Taboo statue You in stone with keynote plaques No motion No utterance Mute like a hall So vast and empty, I was the one filling it writing testimony I didn’t show you You changed me in threes and asked if it was okay You counterpoised I countervail Conveyed; the movement mine the idea that you though strong were not in control Your silence it transforms My vulnerability and yours we held it for each other suspended power between us I wanted to know if you felt it too You made no demands of me and in so doing caused a gulf inside; but not lacking just love upheaved from its depths The taboo not yet spoken it was the possibility of being known just like you said
Echo box Located inside, a room within a room and within that a box enclosed by folds and folds of fabric years and years of cloth dense embroidered damask enshrouded thick weave I’ve tried to sew from that fabric with needles from your kit cotton stitches from your spools threaded garments that would not bind Using my shears sharpened by the decade between us I cut through the nap of layered fabric angular clip of blade against texture Underneath, the box of worn hard wood full of writing and script talk and voice I’ve knocked on that box it sounded Now language sinks silently into flesh and I deliver it like euphony elocute like water orate like disentangled yarn
Psychotherapy I watched you construct with your materials an edifice around lumpy flesh Stringybark of ancestors in thatch-brush loops fine strands configuring wispy foundations on stone Scaffold erected in colonnade support beams framed in parallel on mud-clay base atop a mass of cell and tissue Building your frame wooden struts tower triangular truss takes form cloister bordering soft substance of human matter Then the steelworks go up Smooth beams of silver subtend to a point so high infinite not into black but bright blue sky Your structure A façade engineered—parallel with skeleton bone
Breathe in The nuance of him pieces lost the way he wrapped me manifest anew in another You are endless you feel like the world your pride draws us closer to my throat I could fall forward into you the shadow you would cast on my face sometimes I breathe your name in
Claire Claire has conviction. She is gentle. There is ferocity housed in it. Caramel cream face. Calico blonde wisp. She smiles distress in half-coin patina eyes. She is beautiful. Claire is loved. She is trusted. She understands. She has history words. She is a totem pole. She gathers trauma in streamers. Survival bends in Claire’s direction. Her words fall together on pages. Like they were meant to be. Like you’ve heard them before. She kept the company of women who knew how to fight. Now she dances with poets in the early hours.
Alison J Barton is an Australian poet, book reviewer, and non-fiction writer. She attended writing school in the 2000s but her best expression came from introspection and learning its relation to the external world. Themes of feminism and psychoanalysis are central to her writing. Alison has been published in Otoliths, Underground Writers, Parity, Perspektif Magazine, Rhythms Magazine, and Yarra Libraries Receipt Poetry. Alison also works as a Social Worker.