forgotten this place, they will forget me too.


Brigid Lowry For Thirty Years

For thirty years I have studied The Great Way. Beside my bed a library book: Mindfulness Made Easy.


Baby Yet to Be Born Maybe you’ll be called Peppermint Rose but that’s unlikely. For now you are nameless, swimming in love and amniotic fluid, dreamy and safe, nothing to do but flourish and grow. When the time comes there’ll be pushing and sliding, then you’ll meet your extraordinary mother, your handsome father, aunties galore. There’ll be soft songs and dancing, pretend giraffes and a real dog, story books, mashed veggies, moonlight and stars. You’ll be amazed at the abundance of it all. Perhaps you’ll be called Lucinda but I doubt it. Your parents have chosen two names for you. When they see your tiny face, they will decide. For now, these names are secret. For now, I call you bubba bean. Already everyone adores you. Your grandparents grin at odd moments; Your aunties delight in the mounting bulge of you. Swim on, baby yet to be born. You are the divine made human, the delight of always and everything, the grace that keeps the whole show going. Wide arms wait to welcome you.  


Eszter Luca / Mandala

BECKS WIXON Middle-Child

Once upon a time there was a King. You might have guessed—he was greedy and fat and enjoyed a good orgy.

‘What’s an orgy Grandma?’ ‘It’s…’ Little Girl looked up at Grandma. ‘Here lick this bowl.’ And Grandma passed Little Girl a silver bowl, a brownie batter slick over it. ‘You know, Mother said we shouldn’t make cake today. We should have something healthy for breakfast.’ ‘I don’t give a flying…’ Little Girl held up her hand, ‘And you’re not supposed to swear around me anymore, remember Grandma.’ ‘Good, then I can’t explain what an orgy is.’ Little Girl looked puzzled. Grandma sat on a chair at the kitchen table and lit up a joint. ‘But I should at least finish my story…’ Little Girl sat down in the chair beside Grandma. She held the silver bowl in her fleshy pink arms and licked at it like a dog drinking.

King was a right prick. A real piece of work. He got people’s heads and hands chopped off for things like not bowing to him or having a lisp. ‘I had a lisp! Remember Grandma! And whenever I didn’t want my lisp to be there, it would! Remember. Can you imagine, that King would have chopped off my head!’ ‘Or your hands,’ Grandma said, ‘Don’t know which be worse really.’ Little girl looked at Grandma like she was not sure what Grandma meant. Of course having no head would be worse. One day, King was given a mirror as a gift from another King.

Flick. Flick! Grandma re-fired her joint.

A gold trimmed one. Real nice! King looked good in it too. Made his… well. Made parts of him look much bigger than they were.

‘His muscles?’ Little Girl asked and Grandma nodded.

King’s mirror made his muscles look lovely and big. Grandma took a drag. She blew smoke from her nostrils like a dragon. King liked to rub….... Muscle oil over his body in front of the mirror. That was his favourite thing to do. King became quite in love with his mirror,


and no longer enjoyed many of the castle’s activities because he looked so much bigger in his new mirror than he did in real life. He stopped holding orgies. ‘What is that Grandma?’ ‘It’s ah…a muscle flexing competition!’ Grandma looked pleased with herself. She stubbed out the end of her joint. ‘Oh. Ok.’ All of a sudden the door opened and there stood Little Girl’s mother— Grandma’s daughter—laden down with shopping bags. Out of the hemp weave bags poked green leaves and carrot tops. Shiny apples and stuff that read ‘Gluten free’ or ‘Organic.’ Mother struggled under the weight. And puffed from the rush she had made. She began waving hands at the air. Screwed her nose up. ‘I only popped to shops! And you’ve made brownie batter and,’ she coughed, then whispered, ‘smoked in here again.’ ‘You were gone forever. Thought we’d starve. Might still!’ and she nodded to the bags. Screwed her nose up. ‘Healthy. Organic. All that jazz,’ Mother said. ‘I got plenty organic green,’ and she took out a foil roll from her handbag. ‘Put it away!’ ‘Tell me some more of the story Grandma, about King.’ ‘What King? What story? Oh god…’ Mother began packing away groceries, shaking her head. But before so, bundled all of her fresh produce together and took a photo with her iPhone. She used a nice vintage filter. ‘Morning at Farmers’ Market,’ she whispered, punching at her phone with quick thumbs. ‘Farm this,’ Grandma went to pull the middle finger but Little Girl slapped it down. ‘Don’t. You promised Grandma. Now come on. Tell me about King.’ ‘Where was I?’ ‘He didn’t like to go to orgies anymore.’ ‘Right.’ Grandma looked up at Mother and saw she was busy with her phone and hadn’t heard Little Girl say orgy. Mother was smiling down at her screen. King only liked to do things when he could see himself doing things, and the only time he looked good was in his new mirror. He didn’t have fun anymore unless he could look in his gold-framed mirror and see he was having fun. But his mirror was heavy and intrusive so he hardly went anywhere. ‘Did he ever get to have his orgy again?’ Mother looked up from her phone. ‘What. What sort of story are you telling her? Orgies! Mother! You promised! Best behavior or back at the home. And you won’t be smoking there.’ ‘I smoke wherever I please!’ ‘Yes. So it seems. That’s what got you kicked out of retirement home! I mean seriously, who in the hell gets kicked out of retirement


