wood & whiskey


POETRY WHICH EXPLORES GOTHIC LANDSCAPES, RUGGED TERRAIN
AND HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS LOST TO MYTH AND LEGEND

trigger warning


the following content contains graphic violence, animal cruelty,
references to slavery and racial and ethnic DEROGATORY TERMS & genocide

The Lowlands Of Scotland

Clouds creep and curl around trees like phantoms.
The grandest of falls collapse into lakes that snake
through, down and into ravines running their silver
under ramshackle bridges. Families of sheep graze on
vast pastures of beige and green blotted with boggy
marshland lying as still as a November night under
the patient freeze of time, and beyond, at dusk, the
last quadrant of sunlight bows before the valleys.

The Decimation Of The Flying Foxes

[Pteropus]: a genus of Megabats, commonly known as fruit bats. Flying foxes are the largest in the world. The only nocturnal pollinator, they are located on the Tropical Islands and mainland of Asia.

QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA, 2019

After her mother was electrocuted on overhead powerlines, a female orphan was found crawling on the nearby pavement by a local resident, her grey, pence-sized face attacked by crows. At three weeks, her frail, trembling body was taken to a rehabilitation home, where the carers wrapped her in small cotton rolls of fuscia and sapphire. They called her Joya. She was bathed, cleaned with Johnson’s Baby Wipes and given quarterly bottle feeds of formulated colostrum and goat milk. Refusing to suck on a pacifier, Joya cried for four days

waiting for her mother, heartbroken and horrified. Her carer spoke to her softly, massaging her small muzzle and gently rocking her against her bosom. Eventually, Joya was at peace. She wrapped her wings around a teddy bear, and tucked her foot in, falling into a deep slumber with a heated pouch and dummy in mouth. A volunteer received a call in the early hours about a palm-sized, hairless bundle brought into a house by a cat. On arrival, he discovered a premmie. Her sunken eyes sealed shut, her thin ears curled inwards. Her breaths shallow,

and short. Severely underweight and dehydrated, he sheltered her in a jacket, lay her on a heated pad and back at the centre, the little girl was given regular fluids via intraperitineal injection, glucose solutions and probiotics; her jaws too weak to suck on a teat. She passed away in the night in her humidicrib. A six-week-old black male was trapped in a large aperture netting while trying to forage garden lychees after his mother flew from the colony one night and never returned. They snipped away the stiff mesh that grasped his wings and throat. His

whole vulnerability in their hands. Reserved, inquisitive. His ears twitching, turning, tuning in to their talk of ‘slice and dice’ webbing, big enough to poke a finger through. At the rehabilitation home, he was bottle-fed and given small pieces of steamed, ripe pear. Here, this precious treasure, with his keen, sniffling nose and deep hickory eyes circling the room, was named Valiente. His carers massaged a small bead of macadamia oil on a small injury to his wing, as they observed for any dieback. One late afternoon, three carers received a call about a large

bat stuck in fencing that guarded an unkempt field. On arrival, their worst fears were realised. The extreme drought forced the mother to venture further for food. With her son tucked under her wing, gripping his teeth securely to her nipple, arms clutching her body, she flew into a stretch of barbed wire. Its coiled whipsaws snarled malicious, slicing her wings with caltrop and claw, shredding her skin and pulling the viscera out of her two-week old. As she tried to detach the wiring with her mouth, the razors carved her whole jaw open, tearing out

several teeth, spearing her throat. Their crisped cadavers stained to vermillion. Mounds of grey and black-headed bats were found underneath trees the subsequent morning. When we talk of die-off, we’re talking in the tens of thousands. Wheelbarrows of dead bodies with umbilical cords boiled alive …brains were completely fried…they only give birth to one child a year… a noxious, red-iron oxide loomed ominous over New South Wales in the December night. 230ft blazes and carmine-tipped clinker scorching mammals and their screams into disappearance.

9 weeks laterJoya and Valiente swing from pole to branch as they lick and chew sweet chunks of mango, custard apples, grapes and soft banana in their creche. Trilling black, grey and red-headed faces all jostle underneath a ceiling of Melaleuca flowers. (Joya always likes to help herself to the apples first, much to Valiente’s, and every other bats’ annoyance.) Their large, leathery wings, soft as eyelids, wrapping their bodies into slow-swaying, delicate ornaments. That evening, the two surrogate parents drove out to a wide clearing, the silhouettes of woodland reaching further

and further. In the backseat lay a large chirruping crate with two curious figures flapping eagerly from inside. Opening the doors, a warm draught flowed through their hair like the return of a forgotten memory. They raised the cage into the air and opened the latch. The stigmas of the land began to open. Welcome to the world, children. After getting their bearings, they stretched out, and let their feet go. Grand wings, broad as the breeze, gliding towards the blossoming eucalyptus forests. The flints still flickering, the gears still grinding, somewhere.

