Published in Overland Issue 249 Summer 2022 · Poetry Poetry | Wild geese Jini Maxwell With apologies to Mary Oliver Today my laptop registers like an organ like I can feel it, even from the other side of the house I should find my own rotten way back to some kind of mindfulness practice I should open the windows of my dark room I should read more of the works of celebrated poet Mary Oliver she wrote about geese—which is huge but I hate poems that offer me forgiveness for all the shitty indignities of being alive Feeling bad and watching YouTube about it is a human right I will not be seduced into self-compassion by something as embarrassing as poetry Maybe my ‘despair’ is private Maybe my despair is embarrassing Maybe my embarrassment is sacred I would like to worship at the altar of a more cringe God I think I’d really like a God who I’d see out on the weekend and feel a bit bad for like in the scheme of things, God is fine but He’s not having……. the most charismatic night Then I could pray about my stupid little life like: > hey man > oh yeah don’t even ask—I was crazy And I’d know He’d get it—like get it get it Despite Mary’s insistence, maybe I’m not lonely so much as under-stimulated I keep describing emotionally charged situations as ‘weird’ The soft animal of my body wants to cop a filthy root and then not talk about it to anyone I’d like to see wild geese and just see animals and not a metaphor inciting me to feel better Or asking me to feel calm about my failures, which are only human, and therefore intolerable and if that fails, I’d like to see if you want to come over no pressure tho—only if you have time I actually DMed God after you kissed me and He was like > oh you’ve got it BAD babe > it’s okay, i reckon just go with it—that’s what > being a soft animal is all about Jini Maxwell Jini Maxwell is a writer and curator. They are currently working on a poetry collection called Summer Animal. More by Jini Maxwell › Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 8 September 202312 September 2023 · Poetry Poetry | Games Heather Taylor-Johnson Days pinch and lately I’ve noticed every time I look in the mirror I’m squinting—maybe it’s a grimace. Without trying I’ve mastered the façade of a Besser block threatened by a mallet, by which I mean maybe the world won’t kill me but it’ll definitely hurt and I’ve got to be ready. First published in Overland Issue 228 31 August 20236 September 2023 · Poetry Verbing the apocalypse: Alison Croggon’s Rilke Josie/Jocelyn Suzanne ‘This again?’ and ‘why now? Why not years ago?’ are the two questions raised in each new translation of a non-English piece of Western Canon. There’s an understanding—of course a poetic cycle like the Duino Elegies is incomplete in English, there are endless new readings—and a simultaneous sense of wounded pride/suspicion: what was missing the last time around? What were you concealing from me? What are you concealing now?