home?’ Little Girl saw Grandma’s hand twitch: she began folding Pinky, Index and Ring behind Thumb. Little Girl whispered, ‘Don’t.’ ‘Oh, oh how lovely.’ Mother shoved her phone in Little Girl’s face, ‘Look, Neighbors are out for a picnic.’ Mother sat at the table, swiped the bowl away from her Little Girl. Huffed. ‘Let’s go for a picnic!’ she said. Then she stood and began chopping carrots and apples and peppers. She cubed organic goat cheese. And oiled olives. In a fury she coated strawberries with melted 85% organic dark chocolate. She chilled coconut water and put handfuls of mint in with it. Squeezed lemon juice. Buttered sourdough rye wheat-free bread with Lewis Road Creamery Butter. Grandma smoked another joint while Mother took pictures of herself preparing the picnic. They drove to the beach. The picnic blanket was vintage and would make the colour of the neon plastic cups pop, Mother said. The sun was up and the sea looked so blue and green and gorgeous. Mother looked at Little Girl’s hair lifting lightly on the breeze and shining in the sun. Mother saw how beautiful Little Girl was in this light. Grandma looked lovely too. She sat in a fold out chair and had a wide-brimmed straw hat on her head. Mother had set out the picnic beautifully too. Grandma looked happy. She decided to leave her lunch-time joint in her pocket and not distress her daughter—one of her favourite pastimes was to distress her daughter. She felt—something, in choosing not to rain on her daughter’s energetic gesture. A picnic! And Little Girl was happy! The picnic looked delicious and Little Girl was so happy to be out with Grandma and Mother. Her two favourite people. Though they were pork and cheese. That’s what Little Girl thought. Pork and cheese, those two! Little Girl reached for a slice of apple. Mother batted away her hand. Making a sharp slapping sound. ‘Wait!’ she rummaged about in her bag, ‘Wait! Just let me! I just need a quick picture before we hoe in…’ She smiled at Little Girl meekly. An apology for slapping her hand. ‘Fuck the photo! Look! It’s going to get ruined! The sun is melting the chocolate,’ Grandma said from under her country-style wide-brimmed hat. The wind sprayed sand over the picnic. And blew Grandma’s hat off, which cartwheeled gleefully off down the beach. ‘Wait!’ Mother rummaged on. ‘Damn it! Can you believe it? I forgot my phone! I need to go back and get it. What a waste of time this all was. Ruined!’ Little Girl’s heart sank and Grandma, squinting away the sunlight, lit her joint. The sliced apple had started to brown. Little Girl reached for a strawberry. The chocolate was melting. It still tasted good on her tongue. Just not in her heart, because Mother was not smiling. A couple came walking along the beach, hand in hand, at the water’s edge. Mother recognized them and stood up. She waved out.


‘Hiya, Mr. and Mrs. Acquaintance! Come up!’ They wandered up from the water’s edge to the picnic. They had lovely smiles, which they wore on happy sun-kissed faces. ‘Oh gosh! This looks lovely!’ Mrs. Acquaintance said. ‘Just a wee picnic,’ Mother smiled, ‘Help yourself!’ Mr. Acquaintance took a cube of organic goat cheese and pressed it into an oiled olive. ‘Yum! Amazing. What a lovely spread.’ Mother smiled. Mr. and Mrs. Acquaintance ignored Grandma’s offer of a puff. Mother asked Grandma where her hat had gone, and suggested she go find it. Then she spun sunnily back to Mr. and Mrs. Acquaintance. Little Girl ate quietly, as Mother talked of her spontaneous idea to make a picnic after a trip to Farmers Market. Farm this. Little Girl thought. Grandma whispered, ‘Lucky they came along. To put other eyes on it. We might never have had a bite. Not that I am. She can bite this.’ Grandma pulled out her Middle Finger to the turned back of Mother. Little Girl didn’t stop her. ‘Grandma, King never got to have another orgy did he?’ ‘No, he didn’t.’ She held out her joint to Little Girl, ‘Puff?’ Little Girl shook her head.


RENÉE HOLLIS I am sewn to your sail do not leave me My kindred spirit is gone Where did you sail, all alone? Anchored, floating or adrift

I am sewn to your sail do not leave me Take me on one of your fairy tales My kindred spirit is gone You guided me over the stepping stones You gently scoop hair into a ponytail Anchored, floating or adrift Your name means precious stone I smell your sweet folk-tale My kindred spirit is gone There is a sombre undertone A fantail delicately lands Anchored, floating or adrift You are my backbone Your frail hands dovetail in mine My kindred spirit is gone Anchored, floating or adrift


