Tess Ridgway

Spring poem

When I die
I want you to rub clay,
red rubber mud, all over me & then
swathe me
in Paper Bark, flaky reams of it
cake me up & close me
like an umbrella
so I’m a tan cigar of my former self
& then lower me
into salt water
a huge glass of it, or the ocean
like dipping a croissant in your coffee

When I’m UP
I’m making eyes at paintings
and sucking the residue
from paint tubes
if it would tingle my gums

But for now,
my brow is settled
my nose gently slopes down–
you could rest a can of beans on the top of my head

you make me feel so good
I’m scared it’s a lime green radioactive leak
in my brain
free radicals beaming from my temples

I wrote a poem for you
to nail you to the floor,
so lie down here next to the full stops
rest your head in my open brackets

It’s like sucking a Calippo,
being with you, body to body
drinking the bright yellow juice
& lightly biting the wet paper
like your bottom lip

You say something I like the sound of
and my eyes puff wide
little smoke stacks
each pupil a mushroom cloud
& you blow spores in my ears
and they fruit
in the dead log of my torso

I don’t like this pen

I don’t like this pen, it separates the murky
watery whispers & skims out
the green strays that form
above & behind my head

He told me when I came in
I made the breeze go away
he smells the clean way chronic weed smokers do–
smoke stuck to his neck like acrid sticky resin,
like coffee dregs (it’s an anonymous smell)

I don’t like this pen, it helps me plot my next move–
with a neat blue drip
but a lingered hand spreads ink
so I pull away from the point

it’s best to move along, down the line
or to loosen my grip & put a cap on
over fleshed lettering– bold gone cold

“We don’t talk about the past”
like it hadn’t just happened
like we hadn’t run ourselves into twigs
dressed ourselves in dirt, flooded our socks in puddles
and done other things…

I watch the shutters waver
(even the morning light is gross)
but the twitching slabs of light
give me more to go off than him

I don’t like this pen it empties me out
lays me garbled all over the floor
like an empty hand bag
I invert the corners
shedding sand, hair, scraps of tissue
I throw them down & then away

I don’t like this pen it flips the world like an egg timer
& brings me up to speed

Tess Ridgway is currently completing a Masters of Research in Literature and Creative Writing at Western Sydney University. She has been published in Meniscus Literary Journal and the University of Sydney publications Hermes and SASS. Her work was performed as part of a Spineless Wonders Parramatta Rd themed night. Tess has read at the poetry nights Cafe del Mwah & Space Opera and used to run her own poetry group Mutts.
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