A murmuration of starlings forage over seed cakes I’ve hung from the tree.
Late winter hunger, urgent and competitive. Sleet has also flown in.
I recall how she slid from between my thighs. Emerging out of fertile depths into sterile light—a brush of moth wings on my face in the darkness.
We watch from the kitchen window, as their kin steal straw from inside the chicken coop. Somehow the birds manage to keep up a momentum between flurries. Food. Shelter.
People here shoot starlings. I can’t imagine being angry over these little thefts. I doubt they’ve ever listened to such vital songs.
‘There. Can you hear it?’ I ask my daughter.
She sits on the bench, eyes closed, head tilted, legs still.
‘Yes Mum,’ she whispers, ‘I’m up there on the branches too.’
I follow her finger outside, through horizontal rain, to the tree.
*Author Note: Previously published with AdHoc Fiction 2016.
And those who speak in swathes—almost entirely about themselves.
Scented-sweet, until their dripping sap prickles at my skin and feels ugly.
Envy marks me, before I am cast adrift.
For I cannot reinforce their purported-truth-precipices.
Lost reflections, too fathomless to acquiesce.
It takes gumption to write. AND keep on writing.
Ten days ago I was long listed for the Bath Flash Fiction Award. One of fifty chosen from over 700 entries.
The story will be published in their anthology later this year. Ka rawe.
But I struggle with what to say on social media. Not great at blowing my own trumpet, it’s quite a process around how much (or how little) to say.
#amwriting is a frequent hash tag in my efforts to stay connected out there in ether-land.
For me less is more, which is how I write. Short. Deep. No faffing around. Funny that this also matches both my stature and personality. I wonder if anyone has done research on that?
AND I’ve begun a new project: a novella-in-flash. The research (to date) tells me that this is anything but a new style of writing. As far back as the 14th century there were writers who chose this form. Edgar Allen Poe and his ‘tales’ ring any bells?
#amwriting as often as I can (when not at the day job).
This means chipping away at the bits and pieces I already have. It means editing, refining, throwing out, re-working, deleting, being ruthless, and discovering gems that are often unearthed. AND it means creating more.
From my desk to yours WordPress whānau. Mā te wā (see you later),
in the city flags hang limp waiting for the breeze to perform
fire escape stairwells rust while refuse expands in black plastic
dysmorphic bodies move and i cannot catch my breath
but at home the wind will rip meat from my bones lifting my gaze from the interior
the birds will huddle
i realise i’ve always been the one on the outside who keeps the others warm
in this shadow of myself is the impetus for change
iridescent feathers lift from tiny nests and twirl earthwards
leaves have begun their descent
and I wonder where you are
I cannot shape you from the soil
but wish it was possible
we all need to be anchored to something
the sound of you has taken shape in my mouth
moth-wing-beat against paned glass
listen to quiet in the rustle of leaves
and ferocious applause from the seventh wave
see beauty in harakeke choked by convolvulus
and respect the latticework of a bruise
smell the sweetness of rotten fruit beneath trees
and tī kōuka flowers at night
taste the depth of freshly turned earth
and the honesty of blood
feel satisfaction at the release of a scab
and the delicious surges contained in a kiss
sense comfort in ancestral knowledge
and trust in oneself always
Kia ora WordPress whānau,
Today I’ve had a short story published in The Island Review. This story was submitted before I travelled to Edinburgh (from Aotearoa, New Zealand) to read at the International Book Festival last year.
It’s wonderful to have ‘Karanga’, as read in Charlotte Square Gardens, published in Scotland (where The Island Review is based).
a formerly acquainted terror
from a throwaway line
disrupting the equilibrium
and held breath locks tight
vigilant fractured edges
on a shackled network
of memory etched skin