Starlings

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. 

Narcissus

Spring flowers.Flower pic

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.

Spring flowers.

#amwriting

It takes gumption to write. AND keep on writing. img_0812

Ten days ago I was long listed for the Bath Flash Fiction Award. One of fifty chosen from over 700 entries.

Un-be-freakin-lievable!

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),

Iona 🙂

 

breeze

img_0832in 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

 

fall

img_0803iridescent feathers lift from tiny nests and twirl earthwards

another season

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

rhythmic instinctive

another season

 

intuit

listen to quiet in the rustle of leavesimg_0645

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

Published

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).

Happy reading,

Iona x

http://theislandreview.com/content/karanga-new-zealand-short-story-iona-winter

Writing in all its glory

Kia ora whānau, friends and supporters,

I’m delighted to share this news with you all. Yesterday I was awarded the Headland 2016 Frontier Prize for story of the year by an unpublished author, for ‘The Lake’.

Issue 6, which coincidentally includes both winning stories, is free for download before Christmas. Happy reading 🙂

http://us8.campaign-archive1.com/?u=70e91bf1a6218537d8479da7c&id=0e06655bad

In other news, my collection of prose and poetry is near completion and I’ve begun the process of approaching publishers. It is my intention to have this ready for print by early 2017.

It’s been an incredible year! I’ve had my work published several times (in Aotearoa and overseas), travelled to Edinburgh to read my writing at the International Book Festival, was invited to read at several events in Aotearoa, and attended the Māori Writers Hui where I met some of my writing idols.

Somehow I’ve managed to keep on creating, editing and submitting my writing, while working in my day job. There are times when I look back over the year and feel overwhelmed, because twelve months ago I would never have dreamed these things possible.

Most of all, I wouldn’t be here without your aroha, support and encouragement. Me te mihi nui, thank you all very much. Wishing you, your whānau (of birth or choice or both) a restful, loving and safe holiday season.

Ngā mihi aroha,

Iona x