Natalia Chaplin / Woman at Sea

Carol Maxwell Requiem November 2010

She really has to pee but her white sport socks slip on the wooden floor as she moves through the bathroom door way and she slumps, left hip down. A spasm of cells up her spine sneezes and she smiles at herself in the mirror as she spins to drop onto the toilet seat. Elbows, at first go, miss her knees as she leans forward to cup her chin. There’s no wine left in the house, and tomorrow is The Day, so tomorrow won’t be like this. Her socks aren’t really white. Grey shadows ease up their sides. She doesn’t take them off when she gets into bed. It’s a big bed. She feels a need to fill it up with clothes. The bed stayed when he left. He used to fill it up. They needed such a big bed. Now she barely disturbs one third of it. Now she sleeps with clothes. Lying on her back, back in the big barely disturbed bed, she rests her hands on her abdomen. She considers her prone handsresting-on-abdomen position as self-administered reiki. Can you selfadminister reiki? She doesn’t mind either way. This position puts her into a I’m-ready-to-go-to-sleep space, and it’s become routine. She feels her hip bones with her fingertips. A past friend, a person she used to know who cared greatly about such things, told her once that unless you could lie a ruler across your hip bones and see light between it and the skin on your abdomen, you weren’t thin enough. Like a pencil not staying tucked under your tits, those sorts of things mattered to her, the past friend. There is a fleeting communion with that what, that who, who was briefly underneath the skin on her abdomen. She moves it on and shifts her hands up to her sternum, eyes closed, inhaling through the blue blanket over her face. Her heart beat nudges against her palms. She starts writing stories in her head. They captivate her. The words gently push out an invisible ticker tape, curling behind her head, bundling up on the pillow, pressing against the headboard. She is wary of moving, as if moving might disturb the mechanics of the engine that is self-generating this parade of lines. She wonders how she might catch them. She contemplates saying the words aloud, reciting them, but the booming will startle the curl, and it might stiffen and freeze these stories of anger, sorrow, loss, regret, relief. Her eyeballs shift under her eyelids, to the right, where the pencil and her notebook would be if they were there, but tonight they are somewhere else. When she wakes, it is hot. She flicks the blanket back and rolls over, tucking her knees up, shutting her hands inside her thighs. She persists a while, then snaps herself aggressively into the recovery position. Her left knee is high up against her breast, and her right foot pushes down past the warm bit of the bed into the cold bit. It’s not working; she can feel herself waking up. It’s very late, so late it’s early, and she wants to be asleep. She nudges the button on her mobile with her thumbnail. It is 2.36am. In the light that is really a shadow, she walks to the kitchen. This abandoning pretence of sleep when she is awake, she goes with it now—there’s no one, inside or out, to bother. She can do what she pleases and it pleases her to drink tea at 2.36am. She shakes the


kettle and flicks it on. She should use fresh water - never re-boil the water. It occurs to her that the unwashed socks and the second-boiled water and 2.36am are self-indulgent. She decides against rinsing the turquoise cup, another indulgence. She slips the saucer to balance on top of the cup, no need to drink cold tea just because you like it strong. The milk has to be fat and liberal. No candy and two cows. She knows she puts too much milk in nearly everybody else’s tea or coffee. She could try harder. Back in her big bed with her glasses on, she disappears into a delicious book with rich fat sentences clotted with special words that keep her slowed down because they are each so beautiful. She has never read a book this carefully, this reflectively. Or perhaps she has, she doesn’t recall. There are three blank pages at the end. She knows they are blank but she turns them anyway, seeking an encore, but no more words appear. It is 3.38am and then it is 6.18. She rubs her empty belly that would not fit under a ruler. She makes a pot of tea with the large tea leaves she regrets buying. She’d read somewhere that large leaves were better quality than the small ones. The large ones were cheaper last week, and she’s trying new products based on them being cheaper, but there are diminishing returns. Hardly creating a new shopping list, but defiantly buying vinegar and saving pistol pumps from the expensive duplicitous cleaning products he used, always wearing rubber gloves. Yellow for the dishes. Blue for loo. Green for clean. She’s bought pink gloves, pink for pretty and a lot of white vinegar. She doesn’t clean as much as he did. In the shower she pees and watches it curve through her toes. She realises she’s taken to observing her pee like a litmus test. Yesterday it was invisible and she was pleased. Today it is a little more visible and she is a little less pleased. She must drink more water. She is not taking care of herself. Such a simple thing to do, to drink enough water. She will drink more today. Today. Today is to be The Day that she will leave the house that he left some time ago, leaving in the rain with his colour-coded banana boxes. She remembers lifting the curtains of the spare room above the spare bed, rain pummelling the glass, the vagueness of his head passing back and forth, bowed under the rain and the weight of the move. It was silent, first thing in the morning. It has been silent inside ever since. He took with him everything that he deemed of value, measured by dollars, newness, status, fashion. She kept everything she deemed of value: German pottery collections, Grandma’s costume jewellery, an old chair. They argued over the ladder and a painting. They’d been arguing about money, or rather, his spending of money ever since they opened a joint account and got their first shared mortgage. She earned it. He spent it, secretly, on ridiculous things like new saucepans with French names and power tools better than his new brother-in-law’s. He didn’t cook or power up tools, or work—he shopped. And then she was pregnant. He already had a granddaughter, and she had crocheted grey dogs out of wool remnants for the


granddaughter. She had long passed the point of believing in the possibility of her own babies, like fairies; she wasn’t concerned—neither belief was a great loss. But, surprisingly, the unexpected blue line hadn’t been at all scary. They talked. He immediately planned for a new car, a station wagon. She asked where the $2000 went last week out of their account. He couldn’t say. They talked more, round and around in sadly diminishing circles. The baby went soon after. She then said ‘You will go too’. In the bedroom, damp from the shower, she finds herself paused over the laces of her brogues, almost sensible brogues the colour of rose hips. She searches for what has paused her, and she realises that she had realised that she was double-knotting the laces before she had put her shirt on–undies, bra, slacks, brogues. Odd. Nice. Upside down, under the Warm Fast setting, her hand flicks through her hair, speeding things up. Today is The Day. She embraces the re-setting of time, the outside coming in, she has let it start bossing her about. She will move out of this wrinkle in time, gently, mindfully. She inhales deeply and pulls back the curtains. They are heavy and hang on tenuous rails that she has creatively jammed together in new places. The day is outside, the not-quite-there light in the room wriggles a bit, pouting, seemingly happy. Standing tall in front of the round mirror that has too much dust settled on it, she watches herself tie her sash belt behind her back and close her watch shut around her left wrist. She only wears her watch when she’s going to work outside the house, and she will be Out all day, Today. Back in the bathroom, it takes less than a minute to brush mascara, smear lip balm, slide lipstick. She pockets the last two. She doesn’t know why. She rarely reapplies either during the day, too absorbed in other people’s worlds, once she’s 0ut, to consider whether or not she needs more Wild Orchid on her lips. In the dining room, she puts on her red cotton coat with the cowl collar and three quarter sleeves, (she likes to think that it talks to her rose hip coloured brogues), does up the flat black buttons with four holes each, deliberately, repetitively. At the front door, she slings her bag, heavy with responsible things like files and key rings and spare batteries onto her left shoulder. Reaching for the door handle, she remembers, and slips back into the bedroom and around the bed and to the always-in-that-place place on the chair beside her bed. She pauses. It’s been a long time. This inside time, self-indulgent, alone, has been very quiet, no amplification of her surroundings, sensory deprivation as a way to find peace. She empties the red and blue moulded pieces out of the plastic container into her left hand and deftly fills their snap-lock doors with size 10 batteries, slipping them smoothly into each ear (red for right, blue for left), so quickly that it’s almost sleight of hand. Her breath takes a quick intake. She hears it. She marvels as she always does at how vividly the house starts talking once she has her ears in. The fridge is louder and clunkier and she wonders if it’s going to pack up soon. She realises that she hasn’t drunk any water yet. She rolls her eyes, laughs out loud. Laughter that she can hear chases him and his banana boxes into rain, better late than never, shaking a silence-shattering fist at him, blowing a lost final kiss. She smoothes her coat down over her stomach.


