13.

She Sedates the Rhino      

this morning when I was sleeping
and you pulled two extra blankets up to my chin
I dreamt you were standing over me with a basket of flowers

the stems had been removed
and the heads were vibrant and heavy
deep reds and dark purples
vanilla yellows and impossible whites

you were dropping them on my bed
as a gesture of love
and the maggots of my recurring nightmare
turned tail, all in a slither of retreat

I woke up warm
and the rhino was still asleep
his tusks aren’t as sharp these days
the petals and the peace dove have him subdued

you are the girl with grace
and though the pigeons still peck at the backs of my eyeballs
you have given me reason to keep up with the days


(this poem appears within Matthew J. Hall's  new Blood Pudding Press poetry chapbook, "Pigeons and Peace Doves", available here - https://www.etsy.com/listing/236081194/new-pigeons-and-peace-doves-by-matthew-j?ref=shop_home_active_2)

*

12.

The Full Weight of My Head
she got into bed
and placed her soft palm
on the left side of my face

I desperately wanted to touch her
but the ants had climbed from inside out
they were drawn by the scent
from the blood on my hands

the sadness must have been contagious
I could see it with my eyes
it was covering her skin
like climbing-grey ivy, creeping from her hand’s tips
up her arms, over her shoulders and across her face

you seem further away this time, she said
I put my head on her chest
I liked listening to her heart
because it told the truth

you seem to have gone deeper this time, she said
and ran her fingers through my salt and pepper hair
I let the full weight of my head
rest on her breast and listened
and fell into the honesty of her steady beat

It won’t always be this way, she reminded me
I love you, she said
and the integrity of her heart spread
and i wept and confessed
I didn’t want to live

but I couldn’t bring myself to tell her
that I had swallowed every damn tablet in the house
or that love, even as pure as hers
would never be enough


(this poem appears within Matthew J. Hall's  new Blood Pudding Press poetry chapbook, "Pigeons and Peace Doves",  available here - https://www.etsy.com/listing/236081194/new-pigeons-and-peace-doves-by-matthew-j?ref=shop_home_active_2)

*

11.

Many Shades of Brown

I found a dead moth
and placed it in a matchbox
I put the box in my bedside drawer
and took it out from time to time
and looked at it
counted all the varying shades of brown
but each count was at odds with its predecessor

I wondered what the moth had seen
where it had flown
how many light bulbs it had bounced
how many flames it was drawn to

then I became distracted
and forgot about it for a while
until I needed something or other from my
bedside drawer

I picked up the matchbox and slid it open with my thumb
expecting to see my old friend of many shades
but all that was left was a little pile of dust
the box had become a coffin
that’s the way it goes with moths


(this poem appears within Matthew J. Hall's new Blood Pudding Press poetry chapbook, "Pigeons and Peace Doves", available here - https://www.etsy.com/listing/236081194/new-pigeons-and-peace-doves-by-matthew-j?ref=shop_home_active_2)

*

10.

The First Voice I Hear

My jeans are too long and I trip often. One time walking to the library, I skin my palms, and I swear there is honey coming from the scrapes. And there’s a voice, not in my head like it’s supposed to be, but a voice I can hear in front of my face. Wren, I think about you, it says, I think about you. I can smell the sea, gone slightly bad, but there’s no breeze, and I pick up my books—they get sticky in my hands—and walk until the traffic is loud, until I’m almost to the overpass where I once saw a dusty bird eating garbage and another missing a foot. And I was upset, I’m always upset, but there are no birds this time. Just bread molding blue, greasy KFC bins, and the voice is ahead, behind, a diamond refracting—Wren


*

9.

Flesh & Blood

The first time she appears she drips cold water onto my floor; she is soaked from the waist down but pulls an ice cube from her pocket.

She hands it to me, it is warm in my palm—a tiny flame coursing through the center only I can see.

(A boy once put an ice cube in his mouth and held it to my neck. He called me Sacred Heart Wren when I dripped wax from a prayer candle onto his stomach.)

