Gareth Sion Jenkins: writer, performer and digital media artist. Gareth currently teaches creative writing at the University of Newcastle, the University of Technology Sydney, and the University of Wollongong where he is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Creative Arts. His theoretical work focuses on art-makers who have experienced schizophrenia and he has presented his research in Australia, Europe and the U.S.A. Gareth’s creative work explores poetry, prose, digital media and performance. He has performed and been published in Australia and internationally.
Swallows loudly in ancient architraves wake me
diving onto cobbled stones washed each morning.
The motion of my mind towards you,
lips bent and feeling no thing, no thing
I remember every dream in which you sing,
your voice a hedged rustling;
aural snow drifting into the Pyrenees rift,
your breath moves me breathing –
breathe me in.
I remember every dream in which you say:
“My heart is four chambers singing your name.”
Come stand with in me.
Watch the morning light bright with Swallow’s wings uncoiling.
I looked for you on the subway and in Washington Square;
thought I saw you wandering through Central Park
as the light fell into the ice.
In Brooklyn there were rumours of your movements
spoken at the edges of basketball courts,
amid the crumble of brownstones.
I waited for days outside Printed Matter at 195 10th Avenue,
I was sure you would come and read their hand-made books.
Descending into Tahir Vintage Clothing Boutique at 412 & 9th St
I thought at last I had found you
chatting with the warm-smiling creature behind the counter.
You turned and morphed, striding away into another life,
leaving me seduced by a loosely-woven scarf.
“Premonitions,” said the psychic at 1091 2nd Avenue,
her ringed finger coiling the curtain.
I listened to the passage of feet on the pavement outside,
hearing you again and again stop to check your watch, straighten your hat.
I have left my breath for you in Manhattan’s subterranean steam,
my fingerprints in the American Folk Art Museum,
my footprints in the tangled subway,
my laughter in the budding Central Park trees.
Skin Drink Rain
I ask her if she minds me smoking, holding before me a packet of rolling tobacco
as explanation. She holds up her own and as the carriage blunders the length of Spain
we fill the air with smoke. It soars forth between lips parted as if to speak,
though silence reigns;
clouds of silence fill the air, more convincing of a union than any words could be.
She runs out of paper and I lend her. Each time I set out to smoke I offer,
each time watching her hand as it reaches over,
veins rearing up under her skin.
Morning comes with mountains, waking me from an unknown sleep.
The wind is back, drawing dead leaves from trees.
Rain, hard against the metal roof, blurs and magnifies the world.
After the changeless weather of near Sahara, upper Africa – this blessing,
the air is laced with ice.
I take off my shirt and press my chest against the cool of the glass,
hang my head out of the window,
let my skin drink rain.
She sleeps, immersed in a pool of dreams. “Come in the water’s beautiful,” she says
without moving her lips.
I wake later and she is gone.
Not even the depression of her weight marks the spot where she sat.
I run out of paper and curse her for hours, trying to read –
trying to ignore the tapping of my foot,
voice in my mind, restless tight rasping
demanding to be fed.