Bones Of No Name

“receipts” – human scalps exchanged for bounty monies paid by the state treasuries of Chihuahua, Durango, Coahuila and Sonora. The contracts issued were solely for the furnishing of Apache Indian scalps in accordance with Kirker’s ‘Sixth Law.’ The year of its conception saw the economic heights of the industry.

SONORA, MEXICO, DECEMBER 1849

The black ants took a severed bud to the hills. Glanton rode his gang of thirteen through pine and juniper. West past Sahuaripa, his coal-black eyes condensed to ocelot spots, oscillating slowly across the landscape, locking the fraying ocotillo into his cynosure. Remolino curls in hushed houses floated into rebozos, and subterranean mine chambers echoed death rattles through moulded timber and carved stone; the cold smelters gaping soot-stained sockets of solemn stillness. Chiselled adobes sat deep like rows of canines half-bludgeoned, the injured remnants neurotic at mizzle kisses and the crude voyeurism of the sun. Look what these red niggers done to this land. Army shudda

taken this three years back. The villagers cheered them through San Miguel De Horcasitas, their shadows morphing into vulpine figures between mesas and steppes, carrying with them contracts issued by the capital city of Ures and escopetas with bores as broad as longhorn gullets. They travelled north through Baviácora and Synoquipe. Lands of clay cried the bleakest of overcasts. Crumbling granaries. Ranches overturned. Quiet haciendas. An Opata child chased an ardilla through the catclaw acacia. Organ pipe cacti stood poised to perform their nocturnal aria. Lobos with lambent ores for eyes hooped and scurried through fissures of adobe walls framing a distant mountain into its present

image. A congregation of bovine bones considered the encroaching vesper with sullen tales of weathered trade routes, muskets which barked Catholic churches into porous anonymity and the bone-oiled hides of jabalí shimmering in the light of the falling star. The bárbaros camped in Arispe, where the Crown’s glory had faded like a peineta’s glint thieved by the closing eye. The vanishing of Jesuits. Serrated mission bells slicing wind currents into ribbons of a felled nation’s former insignia. Mexican soldiers with swollen abdomens. Sopilotes pulled viscera between each other with oily songs as buzzards morphed their aerial conduct into the architecture of a black ovisimo. Certain images stay with men. The

thumbing of tobacco snuff to an orphan’s necrotic portrait. Cleavers and entrails coiled into cleat hooks. Bowie knives with an avaricia for culling every vein pulse, and the torque behind a tomahawk whistling its only known literature into ribcages and organs as if to template its vitriolic vernacular for all creation. Copper canyons calling for chubascos to wash the lands, cranefeathers pushed into the paste of grit, blood and paint, and hovels horned by the wings of eagles hovering overhead. When Comanches from the Southern plains stole a herdsmen’s stock in Chinapa the niño pleaded ¡ayúdanos!, ¡ayúdanos!, offering Glanton silver. Sereño, moreno. He fired at his heart, the ball blowing through his

back like a malignant abscess bursting. They dragged the campesino through devastated vestries and bludgeoned his vomerine with leathered headstocks until all were chalk, gore and mucus bubbling like geysers. His wide-brimmed hat tumbled through an arroyo and was snagged by a crackling brittlebush. The hairs black. Don’t matter if they injins or not. The gang scalped and sawed the right ears off while a pan of nopales burned to black on the stove. The mother gazed at the dusk ahead, curling its gloom into a cigarillo. Get these mexxers receipts ‘fore the savages come. They followed the Rio Sonora to Bacuachi. Northwest saw a party of earless Comanches by the outskirts of Agua Zarca, armed with state-

issued rifles, their exposed domes matted with dust. In Cocóspera three rotten corpses hunched over within a carroza, rinsed of every possession. Skulls at the feet of Magdalena. An absence of gravestones. Bodies of Pimas and Yaquis. By the fringes of a ramada westward, a hill of scalped and murdered Mexican and Chiricahua children, the thick blood so heavy the damp earth dipped. Glanton arrived in Altar with a cavalcade of Arkansas Toothpicks peeling the heads

of infants who squealed for their mothers’ help with nugget-sized fists waving frantically in the air. They fled North past Caborqueñas to the Fronteras with the General’s army on their tail, the dry scalps lodged in leathered pouches, knocking each other into an aphonic choir. Follicles crunched with sounds of scoured wire mottled with clotted gore. The black ants skittered when the pronghorns thundered through, taking the last of their severed buds to the hills.

American Gothic

La Fronteras, 1850

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar.

