Chris Arnold


Rob Shackne’s ‘Stella Fugio’

from A Chance of Seasons

there are stairs to take
and steps to consider, after all
the slender things we are
stars can wait a little longer
distance must be reached
love is met on the landing
(a demon black cat flashes
past, between our future legs)
we recognize each other
one going up the other down
we hardly have time to speak
platitudes of stairs and star
a bad day ahead of us or behind
a meeting later, always later

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Letters in Language Harold Legaspi

from Harold Legaspi’s Chapter Ten in Letters in Language

My parents know me better than I know myself. Someone who learned the hard way. I learned much later in life. Yaya wrung the neck of the hen then chopped off its head. Did a headless dash. Our bloodied driveway. Never met anyone so fascinated with rust, who took me to warehouses, cemeteries and shipping yards. We hurled stones in La RIve Gauche. All that hard work was framed and hidden underneath the bed, where it could no longer be seen. Discontinued my studies. Removed my designation. Left my scribble in his postbox where it remained unread. Walis tingting. He wouldn’t sit in the cinema after the movie had begun. I re-watched Tan Lines isolated in spirit. He never forgot my face but couldn’t remember my name. 

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‘Cliff Walk’ by Judy Johnson

from Exhibit

Cliff wind has a particular
whistling sound like a gas bottle 
released a quarter turn – 
gulls tumble in its slipstream
wallabies are fastened to 
the grass by their ears.

Here on the high side
we squint the miles of absolute blue 
and watch the white knots of diving birds
unraveling to stitch the sea.

In this ritual of circles
the trees are intertwined. The tracks
we tread, dreadlocks on a leviathan’s head.

Below is the spiral heart of palms
and grass trees growing crooked spears.

And lower still, beneath the waves
the constant swirling helix of blue blood
whooshing through a vein.

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‘Earth or sky’ by Michael Brennan

Michael Brennan’s

from the earth here

She was talking about a field,
a field empty with the sky.
We had seen it a thousand times,
never the same.

She said she would go there
and lie under the blue sky
and sink into the ground 
while looking at the sky.

She said it was like sinking 
into the sky when she did it.
She felt the sky hold her close,
ease in through each of her pores.

It was much later then, 
the happiness never left me, 
her words coming back
warm upon my face.

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