Metamorphosis by Emma Neale
Lockdown, and the world’s fevered sleep means days constrained
to this tight, silent circuit: emptied neighborhood streets,
a wooded tract, a golf course mock-locked with a single chain
that we stumble over, sick-of-ourselves, craving novelty, change, succour.
Demonic clots of toadstools beneath blue-gums, beeches and birches
serve a kind of answer: little shocks of sculpted matter in ruby, bronze and silver.
Some cluster like butterscotch dripped from a witch’s eaves.
Bright herds glisten, the colour of horses’ sweat-soaked flanks.
Others swell, red candy-apples; tempt the tiny Eves of our teeth.
Yet someone here before us has smashed apart a shining colony,
scattering shapes like single wing bones, or bird-light skulls in white felt shreds.
As if there are cold omens in this petty tyranny
the tall, moss-skimmed trees shiver and shape-shift with dread:
in their skins, knots and whorls, are mouths, cocks, vulva, legs,
as if an entire people chokes inside the sea-green flesh
and we spook, we run, as if from some Cassandra’s prophecy,
conscience asking on leaf-dry tongues, You: perpetrators or survivors?
Myth’s ancient feeder-roots tighten the tripwires of history.
The world by Mark Pirie
After Clark Gable
is very grim
it’s all in stats
infected + recovered +
The crowning by Terry Locke
At the age of nineteen
I edited the seminary magazine
It was the music rather than the myth
in the title’s cadence:
The heave of rising
The ease of downfall:
And so to the virus corona
its crownlike virions
and attendant diseases:
virus, viral, virion
the booted march of cause and effect
the moral landscape blotched
with market stripping &
There is another outbreak:
Cantare amore volare
the rise and fall of the body breathing
the appeasing stillness
the hand extended
to the old and infirm:
The reassertion of neighbourhood
in the contagion of music
growing resistant strains
more powerful than any vaccine.
To Be Okay by Sophia Wilson
unsettling cases on the rise. unsettled skies, oceans.
unsettled borders, quarrels. unsettling escalations of violence,
and we are trying to settle down, reconstitute okay;
the sunshine for instance, glorious just now – summery warm, at winter’s midday.
a candle spitting, the hum and convenience of washing machine,
gumboots running up the deck, a child’s sweet voice,
us here together, words at our fingertips,
thoughts dialled towards kindness –
fertile moments, at times pouring out of the air, exhaled by foliage;
the rise and fall of light, delicate cloud drift,
a man carrying an armload of wood.
the mutabilis has bloomed prolific, now, a solitary rose, bowed by window,
hues of violet and gold, new buds –
green capsules, genomic promises.
we’ve come around, vented mountainous anxieties, emerged at the bend
to notice small things, hold them up –
brief, acknowledged, ordinary things-
Terry Locke lives in the Ngongotaha Valley with his wife, Millie. He has recently retired from the University of Waikato, where he was a Professor of Arts and Language Education. He has published five books of poetry and has edited three. His most recent collection is Tending the Landscape of the Heart, published by Steele Roberts in 2019. In conjunction with colleagues from Mad Poets Rotorua, he is currently work on a collection of young people’s poetry from the Rotorua area, entitled I Am From…..
Emma Neale is the author of six novels and six collections of poetry, the most recent of which is To the Occupant (OUP, 2019). She works as a freelance editor in Ōtepoti/Dunedin, where she also occasionally teaches creative writing. She recently received the Lauris Edmond Memorial Award, a prize given biennially for a distinguished contribution to New Zealand poetry. She is the current editor of Landfall.
Mark Pirie (b.1974) is an internationally published New Zealand poet, editor, publisher and archivist for PANZA (Poetry Archive of NZ Aotearoa). In 2016, his selected poems, Rock & Roll, was published by Bareknuckle Books, Australia (available from the publisher’s website). Other books include Gallery published by Salt, England, 2003. He is a former founder/editor of JAAM, 1995-2005 and publisher for HeadworX 1998-, and he currently edits broadsheet: new new zealand poetry, 2008-. www.markpirie.com.
Sophia Wilson’s poetry/short fiction recently appeared in StylusLit, Not Very Quiet, Ars Medica, Hektoen International, Intima, Corpus, Flash Frontier, Australian Poetry Anthology and elsewhere. She was placed in the 2019 Robert Burns Poetry Competition, in the top ten for 2019 Green Stories Competition (UK) and winner of the 2020 IWW Flash Fiction competition. She is based in Aotearoa, New Zealand with her husband and three children.