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For my partner’s first visit to his village, my father brings us to the highest peak of the Pyrenees My partner asks why the word etxe appears everywhere, from road signs to restaurants, town halls to hotels My father explains it means ‘house’, and that the house is very important for the Basques   My father doesn’t mention a Basque would rather immolate himself and his family than lose his house Gabriel Aresti had his people in mind when he wrote ‘My Father’s House’ My father doesn’t admit losing his house would be a mutilation   My father tells us the etxe is so important here his neighbours know him by the name of his house My father forgets to add he regularly threatens to disinherit me of his every time I stand up to him   My father explains that the eldest child used to inherit the family house so the other siblings had to emigrate to Argentina to earn a living What he doesn’t say is many of them refused to buy land in America because it would have meant bidding farewell to their Basque house   Many Basque surnames have etxe as their root, like Etxegaray My father deciphers our own: Iri = the city, garay = above, and at last I understand this is all about place  – my surname, this visit, my angst and anger at never feeling at home in any country –   My father concludes with: it is very Basque, to leave and return
ETXE

Prize Entry

November 2019

Julie Irigaray

It would’ve been easier if she hadn’t been known For the chickens But she was famous for these white, Undappled hens, which she’d bring to Perquín to sell On weekends The mayor’s chickens, they were called, As if her husband would ever want them (regal though They were), elegant as the egrets that are still Left to wander the presidential palace in Panama City By the time it happened, the buildings had gathered up The evening to form a landscape, and the streets grown Rancid, like oblong containers from the kind of potluck, In a dank small town, that people will choose to attend Out of boredom, and call a world  Her son was staying In San Salvador to study, and so she was alone                                                  They came for her, and her Box of hens, in three military vehicles, the passengers Disguised as radicals It would be different if they hadn’t Been so quiet They arrested her She was accused of Standing with guerrillas, Vesta at her hearth, in her slacks And a dead son’s blazer, like a queen expatriate In tenuous provinces And her crime was simple, she was The Mother of Intellectuals, the ideal accomplice It’s noted among us that this was recorded in mediocre Spelling, in a functionary’s awkward Palmer hand, As mader de intelectos [sic], a piece of wood, then, Made of the intellect To make her an idea Of accomplishment — it would’ve be different if they Hadn’t been so quiet Soon, some women Who stood outside the barracks — the ones who Ordinarily might jump to buy white chickens — turned When they heard her singing and heard her ringing Her keys against the walls, as if her room were full Of open doors, as if her greatest urgency should be That the room should leave to meet the evening Slowly they turned her body into a torso Then it was A floor Rarely do rooms like these have hands

Prize Entry

November 2019

Vesta

Yvette Siegert

Prize Entry

November 2019

It would’ve been easier if she hadn’t been known For the chickens. But she was famous for these white,...

(This work is an extract from a longer poem of the same name)       This is a site for production This is a site for presentation  What is to be produced? What is to be presented?  This is a site for the production and presentation of a particular kind of subject  A subject marked by its pursuit of liberty, by individualism and collectivity, competition and cooperation By the sophistication of its speech    This is what we do with our comfort  This is what we do with our plenty    You are watching me, and I begin to watch Rather than using the gift, I reflect upon it Cobwebs2 Among the cobwebs, there, gathering in the corner of the doorway, a form persists, a tool, a silence, towards cleaving, carving, separating us from one another politically, aesthetically, socially, so that we may create a demand for these things we make, that appear here, that we do not yet have a name for     Minds are bending to the shape of this walking stick    This is a violence that can be overcome      What stick or stone is at hand to jam this twentyfourhour self-improvement, self-understanding, self-actualisation and total education? 3       Imagined public space  imagined public law  and in the air  experience and habit float…  experience, he says, is the way through danger4   I wait for Him to come  And I am nothing outside of this  While waiting, I swim,  stalk the interior  One way to move through the world among many  I surround you in my way of moving, my becoming –  monotone address, edge and end  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 minutes    2  Two words –  equality and equivalence  these are frequencies in the expression  of chronic fragmentation and chronic totality      I didn’t want to individuate  and now I am nothing  but a self-interrupting whole,5 a memory full of holes  haunted by the unpolitical    Someone said that this is where our obsession with voice capital V comes from And that listening instead, is grounded in our experience of the sacred It is our

Prize Entry

November 2019

Phrase1

Beth Dynowski

Prize Entry

November 2019

(This work is an extract from a longer poem of the same name.)       This is a...

You realise you haven’t eaten in days   Dirty dishes line the counters; your twin toddlers glitch in and out of their high chairs, mustering twin howls of outrage You give up; pass out on a floor slick with plumbing malfunctions Someone, as always, is watching and will come to your aid   Your husband is home from work but his pay barely touches the bills strewn across the front lawn Sometimes you wish for a meteor, or a swarm of bees Sometimes you think the only way out of this suburban hellscape is through the foundations, trapped waist-deep, pissing yourself into the cellar   Someone will make it all right; and anyway none of this is real: leading scientists guess we are ninety-nine-per-cent probably living a simulation   Against your better judgment, you pull up a chair and Play Video Games until 6 am   You realise you haven’t eaten in days
Swimming Pool; No Ladder

Prize Entry

November 2019

Flora de Falbe

Three Poems

poetry

October 2019

Jenna Clake

poetry

October 2019

SELF-PORTRAIT AS THE OPENING OF A WINDOW ON A HOT MORNING   Three men carry a large snake home. This morning, the pantry was...

 

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