My name is Leah. I live and write in Wellington, New Zealand. Welcome!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday Poem: 'Papaya'


You asked me if I liked
these jewel fruits
and offered me one,
languid and ripe in your hands,
standing close to me as I considered it.

We cut it open on the ground
so the seeds,
caviar black,
spilled out on the dirt,
and its blushing heart was revealed.

We pinched its flesh,
pulled it out in
fibrous strands
and fed each other.

This is how respect is shown here -
the transfer of nourishment
from hand to mouth;
the sacrifice of the most basic of needs
one to another.

Birds came for the seeds later,
fanning their feathers
in iridescent flashes
and leaving soon after.

- Leah McMenamin

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

'Seaside' - Flash Fiction

Here the toetoe grow, here where the dunes declare their origin, where the sand meets the sea and the sea stretches forever. Here we lay our blanket and spread our meal – the crisp crackle of plastic being torn and crackers tumbling out; watching the soft cheese bulge until it gives way to the knife; lemonade hissing and bananas splitting.

You cross your legs and tuck your hair behind your ears. All gentle innocence, you are, all light and solicitous silence. School is fine, you tell me. What else makes up your life? Play dates and Saturday morning television and excitement over being allowed a McDonalds sundae last night.

 The wind is sharp and clouds begin to cover the sky. Above us the cliffs rise, gaunt and unapologetic, and I wish I’d just taken you to the cinema. Your eyes are the same grey of the sea, and when you get up to show me your cartwheels your limbs stretch and twist, silvered with fair hairs.

A dog comes up to you, its fur matted with sea water. You pick up a piece of driftwood and throw it, the dog fetches it and brings it back. A middle-aged woman approaches, greying hair snatched in handfuls by the wind.

The woman calls the dog and it races towards her. You come and join me on the blanket again, open your hand and show me a shell you have picked up. Rose pink with scalloped edges. You put it in your pocket for later.

This is my first attempt at Flash Fiction and it was so much fun! For more great Flash Fiction visit the Tuesday Poem website, or Flash Frontier.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday Poem: 'Against Still Life', Margaret Atwood

Against Still Life

Orange in the middle of a table:

It isn't enough
to walk around it
at a distance, saying
it's an orange:
nothing to do
with us, nothing
else: leave it alone.

I want to pick it up
in my hand
I want to peel the
skin off; I want
more to be said of me
than just Orange:
want to be told
everything it has to say.
And you, sitting across
the table, at a distance, with
your smile contained, and like the orange
in the sun: silent:

Your silence
isn't enough for me
now, no matter with what
contentment you fold
your hands together; I want
anything you can say
in the sunlight:
stories of your various
childhoods, aimless journeyings,
your loves; your articulate
skeleton; your posturings; your lies.

These orange silences
(sunlight and hidden smile)
make me want to
wrench you into saying;
now I'd crack your skull
like a walnut, split it like a pumpkin
to make you talk, or get
a look inside.

But quietly:
if I take the orange
with care enough and hold it

I may find
an egg
a sun
an orange moon
perhaps a skull; center
of all energy
resting in my hand

can change it to
whatever I desire
it to be

and you, man, orange afternoon
lover, wherever
you sit across from me
(tables, trains, buses)

if I watch
quietly enough
and long enough

at last you will say
(maybe without speaking)

(there are mountains
inside your skull,
garden and chaos, ocean
and hurricane, certain
corners of rooms, portraits
of great grandmothers, curtains
of a particular shade;
your deserts; your private
dinosaurs; the first

all I need to know
tell me
just as it was
from the beginning.

Visit Tuesday Poems for more.

© Margaret Atwood, ‘Selected Poems 1965-1975’, Houghter Mifflin Harcourt, 1987


Welcome to my new little online home-sweet-home. I am writing this as an attempt to make a tiny contribution to the New Zealand literary scene, so when you visit you should find links to great writing hubs (for example – and a growing list of exciting blogs.

I love reading. If I could spend every minute of every day sitting (or standing, or crouching, or kneeling, or lying) somewhere warm with a book I would. Once a week I’ll post an excerpt from a book I, or someone else I’ve spoken to, is reading. No analysis of it or anything – just something to share the reading love! I’m going to put them up on a Monday to get us all through the week ahead – you’ll find them under Monday Inspiration.

I also write. When I say write, I mean I am often found scribbling nonsensical sentences on scraps of paper and occasionally cobbling them together into a poem or short story. Once a week I’ll try and post a poem I’ve written, or a poem I love, as a contribution towards the wonderful poetry project MaryMcCallum has started – as listed above, the Tuesday Poem. You’ll find these, as the title suggests, on a Tuesday, entitled Tuesday Poem.

This week is also New Zealand Flash Fiction Week, so sometime before Friday I will hope to get a piece of flash fiction up as well. Flash Fiction is described rather delightfully by Mary McCallum as the “lovechild of poetry and short stories”. It’s lots of fun, so definitely pay the NZFF website a visit. 

So, welcome, and I hope I’ll see you around here again soon!