St. Baudelaire

I dream of you at night
entangled in the spires of evil,

tied to a living pillar in the
profane sanctuary of Poetry—

the spores of wild flowers in
your nostrils, the ecstasy of

“the Word” painted on your face
& slowly dripping from your

St. Sebastian-like wounds
in sanguine lines.

I twist the arrows in your flesh,
I dip my fingers in your scars

as you spit out your own
poisonous mythology

into my soul.

A teaser piece from the NEW contest winning Blood Pudding Press poetry chapbook, “They Talk About Death” by Alessandra Bava

Available in its entirety here -



Pyre: wind as hell beast

The wind teases my cutaneous engulfment, titillates the clavicle. My wounds are not yours to take. When you read my transcriber’s notes you will find me guilty of pining, sprinting to death’s gate, remembering pilfering flesh like it was the future. The spectrum of other side sliced into orange slices. One: a battering ram of bones. Two: I found something higher. I look down at whom plague left untouched not because my brain is diseased or my organs explode at 1400 Fahrenheit. I see the tiny cosmos. My blood line perseveres through my abnormal light. It cracks precious stained glass murals. I pierced your eye with a scepter. The wind is my dog, inhales your waste breath, delivers decay to dirt. Deliver messages to me through dead carrier pigeons, charcoal shadow puppets, burnt tongues. Last gasp in the swamp. All I do is dip a toe into the afterlife and I am glowing.



Home: Dom Remy

Marching boots over my chest. The gowns and haircuts wanted to see for themselves. Rants unfit for knowledge lifted me into kinetic spasms of gloss, hair, bone, and tendon. The tendons hung in tree branches by my childhood church. Nothing is wasted. I reunite with all my flesh and sing. My split voice magnified in the hills. My earth is one big ash kingdom and cat femur bones. Linen scraps, purity belts, my scorched earth policy returns from the England’s gift shop. My executioner came to me in a hazy trip. I whispered to beetles, crawl into his ear. There’s a touch of witch.  My fingers fold thyme, feel for boot straps to tug, trip, and suffocate you in an inch of water. Is it more unpleasant that way? To hear life going on above your ear shell and know that you will leave it in a grueling tunnel of suffocation slaughter? How does pond scum taste? I am enjoying Sainthood.



Michael at night Catherine in the day Margaret in the day

Saints can fucking exhaust you. The first time I was lifted by tree stumps I was a cut, dirty swan. Chasing voles, a husk shadow suffocated me, bones protruded from his back. Being a suck-up, I didn’t recognize his wounds. Slaying god’s enemies brings on the gray. Fight the dark one, learn to avoid razors. Drivethemout. I could not speak because wings beat in time with his mouth words. Cacophony named all of him.  Refraction pulsed through his voice light. I was warm and elevated and grounded at the same time. His moth essence humming all the while. Catherine with her flowing hair and cumbersome gown that weighed in like silk and slime. Catherine held me and burst her words into my torso like feathers. I plucked the feathers out of my brain later, slowly, savoring the felt. Margaret the opposite, hardy and robust with vocal chords like lost calves and mourning mission bells, a blanket after shock therapy. The bells rung me and rung me. Tattered, but knowing something had changed, I cried, buried my hands in the clay, practiced playing prisoner to mud.




A mob of mandibles. Time leeches, burns loaves in fire. I have left the 1800s only to be brought to this maelstrom of oversharing. What land lubbers of dull shit crimes. I slice myself with this blade to show you what sharp is. Be dull on your own time. Fly into the night through time zones of desert and Stone Age and rubbish. Up close I can see epidermis like a red sea, black stitches sew the infection in. You cannot kill me I am already dead from spit.  Your spigot has exploded from unsure ability. I have spread myself at midnight and taken the plunge from the highest mast. Where is your spread? How far a wingspan? What have you brought as offerings tonight small ants?  Crumbs of want, I throw them to the eagles who want more, rip lips off. An arrow in my neck, a finger in my cap. My wings, internal intestines churning the hours out.




At the factory, he lost his fingertips to blades. In his line it was common, so common that many men would tie up the bloody parts and stay on until break time. But this man saw beyond sheet metal. Hours after he punched out, he would still hear the grinding of machines, the squeals of jammed conveyors. He wrote sounds down on parallel lines. This was his music of hands.

If only he had lived somewhere else. There must be a place where the rivers don’t catch fire. No matter, he told himself, borrowing his mother’s thimbles, but the pain almost made him cry, and he never cried. Several twists of each peg and the strings were loose enough not to hurt, notes three steps down, the depth of sinister captured instantly, tetanus shot required.



