My life as astrology

poetry by Eliana Gray

My life as astrology

The mental pressure must have been great

The sentimental manipulation exhausting


I am a full moon in Libra

I am a new and dangerous vocabulary

I am the worst poem you've ever written


Performed on The Voice with poetry hands

I am a star sparkling in the sky in a fixed position

I am everything I refuse to understand and more


The full moon calls for compassion and humility

A full moon occurs when the sun is opposite the moon


On this day we go down to the river and wash our bodies

On this day we grab potato peelers and learn to exfoliate our souls

On this day we make giant proclamations

about promises we never intended to keep


Seeking satisfaction elsewhere would involve secrecy

Emotional comfort may be sought in sweet food or drugs


Here is where we learn to repel ourselves

Here we sit in a hallway

The hallway is long the hallway is dark and the light at the end is a fire

Like trying to cut off my tongue without using my hands

poetry by Eliana Gray

CONTENT WARNING: gun violence. Please read at your own risk.

Like trying to cut off my tongue without using my hands

Everything is terrible all of the time and I think we've all noticed by now

Slipped it into our shot glass back over our tongues it's easier to digest

something when you don't know what it is


After the shooting people asked me if I was ok and I said yes

it's very sad with the kind of inflection you would expect

from someone who is very sad but just getting on with things you know

because that's how you do it


After the shooting we walked to the memorial and my father wept and I held him

because he was thinking about everyone's stories and I was thinking about how I was

mentally superior for knowing that death happens all the time and how

the really important issue was how our gun control laws were going to change

and how I definitely wasn't going to pay attention to it


The day the shooting happened I closed my eyes

The day the shooting happened I kept turning my phone off

The day the shooting happened my aunty and uncle saw the police

tackle a man to the ground who was trying to pick his kids up from school


How involved we are in each other's lives by now

Like life is a party thrown by your Facebook friend suggestions

and all you get to see is absolutely everything


Because life isn't about death

Because it would be stupid to base your existence on something so inevitable

Like getting a crush in the refrigerated section of the supermarket and

clutching the soup packet just a little more sensually than you would otherwise


It's grotesque really

The way we peel the scabs off each other's backs

Watch blood piling in puckered flesh and write poems about health and

healing and emotions and how we all really feel


Which is how we stay connected to each other

Which is what happens when we talk to each other

Which I suppose is the reason everytime something bad happens

people start asking each other

how they really are


But bad things are happening everywhere all the time and I'm

pretty sure we've established that we already know this so how

is it that the nerves are still so raw?


And all this electricity

Pulsing unseen through the atmosphere

Waiting patiently

For the idiot with the metal flag


Eliana Gray

Eliana Gray is an award winning writer living mostly in Ōtepoti, Aotearoa. Their work is like their life- sad, confronting and quite funny actually. Their work has been put many places, including their recent debut collection, Eager To Break, which is available through Girls On Key Press. You can find them on the internet @foxfoxxfox and sometimes in real life. You can find their book here:  (photo credits to Jessica Thompson-Carr)