short stories



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Free Range Men
Nicola Easthope

We talk at a cellular level
swift flashing twsits late at night:

I miss u. LOVE.

I am sleeves of jersey knotted around waist.
I embrace you.

I am the Welcome Swallow darting up to you
from the Tairua River.

I am da nerves.sensing.da.pressure
between yr thumb and pen
as yr ink flows for da next 7 days.

I bought orange and blue flowers today.
Swoop flit fly riverkiss.


You are gone for seven days
so dreaming sends me the last two

in an overnight courier package
stickered International and Fragile.

Inside I find backpacks, skis, bikes,
take me backs
in plangent echoes.

The Swede liked his snus
brown gloop dripping from glazed gums:

tobacco, arsenic, glass shavings
for fast uptake and keen avian focus;

the Swiss liked to toke up
on a mix of sweet dazing weeds:

a smokescreen of ganja and tobacco
to conceal angst and access to heart.


Without the glister one may expect
after a night with two foreign men,

I send them back to the glory hole:
thick filings, diaries and photographs –

a valued record of hearts in flight
now tidier for their revisiting slumber.


But you, you have no Yerba Buena,
just Dairy Milk, psi-trance and body cherishings.

You are the brightest light emitting diode
in this world of race-through red traffic light cycling.


For breakfast I eat a small
soft boiled egg

whose bedraggled yolk
is pale and overcast.

Five more twittering sleeps to go.



twsit – the song of the Welcome Swallow
– wet snuff
Yerba Buena
– sweet herb/drug of choice


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