Her wooden heels startle her on the wooden floor. She stomps around the bed like a kid being an elephant, like a daughter parading around the room in Mum’s shoes might. She does a double stomp as loud as she can and walks down the hallway. She pulls the front door to swing behind her and doesn’t turn to check that it has clicked. She can hear it. Click! Her brogues clip on the footpath. She deftly negotiates wounds from the road works a few weeks ago, the myriad sounds of a changed world let back in asserts itself, starting with the irrepressible sound of brogues, the colour of rose hips drying in a chapel bouquet.  



My mother once said to me she wanted to have a tea-house – cake and tea, round tables, wooden chairs she said I listened and imagined her tea-house as she told me of a woman friend who’d join her there to help her make the tea and cake I wanted to sit in that tea-house but I don’t drink tea nor did her friend really want to make tea or cake now the tea is cold my mother is cold I put away the dress I was never going to wear  


Emily Herbert / Fuck it I’m going to be a unicorn

Brigid Lowry Forty-Four

Autumn is a time of loss and dead flowers. My heart’s desire is to find a purple bra that is totally comfortable and yet looks fabulous. It’s an impossible quest. On my birthday I drink champagne and eat Atlantic salmon on mash, with asparagus and walnut salad. I admit that I am guilty of being more interested in food than in sex. Mainly I am tired. I buy myself gifts, seeking joy: a striped rug, a bunch of purple lisianthum, a book about writers’ mind states which alerts me to the fact that we are all mad, but in different ways. If I add up what I have spent on the pursuit of happiness during my life it is enormous, and yet I am a far cry from the person I hoped I might become. I have become myself and I do not like it. I dream that because I am about to run off with a dark and handsome stranger my husband shoots himself, leaving a perfect heart-shaped hole in his place. I do not know how to talk to my son and ring the Drug and Alcohol Hotline often to discuss his relationship to addictive substances. Talking to the anonymous counsellors is immensely satisfying. Each in their turn is friendly, wise, helpful, concerned, non-judgemental and funny. As with a hit of any drug I feel immeasurably better for a short time. Next time I talk to my son I forget most of what they have told me. Immediately I have said the wrong thing. My son says I do not want to talk to you about anything whatsoever and closes his eyes, feigning sleep. This helps to prove that I am a total failure both as a parent and a human being. However, because I am a Buddhist and believe in karma suicide is not an option. Thus the years stretch bleakly ahead with no amelioration in sight for my weariness and despair. If, like my maternal grandmother, I die when I’m a hundred and two, I must trudge onwards for another fifty-eight years. This is not a happy thought. Already my joints are creaky. My therapist says I need affirmations such as I Deserve Every Happiness or Life is Sweet, and that I must beware of self-sabotage. I wonder if it might have been better to become an alcoholic like my parents. Drowning my sorrows has a certain poetic appeal but, as there is nothing stronger than lapsang souchong tea in the house, I must content myself with a nourishing bowl of vegetable soup and the surreptitious watching of some daytime television. My question is this, would it be too soon to ring the Drug and Alcohol Hotline again?


Katie Pascoe / Possession


Women walk along dusty trails feet burdened by more than the vessels they carry. Bodies bent, swollen with child, lithe and old share the heartache of the breast. Heads are shaken, lips smile, and hands touch lightly as songs fall as rain on the thirsty ground of the shared burden. Crones simper like young girls. Young girls cackle like crones. The wise nod and smile as the young learn the shared wisdom of eons. Laughter fills the cracks of their lives as incantations form the spell of release from rape, death, beatings and servitude and so the silence is broken, just for a moment, just for a time. The Well hears their secrets and swallows them whole.


Jean-Luc Buczinski / Best Before End


The only one I pass as I walk south is clad in the copper of his skin; hair grey as the belly of the bird above caught by a twist of cord.


I lie down on sand listen to the static look through the haloes at the tip of my eyelashes and watch the pulse of my belly. I spread myself out to catch autumn sunshine in my armpits behind my ears in the dip of my inner thigh I feel the first breath like a man on our first night before both our bellies glisten. Later, when the scent of fruit on my wrists does not stay my hunger I think of the copper man lying in the dune grass of the men who will not breathe on my autumn skin or watch for a pulse in my belly.

