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.