issue 5

october 2017

issue 5 - october 2017

Would I recognise the garden if I saw it - Rebecca Hawkes

why would you come here with me willingly when
this is exactly how horror movies start
panting up a sunless path somewhere 
deciduous where the trees are darker than the night sky 
and not for surplus of stars – the reek of
rotting fly agaric and sentimental earth – 
maybe you’re into it or maybe you’re just being polite
                        precarious on your edge of the wooden raft 
                        which is parked in the clearing like an altar

until we’re all out of chardonnay and ready salted chips  
and somehow into a fumbling 
of nuzzled permissions – inhaling my own rank breath 
from the yielding socket of your neck – 
wet air rancid as a shearing shed
wafting ammonia and lanolin – 
black pearls of shit rattling down the chutes 
before the shorn yearlings are chucked through – I
                        don’t know how to talk to you
           or if I am interesting enough to love
now I’ve gone and got myself buried in your mouth

[engraved in it]

this bafflement of teeth and excess nerve endings
is – licking nectarine honey off a paring knife
           – sweetness pierces the tongue like a staplegun 
              like a shaft 
of light zeroed convex to burning point 
through a magnifying glass held
over some unfortunate ant – wrong 
place wrong time and so highly combustible 
– I find myself wanting

                        wrong things – bite until I burst every capillary 
all over you to bruise – the smell of your skin hairs shrivelling to ash 
too close to a source of intense heat – I don’t know why I ache after 
what is most hurtful – as though I could skin everyone who is nice to me 
and live inside of them – is there anything 
I react to more violently than gentleness – it’s just 
                                                       – there’s a lot going on right now

this vagrant heart swinging its amnesias ahead of us now like a cellphone torch 
and laughing at our stumble up the slick clay incline
– can we lie down – can I leave my shoes on – taste 
fermented honey mead or well-fed sourdough starter – a kind of redness
inflammatory and luxuriant as the indefensible 
pop songs of our youth – crooked fingers 
bucking directionless on the way to somewhere 
                                            unspecified by language

and then a falling branch in the dark
a body
crying out and trembling beneath mine

Pony Club Summer Camp - Rebecca Hawkes

the pony club wash up against the rocks
while you watch
the socks & jodhpurs stuffed into their helmets riverside
the pony club offer you electrolyte 
drink so much more blue than swimming pool you expect to 
half die of it quenching in your throat like an eyeful of chlorine
the pony club argue over whether any of their true 
loves could be stronger than the bond between a girl & her horse 
(a phenomenon so universally potent it is taken for granted as a unit of measurement)
the pony club braid everything with their hot freckled hands & after weaving plaits 
in hay & manes & dressage ribbons they sit in a circle and braid your hair together with 
their hair & thus you become one ponytail & so the pony club is a sunburnt rat king
the pony club weep their way through the season
mucking in through pollen & spore & gusty choking horsehair moult all red-eyed unrepentant 
antihistamine addled & still yelling at you newly unsaddled to get up and quit bawling
the pony club dangle above your bunk on their reins from the rings of Saturn 
like a child’s mobile & they rotate slowly with your every exhale
as though you could still move them even if you can’t quite reach from here 
the pony club have you scrubbing for hours 
polishing halfchewed grass from bridle bits but they 
refuse to pick the musky caked oatmeal out of their braces after breakfast

Contributor's Note

Rebecca Hawkes is a painter and perpetual student. She completed an MA in non-fiction writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters last year and has immediately reverted to lyric poetry.


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