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2003 - Saloni M swims East


Angela Costi

Angela Costi
’s words have appeared in well known print and online publications, and been presented at a great number of stages and festivals, including most recently Sojourner (print periodical, Boston), Tattoo Highway (online journal, California) and Thylazine (Australian online literary journal). The reLOCATED arts project, for which she was writer-in-residence at the Kensington Public Housing Estate, received the National Award for Innovation and Excellence in Community Services 2002. Her words often explore the marriage of English and the Cypriot-Greek dialect (that she grew up with).

She co-ordinated and performed in Saloni Mediterranean (1999) and Saloni M goes South (2000).

For the Saloni M swims East event on Friday, December 5, she presented:

two poems, Oxford Street, Sydney: Aphrodite seeks Adonis and Khindi Hospital, Baghdad (2003): Aphrodite is tested.




Oxford Street, Sydney: Aphrodite seeks Adonis

I can hear Persephone and Hera
teasing, laughing, through the squawks
of these polluted birds:
he’s escaped you, doesn’t want you
you won’t find him, he’s not yours
he’s not yours ¾ Vile Viragoes!

They should be showering my path
with rose petal raindrops
or shrills of remorse, after all
Persephone has also lost
her part-time access ¾ Ha Ha!
she’s back to fucking the dead.

Adonis, where are you?
It’s bitter-sweet torment
being a mop, unable to wring myself
dry, heavily soaked in the desire
between my legs,
remembering yours.

Possibly I was demanding
but you faithfully performed
javelin was always
your better sport ¾
ready, aim, firing
every time.

And now I’m soaked in tears
knowing you’ve turned
from my leera’s tickling tune
to sex-starved rooms
belting, bleating electro machines
and men playing Gods

banging their thunder, a lunatic lust
¾ You Need Me
to help you recall
the smell of wild iris
the taste of honey
being suckled from fig.

You could have confided,
guiding your delights in this phase
would be fun, no need for pretence
discarding girdle for g-strings
mesh stockings, leather cock-rings
to be Mardi Gra’s Pied-Piper of Sex

¾ well, straightening the path
just a little.
and yes, I can have others
easy seduction, again and again
‘Come interlink with my Magic Girdle’
leaving a burning trail

of lovers
like me

believing magic lies
with hip bone
to keep our escapees.

© Angela Costi 2001.

Khindi Hospital, Baghdad (2003): Aphrodite is tested

Not even I can transplant a bomb’s gift
its boxed-in horror rams through all that softens
a bouquet of bitter orange claws, piercing red
so far away from honour’s first present.

We are all armless here, rendered in marble
tears frozen between the pause of blasts
a torso, a face, a groin, one leg or half
arranged on beds like toppled plinths.

The Gods of War have feasted well
have chewed, swallowed, spat, licked
left me these open broken hearts
on tables held by thumb and scalpel.

If this were a brothel or monastery
my steps would gain a significance
somewhere in lust and constant prayer
supplication worships innocence.

Here, I reach out in timid breaths
my steps invisible tracks of desire
a shadow memory, a thin trace
before the sky became their enemy.

The smaller bodies are the quietest
a pink veil shifts, little fingers tread air
a girl with blood soaked eyes
smiles in sleep, she feels her mother.

© Angela Costi 2003.

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