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WOOD & WHISKEY

POETRY WHICH EXPLORES GOTHIC LANDSCAPES, RUGGED TERRAIN AND HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS LOST TO MYTH AND LEGEND

trigger warning

the following content contains graphic violence, animal cruelty,
references to slavery and racial and ethnic DEROGATORY TERMS & genocide

The Lowlands Of Scotland

Clouds creep and curl around trees like phantoms.
The grandest of falls collapse into lakes that snake
through, down and into ravines running their silver
under ramshackle bridges. Families of sheep graze on
vast pastures of beige and green blotted with boggy
marshland lying as still as a November night under
the patient freeze of time, and beyond, at dusk, the
last quadrant of sunlight bows before the valleys.

The Decimation Of The Flying Foxes

[Pteropus]: a genus of Megabats, commonly known as fruit bats. Flying foxes are the largest in the world. The only nocturnal pollinator, they are located on the Tropical Islands and mainland of Asia.

QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA, 2019

After her mother was electrocuted on overhead powerlines, a female orphan was found crawling on the nearby pavement by a local resident, her grey, pence-sized face attacked by crows. At three weeks, her frail, trembling body was taken to a rehabilitation home, where the carers wrapped her in small cotton rolls of fuscia and sapphire. They called her Joya. She was bathed, cleaned with Johnson’s Baby Wipes and given quarterly bottle feeds of formulated colostrum and goat milk. Refusing to suck on a pacifier, Joya cried for four days

waiting for her mother, heartbroken and horrified. Her carer spoke to her softly, massaging her small muzzle and gently rocking her against her bosom. Eventually, Joya was at peace. She wrapped her wings around a teddy bear, and tucked her foot in, falling into a deep slumber with a heated pouch and dummy in mouth. A volunteer received a call in the early hours about a palm-sized, hairless bundle brought into a house by a cat. On arrival, he discovered a premmie. Her sunken eyes sealed shut, her thin ears curled inwards. Her breaths shallow,

and short. Severely underweight and dehydrated, he sheltered her in a jacket, lay her on a heated pad and back at the centre, the little girl was given regular fluids via intraperitineal injection, glucose solutions and probiotics; her jaws too weak to suck on a teat. She passed away in the night in her humidicrib. A six-week-old black male was trapped in a large aperture netting while trying to forage garden lychees after his mother flew from the colony one night and never returned. They snipped away the stiff mesh that grasped his wings and throat. His

whole vulnerability in their hands. Reserved, inquisitive. His ears twitching, turning, tuning in to their talk of ‘slice and dice’ webbing, big enough to poke a finger through. At the rehabilitation home, he was bottle-fed and given small pieces of steamed, ripe pear. Here, this precious treasure, with his keen, sniffling nose and deep hickory eyes circling the room, was named Valiente. His carers massaged a small bead of macadamia oil on a small injury to his wing, as they observed for any dieback. One late afternoon, three carers received a call about a large

bat stuck in fencing that guarded an unkempt field. On arrival, their worst fears were realised. The extreme drought forced the mother to venture further for food. With her son tucked under her wing, gripping his teeth securely to her nipple, arms clutching her body, she flew into a stretch of barbed wire. Its coiled whipsaws snarled malicious, slicing her wings with caltrop and claw, shredding her skin and pulling the viscera out of her two-week old. As she tried to detach the wiring with her mouth, the razors carved her whole jaw open, tearing out

several teeth, spearing her throat. Their crisped cadavers stained to vermillion. Mounds of grey and black-headed bats were found underneath trees the subsequent morning. When we talk of die-off, we’re talking in the tens of thousands. Wheelbarrows of dead bodies with umbilical cords boiled alive …brains were completely fried…they only give birth to one child a year… a noxious, red-iron oxide loomed ominous over New South Wales in the December night. 230ft blazes and carmine-tipped clinker scorching mammals and their screams into disappearance.

9 weeks laterJoya and Valiente swing from pole to branch as they lick and chew sweet chunks of mango, custard apples, grapes and soft banana in their creche. Trilling black, grey and red-headed faces all jostle underneath a ceiling of Melaleuca flowers. (Joya always likes to help herself to the apples first, much to Valiente’s, and every other bats’ annoyance.) Their large, leathery wings, soft as eyelids, wrapping their bodies into slow-swaying, delicate ornaments. That evening, the two surrogate parents drove out to a wide clearing, the silhouettes of woodland reaching further

and further. In the backseat lay a large chirruping crate with two curious figures flapping eagerly from inside. Opening the doors, a warm draught flowed through their hair like the return of a forgotten memory. They raised the cage into the air and opened the latch. The stigmas of the land began to open. Welcome to the world, children. After getting their bearings, they stretched out, and let their feet go. Grand wings, broad as the breeze, gliding towards the blossoming eucalyptus forests. The flints still flickering, the gears still grinding, somewhere.

