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Clark & Wright — November 2021

Patrick Wright and Juna Hume Clark traded art and words. Juna shared this piece, titled “Daylight Savings,” with Patrick:

In response, Patrick wrote this poem:

Exit Strategy

Holding on to our last-gasp hours—whispered I love yous 
in my ear. Once more, you inch up to my lobe, ear-ring hole, 
up close doing your best to compress our future in a phrase, 
a tense, something to last under lids. That will pass through 
your dawns, your evenings. I love yous as I squeeze myself 
through a needle head. To blackness or birth-light. Our pact
in place. The last things: a rosary, a sponge on my tongue, 

a pan flute, a hypodermic. Frankincense plumes in a room 
we can’t mention. My waxen suit lifts to a halo. My eyebrow 
twitches yes, we are still fusion—hands entwined, fasting. 
As we were: a ritual of ribbons. I mouth the too-late advice:
evacuate. You said we had lightning in a jar. The tragedy is 
you meant it. Now sparks arc like sea-drenched arms. How 
is it possible to have the final say? I love yous back and forth

while the mind slides doors; ancestors arrive. We’ve tried 
to wear out the will—puncture it through. Find a way out 
with a maze-trail. My promise of a comeback or getaway 
hurts your faith: the cliche of how energy never dies. The sun 
does through its discharge. Shrinks to a cinder while you wait. 
For now, you’re Earth bound, stuck to lobules and ducts—
while I notice the neon, pulled up and up. Away and tied 

to a kite you can’t remember. I love yous—to fade. Your kiss 
on my fringe. If only I could pin this cord with a paper clip. 
Minutes before my lips stitch, the sloughing of skin. Unzip. 
Escape valve firing. Perhaps a zygote the start to seal it. For cells 
to divide as they should. Stop once done. Perhaps when clouds 
slow down, things will seem real. Listen: my disappearance 
makes so much sense. Don’t worry—it’s not even an issue.  

* * * * * *

Patrick shared this poem with Juna:

Portrait of Katherine Mansfield

After Anne Rice 

I never dreamt of coughing blood the colour of this dress. 
Nor spending the English winters abroad. I only dreamt 
of ending stories abruptly, using words the way a cello rises 
and falls. As a girl my dreams were an atlas. To escape windy
Wellington, leave on a liner, find my urban future. I wrote 
of jazzy palettes, a low neck bohemian garb. How life could 
be all syntax, experiment. From Wilde’s prose and a Maori 
breast, I adored the fetish, torn between gestalt and imago. 
My red dress fills most of the canvas. As an émigré, I’d share 
a cigarette, strut in a kimono. At parties, I’d laud suffragettes 
or write vignettes in bold strokes like the Fauves. Aroused, 
I’d return from the colonies, my personas piling like a house 
of cards. I’d be polyamorous, endless rhythm. I’d embody 
the fleeting and contingent. In the end, I’d ride a falling star. 

In response, Juna made this image, titled “Portrait in Red”:

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