Empire of Dead Intentions

The most recent realm from Jackie Cavallaro is a culmination of myth, dream, paper cuts and poetry. Layering spray paint, ink, pencil and intricately carved brambles and bodies, Jackie’s work invites audiences to the edges of imagination. Accompanying the work are poems written as Jackie’s shadow worlds grew. Pieces of these poems and Jackie’s Tarot Card works feature in the Aneki comics poetry series.



Chaos cast spiders

into carbon dark.

A drowned cartography of dragnets

from which slipped

a forgotten goddess:

Memory. Mother of muses

buried eggs at the city’s edge,

Beauty was born before Reason.

Perfected, in death

a blueprint bound with

red thread. Now catacomb coils

wake the quest to unravel


knots of longing and bone

the serpentine code of creation.

Jackie Cavallaro – Empire of Dead Intention, 2012


There wasn’t always this war below.

In the clock tower

time has stopped,

glass gunned in,

bats nesting

between corroded mechanisms.

No means

of telling how long

I’ve been here. Walls

will not recall

the years they’ve kept.

They’ve forgotten

my name, can’t find

the key. Though the one

who first locked the door

is long dead.

I’ve memorised

how each street looked

before fire felled them

and artists started

sketching with blood.

The Empire

of Dead Intention and early graves

is asleep. Salt snows

silent as ashes

on rooftops across Scarlett Hill.

I climb

towards the highest window,

a shattered kaleidoscope, webbed

again by

spiders’ design.

Up here

I unhooks stars,

recite the city’s last rites,

wet rosary of tongue warning:

Beware of muses.

Muses beware.

Sketch swap

Sketch swap with Esther.

First drawing session in Mexico.

Atom split

We had to shed a few things from our suitcases before leaving. The watercolours and sketchbooks were the first to go. So I’ve been inventing with eyeshadows.

Cloud carts

Cloud carts


These streets are

studies in pink.

Even the weeds

are lipstick coloured.

Pockets are  filled

with bougainvillea, seven shades

of blushing. Fresas

for sale at each corner.

Sunset blooms,

the brightest coral.



Dreaming daze

What have you been seeking?
Where has your heart been wandering?
Giving your heart to each little thing,
you leave it without direction;
you lose your heart.
Can something be found on earth?
-León-Portilla 1969:88.

Trip to Tara

By the bay


Sakura snow

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Snakes, ladders and sakura snow.

Eden is dead my darling,

all her glass wings dried like grass.

Ancient bones camped

at the edge of a swamp.

You promised me a circus,

colours irretrievable as milk teeth.

Sakura season

Meiji Shrine – sake stamps

Crows karaoke

on the shrine road.

Preening pitch feathers

in bare branches

before the blossom snow.

Sakura fall

-five centimetres per second.

Akihabara – birthday expedition


Sakura snow

Sakura snow

Night blossoms