Cardinals

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I am Dostoyevsky’s midnight fever,

And Whitman’s lakeside rambles.

I am Van Gogh’s washed brush tip, 

The dirt underneath Plath’s seasoned sandals.

I am my mother’s insidious sarcasm,

My first lover’s eulogy, 

I hang from the shape of words on his mouth,

Her casual catastrophe,

And their perfumes are different chapters;

And each page a redacted masterpiece,

I won’t try to fill in the gaps.

I like to keep wondering which one it was

That made me try mint chocolate chip;

I fell in love with it,

And the one who made me love Sufi again

I listen to it as a I fall asleep, 

I like to catch the eel of recognition, almost,

And let it slip away.

I wouldn’t ever want to remember,

No, they made me hate too;

Hate the last piece of brownie

I fought to secure

And 

Winter’s first, creeping dawnlight,

An incandescent love 

Lingering in,

The smell of new pages and 

Carnival candy floss.

So I love in the seven colours of the rainbow

And spun fast white, 

But my love for you was the July sun, 

An ice cold bath in January’s bosom,

I cried when you sung to me,

I crippled when you looked at me,

And forgot my name when you brushed past it,

With your north pole lips,

And imploded when I couldn’t touch you,

When you were a neglected car seat away.

I bit my tongue till it bled 

Like the red on your messy nail paint,

And clawed my heart apart,

Feral, unhinged, insane,

Do it, do it, DO IT,

Why are my hands numb? Why won’t it rain?

I know you don’t like it when I serenade your genius,

But when I hear your fingers slide over,

My naked, unstrung heartstrings, 

I burn in napalm,

I want you, I need you, be mine.

Shatter my teeth, crush my feet, 

Take all my fingers,

Anything I’d see you in, 

I’d like to you see you forever,

But you won’t, you don’t know, 

You can’t know, how much I loved you,

But maybe I’ll leave it on the handcrafted epitaph,

Of what we had, but we didn’t, 

That is to say, there won’t be a grave,

With no coffin underneath, 

But I’ll put one either way, 

A reminder of the fool I’ve been, 

This love was mine to give, 

And now a part of me will always be missing,

In unwritten poetry, half formed verses, 

Words that built nests in the crease

Of my mouth and between my teeth, 

When I open this chapter again,

Someday, somewhere, 

Craving what could’ve been, 

I know I’d forget that 

The page staring back at me,

Wouldn’t be white, 

Wouldn’t be blank,

But black,

The lines just underneath,

Ones I’d never read.


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Shazia

A neurodivergent 18 year old who is still learning about herself, you’d usually find Shazia either lost in an Ocean Vuong novel or watching people go by on the road with a marlboro in her hand and music blasting in her ears. An aspiring English Honours graduate, she is trying to make ends meet and failing miserably at it, for there is so much to do, a universe to learn and such little time: “When I first bit into a truffle, I felt like I was eating the world. Perhaps I would someday. I would write a blackhole on a page and swallow it and I’d have the earth inside of me. Being a poet has felt like ripping my nails off one by one and using the bleeding, exposed fingertips to scrawl nonsense on a page. Art for the art’s sake. It has also felt like making God with ink. I still continue to search for my own truth through the images I paint in my poetry and the concepts I touch upon. As I struggle to create something meaningful on a daily basis, I know I shall remain a person who might kill in order to be able to truly make someone’s skin melt away with words.”

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