Alexandra Balm – Home: last night and this morning

Balm LE P&W 3 Nov-Dec 2023

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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Three Nov-Dec 2023.

Home: last night and this morning, poem by Alexandra Balm.

Home: last night and this morning

Enough of this day
and its windows into
other people’s lives,
into the past and
other distractions.

Will close shop for the day,
turn flight mode on,
and stay in the here and now

for a few moments
of communion
with the spirit

where all stories

in silence


I wake after you arrive.
Your long shower
washes the dust of the world
while I busy myself in the kitchen
with resuscitated lemongrass dumplings
and meatball pasta.

‘Wanted to go to sleep after I played
a bit of FIFA’, you say when I knock at your door,
but you take the plate nonetheless
and close your door again.


‘Must change the flights to one-way!
‘The student loan is crippling,’ you explain
after you wonder what happened
to the myth of peripheral vision.
‘It’s a myth,’ I quip, and I close the fridge door,
then I touch my chest
to check that my heart is still there.

‘You can’t sleep?’, you ask
as the first roosters crow.
‘No, but will try again. I work tomorrow,’ I say.
‘Guess you work today, too,’ you say and smile
that cheeky grin that charmed me
decades ago,
when you grabbed my right index finger in your fist
as if to anchor ️yourself in this stormy world,
as if to reassure me that you were there.

‘Oh, you are right️. It’s already morning,’ I say
and I touch your shoulder,
hoping that my hand can still
help you find your moorings,
glad that you are home.

© Alexandra Balm

In the few quiet moments left after teaching, marking, and fulfilling her other commitments, she writes poems, short stories, essays, and scholarly articles. Alexandra has a PhD in metamodern literature (Otago, 2014) and a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing (AUT, 2017) with a novel-in-stories titled Why I don’t Keep a Diary or A Secret History of Metamodernism. She hopes to see the novel published one day when the stars align. Her MA thesis Exploring the Big Bad World with Andrei Codrescu (1998) was the first master’s degree to be published about the Romanian-born Jewish American writer. Alexandra’s writing has been published in Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, America, and Europe (Czech Republic, Greece, Romania). Her debut collection of poetry Transformation was published by Scripta Manent in 2023. In his 2014 memoir More Deaths Than One Garry Forrester refers to Balm as “the mother of metamodernism”.

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