blackmail press 32
Jenny Clay
New Zealand

Moka's Utu - Penny Howard
Jenny Clay has had poetry published in Takahe, Tongue in Your Ear, Live Lines, New Zealand Poetry Society anthologies, and in Blackmail Press and Southern Ocean Review. A year spent on a Whitireia writing course helped her writing to become more exploratory. In 2009 she was awarded a mentorship by the NZ Society of Authors to develop her biography of a nineteenth century collector, significant in Auckland’s development. She is interested in layers of history and in art forms interacting. In 2011 she entered the challenge of "Metonymy" to produce a collaborative piece with an artist within two months. Their joint work was selected for the exhibition at Corban Estate Arts Centre, an artwork of six photographs and poems around the theme of ‘Paper, Scissors and Stone’.

Staying Within Boundaries

I toot a duck
on a pedestrian crossing
by the intermediate school

he waddles slowly
over the lines,
does not go
into a flap.

At the dentist
my mouth
full of injections
the nerve below
my right eye
goes numb
and the poster
a Grahame Sydney landscape
on the ceiling swims
thick glasses
protecting from flying filing
and tooth.

I try to be still,
grind my teeth only
when I’m told to.

The Capture                                                           

From inside
camera obscura
sensitized metal plate
exposed with
vapour of mercury

holographic image

bright light
staring eyes
pose held
perfectly still

carte de viste
pocket postcard

albumen prints
beat fresh eggs
to a froth
and coat onto glass

wet collodion plates
glassy negatives
expose before dry

darkroom chemicals
adding spirits
altered images

album pages
of black and white photos
change into colour
as they draw closer

a ten year old girl
takes a photo
of her sister’s kapa haka
on her cellphone
sends it up north
via satellite.

Previously published in Live Lines Volume III

Past and Present                                                 

The man of the couple
in the queue to leave
Cockatoo Island
said, ‘We’re from Hamilton,
but we’ve lived in Parramatta
for eighteen months.’
Two Australians were
between us.

The man talked of
how New Zealand
is moving towards Australia
by centimetres
a centimetre a year
the continental drift
how after an earthquake
it moved about 30 centimetres

The man from Hamilton
who lives in Parramatta said,
‘We can’t let all
the boat people in,
must put them somewhere.’

Cockatoo Island was a convict prison
later an industrial site
hosts the Sydney Biennale
in the twenty-first century
experimental art
sharing space
with aged wood
and corrugated buildings.

In the old overseers house
a film of a woman
using her body’s performance
as a voice
being drowned
in a drum of water
her face pushed in
pulled out
pushed in
pulled out
by a large muscled man
again and again
she splutters for breath

I felt complicit
in the waterboarding
left the others

Scissors and Stone                      one of a series of six poems for Metonymy 2011

forgotten tombs
old faults
buried fossils

sediment slips
from cliff-face
a girl floating
watches rock
a woman walks
her dogs

water dripping
to stone
the throbbing sound
solidifies in

peel back
with the sharp end
until the blade
on bedrock.

Intersecting Roads                                                         

The sign says
where the way
is larger


when the road seal
stops abruptly
by broken lines
you ask me
where we’re
travelling to

let’s crawl
through the dry stalks
on our bellies I say
pull out all
the fence posts
and wind them
into a bundle

if you’ll be
the WAY
I’ll be
the GIVE