* * *

A plane heading somewhere else reaches between the shore and the thin silver line that the sea draws when it joins with the sky.  


Courtney Page / We See You

Bella Reid

Hera, I hear you Hera Hera Hera Your cunt weeping all over the pages of dead poets Stopping all the cocks etc. Shooting your mouth off like a gun to the hearts of the over 55’s Mourning youth b4 your first wrinkle and you will wrinkle Your imminent death sings to us from a Bosnian folk song whatever that means Counting the loves who have worshipped the sacred forest between your thighs Oh how they came Did you let them come in your mouth So you could swallow the words of their hunger and scissor it into the confetti that We can shower over you when we worship at your altar Hera Hera Hera I hear you


Justine Whitfield The Lunar Eclipse There’s a river in all of us that’s dry. The Feelers

I want to tell you it was the blood moon bursting over the frozen city

and the fecund growl of the western motorway edging through the night somewhere beneath the storeys of concrete that lay at our feet. I will say that the thought of those people, glib in their cars, smoothly sinking toward the compression of the Pirsig Tunnel made me unbearably sad. Stung me in fact, as if a sea that had once surged beneath my ribs and risen brave within my throat had evaporated to a burning reduction and the cracked residue of salt now lay drying on damaged tissue, scarring the full length of my spine, but on the inside where it is not visible until you lie cold on a pathologist’s table. But, there again, perhaps it was just the beauty of that reddened moon in full eclipse and the chemical scent of lilacs rising from Glen’s jeans that caught in my senses. I had begun to walk away from Glen but he called my name across the darkened carpark. ‘Anna, if no one takes their clothes off it won’t really count.’ It is always intelligence that I fall in love with and in that moment the elegance of his subversive mind floored me. My eyelids lowered and a movement that I could barely hide buckled through my hips. I grasped a lip between my teeth and in the shard of a second decided to smash my marriage. Now I say ‘decided to smash my marriage’ as if I was somehow overcome by a drenching explosion of testosterone and dopamine spurting across my synapses. As if the visual assault of lean, tall, loner Glen crossing the freezing asphalt with a cigarette glowing in the dark space at the side of his thigh had severed all rational thought. As if my only focus was the imagined sensation of him enclosed within my mouth. But on reflection, that might not be quite right. It may be more pertinent to ask what I was even doing at the Dog’s Bollix, tucked alone on a stool near the fire, listening to Glen play Tom Petty covers on his acoustic guitar and watching his fingers on the strings and the way the guitar’s strap cut diagonally across the place where his neck met his shoulder. And when I say alone, I mean utterly alone; sans friends or acquaintances and on an evening when my husband, Will, was sat at home with a movie and his cat. And chips as well I imagine. Will would undoubtedly have been eating chips. It is possible that I had been searching for some time for a stake to drive into the chest of my long and happy marriage, that I had been reaching out in all directions in the way that a perpetrator trapped in a surrounded house might crawl through clouds of tear gas, groping blindly at the ground of a once familiar floor plan. I had recently tattooed the word ‘abyss’ on to my body in a large black gothic font and permanently removed my pubic hair. Not personally. No. I


leaned quietly over the back of a metal chair for three hours and paid a nineteen-year-old graffiti-savant to press his ink and needles into the ageing skin below my shoulder blades where the text would be invisible in my swimsuits and floral summer frocks. And such was my need for grit, that if he could have pierced me with his incisors and a cord of foetal blood, I would have paid for that as well. He asked me about the word and I told him it came from a quote I liked. I had no idea if that was true. As for the other, I will only say that hair is significant for a woman and I am a moon-ruled Cancerian not given to outward display. A suddenly cropped head of hair is a striking statement but far too overt for my taste. Now that I think about it, there had also been an awkward incident with a misinterpreted text I sent to Jack, our eldest son. I wasn’t aware that Will knew about it until one Sunday morning. Will had again failed to notice me stretching into his side of the bed and gotten up and gone downstairs to make us coffee. When he returned he pulled on his jeans and sat on top of the duvet cover. He leaned across and put his hand on my arm like he was a vicar visiting a grieving mother. ‘Anna, You don’t think you might be having a mid-life crisis?’ ‘No, Will. Fuck off. I’m 46. Mid-life is later.’ To tell the truth, I had already exhausted this line of investigation with a close friend and couldn’t be arsed rehashing it. She had determined that it was a small recalibration, a swim toward oxygen and light after surfing the king tide of motherhood, a ceremonial return to the woman I once knew myself to be. Admittedly, I hadn’t told her everything but she had the general gist. ‘Well, Anna,’ Will continued, still role-playing the vicar even though he knows that I prefer young priests. I think it’s the invitation for rules to be broken plus I have always liked the theatre and concealed threat of men in dresses. I also like kilts and that scene in Rob Roy where he ravishes his wife against the stones on the hill above their home. I digress. ‘Well, Anna, it’s just that when I hear you’ve been driving along texting our son, trying to source ecstasy it kind of seems like something might be wrong.’ Now again, I couldn’t be arsed talking but that was completely inaccurate. I wasn’t driving and texting. I did actually pull over and I wasn’t trying to source E. I was just curious to see if it was still out there or what the alternative might be these days. ‘It wasn’t like that, Will. I was listening to something on National Radio about psychedelic spirituality and I just thought it sounded interesting.’ Will-the-vicar gave up then and went out for a bike ride. I joke to friends that I am a cycling widow or sometimes I say that my husband likes older men in lycra. The fortnight before I had travelled for work and attended an overseas managerial development course. Glen came by my office on my first morning back. He sat in the chair beside my desk and stretched his legs full length. He always wears black jeans and an unusual pair of pointy-toed boots with silver plating nailed across the front-most tips. He writes code for the quantitative research teams and is widely


