Blackbox manifold

Issue 14: Bonny Cassidy


after an artist unknown

Like a stag brought down by two large greyhounds—

whereby they inch and tear

at its forelocks ’til the whole thing ends in a pile—

the dance goes through my thigh.

Blue birth. Dream. Target:

an active transmission

of my unwearying hollowness.

No longer a woman I am, at last, dalek.

Without a skull inside, my gaudy relic

would be revolting. ’Tis pity you will know

before it rattles out of me:

under those horsey waves, is a graph of rods

in which I shorten to a sharp, cold idle.

All my rivulets of pomp n petal

are simply grated-on. Arch droid. Mantis.

Watch this, now, I’m really going somewhere.




In the pan your gravels crashing hatched their prize—

a brindle rush to hump my veins and fever up the leaf

that twisted in our fields. The guilt was white, my soul a sieve. It boomed

like bull to see the dust an avenue of spin – and my brickhouse floating

as a reef, its aura built to scale. I seemed to tap its skin.

Birth was the pits but this is mine. The rabbits swarm down to shake my hands.




Study of a man’s right shoulder, breast and upper arm

His unguarded rainbow, a barbarian sky.

Bold, the line that touch me not –

the girl with Titian flare, the girl

with a haunch of man.

His gown turns copper loosens

as a squid. Cherubs carry off his things.

Saints do paint

but never themselves in –

the unconscious is Roman.

A distant flick of sheep like maggots.

The nerves in his quiver

hatch their way

to a blondless coup –

the city disappears below us in a fateful haze

and behold, I come quickly.

Every day a child is born with symbols for legs.




The way you live

The middle is low tide

I hear: a trough that rips.

Blokes walk out to the middle.

In the middle is the verb

flying towards stir

and flocking. As you circle

the middle it tries to dip.

The little car in the middle.

The artist making herself from dust.

I swallowed a little car once;

it remains parked inside

where the lies begin, small

pyramids of salt. A glass age.

Without talking about the middle

you are in it, making a case for your hands.

Where running turns to walking.

From down here the middle

is flat as joy as

honeycomb trodden open.

They might have died in the middle.

The middle has a rounded base

and in the middle are two square holes

the way back out.

Bonny Cassidy has published three collections of poetry, most recently Final Theory (Giramondo Publishing, 2014). She is lecturer in Creative Writing at RMIT University, Melbourne, and feature reviews editor for Cordite Poetry Review. Her work has been anthologised and published widely in Australia and internationally, including Jacket2, Splinter, Zone, Burning Bush 2 and tender. Bonnyrecently undertook the Australian Poetry Tour of Ireland, a month-long fellowship of readings, workshops and interviews in the Republic and Northern Ireland. She is currently co-editing Australia’s first anthology of contemporary feminist poetry.