Along the Esplanade

Needing to replenish the source of his powers, he entered the speed of light on the driver’s side. His best friend, a set of cylinders, rode shotgun. The windshield would prevent the stripping of spray from hair, the pinch of saltwater on leather. But the wheel was all wrong, hands off the clock. When light strikes light head on, a life must end. The cylinder man died at the scene, a cymbal rolling in the road. The man with bones inside sobered up, made it to the destination, filled a shopping cart with rounded glass. He returned to the crash, touched glass to cylinders, resurrected his friend as a human corpse. Of course the music wouldn’t play, sound no match for light in a race. His punishment for death would be to carry the glass, always adding to the load, always ready to step on the slashing shards of apologies that speed by so quickly.



everything is conditional

if I am on top of her
            falling into a dark hole
I give until it hurts
                                    her pussy is the center of the universe

when I was twelve my brother called me a pussy
            surrounded by a scary group of givers and takers
I was the center of the universe

if it rained in Indiana
everybody got wet
                        if I took a shot
                        I gave until it hurt

if things were not the way they were
I wouldn't be here
                                                dying in some private way

if it really mattered how I began
I would have let them teach me a lesson

if the center of the universe shows itself to you
            a mirror is broken every time

~Donavon Davidson~

(an earlier version of this poem was previously published by Spork)



I love the way you look at me
            coming apart at the seams

I cross all the T's and dot the I's
                        democratic as a coffin nail

there are two kinds of people in the world
those on bottom
those on top

each bring to mind an art
I've tried to separate from the artist
                                    a kind of decency that forbids privacy
to convict us all of cheap parlor tricks

all persons living or dead are coincidental
                                                turning to a loved one
a ghost in the machine
            making monsters of us all
                                    looking for trap doors
to hide our doves

if it makes you feel any better
shut your glory hole

~Donavon Davidson~



she loves me
to save the best for last

my secret garden turns the green leaf red
when I've had enough

she loves me not
unlike a body drenched to the bone
                        the exact cause of death is unknown

                                    mathematically speaking
                                    the diameter of X is greater than or equal to
                                    in your own sweet time
she loves me
to tell it like it is

            mares eat oats and does eat oats
but little lambs eat their hearts out

                        if it were up to me
            I would call a sweep
for there are no aces up our sleeves
            no little black birds sleeping in our chimneys

we can't light a fire
            to make them fly away home
                        she loves me not
                                                            astrologically speaking
she met a tall dark stranger

~Donavon Davidson~




I was lounging in the hotel’s graveyard when I realized
I left my passport in the bathroom of the hotel lobby.
When I got there, in its place was a good-sized fish with
the following words written on its side: “If you are Cary
Grant please take me home with you, and never do another
picture with Hitchcock unless he allows you to direct yourself.”
Picking up the fish it immediately disintegrated in my hands.
“This is a bad omen!” I thought to myself. And when I returned
to the graveyard I knew I was right because two dozen black
roses had replaced my chair and a huge red hand was sticking
out of the earth pointing directly at my wife who had turned
into a pig with the face of her father who didn’t like me
from the moment that we met.

~Jeffrey Zable~




“Jim,” I said, “what possessed you to pull out your pecker and wank it
in front of all those people?”

To which he responded, “It’s a very fine pecker that has ridden with me
on many a storm. That has lit my fire when the sleet of life has chilled
my bones. When the back door man has come for me, hatchet in hand,
while LA women laughed like hyenas in celluloid nightgowns. And when
strange days led me to a spanish caravan on a moonlight drive into hell,
I knew that the end was near, and that only by showing what I was made of,
would I ultimately get back to the crystal ship and to the lizard king inside.
And when people are strange, what choice do we have if we want to survive,
and break on through to the other side!”

“Makes perfect sense to me now!” I responded, and handed him back
the bottle.

~Jeffrey Zable~




rotting rope
rubs against worms
that necklace her throat

heads roll
here and there
like dead fruit
falling from trees

in dark cellars,
shovels displace
remembered autumns,
smother them
in mud silence

in a rocking chair,
a pleased,
disfigured mouth
speaks for all

~John Grey~




You can’t just close
a graveyard gate behind you,
not with the mulch
still on your shoes,
flecks of stone beneath
your fingernails,
and a twig of willow
burrowed in your hair.
A cemetery is no short-cut
despite the fact
your house appears
a block or so down the road,
kitchen light glowing.
The dead have at you
even if you don't feel a thing.
They watch your churlish sorrow
through marble angel eyes,
seep up through rotting flower stalks
to rub against your doleful walk.
All that moss is just the chilly bile
of spectral conversation
about the stoop of your shoulders,
your leaden cheeks.
The cold damp wind
is how they follow you home
for further explanation.
They know where you live
but why you live eludes them.

~John Grey~