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Marsha Mar 2020
I write your name on my cigarette, light it up, and smoke it away.
I fill my lungs with nicotine,
I taste the burn in my throat,
as I try to erase every memory of you.
I want to forget your eyes, your lips, your scent,
erase every **** thing about you, and cleanse my mind.
I take one deep, long drag,
and smoke all thoughts of you away.
KJ Reed Aug 2019
We are wild things.
As unpredictable as any animal.
As deadly as a thunderstorm, a hurricane.
As destructive as a volcano.
We are used to blood and sacrifice.
And from the ashes we continue to rise.
Like a Phoenix.
Ready to burn those who defy.
For we may look like delicate flowers,
but we have thorns.
KJ Reed Aug 2019
Cup your hands to catch sunbeams.
Feel light in your veins.
Glow gold like Icarus.
And melt away into stardust.
annh Jul 2019
I remember the day we first met. In the doorway of that tiny boutique with the leadlight windows on the corner of Main and Wharf. You looked expensive, all laced-up leather and felted wool, commando meets catwalk. Your friend was in stitches about something, and it was when you turned to her and stuck out your pretty tongue - then, right then - that was the moment that I decided you were going to be mine.

I put aside my embarrassment and guilt. I ignored the whisperings of my empty wallet, and the thought of what my flatties would say in the morning. I picked you both up and took you home. Two for the price of one.

Ten years later, both of you are still around. Not quite as streamlined and sassy as you used to be. Your souls - my bad - soles are in need of repair, your white stitching has blackened, and your brass eyelets are looking a little worse for wear. But we’ve walked miles haven’t we? You, me, and your mirror image - BFFF - Best Feet Forward Forever.
‘You may have a face like an old boot, but I love you.’
- Helena Torrens

‘To conform is to give in.’
- Jean Paul Gaultier
annh Jun 2019
It was going to be the trip of a lifetime. Sydney, Cairo, Constantinople, maybe even Jerusalem if there was time and breath left in us. We came from the far-flung reaches of the earth to the bustling capitals of the Middle East. Just me, my good mates -  Blue, Grim and his cousin Frank - our chaperone Sergeant Major O’Donnell, and 1,500 other lads of the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade.

Frank copped it at Gallipoli, never even set foot on the beach. I left him screaming on the metal deck of the landing craft awash with ***** and blood as he watched his innards unfurl. ****** oath, they stunk! Like ten-day-old snags left out in the Adelaide sun. His Mum always said she’d have his guts for garters if he enlisted underage. I reckon she’d never use that expression again. She was a nice lady too, that Mrs Gibson.

Tell me, fair dinkum, what do 18-year-old, daring-do dreamers from Parramatta know of the chain of high command, a war of geopolitical strategy and stiff upper lips. The bewhiskered gentlemen who manoeuvre their pieces in imperial map rooms will live to fight another day, and yet hold their fallen troops accountable for the unpredictable tides of history.

Grim took Frank’s death hard. From that day on his war was one explosive suicide mission. In the end, he walked into a spray of Turkish gunpowder at Chunuk Bair. The Distinguished Conduct Medal he earned that day sits on my mantelpiece beside a photo of the four of us at Giza. His sister Molly, my dear sweet Molly, turned out to be the love of my life. Funny how that happens - the threads that hold us together, the ties that bind brothers, the strangers who become our saviours.

The sergeant major succumbed to typhoid fever in Palestine and that left Blue and me. We sit and remember. We laugh at the horror during the day and shiver in our beds at night. We wage war with ourselves, our choices, our victories and defeats. We marvel at the world and the territorial ambition of nations, shake our heads at the repetition of dumb history, and raise our wavering fists to those same men in their ivory towers. It’s in all the newspapers that the Vietnam conflict is this generation’s Dardanelles Campaign. ‘A vain and protracted engagement fought in a topographically hostile arena with disproportionate loss of life’ is what I read. Yet wonder of wonders, a Yank - Blue knows his name...but I forget...Neville Someone - walked on the moon last month. Do y’reckon we helped to make that happen? Four cobbers from New South Wales, who had a knack with horseflesh and a taste for kangaroo feathers, on an adventure which spanned more lifetimes than I could ever have imagined.
The 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade was a mounted infantry brigade of the First Australian Imperial Force, which served in the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I. During the Gallipoli offensive, the brigade served in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). After being withdrawn to Egypt, they took part in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign until their disbandment after the end of the war in 1919. [Wikipedia]

