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tate fountain


Say something pithy to open it up
[ it doesn’t matter what /
they all read the same ]

everything’s all
& & & &
of my stomach
and as much respect as you have for
the individuality of form

you’re sick of ofs and ands
and yous
⎯those most especially, to be frank⎯

⎯because they’re never the ones who read it, are they,
no they’re not, even if that’d be romantic, because

the most romantic people in your life are the ones who make you want
to maul yourself
and poetry
and wouldn’t care either way

and half the time the you is dead, or invented
and rightly so

because it’s all a construct, isn’t it⎯

maybe craft is love and love is attention but God when there’s a box
of ashes in the back of a car it certainly puts the thing in perspective

and you’re still too scared to swear in print so you’ll settle for F Scott Fitzgerund
because maybe it’s funny even if it’s not smart

/ or maybe it’s smart, even if it’s not funny

You started learning Spanish at four years old
and by you I mean I did
and I’m sick of talking about myself but I still love to do it

and it’s hard to follow but so are you
⎯perhaps hard to like as well⎯ but visually arresting,

like a Kandinsky, who wrote as well as he painted,
especially on a red Moscow sunset and you read his work and mourn the state of
your own
and you prefer
modern painters to modern poets

and is this a nervous breakdown

how melodramatic)

/ me, lo dramátic -o

[ except that’s the masculine form,
isn’t it,
which doesn’t

you’re a woman;
they won’t let you forget it ]

and sometimes your favourite singer drowns in a bathtub
and only then do you realise you love her


To be read with the luxury of a dated tongue:

the viscous, the velvet⎯

The u is long,
the i is long;
the o is weightless. Crutched, blood red,
in contented sin.

The eye may not want you here, oh lover mine⎯
the breath and sound that hits my lips does not belong to me.

Rather, she:
she I see and read and leaf
through⎯plump and parted⎯
in the shade of summer;

the honeyed touch best left a craving:
a grave thing,

a glance⎯

mine to yours. Hers and hers.

Ours is as a dead whisper;
as a cancelled thought.


Tate Fountain is a writer, actor, and student in Auckland. She has been published in Perception, MIM and Gold Hand, and in 2018 released Letters, perhaps blasphemously described as an extended chapbook. Her main occupations are getting overexcited in art galleries and rolling up jeans to make it seem deliberate that they aren’t long enough.