blackmail press 33
Dawn Silversides

Tui Taonga 1-5 Penny Howard
I'm originally from East Yorkshire in the UK and have lived in Redland Bay, South East Queensland, for six and a half years. I have two children in their twenties and a very new first grandchild.  I am currently undertaking a BA at the University of Queensland, majoring in Extended English Literature, and will graduate this December.  When I'm not trying to decide what I'll do for honours next year I'm working on my poetry and creative writing and looking for opportunities to both have that work published and also to expand and develop myself as a writer.
Love Sick

Your mind is like sugar glass,
boiling for long periods
at 143 degrees.
Carefully strung out
across the back of a wooden spoon
fine-tuned and smoothed
by the blunt palette knife
of my artistic temperament,
blending the oils of your existence
to form a picture of you melting.

Your mind is like sugar glass,
and has reached the hard crack stage,
it could shatter at any moment -
I can see right through you.
Is it wrong of me to nibble away
at those sweet edges when
you are clearly so brittle?
If I break a piece off
how long can we couple
as you struggle to retrieve it?

Your mind is like sugar glass,
behind the solid frame it sits in
a sinister shadow flits,
restlessly moving from room to room,
dislodging memories and sense.
Like the windows of a gingerbread house
your apparent sweetness is loaded with intent,
a malice that broods unguarded
whilst an unchecked heat burns and blackens
you to a smouldering molten lump.

Your mind is like sugar glass,
sticky with decay,
it leaves a grimy residue
on everything we share.
When I try to wash it off
it adheres to cleaner cells;
the gathering dirt reminding me,
we can’t be a forever -
the temperature is cooling
and it’s the now that’s keeping us sane.


At the helm he steers me,
back through icy channels
to a distant harbour, where walls slick with sea greens
wrap themselves around
this ancient trawler, adorned
with flakes of paint and clinging crustaceans
that creep towards a pot, that rests, cold
upon the stove,
in the enclave of his beach-bleached
shell, which still spills messily
through nets impatient for repair,
under the glare of Svalbard cliffs,
where gulls swoop longingly,
as he guts and cleans his latest catch.

The unhooked barbs that pierce the sand
snag me with their lethal stare
my needy gaze released by the feel
of a wet weathered muzzle –
the dog, who smells of mud flats.

Scattered pins and needles
pick over the accidental harvest,
and though they ease out bodies from protective casings –
the effort is unsated, as sky sinks heavily
to drape across the roof like a curtain call,
whilst night traffic punctuates the waves
that wash the shingle to sleep.

I strain to hear the muted lowing of sea-cow-belles
from warmer waters, as lustful winds
battle with the timber slats,
pushing through the gaps, corrosive mineral draughts
to slough away these scales of summer memories.

And now my outer layer’s exposed,
stretched-raw winter tendons beneath his calloused hands,
the knotted curls on saline strands framing his face like threaded nodes
of floats on lines,
and between my fingers a sandy kelp of bursting pods –
and always in his look
a promise of what tomorrow may bring
holds me fast...engulfed...and gasping silently for air.