Cobbers - friends
Fair dinkum - true, no *******
Kangaroo feathers - the distinctive emu feather plume which adorned the slouch hats of the AIF light horsemen. So named as a practical joke by the cocky troopers themselves.
Snags - sausages
annh Jun 2019
They wear their bodies inside-out, some are ashes but few are dust. Vacant orbits, oblivious to the incoming tide and the percussive artillery from the heavily fortified positions on Rue de la Mort, view the world with equanimity. Their bloodied stillness at odds with the surrounding tumult.

It’s at times like these - pinned down behind a burnt-out vehicle, the sand skipping around me with the phut-phut-phut of spent rounds - that I envy them their final freedom. Not that all deaths are as elegant and instantaneous as a well aimed bullet to the head.

It is a fleeting thought, hardly even that, a whispering somewhere in the background of my consciousness, like listening to a low-tuned wireless. And with victory as with defeat - with the ear-ringing silence - the whisperings become louder and more persistent.

Right, left; up, down; stop, wait; walk, run; sink, swim; live, die. Some pray to survive, other’s yearn for the sweetspot, the one shot ****. Regardless, there is no doubt that we who remain will fight on for weeks, for years, for decades and continue to live the uncertainty of the living - sweating bullets until kingdom ****** come.
‘They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war. For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate.‘
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
annh Jun 2019
The light is dim, but I'm accustomed to working in the dark. Besides, it's safer this way. My eyes are not what they used to be, but it has become second nature to me - the pull of the needle, the tension in the thread.  

I stitched my first collar when I was six years' old, sitting on my grandmother's knee in the parlour of the old house at Innsbruck. ‘Isaac,’ she used to say, ‘you have your father's gift. Use it well.’

Ah, Papa, if you could see me now. Such expectations you had for my talent, but I assure you that the occasion for invisible seams and fine beadwork is over. Nowadays I work with a different fabric. A cloth perforated with ****** fire and riddled with shrapnel. The wounds - forgive me - resemble red Venetian silk embedded with black pearls; the bone like the baleen strictures of a dowager's corset. And the red dye runs. God help me, how it runs.

As I work, Papa, I imagine that you are standing in the shadows, your frayed sewing tape draped around your neck. I am praised for my quick hands and my ability to embroider life into abbreviated limbs. And I pray that you are not too disappointed in what I have become.

'Who is left in the ghetto is the one man in a thousand in any age, in any culture, who through some mysterious workings of force within his soul will stand in defiance against any master.'
- Leon Uris, Mila 18
chichee May 2019
I took out my lighter to
burn another bridge today.
We keep buying things to stay alive-
She tells me I'm full of ****,
but she's always been my favourite skeptic.
It's not that I feel empty, I'm just waiting for something
to hit me, I explained to the train tracks.
In the end, we're all just passing by.

I wonder if God
feels lonely.
Muddying the water.
rom Nov 2018
patawad sa mahal kong akala ko'y lumisan na
sa paggunaw ng kaisipan sa mga bagay na pinipilit nitong takbuhan
ngunit bumubulong ang puso gamit ang lirikong tayo lang ang nakaiintindi –
mababalikan pa ba ang ritmong ito
o mananatili na lamang sa kasalukuyang pintig?
chichee Oct 2018
Children only grow up
when adults
aren't watching.
Father dear-
(I learnt how to ride a bike without your hands keeping me steady.
I’ll learn how to live without your name on my conscience when I’m given away at graduations, at award ceremonies, at marriage.)

-it's far too late to
want me back now.
I've grown too big to ever be your little girl again.
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