Ella Pringle

I’ve never personally climbed anyone called Max, but I’ve climbed others

to disappointing peaks

of intellectual vigour and flat slabs of personality.


They hit a floured counter top like stiff dough,

kneaded relentlessly by our

thumbs up and thumbs down.


I’ve never climbed Max with another at hand,

told to be patient.

For now, he works his way around

all the wrong hole

-ly readings of how generosity functions between two.

Written in a vacuum

and all by man

-y lost causes

Rather than informed by a sensitivity,

delivered tentatively.


I handle a long

pen, with which to sign away my twenties.

As I pass the forms to Ignorance’s secretary,

she too nods with knowledge that

I’m to be mindlessly squandered

like a teenager’s mouth furiously latched on a cheap box of watery wine…


Since it doesn’t matter how you drink it,

as long as you can say you’ve put your tongue to it.


Only when they are older

will they learn to swivel me in an curved glass,

breathe me in, earthy and matured,

before lips tip to stem-

consider the rich deep tannins that linger on the sides as I spin.


I’ve never climbed Max, but frankly,

I’m tired of being asked for those maps

as if they’ve been withheld.

Lines of latitude intersect with longitude’s

longing for a shift in the ground


I can guide you along the trail,

(if you ask).

But spinning three times with your eyes closed,

then pointing,

isn’t North.


Rather than climb some guy called Max

and wait at that edge for the clouds to part,

for the vista to materialise,

for the triumph

of sharing a moment…


I’ll climb it myself.

I’ll hold out

until that contract is up.


When Ignorance coughs

through a cloud of cigar smoke,

turns down the television

just enough

to hear his prisoners released with a buzz

…in their thirties.

He knows.


His front office is filled

with young women ready

to foot (and hand) the cost,

to pay bail over and over again

for that same Max.


A guy that they have seldom,

or perhaps never,

even met.

Author: Ella is an emerging writer who recently moved from interstate to pursue her studies and career in Brisbane. She’s has been invited to read her poetry at the QUT Lit Salon this year and her writing is driven by an excitement at how social realities can be observed and recorded in our everyday feelings and experiences.

Artist: Irene Liao is a visual art student from Taiwan who aims to present figurative human art through her watercolour pieces.

Editors: Kelly Rouzbehi and Euri Glenn