Issue One Cover March 2014MAYHEM - Issue One

Editorial - Tracey Slaughter

There is a moment in a creative writing workshop when the air is utterly charged, the tension visceral. You raise your page to begin to read and your throat dries, your voice catches under your ribs, your gut contracts. The words you’ve prepared spill over the paper, a quake of dark marks that follow the faultlines in your hand, no longer under your control. The shaking spreads to your breath, your self-belief. But you go on. And although the story cracks and halts, the poem shivers, the room is transformed around you. The scene you have faced – raw loss, dark laughter, the memory that haunts, the shadow you’ve dared to give voice and shape – lifts off the page, unlocks from your body, and enters the silent circle of those who listen...   > full editorial

Contents

1. Erin Doyle

Burlesque
…I am given a business card by a woman with breasts the size of my head exploding out of a red, white and blue corset…

Windows
…Her office has windows that overlook the city/And a photo of an older man about to/Break her heart…

The American Woman
…I imagine her hands masked by grey coloured clay…

2. Rachael Elliot

Enamel
…enclosed in pink/I slice my way through…

Write the Body Bloody
…The body has a currency of touching/and a market for parts…

Cancelled
…the thighs are the headstones/in the broken graveyard…

3. K-t Harrison

The Things I Carry: By J-O-R-D-A-N
…I’m a handicap, but I’m not a wheel-chair handicap. I’m a normal one. I walk on my two legs…

Growing up Lily
…The P-baked birthday cake Nanny made sits/Midst paraphernalia…

Brother Love
…The beast hangs in the chiller…

Coffee to go
…The black tulipped dyke who came in for a session/Moccona Madonna post partum depression…

4. Robert Taylor

Hyacinths
…Scattered beds soon grew, turning the gradient into a purple haze…

5. Nick Pearce

breakfast at mucko's
…dreaming in the cool of what feast we might find and/then, in liquid slow motion, my mind turned…

6. Alison Robertson

If you knew then what I know now
…You would know that hot water can sear the skin off a baby’s soft limbs in seconds…

When you were there
…She knits us jerseys that smell like a paddock…

7. Jeanie Richards

Sorry
…His first laggin’ was for smashing some whitey he found raping Amalie while Mum was passed out drunk…

8. Tim Shipton

Thirteen reasons this is not a love poem
…Because there isn’t time to explain the way your voice made my ears ring the first time we spoke...

Death Rattle
…Her voice is a suicide bathtub…

9. Hamish Ansley

from Room 101 or Things that can Fuck Off
…While riding a horse. In a rodeo. On LSD. Over red hot coals. While wearing an eye patch. And having sex with…whatever her name is…

Glowstick
…The twisted branches were bars between me and my desire to speak to her. I wished to set fire to them all…

10. Mike Bilodeau

Ohhhshitohshitohshit
…The angry hand of God is steering his Jeep Cherokee into our closed off little world…

I pray for misery
…Interrupt my quiet drive home with screeching tyres and a God-waking crash…

11. Carl Unternahrer

Hollow Point
…Firing a rifle is a simple thing. What is not so simple, however, is why somebody would turn that rifle around and fire it at himself…

12. Faith Wilson

Smokers
…Pink smokers taste like the inside/of my Mum’s bag…

13. Karl Guethert

Conscience
…Wait, are you even male? ‘Cause that’s a little shady if you’re not…

Good Book Down
…I can’t say that it was all her fault, but she certainly kicked my brain in the balls...

14. Chris Lee

Gone Riding
…I never told you but I chop wood on washdays so I can watch you work over the copper…

15. Helena Dow

Breakdown
…My lips still in the shape of my last offering…

Impressionism
…Her right foot, pixyish and ashen/dangles from the knee downward…

16. Stephen Henderson

Pill time
…I have been diagnosed with post-traumatic bipolar schizophrenic disorder…

Report
…I think his struggles with penmanship are linked to his inexplicable inability to look good in photos…

Why I Write
…The black whispers to me…

17. Emily Laing

Five Ways Not To Play Poker
…Pray to the card gods/and stare down the dealer…

Ngatea
…tongues moistened for blue Zig Zags./Feet graze the road doing forty…

18. Kay Ramsbottom

Moving On
…my skin lit up/all the way from the/backs of my knees…

19. Jo Wilson

Rabbit Skin
…I picked it up and twisted it in my hand, engrossed in its smooth symmetry…

Dewey Decimals
…Tick, tick, tick. The red hand tiptoes round the face. 6pm. Time to begin…

20. Kelsey Toombs

To victim blamers, slut shamers and those who think rape jokes are funny
…You say I’m overdressed./You say take off your jacket…

21. essa ranapiri

Grace
…I touch Jesus with questions on my finger tips…

22. Renee Boyer-Willisson

from Probably Nothing
…The left pupil is solid and infinite black, but something white and grey and milky twists in behind the surface of the right…

Cradle Villanelle
…Life coils beneath your skin in striking red…

23. Onyx Lily

A short history of my vagina
…My vagina and I had a pretty good relationship at first…

24. R.P. Wood

The Lake
…Tom’s father held the duck by the neck…twisted it around and around, like a boy with a wet towel in a changing room…

25. Carrie Cornsweet Barber

Mission Statement
…hold it tightly like sad child,/just until the knot loosens…

Quake
…just a small shift, but deep…

26. Kristy Lagarto

Nightmare
…He comes for/the weekly gutting…

Inherent Star
...I am a waiting meal/a glistening display...

Coloured Dirty
…Truth.../Daddy bent it more than he should have. …

Alice
…your face will split open right down the middle seeds will spill out and each one will grow into another smile…

27. Melody Wilkinson

I Wasn't Worried
…Monday we were safe. Thursday we are not…

Rules on how to remain an optimist and a nice person while still having contact with other human
…ALWAYS listen to the voice inside your head that says SHUT UP!...

28. Monique Van Lamoen

"...By God I'll Never Touch Another's Heart Again..."
…The sky was white as a dried sea. I never stopped touching my camera. Every picture was a postcard…

Swallowing the Sky
...Strings of water pierced through the clouds like the bars of a liquid cage...

Fever
...Damp with licks/From a pearly tongue,/My skin spreads over me...

Dream of a Man Who Smiled with Blood
…His tongue was lit/Like a red candle…