FAP winner – Poetry: Working holiday

for Josefina

‘sunny city room for rent’
turns out to be a balcony
covered with a blue tarp
cloud stains
on share mattress
sewage-leak faces on the ceiling
$190 per week

lost at every left turn
fever end of days
scraping still-good sandwiches
into bags to be buried
bodies into beds on uber rotation
pushing garbage up hills
salmonella double shifts

airport to casino jackpot
you call  abuelita
whisper into distance
‘the days are bright
we live in the sky like birds
safe from rising sea’
no tips just rubbish on the back seat

sound of sick fish at her feet
truth is tuna cans
and cabbage for both of us
telenovela suspense clinging
to hope across the sea
‘see you in six months’
her voice quakes

you can’t say you’re hungry
there’s no money for the ticket
just sparks in a coin jar
she prays all the saints
and you light the last copal
plastic marigold on milk crate altar
fingers worked to marrow

tomorrow you’ll wake
to be fired
you are not the favourite
you don’t understand the maps
paint spill in the van
boxes break your
back his face ablaze

spit foaming in waves
you won’t outrun this storm
even if you wanted
wind blows the walls away
water bends the bridge
no clocking off or golden spoon
pillow wet from someone else’s crying

landslide back home
boys turned to soil
they stop counting gas explosions
her voice shaking
your shift just beginning
limbs stiff as funeral flowers
what sunrise will make you human again?




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Guillermo R Batiz

Guillermo R Bátiz is Mexican composer, artist and translator living in Sydney, Australia. He has played multiple international avant-garde festivals such as MUTEK, Plataforma and Interface, alongside musicians like Murcof, Sigur Rós, Telefon Tel Aviv, Manrico Montero and Justice. After many years trying to break into his field in Australia, he now works as a chef.

More by Guillermo R Batiz ›

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