Brent Cantwell

Brent Cantwell is a New Zealand writer from Timaru, South Canterbury, who lives with his family in the hinterland of Queensland, Australia. He has recently been published in Sweet MammalianMimicry 4, Verge, Blackmail Press, Cordite, Landfall and Plumwood Mountain.


health and safety

we were told to form a semi-circle
around the luggage bay of the bus
to guard against eruptions,
the inevitable eruptions
of poor people, addled people, transitory people,
the seismic migrations of other people;
and once suggested to the blood
we looked at streets over shoulders – for a while –
listening to the rhythm of the clenched:
La Rambla, rumbler, rumbling deep belly smells from the grate
in a gust of heat slowing our gust of just-arrived and everything-to-do!
Yes, La Rambla, something is about to happen – isn’t that the point of you?

our guide’s last health warning was line your stomachs
and when we all met him at 9PM he was a-Tom again
and everything was free-poured:
some of us found ourselves behind bars – in bars –
talking and drinking as lava flows;
some of us danced on hot concrete because it was 4AM;
some of us met men and the girl I loved walked home alone
knowing Barcelona would be lost if there was a thought in her head –
or in mine
so we crushed more mint against the day’s hard actual ice –
the smell was extraordinary – and dreamed of the dark flow home
flow intermittent flow La Rambla