My hair is growing out. I cut
my fringe myself, into the bathroom sink, asymmetrical
slices. The crisp scissors rent the still ajax air with a terrible tearing sound and I imagine
that each hair is a tiny bone, that the tearing sound is the simultaneous fracturing
of a thousand tiny bones. Clumps of damp hair, spiky
runes on the white porcelain, the secret language
of the severed.
It’s like our skins maybe formed around the hot
wet jelly of our insides as a fracture, too, to sever
us from everything outside. You stay in your skin and I
stay in mine, prophylactics so that we can never
You know sometimes I think that I would like to tear my heart
out of my chest and step on it. Watch it burst the way a blood clot
does between my fingers when it’s
that time of the month and I am passing them like
I don’t know. Pop and spew
red and stop hurting the way it does when you
disappear for a while.
Honey I said honey you are too much of a good
thing and we all know what that means:
a bad thing. You are a bad
thing but I cannot will not turn away from your
drip-feeding, your half-moon fingernails and that one long hook
on your index for strumming strings or spooning coke into your
nostrils, or maybe both, rasping at my skin,
poisoning the act of intimacy with one of
destruction, or maybe just graffiti, or maybe
just of need.
To celebrate our 75th birthday we are presenting exceptional works from Meanjin’s past that have defined and challenged Australian literary culture. To provide a meaningful counterpoint we are presenting an accompanying series of critical and creative works from contemporary writers and artists.These reevaluate the ideas behind these works in a contemporary context, giving them new relevance.
This poem responds to Anne Elvey’s ‘A Finite Catalogue of Self’, first published in Meanjin Volume 67 Issue 4 2008.
The full Meanjin archive can be accessed at www.informit.com.au/meanjinbackfiles