Her chest glows through her shirt and her black hair glows too; fireflies crawl down her face as she lifts her chin to speak.

At her first word my dogs fall down on their forest paws, the pads crusted with Cheetos.

My mouth is crusted with Cheetos—hickeys under my shirt, hickeys hugging my ribs; beach maps and soft porn, those selfies where I’m curled up like a dragon egg, all the paper crumpled together on the bed edges.

She drips a circle around herself; she does not leave; the floorboards shine with wet. 

She takes a brass pendant out from the neck of her army fatigues, passes it from palm to palm.

Blood drips from my temples, the secret hickeys. My shirt gets dark and heavy, a mosquito’s stomach, while the dogs pant solemn at her feet.

I run the ice cube over my wounds like it might stop the blood, and it burns the skin beneath it clean. 


*

8.

Nothing He Will See

At home the TV glows like a hothouse lamp
            In high school halls: pull down my hood there’s nothing to see

Yellow eyes appear on my bedroom walls
            Those coarse hairs on the pillow are not my own
  pull on my jeans there’s nothing to see

The boys I need smell like waffle cones
             & this one says take me home
 Follow me, boy He is stale and sweet

            With the ones I like I’m a pack of dogs,
four heads snarling against their stomachs
             pull off their jeans there’s nothing to see

So I’ll write his paper and he’ll suck my cock
            pull off my jeans He’ll kiss my neck
and I’ll dream of wolf nothing he can see

How she’ll lick my palms with her sunspot tongue
            And I’ll never ever burn


*

7.

Let My Wolf In

The nights I drip in bed
             I feel her fur against my side.
Feel her flame drop off—
the hush of it dying down, smothered by blankets— 
            as she wraps herself around me
like a coat I suddenly need.

I dream with her, safe and imperiled,
            shoulders drenched in ash—
I stand in the dry part of a river
            in black cut offs, naked from the waist up.
And she comes to me—
             a giant wick, her fur crisping under the weight
            of so much flame.

Breathing against my stomach,
            she ashes what’s left of the fear—
like that boy who kissed me
            before I could stop him,
his hands reaching up to grab my face.


*

6.

Prophet Fever

I rocked myself to sleep after drinking a 40 / after pressing the empty bottle to my cheek / Go fill the world / you told me / with news of its own end / Nightglow in my mind amen / I spray-painted the bridge near my house / HEED NOT THE HUMAN APOLOGIST THE REIGN OF MERCY ENDS / and I drew you Mary / as I remembered you / crushing my trash photos under your feet / guard me as thy property and possession / I should have licked your heels I should have  / I drew your outline in black paint high as I could reach


*

5.

Kindling

We feel this way because we are not ourselves
my spine the fuel of stars
your spine the very kindling

We are not ourselves alone

Watch your dogs step out of their split skins
eyes dried up like extinct ferns
            curled in on themselves
their bones still pink with blood

We are not ourselves alone

All night I dream of plural flames
the bone masks beneath human skin


*

4.

Sylphs (Purity)

Audrey is a sylph.
Her skin peels like handprint wallpaper, touched but never held.
She vanishes into ferns, leaving plaster dust hanging like a pulled-apart cotton ball over
the water’s mirror edge.

It is here in the hushed midafternoon forest in August the stag finds me, at fourteen,
naked, imagining I am caught and not knowing what that means, feeling with calloused
fingers the void of the female creature.
The buck with impenetrable eyes glinting exhales steam into the leaf-clatter, disappears
into green and brown panting shadows.
He is the idol of my deeper dreams now.
Always.

The coarse bark of elms sang to my skin, and the jagged tips of maple shivered like
stinging winter inhale; the length and density of oak all on its own and the rich breath of
decay; I held them to my wanting flesh like my great-aunt’s musty mink stole.
The depth of adulthood—its inevitable, decadent end—beckoned me with the instinctual
perfume of rotting.

I see ferns now and tear off my shoes, sometimes everything.
I press my face, self, into the moist dark fullness of moss too hard, squashing my palms
and breasts until pain into the cold, alien carpet.
I scrape the soles of my feet down tree trunks, layers of me splitting and sloughing.
Invaded, I moan.