Bones Of No Name

“receipts” – human scalps exchanged for bounty monies paid by the state treasuries of Chihuahua, Durango, Coahuila and Sonora. The contracts issued were solely for the furnishing of Apache Indian scalps in accordance with Kirker’s ‘Sixth Law.’ The year of its conception saw the economic heights of the industry.

SONORA, MEXICO, DECEMBER 1849

The black ants took a severed bud to the hills. Glanton rode his gang of thirteen through pine and juniper. West past Sahuaripa, his coal-black eyes condensed to ocelot spots, oscillating slowly across the landscape, locking the fraying ocotillo into his cynosure. Remolino curls in hushed houses floated into rebozos, and subterranean mine chambers echoed death rattles through moulded timber and carved stone; the cold smelters gaping soot-stained sockets of solemn stillness. Chiselled adobes sat deep like rows of canines half-bludgeoned, the injured remnants neurotic at mizzle kisses and the crude voyeurism of the sun. Look what these red niggers done to this land. Army shudda

taken this three years back. The villagers cheered them through San Miguel De Horcasitas, their shadows morphing into vulpine figures between mesas and steppes, carrying with them contracts issued by the capital city of Ures and escopetas with bores as broad as longhorn gullets. They travelled north through Baviácora and Synoquipe. Lands of clay cried the bleakest of overcasts. Crumbling granaries. Ranches overturned. Quiet haciendas. An Opata child chased an ardilla through the catclaw acacia. Organ pipe cacti stood poised to perform their nocturnal aria. Lobos with lambent ores for eyes hooped and scurried through fissures of adobe walls framing a distant mountain into its present

image. A congregation of bovine bones considered the encroaching vesper with sullen tales of weathered trade routes, muskets which barked Catholic churches into porous anonymity and the bone-oiled hides of jabalí shimmering in the light of the falling star. The bárbaros camped in Arispe, where the Crown’s glory had faded like a peineta’s glint thieved by the closing eye. The vanishing of Jesuits. Serrated mission bells slicing wind currents into ribbons of a felled nation’s former insignia. Mexican soldiers with swollen abdomens. Sopilotes pulled viscera between each other with oily songs as buzzards morphed their aerial conduct into the architecture of a black ovisimo. Certain images stay with men. The

thumbing of tobacco snuff to an orphan’s necrotic portrait. Cleavers and entrails coiled into cleat hooks. Bowie knives with an avaricia for culling every vein pulse, and the torque behind a tomahawk whistling its only known literature into ribcages and organs as if to template its vitriolic vernacular for all creation. Copper canyons calling for chubascos to wash the lands, cranefeathers pushed into the paste of grit, blood and paint, and hovels horned by the wings of eagles hovering overhead. When Comanches from the Southern plains stole a herdsmen’s stock in Chinapa the niño pleaded ¡ayúdanos!, ¡ayúdanos!, offering Glanton silver. Sereño, moreno. He fired at his heart, the ball blowing through his

back like a malignant abscess bursting. They dragged the campesino through devastated vestries and bludgeoned his vomerine with leathered headstocks until all were chalk, gore and mucus bubbling like geysers. His wide-brimmed hat tumbled through an arroyo and was snagged by a crackling brittlebush. The hairs black. Don’t matter if they injins or not. The gang scalped and sawed the right ears off while a pan of nopales burned to black on the stove. The mother gazed at the dusk ahead, curling its gloom into a cigarillo. Get these mexxers receipts ‘fore the savages come. They followed the Rio Sonora to Bacuachi. Northwest saw a party of earless Comanches by the outskirts of Agua Zarca, armed with state-

issued rifles, their exposed domes matted with dust. In Cocóspera three rotten corpses hunched over within a carroza, rinsed of every possession. Skulls at the feet of Magdalena. An absence of gravestones. Bodies of Pimas and Yaquis. By the fringes of a ramada westward, a hill of scalped and murdered Mexican and Chiricahua children, the thick blood so heavy the damp earth dipped. Glanton arrived in Altar with a cavalcade of Arkansas Toothpicks peeling the heads

of infants who squealed for their mothers’ help with nugget-sized fists waving frantically in the air. They fled North past Caborqueñas to the Fronteras with the General’s army on their tail, the dry scalps lodged in leathered pouches, knocking each other into an aphonic choir. Follicles crunched with sounds of scoured wire mottled with clotted gore. The black ants skittered when the pronghorns thundered through, taking the last of their severed buds to the hills.

American Gothic

La Fronteras, 1850

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar.

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