Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne

Venus of Willendorf

Carved from wood,
veins of variegated red
stretch over her smooth,
curved belly.

Her vulva trapped
between fold and fat,
a luxurious peak
of convergence.

Blown in glass,
generous breasts
shimmy and shout,
I am motherhood!

Her mouth, hidden
behind a string of beads,
a paralysed parenthesis
silenced by her maker.

Chipped from stone
she rolls over and over
in my hungry hands,
fingers trace the grooves

where buttocks and thigh meet,
where breasts fall onto tummy,
where babies nest.

Solid, she is certain in stone
of her lush abundance.

Like a hastily made
imitation, she empties me,
hollows me out.

For those who came before

I feel as if I have let you down
scrubbed out all your hard earned
physical hand-me-downs
broken the chain—a thousand years
of pox on me.

Nanna’s eyes will never be seen again
nor will any child inherit Pop’s nobbly knuckles,
their spark is gone and the buck stops with me
and my failure to pass on any genetic fingerprints.

Yet here’s an intriguing thing about families
—similarities are not all hard-wired
and in our daughter we see facial expressions,
overexcitement, or the flourish of a hand gesture0
that have been gifted from you by me to her
a precious package of inheritance.

Read More in Domestic Archaeology by Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne

Benjamin Frater

The Habibian Mammel

The Albino Chalk Rhino
Flying over the fire Flood of Purple Desert
on the eight foot wing-span of thought
has a large leather horn
on silken nostrils
and magnificent amber gaze
stolen from tiger pupa

This one missed the Paper Ark.

Warhol’s Electric Chair is a YEKian Artifact

flash of the sadistic bulb

magenta on citrine
citrine on magenta

birth to death chair!

O’ crazed and unusual nativity
What great flux
And fusion
Of blood and electricity!

Read more in 6AM in the Universe by Benjamin Frater

Pete Spence

This is Nearly Summer

This is nearly summer
and grande gnats
flirt the hi-wire.
wind the radio elephant!
Plazas shine through
the Giotto I have
a little stagger this morning.
Zoological impressions
march by looking
like tambourines in singlets.
Two coffees later and
i’m nearly reminded
of my humouresque!
so speak the tongues.

Winter! The Stars

winter! the stars
are out tonight

little chips
in the blackness above
where light
from the big bang
shines through

weeks later
an eclipse
plays Europe
and the teams
are out
looking up
in Megalithic awe

Read more in Perrier Fever by Pete Spence

Liam Ferney

Expecting Turbulence

Leaving behind a satellite city of Seoul
a hunka hunka burnin’ love anchored
heavy HMRG Deep in my heart.

First chance I get I’m SoCo mofo
backdrop a drained out montage, colours
of a nunsploitation print abandoned in a can.

I do life Dubya diplomacy style: JDAM’s first,
questions second, sifting through some
amphetamine junkie top gun’s collateral debris.

Fentanyl hallucinations and black ghosts
shrouded head to toe in explosives wake me up
like the megaphone of the early delivery melon man.

Bid adieu to these soju streets and the heel toe shuffle
of some Korando driver’s pent up aggression,
your choice of Diablo den up every flight of stairs.

Nothing left but Brando, Malden and a fugitive KAL ticket,
when they say no more Tennessee soda pop
the leaves on the peninsula melt red in the coming cold,

we’ve swapped maps on the in-flight distance demonstrator
and this land, my memories of you,
close like the year in the days after Christmas.

Read more in Boom by Liam Ferney



Rae Desmond Jones

The Massage

The Chinese masseur in the little shop
down the road has a son waiting to be shot
one morning soon by a squad of Indonesian police.

my neck is a twisted rope that needs to be straightened
so I go there for a head neck & shoulders ($20)

as he grinds a fist into my shoulder he talks softly
about business & how it is steady,
(when he can he flies to Djakarta on the proceeds
of headaches, neck tension, the lower lumbars
which branch up like the base of a tree – then back to
the upper limbs, the arms & especially the head,

which I should imagine touching low clouds
like those in the tropics as a monsoon beats the ground
then one morning, he won’t know when
they will come & take his son into the forest
& a bullet should obliterate him instantly,

a boy I met once when he visited with a girl
while his father was busy with my cervical vertebrae
& he was wearing a cheap baseball cap
with a serious face round as the moon which might
peep around a cloud

I hope that he will see the moon as the bullets strike him
so that he may enter that globe of light & it will spread
white & perfect into a beautiful hit of heroin
& he will rise as his body drops into a hole

but meantime his kind quiet father asks me
whether I take any western medicines to stop the pain
I look into his eyes & say no

Read more in It Comes From All Directions by Rae Desmond Jones


Rachael Munro

The Sheep of the Monaro do not Dream of Angels

The fat fleeces of sheep in the Monaro
are thick and plush on the classer’s table
where she plucks away the scrags and dags;
the outer brown embroidery
of the earth, grass seeds, shit and weather
will be leached and bleached in vast vats
far from here.

You will present me
with the shawl spun from the perfected fleece –
white, delicate as the spider’s web, unmarked, and soft
as the forbidden wings of angels,
weighted only by the purity
of endless nights in snow.

The sheep of the Monaro do not dream of angels
but graze, already saved, on the slopes of Heaven.

Read more in Indigo Morning by Rachel Munro