Terrain & Other Poems



They tell me my problem
is not knowing the end
and feeling. This cold
is just pinpricks—pneumonic
coat that prods how long since
our bodies joined, homoeothermic.

What I wanted was someplace
to keep me safe from the rain.

I need to go but I’m still chipping
away at icebergs of clothing marking
gaps between now and you being here.
Bated breaths and heavy-chested.
I liked you better as a concept,

trekked topographies
on your skin. This all will be foreign
soon—maps in my brain won’t match
terrain on your body. I’d asked,
‘Can you see your future
with me?’ and your eyes, dagger-
blue, fixed on feet and you’d said,
‘See, there’s a darkness inside you

and it consumes you—like wildfire
your words are a weapon.’

Each word is a weapon.

You could be gone or merely
gone away somewhere
so I leave trails of our love
for another.



Been waking with headaches
for days. Cracked cranium
like eggshell, seeping
blood, sliding to forehead.

The trouble with triggers
is they happen
without notice. Your smell
still stuck to a shirt
in my closet. There’s danger
in your timbre, Okkervil
strummed on guitar.

My heart quivers still
when you smile
(on Instagram ’cos we don’t talk).

To me you’re Stage 2:
limbs kicking
thinking I’m falling
off a cliff. Slits on wince
savage eyes prying:
was it me or skin
coloured honey and hair
dipped in ink? Chipped china
for breakfast. Steel
snake slithers subterranean.

Waypoints can’t take us; there
is no save point.
Here lies are remedies.
Here lies my resolve
to kick crap habits

(oxytocin withdrawals
mean migraines and shit decisions).

Recovery’s not a line
you slingshot me
back to where we started.



Planes dart across
skyways, silent staccato
lines mark cloud trails.
From point A to another you
have no clue where you’re heading
while lights glower bright
through slivers in windowshade.

This morning I crossed your city
but you weren’t in it.
I never know what I’m doing, do I

hold a moment’s silence
for our meet-cute? Season’s
Greetings sail-wind gone by
new year. In transit I stir
hippocampus: sometimes
when heat is right my flat smells
of church, childhood devilled
desire, out-back cafés from my 20s,
how I loved falling in love
in this weather. It’s the kiss
that gets me—when tip of tongue
lingers, lip bit by teeth
sweetly. The scent takes me
next, hot breaths coil tendrils:
neck down to chest.

But words fail. Across the digital
I find myself yearning
in this empty space
I’ve put my life in. Objects
pushed aside to make motion sans
impediment. Turbine licks stratosphere.
I outstretch arms to grasp you
though you don’t reach back.


Author: Adolfo Aranjuez

Adolfo Aranjuez is the editor of Metro, Australia’s oldest film and media periodical. He is also the subeditor of Screen Education and a freelance writer, speaker and dancer. Adolfo has edited for Voiceworks, Award Winning Australian Writing and Melbourne Books, and has been published in Right Now, The Lifted Brow, The Manila Review, Eureka Street and Going Down Swinging, among others. He has worked with Express Media, the Emerging Writers’ and National Young Writers’ festivals, Next Wave, Midsumma, Scribe, Dumbo Feather, and various schools and city councils. In 2015, he was named one of the Melbourne Writers Festival’s 30 Under 30. http://www.adolfoaranjuez.com

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