from Issue #4: Poetry by Erin Martine Sessions

Photo (CC) Quinn Dombrowski @ Flickr

Photo (CC) Quinn Dombrowski @ Flickr



I’m bruised by a memory of you: sitting
on the café porch, drinking bad coffee
and sharing your carambola, watching
characters from my next poem pass by.

Starry-eyed, they stare at the sea behind
us but they don’t see your withering glare.
What on earth do you want from me? I find
you flagrant so I contemplate tearing

this page, editing details, cutting you
out… I want the sea to swallow you whole,
as I eat your carambola. More fool you
because, although I won’t tell you, I know
that just like this devoured starfruit,
love’s balance lies in the ripeness and ruin.





Sometimes I’m convinced you’re a boy
– those small almost imperceptible fists
stretch at my stomach and annoy
my sides – sometimes I’m convinced.

“You’re a girl,” I insist
as you plié, jeté and enjoy
(just a little too much) dancing

atop my bladder. You must be a decoy,
I think, because now my poetry consists
of dislocated thoughts and lines I can’t deploy.
You take my creative spark – of that I’m convinced.




Roses & Salt

Left or right? Which side to sleep on? But,
of course, I won’t sleep. If I sleep I might find
myself in your rose garden. Dreams aren’t
a bad thing, but there is more than the weight

of roses in the air. Too many budding thoughts,
too many burgeoning petals and you are like
no thorn I have ever known. Which way will you face
reclining on your rose garden bench?

Looking away from me, you say
the roses are intoxicating. Wasted words
aren’t a bad thing, but there is more truth
in what is not said. Too many flowery words,

too many unwalked garden paths
and my waking is perennial.
Left or right? Which side of the bed do you sleep on?
When you sleep is there a rose garden?

Sleep isn’t a bad thing, but there are more
roses than I can prune. Too many leaves to collect,
too many scents to dream, too many stems to cut
and when we wake it has all turned to salt.



Erin Martine Sessions is a Sydney-based poet whose work has appeared in Australian Love Poems 2013Contrappasso, the Jean Cecily Drake-Brockman prize anthology Long Glances, Sparks, and Swamp. She is a part-time librarian, part-time lecturer and always a poet.

from issue #2: Poetry by Erin Martine Sessions (I)


Photo (CC) Josh Semans @ Flickr


If I were a house

I would have a cast iron
spiral staircase from the cellar
to the attic so that head
and heart could confer.
I’d have a rocking
chair on the balcony that arches
back to indecision and lurches
forward to light bulb moments.
There would be a weather
vane on the roof to warn
of my swarming mood.
I’m pretty sure my floors
would be polished
hardwood for resistance
to your whirling elements.
The laundry would have
a machine just for
washing my mouth out.
My wine-coloured dining
table would always have
an extra place set.
I would have one window
left open
for you to climb in.


New Year

Your eyes were colder and sharper
than the icicles that overhung
from your gutters. Your hair, like the sky,
was greying, and your new house was as
ostentatious as your introduction.

In August you snuck a glance
over the tops of your agapanthus,
their finger-like fronds
reached through our
fence and into my yard.

A month later you ventured
past your melting ice
demeanour and flower-fence
to watch me through the window
with those steely eyes.

In Spring you followed me,
steam rising from
the footpath, but the heat
I felt was your gaze
on the back of my neck.

I knew from the knock
it was you on my stoop —
some excuse to borrow
a book. You smelled
like coffee and Christmas.

At a New Year’s party with
all our neighbours, I avoided
your glimpses and fixed my eyes
on the fireworks. The moon
was round and gold like your wife’s ring.



ERIN MARTINE SESSIONS is an emerging poet based in Sydney. Contrappasso is the first place in which she has been published. Later in 2012 her work will also appear in Sparks, the Sydney University Anthology, and Volume 11 of Swamp, an online magazine for creative writing postgraduates. Erin has a Bachelor of Ancient History (Honours) from Macquarie University, a Bachelor of Christian Studies from the Australian College of Theology, and a Master of Creative Writing from the University of Sydney. She is a part-time student, part-time registrar, part-time librarian, and always a poet.


Sydney launch

Image Daniel Boud, Tourism NSW

Image Daniel Boud, Tourism NSW

Thanks to everybody who came along to the Sydney launch of our second issue on December 12 and to the contributors who read at the event: Mark Tredinnick, Tessa Lunney, Erin Martine Sessions, Daniel East, Chris Oakey, Elias Greig, and Luke Whitington. Poetry editor Theodore Ell read Antigone Kefala‘s ‘The Fatal Queen’. Editor Matthew Asprey read extracts from Mimi Lipson‘s ‘Safe, Courteous, Reliable’ and Floyd Salas‘s ‘Steve Nash, Homosexual Transient’.

Photo: Canberra Launch @ Manning Clark House


Photograph by Clare Anderson

At the Canberra launch of Contrappasso #2. Left to right: editor Matthew Asprey, poets Mark O’Connor, Erin Martine Sessions, Chris Oakey, and Luke Whitington, and poetry editor Theodore Ell.

For our Sydney readers, don’t forget: we launch issue #2 at Sappho Books in Glebe on Wednesday 12 December (6pm start).