Greetings cards for Jackson Nieuwland
I light a candle and vines of blood
Run down in place of wax as if
The experience of transubstantiation
Were being drawn towards the grave
Centre of the earth by the weight of
Your own iron content. Ever found
Yourself on a throne whose arms
And legs are wired to crosses like
A marionette? You’re no puppet and
It’s all the universe in a pocketwatch
I’m afraid. My heart on fire under
A bell jar and that’s just how it’ll stay.
Getting into keeping fish as a hobby
Hoping to use my own body as a tank
Until so filled with water I gain imm-
Unity to drowning and companionship
All at once. The deeper I go the more I
Feel as though falling from great heights.
My open palm broad enough to form
Plains on which tornadoes arise like
Spring clockwork before the lines turn
To river deltas so blue I can’t imagine
Ever having had veins in my hand.
Amongst the sunflowers the scarecrow
Is king. I have the first successful mono
-culture fields of carnivorous plants
That eat every new seed right as you
Sow it. Knock off and pitch a ladder
Against the clouds to paint them like
A weatherboard house or chip away at
An ice sculpture. Lay down on the Gulf
Stream like Michelangelo on scaffolding
Painting the dogmatic ceiling. As if
The compass woven into paper maps
Could spring to life like a computer.
I woke inside a lightbulb holding
A candle slowly consuming all the air
Like the sweetest dream of being a star
Calculating orbits in the different twists
Of screw and bayonet fittings the kind
Of knowledge that can never survive
A trip to the store. An alley so dark I
Instantly become an orphan and have
The shadow of a wolf in passing head
-lights. Fallen leaves and playing cards
And receipts curl into being on the wind
And take a hike into rolling hills.
Chris Holdaway’s Compound Press was established in 2013. It publishes poetry, other writings along with Minarets, a journal of poetry and poetics. The books are printed and bound in their Auckland workshop. Jackson Niuewland’s I am a human being (2020) is longlisted in the Poetry Category of the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. Last year they also published A bathful of kawakawa and hot water, a selection of writings by Hana Pera Aoake.