PAWA 23: Chris Girven on Audrey Baldwin’s ‘Avodiant Attachment’

PAWA 23: Chris Girven on Audrey Baldwin’s ‘Avodiant Attachment’

Poetry by Chris Girven – 2023 Written responses were curated and edited by Sasha Francis
Audrey Baldwin
Audrey B...

“thank you for giving me meaning” 


- Audrey Baldwin


What could be more poetic

than someone who wants your eyes to meet theirs, so badly


a river flows from my shoulders, like jagged rocks

to the mould growing between our feet

my lips are like fish out of water, my hands like corrugated iron

cracking and softening as the weather warms


we’re trees thick with summer air, dancing as our leaves weaken


caress my skin 

like the wind brushes the ocean 

like lips on fallen fruit

like someone who wants another

so completely


cause the way you look at your body will make me look at mine differently 

to HELL with vacant stares 

of self destruction

i'm a meal, a whole feast for the senses 


i'm as bright as the sun baby 




they swarm you like ants to honey 

tasting your sweet candour 

but i can still feel your hands on me


dirt after rain


look at my brand new body!!

i’m sheathed in symbolism 

but still suffocated with impermanence

like phlegm i can’t cough up


in this damp silence 

i second-guess everything 

before a sinkhole forms in my chest

       swallowing all those youthful promises


i wish we weren't so afraid of talking

but we'll keep leaving each other hanging 

until the radio waves are dead

until the urge to say i love you builds like a star 

and we explode forever 

a million tiny little deaths 


my hair trails down to a pool 

at the base of my neck

like tangled seaweed

what if i chop it off 

what if i chop it all off 

what if i rid myself of everything 


will you i want me 




i'll take a picture, so people will know
i once looked this (fucking) hot,

maybe it’ll mean something;

maybe i will mean something

(probably not)


i'd like to think i'm an independent person 

but that's a lie

i'm scared of being alone

(everyone is)


peel back the layers of my skin, with your sandpaper fingers and 

wash away my vulnerability like it means 



water runs down your chin

to the ocean groaning in my stomach 

leaving me raw

so close but yet sooooooo                                      far

we’re parched from too much time



ships could sail over the blue of your eyes, that colour my days like the weather

but my lungs are filling with water and

i can't even manage a word


thick blood and taut skin are said to be auspicious, but they turn to ash beneath the magma of my



i'll probably regret being so scared of attachment, 

but how do i love 

when loving 








tender skin is ephemeral


i hope i don't waste it


Chris Girven lives in Te Whanganui-a-Tara with their whānau and studies at Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington. In addition to writing poetry, Chris loves to sing and dance in their room, dress up (wigs included), go to the Vinnie's (weekly), spend time with loved ones, and frolic about in life's whimsy. 

PAWA 23: Chris Girven on Audrey Baldwin’s ‘Avodiant Attachment’

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