blackmail press 26
Emily Wright
New Zealand

from: Angipanis of the Abanimal People - Andy Leleisi'auo
Emily Starrett Wright is a student at Auckland University and an emerging writer. Her work has been previously published in Blackmail Press 23, Bravado, Potroast and the NZ Herald.

Tainui Road

The green and the open
places inside me

won’t let me go:
they’re not keen

on me establishing
some nice little inner city flat.

They're jealous,
green with it. Green,

and red with the tablets of kauri bark.

and grey like the sky pressing a nosy rained-on face
on our clean windows. Green

with the sigh of the branches.

There's no need for such nonsense-
I know as well as anyone

If green is anything
it’s the leaves

that grow round the walls there, and blue
is the smudge of sea like a bad painting,
and all sound

is contained
in the tui’s liquid throat
and there is no ending

to the sky. Open the door and the valley,
open the heart at the table,
the mouths of love and anger.

I'm leaving. I will always
come home.

The Villain

The villain didn't enter with a swagger or a scowl
but with nervous eyes and a cringing grin.

He did twirl a cigarette between his fingers
but the noirish smoke was pale and thin.

The villain had no way to please the audience
the tough-sarcastic-downtown-midnight crowd.

His glass lids waxed open on skirtwise eyes
He made the music dirty, and too loud.

The villain chose the wrong victim. Her eye contact
was exclusively reserved for the stage.

We shouted he's behind you! pantomiming
and the dance floor shrunk like a cage.

The villain crept his villain coat over her shoulders,
the sleeves crawled down and fingered her turned back.

The girl refused the sudden interruption
and turned her tongue to sharpen on attack.

The villain itched and winced and flinched and faded
he inched across the dance-floor like a clown,

boiled his eyes around and waited
for her knight in shining scorn to cut him down.

He thought if he’d done wrong her prince would fight him
but she sharpshot him with a shake of her head,

spun a blazing rebuke out of her pocket.
Wrong. I am the hero, the girl said.