respected for his accuracy and often unorthodox work-arounds. If he was free I normally chose him for my project work. ‘I missed you,’ he said. ‘I finally decided to try and take Slipknot seriously. I bought their last album but nobody was interested in talking about the lyrics. I just had to think about them silently in my own head.’ ‘Oh how awful for you, Glen. You poor boy-child.’ I offered two quick pats on his forearm which was lying across my desk. ‘I know. Poor me. It was more depressing than a Friday night wank.’ He is always a boundary-pusher. I couldn’t help but laugh but I did avoid his eyes. They are grey but encircled by raccoon-like shadows that somehow make them appear violet. I always assumed soft drugs but when my dog died last year, Glen’s mother, a well-known city florist, brought me flowers and I saw that his eyes and thick, straight hair came from her. ‘Anyway, how was the big visionary women in leadership sesh? Tell me all.’ ‘Yeah, it was good I think … in a lesbians dancing with hand mirrors kind of way. I felt like Spiderwoman trawling the sewers of my consciousness. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting.’ ‘Really?’ He waggled his eyebrows at me. ‘Dancing lesbians. Jesus. Were they clothed?’ A colleague poked his head around the door. ‘Glen, mate. The ‘Hearts and Minds’ project meeting. You’re late.’ He pulled himself up from the chair and pretended to detonate a gun in his mouth. Minutes later an instant message appeared on my computer screen.

Will had his bike splayed upside down on the dining room table and was cupping the tyres in his palms when I mentioned the gig. He barely looked up as I spoke. ‘A couple of us from the office might go out for a few drinks on Tuesday. Apparently Glen’s playing somewhere. I’m not sure if people are bringing partners but you’re welcome.’ ‘No. You go. I’ve got early rides planned for every day next week. I’ll be happy on the couch with a movie. You can catch up with the girls properly without worrying about me. And hey, I’m sorry about last night. I’m just over-tired.’ ‘Do you think you’re over-training? Maybe you should get a check-up.’


‘Anna, nothing’s wrong. I’m fifty-three. I can still get it up. I just don’t need it like I used to. How’s that for irony?’ ‘Yeah. Irony is right. All those years I was on the back foot trying to keep up with you as well as the kids and career and the freaking groceries and now it feels like my hormones are going ballistic with some frenetic dying fly routine and you decide you’re out. At least I tried to look after you.’ ‘And you did, Anna, but the physiology is slightly different.’ ‘I read somewhere this week that a middle-aged wife is the couch you lie on while making love to the woman of your dreams. Or maybe it was women. I don’t remember. Less disturbing in the plural I’d say. At least it shows some spirit.’ ‘No Anna,’ he said and actually let out a sigh. ‘It’s not like that for us. We’re a team, a high performance team. If anything, I love you more as we get older. The hard yards are done. The kids are raised. We can pay the bills. This is our time. Let’s just calm the farm and enjoy it.’ ‘It’s not only the sex, Will,’ I said more quietly. ‘It’s that tight mental connection that we used to have. It’s that x-factor that I want back.’ ‘Just give it time, Anna. It will come back. And if you didn’t live in your bloody head so much you might find things other than sex to keep you grounded.’ He lifted his bike from the table and wheeled it past me toward the back door. ‘Hey, I’m sorry.’ He turned to face me. ‘That was too harsh. Tell you what. Let’s book a holiday. Let’s do something nice together. I know. Let’s check out that Mustang you showed me. Maybe we could buy it and take a road trip south.’ He smiled at me and started to open the door but his lycra-clad body seemed to convulse. I confess that something inside me murmured ‘heart attack.’ ‘Oh scheisse, Mr. Tibbs! He’s left a fecking rat on the doormat again. I’m going to be late.’ Mr. Tibbs is Will’s beloved tortoiseshell cat. Actually, by rights Mr. Tibbs is our daughter’s cat but he loves Will so much that Meg left him when she moved out, even though her landlord allowed small pets. ‘Leave it, Will. I’ll clean it up.’ ‘No. No. It’s all gored up everywhere. He’s made a real mess.’ ‘It’s fine, Will. He’s a cat. It’s just how he’s wired. Go. You’ll be late.’ He paused and looked at me. ‘Go. It’s fine. We’re the A team.’ We bumped fists and he pinched me on the arse. Too little too late, fucker, I thought. ‘Ride safe. I do love you,’ I called and bent to stare at the bloodied gash of rat lying yellow-teethed and swollen-bellied on our doorstep. And do you know? Something about that rat transfixes me even now. I would like to tell you it was the amber-shadowed moon that kept me standing on the tarmac of that parking lot even as my better self shrieked that I should turn and walk away. But I feel, perhaps, that it was something to do with that rat. Or possibly the cat, but how could that be so?


When Glen reached me I took a single small step forward, aligning my toes to the silver plates of his boots. I wanted to tell him that I was open to the removal of clothes, provided the space was not well lit, but I found I couldn’t talk. Not my usual ‘can’t be bothered to talk’ but a literal paralysis of the vocal chords. ‘It’s okay, Anna,’ he said as we stood with our feet now interlocked. ‘We’ll make sure nobody gets hurt. We didn’t choose this. We just recognise something in each other. I know you without even trying.’ I nodded and reached for his hands, sliding them inside my coat and under my shirt. Squeeze me hard please, I thought. I need to be touched hard. He leaned down and kissed me and I opened my mouth.


