My feet, stained
black by the sand—and bare as pink paws—push into the spongy
sand and force away little pools of trill. A car. A blister of echoes.
A bird weeping in the mangroves. Two drunk women shrieking
names. The wind moves along the sand of this beach. There are
so many senses at work tonight. This one sound is a company of
horses cantering together across the darkness.
These voices I am hearing in my mind are ever changing, hot and
cold. I imagine them dangling from the sky as long drapes of silk.
I dance with them, yes, like we used to. I hang them on the edge of
the beach, where dirt meets sand, where Dog snivels a bird’s nest,
inspecting for play. I camped here last night and lit a fire to keep my
feet warm. So I could catch the night illuminating the bay again …
so I could hang the changing voices on this bright moon.
©Jamie Trower, A Sign of Light, The Cuba Press, 2018
Jamie Trower was born in Brighton, England, and immigrated to New Zealand in 1995 with his family. An Auckland-based poet and actor, Trower performs both on the page and on the stage, and has studied English and Drama at the University of Auckland. Anatomy, his debut poetry, was published in 2015 by Mākaro Press’s Submarine imprint.
The Cuba Press author page
Working the tang, Birsay
These women are wrapped for the weather.
The fleece of long-nosed black sheep
so knitted into their skin, when their men
undress them there is often a little blood.
The weather wraps in gales of Arctic ice.
They gather seaweed: tremendous heaps
of tang and ware, dragged up the sloping beach
to the dry. These women burn
it steadily, crackling heather and hay in great pits
of stone until the white powder
of potash and soda is all that remains.
The men pound and pound,
cover with stones and turf. Leave overnight.
The ash shifts, cools, and lumps of toil
settle on their backs. They sleep with
the weight of a body on the chest.
Ghost dust drifts into livestock,
limpets. Fish are driven away.
The women are wrapped in the drapery
of ash, the cloak of salt, the taste of tang.
Their kelp-making for the laird’s gain.
Their backs spent for soap and glass.
©Nicola Easthope, from Working the Tang The Cuba Press 2018
Nicola Easthope is a teacher and poet from the Kāpiti Coast. Her first book of poems, leaving my arms free to fly around you, was published by Steele Roberts Aotearoa in 2011. ‘Working the tang, Birsay’ is inspired by her Orcadian roots and the etymologies and experiences of the Norse word for seaweed (among other things). She was a guest poet at the Queensland Poetry Festival in 2012, and last month, the Tasmanian Poetry Festival.
Saradha Koirala reads ‘Snapshot’ from Photos from the Sky (Cuba Press, 2018)
Saradha Koirala is a writer and teacher living in Melbourne. Her book Lonesome When You Go won a Storylines Notable Book Award. She has published two previous poetry collections.
I’ve been the secret and the secret-keeper
the one from whom the secret is kept.
I’ve been a curiosity of connections that don’t concern me
the cause and effect of all that is curious.
I’ve been right and I’ve been wronged
I’ve been righteously wrong.
I’ve been a cut-out shape where I used to be seen
and I too have cut fleshy shapes from my life.
I’ve been the problem and the solution
the floating object of insomnia, rage
a presence off limits
that has in turn been there for me.
I’ve been the reason and I’ve been the excuse.
I’ve been falsely accused, rightly refused.
I’ve been the obsession
I had an alibi.
I am the reason you needed an alibi.
©Saradha Koirala, from Photos from the Sky (Cuba Press, 2018)
November 5th Saradha is launching this new collection tonight at The Thistle Inn in Wellington at 5.30 pm (3 Mulgrave St, Thorndon, Wellington). Launched by the wonderful Tim Jones. Come early to the marquee area at Thistle Inn for a glass of bubbly and some vegetarian snacks, stay for the poetry.
Then on Wednesday 7th Nicola Easthope will join Saradha at Unity Books in Wellington at noon until 12.45 to celebrate their two new books with Cuba Press, Photos of the Sky and Working the Tang.
Saradha Koirala is a writer and teacher living in Melbourne. Her book Lonesome When You Go won a Storylines Notable Book Award. She has Published two previous pietry collections.
Cuba Press page
Saradha Koirala and The Cuba Press warmly invite you to celebrate the launch of Photos of the Sky. Launched by the wonderful Tim Jones.