Mayhem Literary Journal is proudly sponsored by Te Whare Wananga o Waikato, The University of Waikato
issue 5

october 2017

issue 5 - october 2017

Helena Road - Conor Maxwell

Got stories, eh.
Tales-for-days.

I’m a hard man.
At 8pm on Helena Road my brain is a tidal wave and what I got is
vodka-on-the-shore.
The rocks
are cavorting with light bulbs
and tin sticks shut up with black Gaffa.
Tie your bed sheets
double-Windsor and
choke me,          Doctor.
Wild Moose on the other
side of someone          else’s          spearmint
                                                       tonsils
                                                       and nicotine.
Sharing is
dopamine. An orgy
of mouth-holes
and tentacles with taste buds
Denim crushing on poly
Index and ring against my
          white-red collar. 
          Vodka
-on-the-cabbage-tree.
Dirt in her hair.
                                                                                                    I ain’t like Lemon Squeezy;
                              it takes a circus
                              to undress me.
Takes absinthe and Aftershock tequila the Horsemen Bailey’s in a punch bowl curdled like
sick. Out back.
Dressed to the tens, 
grab-ass with a Whiskey flask
and telling them I’m spoken for.
                              You’ve got me.
                              Cos you skol like a pro
                              and chat like a talk-show
and Sartre don’t got what you got when you smile
                              and no—                                                            it’s no puncture zone.
It’s no Devil’s Soup in an egg hat,
no crucifix polygamy,
pukeko and pregnancies,
inebriated backstroke and Roses for Valentine’s Eve.                                              It’s
a          quick          peck
in the car                park
of the Play              House

It’s Kit-Kat:

          two-in-one-and-blonde-like-vanilla-it’s

you and me
                                                                                                                      going down like

          McDonald’s smoothies.

going home and

                    staying
                    there.

dis integrate - Conor Maxwell

we’re at the ‘now what’ stage
the ‘we need to talk’ stage
too late to book an ambo it’s raining pennies 
and passion is hot-pink
like sunstroke or
blush
my arms on either side of your shoulders
(comfort-like)
while i somersault astral
            reach
with mutant lust
for artists wearing hoodies that aren’t theirs
chimaera’s fires will never go out 
but flesh burns hotter than mount and
i melt
on your footpath
            while you hold the bucket

we’re current
not slick like water not electric
your touch is static but
i’m rubber
cased in wood
staring oaken at your amber fog
            your shield of teeth
rougher than bark
the course of entropy is constant the cause is 
you
looking at me
like i’m ambrosia
and you’re not thirsty
                       it’s chilling
(the linkin park stage)
                        the feeling of 
                        frostbite on my tongue
of kissing through lip gloss
and mouth guards
rice paper fat suits and ‘did we or didn’t we’ butt grinds
through layers of 
soil
                        press me 
wrap me in asbestos and text me 
babe
before you call the hospital

you still give me butterflies
but i want someone i can squeeze without killing
                               can choke without hurting
                               can fuck without hurting our chances of loving 
in the aftermath of orgasm
when the sweat-glow is the only light in the room
you’re juliet
(i dig that)
            but let’s skip class and get high on the astroturf
let’s steal a car
screw on the highway
trolley race down queen street play hide and seek in the park after midnight let’s hold hands and squeeze knuckles blue in the fireworks let’s make promises we can’t keep because the sky’s on fire and this city is dragging you through the dirt let’s never fight

let’s never fight

Rose-glass - Conor Maxwell

Shoot up a polaroid.
Scrapbook a collage, a mosaic of places, of moments 
that scream of her:
Counting love bites
and footsteps in ever-wet concrete,
citrus smiles from a mannequin
that moves like Tinkerbell;
A capella Radiohead in a dressing room with no heat.
            She’s textbox empty
            nail polish on a vanity
and she’s looking dead through me 
like Rayban periscopes
on an empty street.
She’s got me on my knees
            rope burn on my throat
            string between my teeth.

Finger painting is catharsis;
communication through zinc,
lead,
arthritis,
but lovers weep in letterheads:
            Bookman for scholars
            Garamond for head cases.
Cupids etched in margins 
of a diary—
the permanence of fountain ink
and typewriters
falling prostrate on beds of scorpion grass.
Box wine and daisy chains.
The all-working arborist 
bleeds cursive through spider bites,
snips the heads of succulents,
adds salt to the thorns.

I am rose-glass 
in the back pocket of an Instagram model.
A voice cloaked in tartan,
unzipped in darklit boudoirs.
I’m the curtain rail daredevil,
the stardust on her cheekbones
yelling through yellowed gauze;
            yes, you are pretty
            yes, you are special.

A social refugee
shipped out in a handkerchief
that burns with jasmine,
that claws at my clavicle
            the way she used to.

Contributor's Note

Conor Maxwell is an actor, writer, director, and high school teacher. He likes to swear in his writing, because he's not allowed to use that kind of language at work.

 

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