Eric Roeper First Light

Morning, and I lift the day to my lips. Air, like velvet, moves across my skin while my bones hum to life. Eyeswide to catch the light that writes then re-writes the world that is waiting for me with each blink. The sky colours in my sight in impossible blue. A canopy that holds the world in the palm of its hands. A silent prayer to catch me should I fall.


Joanna Plows Mid-winter

Mist descends on trees in valley, smoke curls and rises the fire needs more logs


Petra Malkova / Hera

Julie Wilson / Shelter

Tanya Lunn The Tambour

In her flat in Wellington, my daughter stretches silk across a frame – she calls it a tambour. She had a trunk full of dress-up when she was little and now she’s stitching all day, up there above Evans Bay. Half a world away, my husband calls me from a room where a parrot sleeps in a cage. He often calls when it’s late at night there, dark and the cage is covered with a cloth, its edges strung with beads. On the stretched fine silk chiffon, my daughter stitches beads of brass and black glass, and on my table lies a book by Janet Frame, her poems, which I read, while my daughter says she’s in the dark about why this tambour method is said to be ‘quick’ – the little stitches must be so careful. The beads are like the eyes of lovebird parrots we kept once in our garden, she thinks, watching whitecaps on the bay. Can I read and write these poems, and keep the thoughts at bay of the old life and friends and Santiago and the rosary beads I bought there, in a cobbled Spanish alleyway? At the Ritz there were parrots – blue macaws – and in Kenya, weaver birds. Am I happy here, in the frame of my new life? If I think of those days, nowadays it’s only a little, and I am busy. But I miss the date palms, silhouettes swaying in the dark. I brew a cup of Guatemalan coffee as the rain falls, and break neat dark squares of chocolate, looking towards the mountains across Tasman Bay. I am happy while I’m writing and the words flow like a little stream that may become a river, forming from a single bead of moisture, welling from a rock up in the hills, and in this frame of mind, I wish only to touch the feathers of the far away green parrot. Her name is Coco and he told Ben, at the outset, ‘I don’t really want a parrot’ but took her for a month, then found he couldn’t bear to give back the darkbeaked bird so now, at night, she roosts in a cage – a sturdy frame of mango wood and square wire mesh and, to keep the cold at bay, the rich, brocaded cloth of jade and black, weighted with heavy Indian beads; from within this striking boudoir she can be heard, softly muttering a little. The silken gown on the tambour is part of my daughter’s major work. It’s a little daunting , what she has taken on, she tells her father as he strokes the parrot on the screen in the far-off room, while she threads another set of beads and says ‘I’ll have to go now, Dad, the light’s fading – I can’t work after dark.’ On my screen, the icons flick from red to green, while across the bay the day has gone and the glass contracts, ticking, in the aluminium frame.


And while we live this strung-out life, a little fractured, the velvet dark in which the parrot sleeps turns, with the earth, to our bright sunlight on the bay and the silk and beads my daughter sews are released, shining, from their frame.


Contributors Eddie Allnutt lived in Europe for fifteen years, before coming back to New Zealand to settle in Nelson, where he lives with his wife and daughter. He obtained a diploma in Writing for Creative Industries in 2016 and has published film reviews for Wild Tomato.

Stephen C. Berg worked overseas in various professions for almost thirty years, before returning to New Zealand to settle in Nelson with his Japanese wife. He has been studying on the Diploma in Writing for Creative Industries in 2016 and is currently writing a fictional account of his experiences in Japan and Africa.

Jean Luc Buczinski Born in France in 1966, Jean-Luc has lived in Australia and now in New Zealand. He studied art the Learning Connexion, Wellington. He is influenced by materiality and the drive to relate to the immediate environment. Balance and equilibrium are tools by which he measures the success of his work.

Natalia Chapman’s interests in art cover a broad spectrum: from music, especially playing piano and guitar, to drawings and paintings. She enjoys experimenting and facing the challenges of different media, styles, and techniques. Most recently trying out animation which she studied at NMIT and got to incorporate drawings and music, the creations are being used by Nelson Nature. David Cohen lives in Dunedin and finds that southerly university city, on the fringe of Central Otago’s wide-open-spaces, a stimulating place to live and write. He writes fiction and is most strongly influenced by whoever he is reading when he’s writing his own work.

Lynn Davidson writes fiction, essays and poetry, most recently the novella The Desert Road, published by Rosa Mira Books and Common Land, a collection of poetry and essays, VUP. In 2013 she had a writing fellowship at Hawthorden Castle in Scotland, she has been Visiting Artist at Massey University and most recently she had a Bothy Project residency in the Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland. Lynn teaches creative writing.


Marion Gilbertson began writing short stories when she moved to Nelson from the West Coast in 1999. She thanks the children of Victory school, with their multitude of ethnic backgrounds, for keeping her grounded. In 2008 she won the Page and Blackmore Short Story Sandwich competition with her story ‘Pearl’ and has been published in several local anthologies. Nicholas Haig is based in Nelson and currently a Massey University Museum Studies MA candidate. In recent years he has laboured on and around the fringes of the local arts and heritage communities.

Emily Herbert is originally from Picton and now graduating with her NMIT Bachelor of Arts and Media

Louisa Hopcroft Louisa Hopcroft currently lives in the Banks Peninsula of the South Island. As an artist, her work narrates the darkness that encroaches on innocence through the primary mediums of writing and painting, though she has also been continually drawn to photography from a young age.

Renee Hollis lives and writes in Nelson. She started D’Arcy Publishing in 2006. Her company produces non-fiction photographic books and educational resources.