Audrey and I, sylphs and dryads, innocent and wanton, touch one another across a
century, wild with molting purity, deep in the verdant folds of the earth.


*

3.

No Shortage of Young Men (Beauty)

There is no shortage of young men
pressing and watching,
teeming on the street corners.

Their antlers cast shadow lines on our faces
and they paw through the sidewalks to dirt,
steaming breath down our dress-backs.

They are sent
            continually
                        elsewhere
with their greed for pleasure in their pockets
to be fed to the maws of the earth—
            hungrier even than cameras—
lungs collapsed, viscera gnawed, open skulls and split stomachs.

But Audrey and I still
            must shut our eyelids in the evening glow
            to brace against them,
press our elbows into the wall of their watching.

They need us and
they are here and inside our skins,
            holding us up,
                        godlike,
            and Audrey holds their triumph in one upturned palm.

The old men nod and breathe smoke in our eyes,
pontificate as if we are an army.
They pronounce upon our duties
and sink their fingers into our soft sides.
The soldiers carry Audrey’s breasts in their mess kits
            and know her, hold her, sculpt her—
            impenetrable—
            from the surface of hell.

Even the Venus de Milo was flesh once,
female and breathing, sweating in a studio
before a man
who wanted firm thighs, so he cast them in stone.


*

2.

Desire Speaks to Me as I Gather Lettuce from the Garden before Dinner

Pick a switch, love. Pick
the whole damn tree.
Wrench it from the soil
and lay it at my feet.
I will teach you something.

It’s alright if you feel
like a storm cloud. Hold
everything in, love. Laugh
at the rumbling. Your cheek-
bones harbor the prettiest ghosts.

Don't wait
for an invitation to the table.
Speak at the worst time. Show
your stained teeth, crooked arms,
the half-picked scab on your thigh.
Darling, you are the feast.

~Ellie White~

*

1.

Intimacy

I shaved my legs for the first time in sixteen months. Bought lingerie. Drove for 25 minutes into another city to get there.

I walked into a living room of corsets and collars. Not much leather, but considerable lace. My contact lounged in a recliner.

I was asked how I wanted to be introduced.
I was introduced.
A corset told me that He was in the back room. There was a scene. I stood in the doorway. Two collars and some jeans sat in the corners of the small room. In the center, a limp pair of lace panties hung from the ceiling. I stood there a few minutes, then returned to the living room.

When the scene was over, and my contact had left, He invited me into the back room. A white lace shirt was told to join us. Once there, His skills were described. Pictures were brought out. The lace shirt told a story.

Above my head loomed a black metal frame. It ran the length of the room, and along the central beam lay the tools: various floggers, the cat o nine tails, the dreaded single tail. I counted five hooks.

The floor was littered with nylon, jute, hemp, an odd array of fibrous snakes. He told the lace shirt to keep talking to me. He left us there.

I changed the subject. Stared at a tawse leaning against a baseboard. The lace shirt understood. We went back into the living room.

I began chatting with a tall corset. We watched Him use the fire wand on the white lace shirt. (The shirt was removed). Then, He used the cups.

The flesh reddened immediately. The lace shirt did not get up until He told it to. The corset and I continued to talk.

I left when it seemed late enough. I’d expected all of this.

~Ellie White~

8 comments:

  1. Awesome poetry on this page! I especially like 'Evidence.' Thanks for the inclusion with such talent!

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  2. Thank you for being within the flock.

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  3. So many great poets. I love what you guys are all about. On a scale of one to ten, Myna is a thirteen! Looking forward to the next issue.

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  4. It's an honor to be included. Thank you.

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  5. Thank YOU. Feel free to submit again in the future.

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  6. I really love this and hope you will continue this series. Thank you for asking. This is exciting!

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  7. Thank you Charles. You should also feel free to submit in the future, with any poems you think might fit. You know what the title and the cover derive from, right? Lynchian-ness. :)

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