You are on page 1of 13

Chinatown Journal

Volume 1

SUMMER





























TABLE OF CONTENTS



Leo Hunt …. 1
Sam Rowe…. 2
S.P. … 3
Kate Duckney… 5
Alessandro Powell… 6
Vanessa Saunders… 7
Andy Stallings… 8































Coda

We were marooned together, so far as I remember. I’ve been told this past
century was mainly concerned with the dissolution of boundaries: the tide lashing,
soaking into darkening sand; the sea and sky drawn together into a bright seam, a
vanishing point, the horizon trembling in heat. A generation of clouds. Perhaps
there never was a boat.
By day we wade in shallow seas, examining the wildlife of this place;
armies of parched white crabs, sprats and semi-colons of purple seaweed. There
are trees for shade, and my beard is coming along famously. Every evening the
ocean is aflame with fluorescent creatures; by the huss of our fire we tell each
other a story. I speak of ancient wars, widowers cooking, rain falling on felt hats.
She tells of violent deaths, sandstorms, the lives of celebrated animals. This tale
has been told for years. No end is in sight.
I hope we will become lost in our story, she and I, able to communicate
only through new chapters and incidents. This is how the rescue ships will find us,
brash and babbling, like the carnival-colored birds that roost in the trees overhead.


Leo Hunt























Still Life With Plaster Cupid

framed in the tub yr
deft frame spitting
sexy droplets

Draw me like yr French girls
you said head in
the bowl trying to tell

blood from tomato and
as you thrust a
banana in my

face I thought Here
a spear trapped in fibre – could
that be translated?

slipping back into the
bath grasping
overripe pears to

shoot pears at the canvas pears
rapidly growing then
falling

gone
my paintbrush
clamped in yr pearl drops


Sam Rowe













The Cove

After we finished high school, Maja and I went on a trip together. We were part of a bigger group
of girls, and hadn’t been that close, but as high school was ending we seemed to draw together, and
I was happy to be going alone with her. She chose the destination, a resort at the cove. I think this
decision was in no small part influenced by the movie Dirty Dancing, which we had both seen a
hundred times and loved completely un-ironically.
Maja could drive, and was allowed to use her older brother’s shitty convertible while he was
living upstate with his girlfriend, something we suspected to be a temporary arrangement. Maja’s
favorite pair of shoes that summer were a pair of cork wedges that she had to take off to drive. On
the way I remember us talking about whether or not we shaved down there, the pros and cons. It
was the kind of conversation you have when you’re settling into a new period of intimacy with a
friend, almost to prove it. The whole drive I kept looking down at her feet, with the imprints of the
straps left by her shoes.

On our third afternoon we were by the pool and Maja wanted to smoke a joint. We left our bags and
towels on the sun loungers and wandered into the trees. Maja leaned against the wall of a hut. I can
picture her vividly against that wall – she was very pale and very blonde, the wall was pebble-dash
painted turquoise. She had a pre-rolled joint and a lighter curled in her hand, so loosely I was
worried as we walked around the pool that it would fall out and get wet, but the reason she did it
was because that way you couldn’t tell she had anything in her hand.
She lit up and had a few tokes before passing it over to me. It hit me, not hard, but I felt
pretty heavy. The color of the wall behind Maja intensified; I could hear each individual sound from
each individual bird or insect and the wash of the ocean down in the cove.
It was about then that Maja said the thing. I didn’t hear it at first, or I did, but I didn’t realise
what she’d said for a while. It was, ‘Do you want to touch my tits? Or my pussy?’ Then she said,
‘You’ve been staring at them all day.’
It made me look again. I could see the fold of her labia, her tight nipples, through the wet
fabric of her bikini.
Maja was smoking the joint and looking at me, not like she was playing some horrible
game, but not without a smile, either. It had been said so casually, or maybe I was just so baked,
that it didn’t seem like a huge deal to do it. I stepped forward and brought my right hand up and slid
it under the fabric of her bikini top. She closed her eyes and swayed back against the wall. I touched


