This table grains as an ocean, as a slice of muscle. Our quiet vessels traverse, dock their toasts, eyes meet
over the weather of our hands. No longer do we sail low with wine – the blood we share more than enough
to mellow the chop. So few jolly boats now. Somewhere a lost soul founders on the rocks of this season, monsters unmapped
and never sung about. Somewhere else the hold pangs empty and the boiler burns down. Somewhere pirates have boarded
and all that once shone is being divided. You compass three plates and I mark three directions of wind with a fork, and this is plenty
for today, and more than any map promised. One of us prows fast toward the horizon, lookout crow-calling land, land
that none of us can see. Somewhere a wheel creaks and creaks in a hard turn. Somewhere the bottle swings and breaks
and there’s cheering. Somewhere a tradition cuts anchor, unloads all its ballast. Sun fills my glass: let me pour more into yours.
Ankh Spice @SeaGoatScreams is our official New Zealand correspondent. Poet, runner, sea-goat, multiple Pushcart nominee, friendly presence, co-editor at @IceFlowP and @BarrenMagazine, and now the proud parent of his own collection – The Water Engine: https://bit.ly/2Zpbtl4
On the downslope from solstice our true December trees
are brazen, bloody-bright. You can keep your dark, doomed pines, all smooth tradition
for the baubles – sadness- -in-waiting beneath fake snow –
that never worked out here on the edge. Our festive day is gaudy
with the tinsel-glare of sun, we grew up ripe to glut ourselves on light this time
of year. The young, the old, they really crave the exact same simple gift. And pōhutukawa,
she shows you every year how to age shamelessly. Carried on her auntie’s back
toward the squalling new year, you’ll hear her last dirty old laugh with your eyes
open (none of your damn grace required), flinging all that made the new gods whisper scarlet wanton
to the hot south wind, spreading fierce naked claim and delight. Every path,
every last road out of here, it pants with spent red. It’s so easy
to get weighed down trying to make light for the whole family. Oh, it’s not what you give.
It’s what you leave, it’s how.
The Pōhutukawa is the Aotearoa New Zealand “Christmas Tree”. This poem is by Ankh Spice. I find his work extraordinarily moving.
Ankh Spice is a sea-obsessed poet from Aotearoa (New Zealand). His poetry plays with natural imagery, environmentalism, identity, myth, magic, and mental health, and insists on being written despite him. It’s surprised him continuously over the last year and a half by being published almost a hundred times, mostly in countries far away from his beloved island coastlines. Two of his poems have been nominated for Pushcarts and two others for Best of the Net. He’s a co-editor at Ice Floe Press and a poetry contributing editor at Barren Magazine, and was a guest reader for the Deep Time edition of Black Bough Poetry this year. If he’s not out running and brewing poems by the Pacific, you might find him online, talking in flat Kiwi vowels about poetry and goats, surrounded by his sea photography and macro shots of weeds and flowers.Twitter: @SeaGoatScreamsFacebook: @AnkhSpiceSeaGoatScreamsPoetrySoundcloud poetry readings: https://soundcloud.com/user-448322296 Linktree: https://linktr.ee/SeaGoatScreamsPoetry At the time of writing this, he’s working on far too many collections of poems at once, recording more audio and video readings of his work (because people bafflingly seem to enjoy them) and getting nervous about his second feature poet slot at Cheltenham Poetry Festival. He’s also attempting to write his first CNF for a solicited publication, and sitting on a couple of exciting but as-yet-secret poetry-related announcements, one for later this year and one for 2021.