S  e  c  r  e  t  s    blackmail press 24
Jenny Powell
New Zealand

Jenny Powell is a Dunedin poet and literacy teacher. She has had three individual and two collaborative collections of poems published. She enjoys performing her work in a variety of venues.
Red Secrets

We are sipping
the ruby glass
of death
staining our lips
with black aftertaste
trying to lick them clean
and lick them
again before the colour
sets and spoils
the ruby kiss

    the lipstick
             the wound
    of calling

       in the dark

In the mirror I kiss
the bruise
on my top lip
the mark of your name
sinking below the tissue
paper of my mouth

In the mirror
I cover my lips
with a red shimmer.

You are the hunter
of hearts, collector
of red rhythms impossible
to coordinate against
the ancestral thump
against the swift tempo
transitions of your chanting.

And why would I leave
you with my heart
when there was no talk
of yours? No transposition
no translation no transference
no transplant    no transit
               No Transfiguration.

Saint of spontaneous
passion practitioner of persuasion
you take me fraying
and tatty.
I could have tried harder
with my nakedness with
the slow bleed
of my heart
   my heart
   my heart
   my heart
   my heart
   my     heart


He signs his body
on my skin
with a fingerprint,
press of red
then bruise of purple.

My skin will not
forget him.

It is waking time.
The horizon climbs
every hill
and leaves them blue
with the bruise
of today.

I am making a song for him
that’s full of spring fragrance
wet with the tongue
of dew, lit by the first
glance of day.
It is a song
of my warm breath
how he smiles
at the silence.

Sweet briars
sing their fragrance
of apples across
the breath of hills.
Roses of apple scent,
pink promises
bursting red
in the sun flames
of summer.

He will kiss me
and kiss me
and kiss me

my lips will catch fire
his lips will blacken
from the heat.

Parched landscape
grass tints of ochre
and blonde, skies
burning the horizon
rivers drowning
and drowning
in the haze.

Chiosco-Panorama, Bernhardinerhunde;
                                          A Swiss Postcard

In his mid-eighties
my Father mellows and calls me
on the telephone.
There are no pleasantries
only the essential words
of his message.
He has something
he wants to give me,
I should collect it
that afternoon.

I call at 3pm avoiding
the accusation of being
late or early. You might
like this he says
and hands me a postcard
of two adult St Bernards
and three puppies.

This is his one offer
of a happy family.