blackmail press 28
Marissa Johnpillai         
New Zealand

Kitchen - Charles Olsen
how many times do i have to tell you you're beautiful before you believe it?

every number is a taste
and every letter is a colour.

the deaf boy eats oatmeal;
on his tongue, the sound
of a rooster.

at the clinic, he tries on
the latest aid:

you hear click?

i only see
bicycles, bicycles.

his mother's mouth
says to the nurse:

i don't know what to do
with him, really.

the silence on the way
home is deafening

Forbidden Fruit

Ancient, luscious,
the fat peach,
the flesh

of the apple,
one luminescent

the mouthful of pomegranate,
its little seeds
and fuchsia juice,

your bloody teeth,
the cocktail traversing
your veined throat,

your startled
sinuses, your flared nostrils.
Your eyes open

wide; you're a little
more alive, breathing with your whole face now
as if you're another

kind of thing:
reptilian-amphibian, plumped up,
tart, citrus, bilberry,

all pip and pectin,
positively bursting!

How the women
with jam jars
will drool.

If you're lucky, you'll end
up as some gran's

if not,
the slow hot
evensong of frugivorous bats.


the timber merchant
sees furniture in trees,
pinches trunks

as if they were tyres.
all of his adjectives lie

on the spectrum

on vacation, he gets away
someplace glass & chrome, where mahogany
is a shade of paint

and air smells faintly
like the inside of a flotation device.

he dislikes africa for its drum-pulse,
asia for its disposable
chopsticks, europe
for allowing holland to sell clogs.

he prefers mechanical pencils.
fine-dining, avoids the toothpicks.

in sydney, he meets a girl
who plays him
like a didgeridoo -- for once

he lets it slide.

back home, his fiancee
finds him limber
in bed, pine

fresh, sap
in his moustache

Marissa Johnpillai finds herself in Otautahi, turning over thoughts with a garden fork. She has studied and taught at the Christchurch School for Young Writers, and in 2007 received an MA in Creative Writing from Victoria University of Wellington. With the help of a Creative Communities grant through the Christchurch City Council she published a chapbook of poems hymns for her in 2009.