her how I liked to be touched, kind of lightly squeezing and rolling a little, pinching the nipple
gently. My body felt insanely warm. I was wet, I was melting. After a second I moved my hand
down and put my forefinger in her panties. She was completely smooth and soft. I didn’t bother
pushing inside, just got my fingertip good and slippery and slid it over her clit. She had her eyes
closed still, she was doing that frown-and-open-your-mouth face from porn, and I knew we weren’t
actually having sex, we were just messing around. I took my hand away and stepped back.
She opened her eyes, took a drag on the joint and handed it back to me. The whole thing had
lasted less than twenty seconds. Once the joint was finished we went back to the pool and she got
another round of cocktails. They came in two flavors, one was yellow with a cherry garnish, the
other was blue. I got the next round, and then we got hungry. We got dinner at a little café three
miles away, and after we came back to the resort.
It was different at night when the neon lights came on. Maja went off by herself and I
prowled around the deserted poolside smoking. After a while the weird guy who laid out the
breakfast came out into the courtyard. He was weird, I felt, because he knew he was not good-
looking. Also he lived out here, in the ass-end of nowhere, and probably the only people he met at
the resort were middle-aged couples in Hawaiian shorts. He was easy prey: I had only to call across
the pool, with that beautiful dancing waterlight illuminating us both, to seal the deal. He took me to
the staff kitchen. I rode him until I came, and then I had to jerk him with my hand because I wasn’t
on the pill. I don’t think he said a word, not even to complain.
I went back to our room not with a sense of shame, exactly, just unease. Maja wasn’t back
yet. She had tipped her bag out all over her bed, probably in search of condoms, and left the
garbage strewn over her pillow. There was a crumpled joint among the scraps. I thought about
lighting up, but for once I was kind of OK without it. I lay down on the bed and tried to drift off,
but it was too hot. I rolled around on the sheets trying to find a patch of cotton that was still cool
until I heard Maja tripping up the steps to the door. I turned away and pretended to be asleep,
breathing deep and even. She huffed and came over to my bed – she was too lazy to move all the
stuff on her own. She got down on the bed behind me, half-naked and skin burning hot.
‘I love you,’ she said.

Later that year, when I moved to the city, I started dating a guy. I used to see him talking to people I
knew, or sitting alone at the bar on his phone, and feel something give way. It was the close-
cropped hair at the back of his neck, a part of him that was too tender.


S.P.




Orlando

can I take myself to the edge and forget myself when myself is a gleam in a leg crook
a dent between hinges while the water makes me lovely, lovely catching the kind of light
that kindles diamond cool on submarine walls

even when there is nothing and nobody to know a beauty in hills where the shadowplay
of high hawks ripple over stone and a wind tries to teach me
of hollows that whistle and ache the valves that blink on a day like today

where I have myself featureless as the face of prayer
on these heights above the houses the tucked, breathless village
in its warped smallness against the green like whalebone I feel myself think
as the wind falls flat inside igneous combs of marrow


Kate Duckney























Rivers of Light
An abridged version, inspired by Brassai’s Paris By Night

Rivers of light; rivers
Of light; rivers more
Like detrital motes.
Chiseled from night,
The arch is scaled
By shadows of
Trees; an incandescent legion;
Fog-rise from streets
Paved with light. Some
Windows never close,
Like the eyes of the blind.

*
Logs of it passing beneath
The bridge of the night & all
The trains leave trails
Of moonshine, as they do
Shuffle to bed, solemnized
By an unblinking artificial
Eye. A fork of
Otherwise invisible light
Creeps over garden wall.
Trees look away for shame.
Meanwhile, the gods play at connect
Four with human souls.

*
A chorus of Christmas trees. Let
The light be your valet. Making-up
The Eiffel tower like a napkin. Stars.
They linger, inside hubcaps,
Handicapped, beside Ballerinas. They
Toss balloons
Full of light from a suspended
Disc, splattering against frescos.
As though this veil
Were wrought from rubbish
Bags; intangible collage: raccoon
Got into the light, last night. Barges
In the dawn, towing.

Alessandro Powell







It was always good. Standing under a cobalt sky, your limbs flapping inside your coat. Maybe we’d
trip down the stone steps, then back up them. Maybe we would lie carefully on the grass, blowing
our ocher breath back into the air. You took me to a mass of conifers to antagonize my thoughts.
My kitchen was too warm. The time passed too slowly, you said, when I was there.

The sun wasn’t out. There was something about the lack of color coating that city



Vanessa Saunders

































To Janine Wilkin

I don't know
Janine there's
wind in my
shirt music gets
in there like
samples of the
brightest paints
walking out for a Coke
& it's cold this
evening the sky
distorts around
a patch of too-much
melody
& Joseph
Lease's “Free
Again” who cares
right now about
international
nationalist
futurists Blaise
Cendrars I'm sorry
for all I've lifted I
don't know what
poetry is for I've
come to you
for that I've
even watched
the video where
you look for your
friend Modigliani
in an ancient building
ancient yourself &
there's something in
how deliberately
you move that
makes me get
how you might have
looked at Mardi Gras
out a window & smoked
a cigarette made
coffee stayed
awake an hour more
I can never stay


awake I'd rather
no question watch
from an open window
a crowd of people
waiting to board
a bus than sit in some
intelligent cafe
& it's hard
for me to see
what the New York
School ever did but talk
amongst themselves
about the French &
who cares anyone
awake to Apollinaire
is music I walk past
these old houses
full of novels these
old loves shoved
in drawers I
think of the
biographies of
the poets their
lives some simple
some complex &
here there isn't much
difference Cendrars
Nezval O'Hara
Apollinaire faces
plush with distance
a broken tide of
salutation & I just
don't know
what it's for
poetry's really
got to move to stay
alive the streets are
empty & clean
& I never really
meant to sleep but
always I am
asleep in the teeth
of the era if song
bursts as Bowman
said the windows
wide John
Janine the night's
still a place


we might walk
around in without
figuring anything
out my exhaustion
not the night
regards me the
bridge spills traffic
over the city all
night like
shards of a new
century –


Andy Stallings


































THE END