Kim Ireland has drawn since she was a little girl, picking up the pencil and illustrating became second nature. After completing an Illustration Diploma in Melbourne, Kim travelled the world and had a family. She now resides in Nelson and is completing a Bachelor in Arts and Media. Kim’s fascination with the drawn line is still visible, although she now creates drawings that move, narrated by sound.


Rhiannon Jones Final year of study toward a Bachelor of Arts & Media at NMIT. Current work engages with the question, what is art? Considering notions of art’s meaning, purpose and production, and the influence placement has on the perception and acceptance of objects as art. Artistic practice is playful, with a parodic slant. Contact: Brigid Lowry has an MA in Creative Writing. She spent her twenties living in a Buddhist community, veered into performance poetry in her thirties, and was once almost famous because she wrote eight Young Adult books. Her latest title is Still Life with Teapot: On Zen, Memoir and Creativity.

Eszter Luca. Mandala means “sacred circle” in Sanskrit, it is a never ending circle which has a sense of wholeness and a connection between our inner world and outer reality. These intricate mandala designs incorporate nature forms and fractals in the outer rings and Northern European pine in the centre, the Bindu.

Tanya Lunn has been a student at NMIT since 2014, studying creative arts and, more recently, on the Diploma in Writing for Creative Industries, graduating in 2016. She has lived in Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand and Bahrain, and the world is still her oyster. She can also be found at:

Petra Malkova is an emerging artist, specialising in illustration and writing. She works with a variety of media, but mostly focusing on drawings without the use of any computer software. She emphasises the importance of work process itself and the surprise of the final result.

Carol Maxwell was born in Kalgoorlie, raised in Nelson and recently settled in rural Darwin after a life-time of ditch-hopping. Previously published in One Magazine, Horizon 2 and POW anthologies, and recently shortlisted for the Northern Territory Literary Awards 2016, she, her partner, dogs, and creative country living currently co-exist with city jobs.


Jess Nelson is an emerging artist specialising in graphic design and photography. Her current T shirt design project, has been responding to the decline of newspaper sales in the western world and the emergence of social media as a substitute.

Marama Noakes grew up in Golden Bay in the 1970’s. She has spent most of her life working in the hospitality industry all over the top of the South. She has a diploma in Interior Design and has just finished a Creative Writing Diploma at NMIT.

Dantelle Oates is a young aspiring cake decorator with a passion for custom cakes. She has loved being in the kitchen from a young age but it wasn’t until her second year at NMIT that she began to follow her calling. She hopes to start her business D’licious Cakes within the next few years but you can see more of her works at https://www. Diane O’Donnell is just finishing up her studies in Writing for the Creative Industries at NMIT. She discovered a love for poetry during her year at NMIT and was inspired to write her poem, The Well, from the title and concept of the novel she has embarked on.

Qiankun Zhu was born in 1994 in China and is a third year student of Arts and Media. He loves designing adorable stuff, and traveling, which is why he did this airline project.

Courtney Page is passionate about Fashion Design. Courtney is Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and Media and has focused her graduate work around her concerns on domestic violence against women in New Zealand. Courtney is venturing on to Christchurch to obtain a post-graduate in Teaching and Learning at the University of Canterbury next year and hopes to teach Materials Technology in High School.


Katie Pascoe: Contemporary Jewellery: ‘I am a Jeweller but not that type of Jeweller.’

Joanna Plows has been writing poetry all her life starting from fun poems at primary school about her class-mates. Then serious poetry as she hit some major road bumps in her life journey. This greatly helped and reflected back some sense of the mental processes she needed to go through. Bella Reid ‘Hera, I hear you’ is a response poem to all the Heras of this world mythical and present.

Erik Roeper enjoys poetry as a medium for exploring perspective. An idea will percolate in the back of his mind and arrive all at once as a poem. Erik looks for the light in the things that make the world, searching for the sublime in the ordinary.

Catherine Russ is a visual artist with a wide-ranging practice, working in a variety of mediums primarily in sculpture and installation. Through her work she explores what if anything lies behind the familiar, repetitive and mundane activities of everyday life. For more information and to view her work visit Deborah Sax is from London and is exploring writing as a possible forth career, having ticked researcher, winemaker and designer off her list. She has enjoyed writing features for Wild Tomato magazine and is currently working on her blog called What to Drink When...


Jessica Shirley completed a Diploma in Photography in 2012 with The Southern Institute of Technology and in 2016 a Bachelor of Arts and Media at NMIT. Based in Nelson, she teaches photography and works as a fashion photographer and stylist for Fairfax Media. To see more of Jessica’s work and to follow her blog visit:

Jillian Sullivan lives and writes in Central Otago, where she helped build her strawbale home. She’s published in a wide variety of genres and teaches workshops on writing in New Zealand and America. Her latest books are the poetry collection Parallel, and the memoir A Way Home.

Justine Whitfield has a background in marketing and accounting. After thinking about writing for the past four decades, she finally began this year. She lives with her family in a small cottage overlooking Nelson port.

Julie Wilson graduated with Dip.Art & Design from NMIT in 2003. Julie worked as a Costume Designer in Wellington, returning to finish her Bachelor’s Degree at NMIT in 2016. She has worked as a Pyrography artist and is currently working with Installation to facilitate conversation about the current refugee crisis and displacement in liminality. Becks Wixon is from Waimangaroa, a small town on the West-Coast. Becks spent the last ten years in Europe teaching English as a second language. She has begun her path of tertiary education at NMIT. On arriving home she received a placement in NZSA’s MS Complete programme, for her novel, Pluck.


kiss me hardy  

An arts and literary journal of work by students and staff from Nelson Marlborough Intsitute of Technology (in New Zealand). Issue 1

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