New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016 highly commended: ‘Anneslea fragrans’ by Magdalena Ball

Anneslea fragrans

First there is touch
teasing evergreen into position
waking naked
against sunlight
hot plasma in the morning
opens bracts

you can feel the tension
the garden on full alert

each root tip
the locus of electrical signals
reacting to groping fingers
sharp to the eye, but yielding
ready for the spit
scenting the air in anticipation
chemical compounds
communicating a warning
from the roots

there were no bees this year

silence buzzed through the air
an absence of sound
the hives empty
epithelial tissues connecting
to nothing

the air hurt with it

your eyes adjusting
the yellow cream points
unfiltered, unfettered
ready to pollinate
plant, interrupted

what else is on the way out

the list grows long
Javan Rhinos, Vaquita
Sumatran Tiger

pulses like sound waves
transmitted in
voltage-based signaling
a green nervous system
sending out alcohols, aldehydes, ketones
plant to plant
the botanical telegraph

with your bad hearing
you’ll need to get down to earth level
to get the phytomorphic shivers

the splitting of senses
is a human-only perversion
most of what we taste is smell
taking the warning in vibrations
against the skull
terroir, a bitter crunch, crumbing
against the lips
almost desire

the spitting plant waits
Corymbs branching outward into warmth

a day that might not last
ineffably sad
ready for evolution.

-Magdalena Ball


Magdalena Ball

Magdalena Ball is a novelist, poet, reviewer, interviewer, and the editor of Compulsive Reader. She has been widely published in literary journals, anthologies, and is the author of several books of poetry and fiction. Her most recent work includes, the novel, Black Cow (Bewrite Books), and the collection of poetry, Unmaking Atoms (forthcoming, Ginninderra Press).




‘Anneslea fragrans’ (the spitting plant): Zalehah Turner interviews Magdalena Ball, highly commended for the New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016


This entry was posted in Issue 20, New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016, New Shoots Poetry Prizes and tagged , , , , , by Zalehah Turner. Bookmark the permalink.

About Zalehah Turner

Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based poet, photographer, cultural journalist, and Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review (RSR). Zalehah regularly contributes articles and interviews on poetry, art, film, and new media for RSR and the UTS magazine, Vertigo. Zalehah’s poetry was projected onto the Federation Square Wall in Melbourne as part of the Overload Poetry Festivals, 2008 and 2009; exhibited at Mark and Remark ,107 Projects, Redfern in 2013; and displayed in Alice Springs and Moruya thanks to Australian Poetry Café poets, Laurie May and Janette Dadd respectively. Her poems have been published in Writing Laboratory (2013), Sotto (2013), Social Alternatives (2016), Vertigo (2016, 2017), UTS’s The Empathy Poems Project (2017) and Rochford Street Review (2017). She co-judged the New Shoots Poetry Prizes 2016 alongside, Tamryn Bennett, Artistic Director of The Red Room Company, and published the winning and highly commended poems. Zalehah is currently working on an intermedia poetry collection entitled, 'Critical condition', focused on the interstitial threshold between life and death in medical crises based on personal experience. Zalehah holds a BA in Communication with a major in writing and cultural studies from the University of Technology, Sydney where she continues to pursue pushing the boundaries of multimedia poetry in Honours (Communication- Creative Writing).