Spring 2019




Three Poems

By Blaine Kelly

London at night, 1930s, London, by Eric Lee-Johnson. Te Papa (O.030666)
© London at night, 1930s, London, by Eric Lee-Johnson. Te Papa (O.030666)

temporal anomalies


New York City


winking lights swimming amongst the thunderstorm

will-o-wisps of comfort that linger in the

thunder forked horizon

this street never sleeps but turn left and find

the rabbit hole to fall down


roses bloomed from graveyard lips

fireworks in the midday brilliance

back cold against the headstones

grass and mud between toes

ring the bell, we’re coming back


we’ll climb out of the ground and

quiver in the sunlight

old movie glamour in a dust storm

new age order in a blizzard

come out of your tomb, this is ageless




bruised cathedral cloud above pearlescent canals

speared by brilliant light and embers

snake into the murky depths

weighed down under the conscience

of river stones in coat pockets


a silent fall into a cacophony

hot coin pounded on the anvil

sparks against the spilt ink

fever chill light show outside lichen glass

wedding confetti snowflakes


every corner looks the same, lantern burned out

the crone beckons with backwards fingers

brickwork and unpolished gleam

red light like blood on black leather

we cannot sleep here, it isn’t safe


Las Vegas


whip wind, orange and peach sand

through discarded lives and cardboard

thick sheets of plastic

running across the playground sky streaked in heavy oils

that soak our numb fingers and quivering lips


shaking rattling drawers of knucklebones

that dance through teenage years like veils

ripped and tattered in the kaleidoscope midnight

where under the grave of the american dream

they dig dig dig with their shovel tongues


don't knock on the glass but —

daddy isn’t home. daddy isn’t home and the

kids are free to play in this snowglobe hell

the only thing that fucks them up anymore

isn’t coming round tonight


apocalypse song


wind snatched arms wrapped around his body — a carved out inflatable bed filled by an airy sorrow


the alcohol goes straight through him — drops on the dirt. into the pool.


imagine: desert, rolled out like a pancake, stretching on for miles — all shimmer and brassy shine of the dirt and nothing else.


it's a good place to hide a body — a better place to hide regrets.


crystalline light echoes out from this point in time,

lungs expanding in slow breaths,

spine to ribs


in this moment here:


he’s high. that’s not unusual. there’s not much to do where the world ends — you’ll end up digging your own grave if you’re not careful.


                 stop — stop trying to fucking eat everything in the house?

                                                                       no, stop — seriously!


                                          what is food for if not to go in my — hey!


                  i’ll shove it up your ass. that’s for my dad


a father that is as much a mirage as the oasis — only visible from the top of the fence, only possible when you’re not stoned or rolling or inebriated — which is 90% of his waking days.


a true treasure.


anyway — here. this moment. pool water in his hair. cheeks ballooning with bread.


                 stop fucking — laughing!


they’re both laughing.


the desert is empty — orange, sunset blades, broken open like a giant’s fist: end of the fucking world.


half the alcohol goes on the floor. the other half, across his face. he forgets about it — won’t remember until he


                  god, you smell like lighter fluid


                                                                     fuck you!


a knee in the back.


                  get out of here if you hate it


smothered under his hands, fingers in his mouth, too drunk to focus, too — 


the world is falling apart.


in years, he’ll know that — wish he had been more urgent.  the desert is a good place to hide things. you just have to remember where you buried them. 


he doesn’t remember, but it doesn’t matter — he’d unearth the whole country if he had to


                   why are you still awake?


                                                         why are you asleep?


knee in the back. alcohol on the floor. empty pool. daddy isn’t home. no-one’s home. he’s not home — vacant lot, vacant eyes.


well —


                   it’s just a goodbye


magpie boy


nothing is ever just out here

grip bruised around your heart.

                                                      he was going and you were not

and it was fucking unfair and it hurt so much it felt like someone had driven a knife between your ribs and vivisected you, laid you bare and held you up to tell the entire world that:


                               look at this blood,                                            

                     look at this viscera,

                                                 look at this boy with                

                                an empty ribcage

                                                  that isn’t empty at all

                                look at the walls of his

                      chest graffitied with a

                                 name, look at these

                                             fingerprints, this

                      criminal who has

                                  touched every inch

                                              of you, and in the

                                  light it’s ugly and bare

                       and you swear              it was nothing, you



                                                                                fucking swear.


you stole so much from him:

but you never stop to think about what he stole from you:

it’s zero sum:

you wish:

money, food, alcohol

clutched between bloodied fingers

compared to the heist he pulled on you

and wish

hours and hours of days, sand slipping down windpanes like a tipped hourglass

smuggled: sticky lips


and wish

two years of his life

wet taste of alcohol


and wish

his pills

and chlorine daydreams


that it would come back to you but —

his clothes (stuffed into your bag)

in the pool at midnight


criminals deserve no sympathy

moments and photos and kisses and firsts and lasts and —



there’s a mound of sand inside your chest

with kleptomaniac hands enough pieces to tape together a photograph



you’re not a fucking genie


About Blaine Kelly

Blaine was born in London but grew up in West Auckland. They recently finished their BA in English and Gender Studies at the Univeristy of Auckland, and are currently South Korea bound, where they hope they will finally get over writing about Seoul.