issue 4

october 2016

issue 4 - october 2016

Filament - Aimee-Jane Anderson-O'Connor

He told me that the laugh tracks they use in these shows are pulled from corrugated boxes out the back of some studio. He told me that they are mostly all compost now and we laugh alongside old dead people coz we don’t know what else to do. He twisted my ponytail in his hand and sighed. Changed the channel.

He told me that electricity runs in two kinds of currents. Direct current and alternating current. Direct current stays positive. It is an electric fence that bites your tongue into the back of your throat. An alternating current switches from positive to negative sixty times a second. Staccato rib rhythm.

On. Off. On. Off.

If you flick a lightbulb on off too many times then the filament melts and you hear a crack. If someone turns a lightbulb on at the wall when you’re still changing it then your muscles contract and you can’t let go and you just keep on burning and burning.

He kept plates under the bed and the noodles eventually dried up and the green specks became part of the design. He used my Oma’s Delft saucers as ashtrays. They lay like blue windmill breadcrumbs between the sheets and the fire escape.  We ran out of clean cutlery so we drank soup with teaspoons. He said maybe I’d eat less that way.

The smell that ants make when you squash them is rancid butter and they drown in marmalade. He told me that they don’t have a backbone and have no sight and work until they die and they are like us in that way. They reach for one another so they can feel which way to go, and I like that.

He told me that when I laugh I open my mouth too wide. He told me that silver molar fillings are made of mercury. It causes blindness and insomnia and madness. When it freezes over it groans and cries. They used to put it in the lining of hats but now they just put it in our mouths.

He told me that Venice will sink by the end of this century. We are up to our knees in it. Maybe my grandchildren will dive down to see St Mark’s Basilica. They will be stitched with apologies and gasoline excuses. They will pray oxygen mask prayers. They will read about trees and climb concrete stairwells. They will wear stilts and learn to waltz ten feet above the pavement.

He said that they would be better off at the bottom of the ocean anyway. I held my breath until I saw pinprick shadow. There will soon be alligators in the Antarctic. He said that if you put a frog in a pot of lukewarm water and slowly heat it up, it will not hop out and it will slow boil with the water. Its marrow will harden and its brain will cook and it will not even twitch.  In the eighteenth century, physicist Luigi Galvani applied a metal scalpel to the skinned legs of a dead frog and it kicked. This was the first time a dead thing danced upon a table. The electricity was not alternating or direct. It was static.


He told me that inside Chernobyl’s ruins, there is a radioactive blob called Medusa. He said that after two minutes in front of her, your cells start to haemorrhage. Fluoxetine stays in your bloodstream for ninety six hours. It makes the roof of your mouth dry. Your saliva like hot glue.

He said that every robot sent into the reactor has been fried.

I wanted to see her.

Understand: Temporary - Aimee-Jane Anderson-O'Connor

You are unblinking, 
wet rusk gum cry. 
You will not miss a thing. 
Aluminium black 
backed glass shows you 
what you already know. 
Reach out and touch the chartered, 
obsidian slip. 
You will learn absence 
one vowel at a time. 
Carpet fuzz crumbs, 
fist your hands, 
lull your tongue. 
Powdered wrist 
warm puddle. 
Seize it in your hands 
and watch it scatter, 
bumblebee tick. 
You will soon forget 
copper pinched lungs, 
sun lit cobweb, 
these four torn walls. 
Do not close your eyes for more than a moment. 
You are an abundance of bone, 
an unfractured, 
are elastic. 
Do not slow down. 
Devour yourself from the bottom up, 
at a time.

Guardian - Aimee-Jane Anderson-O'Connor

Strangled whimpers 
beneath spider spun lace, 
She sits 
despairing child, 
clutching at Her sides to keep Her stitches in, 
the thump of meat on unmopped floor.

She turns toward me 
and I 
with an affinity for the broken and 
step forward. 
My throat closes, 
stifles acid.

Her eyes rest upon me 
crackle upon my skin and keep burning like 
the shower when 
a distant cold tap is turned on and kept there.

The lace yellows, 
breaks off in rigid clumps 
and She reaches out, 
I reach too, 
grasp a chipped ceramic bowl, 
the same mottled blue of 
an argument gone wrong.

The bowl is empty but I smile, 
spoon in hand 
and begin to swallow air.

Contributor's Note

Aimee-Jane Anderson-O’Connor is in her final year of a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Waikato. Her work has appeared in Starling and Tearaway Magazine thanks to the Waikato writing programme and the tireless support of some of the best people on this great watery rock.


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