Simone King | Joining Planet City
Alisha Brown | An Ontology of Morning
first, the kookaburra
giddy for another breath to laugh upon
and then his white-feathered friends
skimming like pale stones
between gum tree silhouettes
god or something equally rare
thumbs the envelope of sea and sky
with that golden seal
and between the twitching wiregrass
a soft rock hums an invitation
to a lizard’s belly
tell me where the suffering lives
for it is not here
where eyelids bloom in their baskets
and some precious part of me
is plucked alive again
only in this shade of innocence
can my ribs remember
holding older shapes
a string of weeping sap
who creeps toward a possum’s tongue
or dries her eyes on a treesnake’s coiled skin
dawn cannot know grief or loneliness –
it is too busy blushing
and the native bees are too busy making honey
it is now, then
that the beginning begins
it is now
that stars explode
just to land a single pearl of water on your fingertip
every dream I’ve ever had
was born between a birdcall and a bilby’s ear
that sweet pink thing
turned shy to the eastern shoreline
for morning’s kiss
Sophie Szew | Promps For My Next Poem
2. Write a poem about how you were just distracted by the stiffness of the calluses on your feet. It reminds you of when you used to screw the balls of your feet into the carpet until your feet were nice and crunchy and the indent on the carpet looked like it Tasted. So. Good.
3. Write a poem about how staring at this computer screen gives you a migraine, but you’ve had writer’s block for far too long to risk getting inspiration from the gel inside the Advil capsules and writing about how it’s “richer than the sky.”
4. Write a poem about how the sweatshirt you are wearing is the only one you didn’t donate when you turned 18 and decided that clothes were a social construct, and that you’d rather be Eve before God shattered her shell and all that was left of it were fingernails.
5. Write a poem about how you haven’t had long nails in over two weeks. You still have hot pink streaks of Kiss Beauty Nail Glue on your left ring finger to remind you of when youwere married to adulthood.
6. Write a poem about how you smudge pink lip liner under your waterline every day
7. around 2 pm to bring out the green in your eyes. Your mom hates it because she thinks it 8. makes you look sick. At 14 you would’ve taken that as a compliment and then flushed your vocal cords down the toilet because that meant that you didn’t look sick all this time despite having snot dripping from the cracks in the corners of your lips.
9. Write a poem about how your messy room makes the air in your chest compress into the shape of microphone feedback. You’d let it out through your mouth, but your lips are still tender
Anna Meister| Months Until I Turn 16
Ayushi Jain | He's Dead PS I'm Grieving
In the loving memory of my grandad
This world can be a gloomy place sometimes
Sometimes? I’m lying.
It doesn’t make sense when you want it to
But when it does
When I have had enough of this realm
Quite too often
Don’t let them find out
where I am,
I am at Khyati’s house
And appear in my babaji’s locked 2 bedroom apartment
It’s locked because it’s up for sale
It won’t fetch much
but there’s no use in
Letting it be vacant
I can’t imagine someone else living there.
Those white walls and that murky floor
They mean everything.
They mean nothing,
I don’t miss him
I am not fragile,
I don’t long for his
It’s the quarters where he died
I try not to focus on that part,
So I divert to the memories I have cosseted.
I don’t have any memories
I don’t even remember what he looked like
On an eroded shelf just there above
his irreplaceable cathode-ray television
Would be a wooden carton of mangoes
Or a cardboard box of cherries.
No I am not reminded of him
Every single time I sit down to eat
Bringing new stories he heard from strangers
He was a man of the world, a traveler.
Dad do you remember that
story babaji told about that ring merchant?
No I didn’t ask dad that.
Babaji’s dead, we don’t miss
Domestic and unpopular villages, abandoned libraries
Those were more his tea
Why do I still remember his morning yoga routines?
Just two cloves of adrak, no sugar
Saturate it with honey until the
fragrance of the tea leaves
is rendered null and void
Always and always shall I profess
To be emotion-less and devoid of anything that makes me human
But inside I am burned and full of soot
Ayushi Jain | Gone
In the loving memory of a lost childhood
Soft toys wrapped in a black cloth
Stashed in the attic, forgotten, lost.
Or thrown away in the bin
Or left behind at the last place we declared home.
Doltish haircuts and vacuous glasses
Wide eyed and open mouthed glances at the sky
at the sound of an airplane
And whispered cursing, giggling
And good-night kisses.
A thousand flamboyant hair clips
Two thousand plastic necklaces
Three thousand loose teeth
Four thousand pirouetting aampanna glasses
Five thousand miles away, absent.
Toy cars and montessori blocks
Nani’s fragile hands knitting woolen sweaters
in the noon of a hypothermic winter
Birthday cakes and gaugeable candles
Lurking outside after dark
Unaware of some predator’s eyes.
Forgotten blood vows
Bruised knees and bleeding ankles and cut fingers
Dead “Best friends for life”
Dead “I’ll marry you when I get a little older”
Somewhere in the stars
Long gone jubilant innocent girls and ponytails
Dead stray kittens, trampled street dogs
Rotting mangoes and cherries
Decomposing into the ground, gone.
2021 Awards Ceremony
Terms & Conditions
Competition Opens | 1st June 2022
Competition Closes | 1st September 2022
Awards Ceremony - Hybrid Event:
November 20 2022
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