issue 4

october 2016

issue 4 - october 2016

Sympathetic - Conor Maxwell

It’s funny 
seeing you in 
white satin 
In an azure sash 
In a rush-laced corset

because men wear it that way

It’s funny 
seeing you bare 
Sheer slip evening wear 
cherry gloss lip stain 
half a glass of scotch

Seeing you 

smoking electronic nicotine 
In a wrinkled shower cap 
In fuzzy size tens

It’s funny 
seeing you cry 
Pinstripe waistcoat

Soaked in merlot 
Soaked in sauvignon

Shattered wood 
glass splinter sanguineous cuffs 
southern country fowl 
Tied yellow

with a little yellow bow 
You’re a little yellow bow

It’s funny when

Limp wristed regicide 
Balmorals polished with 


decorated soldier 
christen virgin cleaver 
soar rubber 
citrus ligaments sever

at the ankles


ivory knuckles 
tenderise human flesh

When she

cradles tongue 
in a molar vice 
Saliva violation 
A flute of vomit 
Load of fresh hundreds 
between her breasts

It’s funny when you’re the gun 
The safe behind the varnish 
Chipped auburn paint 
exposed wires 
hi-Point 995 9mm Carbine 
ten rounds 
two dimensions

It’s only funny 
because it’s you

Lux Aeterna - Conor Maxwell

under eight jackets 
on a street 
where it never


Sweat should not be this 
and a 
liquorice ironed fringe 
war paint 
one thin layer 
your mother’s eyes 

did you 


She said she wouldn’t fuck him 
but the heat is out 
this week

Pay for blow

in bruises

Sell your 


so you can


with him

All angles in a cerulean sweater 
Room for two 
at this rate

What will two heads get you 
and how deep 
do they have 
to go

Misery is three colours 
ending in green 
Every night 
the same time 
thirty minutes before


is his mother 
but not your son 
One more serving of grapefruit 
and salt 

so it tastes like mushroom soup

spilled outside the lines 
Often blue

but never black

One sleeve too many

The television 

Power surge on both sides 
A serving of eggs

sunny side


in a red dress

Leap of Faith - Conor Maxwell

I want out. I’m not fucking around this time. I can excuse the fact that I have a court-ordered roommate whose entire job it is to stop me getting into trouble. I can deal with living in a room that looks like it’s straight outta Silent Hill, but minus the sexy nurses and guys with pyramids for heads. I’ve even gotten used to having a 60” TV at my disposal that only has two available channels—Disney and Nick Jr. All of that is ufuckingtopia compared to what Happy Madison did to one of my favourite games. Me ‘n Happy Madison, my roommate/supervisor (his name is actually Brett) were about to play Noughts and Crosses on the back of the Manukau Courier and you know how crosses are pretty essential because they’re one third of the name of the game? Well Happy, he’s like “Crosses represent death and I need to steer you away from death-related imagery if you’re going to recover.” So you know what we played instead? Circles and Smiles. He even made me draw a circle around the smiles so they became happy faces. From a distance, it probably looked like we were playing Noughts and Noughts. It fucking sucked. I let him win.

In case it wasn’t clear, I’m currently in this programme for survivors of suicide attempts to get better and start loving life or some shit. You want to know what that’s like? Imagine having to slice your toast with a spoon and spread the Nutella with your finger because God forbid I ever come in contact with a butter knife. Last week I had a killer headache because I stayed up ‘till 4am watching Phineas and Ferb and Happy wouldn’t even give me any Panadol to make it go away. Apparently one Panadol is a gateway drug to more Panadol and after five or six headaches I’ll want to skull the entire bottle.

Oh, I forgot to mention the worst part! I’m not actually suicidal. No, seriously. I mean technically I jumped off a building, but it wasn’t like that. I was doing some hard core parkour like Ezio Auditore da Firenze from Assassin’s Creed II and while jumping between the Liquor King and the $2 Shop, I fell.  Two stories, feet first onto concrete. The ambo driver that took me to the hospital was really hot, so I may have exaggerated the details of the fall a little. Told her I was a lone wolf, a rebel without a cause. Told her I was too mysterious and intense for this world, and thus, had decided to leave it. She wasn’t exactly impressed and next thing I know—Boom! I’m sent here. “For my own good,” apparently. I want out. I would just wheel my way out the door in the middle of the night if it wasn’t for the stairs.

I forgot to mention the wheelchair, didn’t I? Yeah, I’m in one of those now. At least until I get my leg casts off. Those fuckers itch like crazy. And they won’t even let me have a fork or something sharp to scratch under the mould when it’s a warm day and the heat makes living in these casts unbearable. I have to resort to using my toast spoon. The crumbs just make my legs itch more.

So I had this thought, right? The assassins, the ones from Assassin’s Creed (Ezio and Altair and the like), they do this thing where they jump off ginormous buildings and they land in hay bales, somehow completely okay. I was just thinking, in real life, you wouldn’t survive jumps like that. Not a chance. So what if the first assassin to try it wasn’t actually expecting to land safely? What if he was trying to kill himself, landed in some hay instead and was all like “Dude, what the fuck? How the hell?” and then his assassin buddies showed up and were like “Woah, that was amazing!” and he was all “Yeah, pffh, totally meant to do that” and from that point on it just became a thing that all assassins do? That’s just been in my head for a bit, don’t ask me why.

Anyway, that’s been my life for the last 14 days. I’m broken from the knees down (my junk still works, in case you’re wondering) and the TV and a handful of newspapers are all I have to keep me from blowing my brains out due to boredom. I’m not suicidal, that was an expression. Happy keeps a real close eye on me. As well as all the stupid restrictions I mentioned before, I’m never allowed to be in a room on my own with the door closed, which is fucking dumb, because when I turn the air conditioner on, I lose all of the coolness. And I definitely can’t masturbate. Yeah, you laugh, but I dare you to go two whole weeks without touching yourself because your supervisor thinks there’s a chance you might be into autoerotic asphyxiation. You know, when you beat off with a tie around your neck? I’ve never been into that, but after 14 days, I’d be willing to try just about anything.

I don’t actually want to die, but sometimes I consider eating the batteries in the back of the remote just to show Happy and the rest of the world that, with enough determination, anyone can off themselves with anything. I could throw myself down the stairs. Drown myself in the toilet. Watch Peppa Pig until my eyeballs melt. It’s easy enough with the right attitude. I want my butter knife back.

I’m not suicidal, but I wonder if they do parkour in Heaven.

Contributor's Note

Conor is an actor, writer, tutor and post-graduate student of English at the University of Waikato. His claim to fame is that he once defeated national icon Jason Gunn in a fist fight, but don't ask him about that, because he'll just deny it.


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