a book engulfed in flames
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The Friday Poem: End Papers, by Mitch Marks

A poem by Melbourne-based writer and publisher Mitch Marks.

End papers

When I write my novel, which all of you are in
I’ll write it in the morning while my wounds are wide
Tonguing them to bring the sting to the skin’s surface
I’ll string it around my wrists and throat
Tight like nerves when I’m about to go to the pub in daylight
And someone I love is there
Or someone I hate
So tight it makes my fingers tingle
I’ll write it at night, wine-drunk and stoned
Thirsty, loose limbs lolling around in the heat
So I don’t burn those bridges straight away
I’ll set them alight in clever chapters instead

When you read it you all burn slow and low
The sparks remind you of when we met
The heat gets serious just like that one time
You’re caught, flames licking at the hem of your shorts
And suddenly there’s a brilliant bonfire of me inside you again
How did I put this out?
The question on all of your lips


‘End Papers’ originally appeared in a self-published photo zine by Petey Dammit and Mitch Marks for the Metropolis Bookstore Photo Zine Fair (2021).

The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed and will open again later this year.

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