The poet warns us from his prison of appearances – trees and thoughts, stones and emotions, days and nights and twilights are all simply metaphors, mere coloured ribbons – that the breath which informs matter, shaping it and giving it form, is the same breath that corrodes and withers and defeats it. It is a drama without personae, since all are merely reflections, the various disguises of a suicide who talks to himself in a language of mirrors and echoes, and the mind also is nothing more than a reflection of death, of death in love with itself.

Octavio Paz
Labyrinth of Solitude

Eat me up, my love, or else

December 14, 2018

Everything in love is oriented toward this absorption. At the same time real love is a don’t-touch, yet still an almost-touching. Tact itself: a phantom touching. Eat me up, my love, or else I’m going to eat you up. Fear of eating, fear of the edible, fear on the part of the one of them who feels loved, desired, who wants to be loved, desired, who desires to be desired, who knows that there is no greater proof of love than the other’s appetite, who is dying to be eaten up yet scared to death by the idea of being eaten up, who says or doesn’t say, but who signifies: I beg you, eat me up. Want me down to the marrow. And yet manage it so as to keep me alive. But I often turn about or compromise, because I know that you won’t eat me up, in the end, and I urge you: bite me. Sign my death with your teeth.

Hélène Cixous
Love of the Wolf

the world goes asunder

December 9, 2018

On a sunny day. The reality of fine-grained buttocks. The father’s death, a precarious event. I run my hand over your sex. The scent of stripped hazel. Keening comes to an end. Light turns red and runs over our bodies. We’re covered in red silt. We swim like two tadpoles as we touch the unravelling walls. My dress on the floor, like a giant dead bird.

It’s winter. The evening reeks of damp feathers. Icicles drop with a crash, the odd passerby rolls on the asphalt. I tune in my idleness to that of the cat. I read a few lines and then watch as the light wanes on your face, as your eyes change their colour. Beauty belongs to those idling their time away. Our life among poplars and snowfalls, among the conflagrations and parades. As I run my hand over your thigh, the world goes asunder. Somewhere on the outskirts of town, where desire ascends along with the carbon black, where heat no longer reaches, we vegetate superposed in a bed: your nipples on top of my nipples. Your eyes sunken into the dark lighten my skin. The fine-crystal mesh melting away with each breath.

When the heart shrivels up, shrinks to a raisin like grapes left to dry in the attic, when flesh ebbs away, when the body refuses to allow the world in any more, what’s the use of still trying, what’s the use of still smiling?

Leaves afloat in a jug. No old man is waiting.

Doina Ioanid
Chants for Taming the Hedgehog Sow


October 27, 2018

the blood-smear across the knuckles:
painless, inexplicable.
once you discover it pain will begin,
in miniature.
never will you learn what caused it.
you forget it.

the telephone answered on the twelfth ring:
silence without breath, cunning, stark.
and then he hangs up.
and you stand there, alone.
then you forget.

and your father’s inexplicable visit:
two days’ notice, a ten-hour reckless drive.
rains, 80 mph winds, bad luck all the way,
traffic backed up, a broken windshield wiper,
and no stopping him.

clumsy handshakes.
How are —?
You seem —!
How good to —!
How long will —?
he must leave in the morning,
must get back.
a gas station two blocks away repairs the wiper.

did he sense death,
and so he raced to us?
did he already guess at his death
behind those nervous fond smiles,
the tumult of memories he had to bear?

nothing we know can explain his visit,
or the new, strange way he moved among us —
touching us, squeezing our arms, smiling.
the visit was an excuse.
the words that surrounded our touching were an excuse.
inexplicable, that the language we invent may be a means
to get us closer, to allow us to touch one another,
and then to back away.

Joyce Carol Oates


October 16, 2018

We think we are here trying to kill time, but in reality time is slowly killing us.

Vulnerability Study

September 23, 2018

your face turning from mine
to keep from cumming

8 strawberries in a wet blue bowl

baba holding his pants
up at the checkpoint

a newlywed securing her updo
with grenade pins

a wall cleared of nails
for the ghosts to walk through

Solmaz Sharif

under the skull

September 8, 2018

We all have secret lives.

The life of excretion; the world of inappropriate sexual fantasies; our real hopes, our terror of death; our experience of shame, the world of pain and our dreams.

No one else knows these lives; consciousness is solitary.

Each person lives in that bubble universe that rests under the skull, alone.

Kim Stanley Robinson
Galileo’s Dream


July 19, 2018

Baroque merry-go-round with its painted mermaids
and the over-exuberant, tinny sounds , so flashy and garish they
haunt my long dark hours.
The black water at the edge of the
Ghost pier lapping or lashing, there’s
careering starlings seeking shelter against
a grey slate sky and waves of predators.
As evening’s inevitability tells us of
the coming threats of night, far from the funfair, grinding to a halt,
the sickening streetlights are ghastly in the yellowing evening air.
Along the streets of rollicking revellers,
you’re seeking something that would free you. But
there’s others planning, lurking, waiting idly
in the shadows.
Among this sea town’s myths of endless partying, fun, this
dark underbelly of chaotic glee, your sudden newfound friends
are jovial, watchful, promising.

The party’s over.
On the bleak beach now with the encroaching tide you’re
Daytripper, tripped out and tricked you’re calling and calling
until silenced.
Until the waves take your body out from the pebbles, out
from the link between land and sea
entering that Other, shoreless, wild, vast , water world.
That dissolution.

Gina Wisker


June 24, 2018

The week before my mother died
I went to a feminist theory seminar
and even though I can describe myself as nothing
other than happily married, I wanted
another woman. An old-school butch —
the kind of woman who exudes lesbian
through every pore of her being, the kind of woman
who sits comfortably with her legs apart,
who stands forcefully, both feet
firmly on the ground, the kind of woman
known as ballsy and, on occasion, a ball-buster,
the kind of woman whose eyes sear
femme’s bodies, make our nipples
go hard, our clits erect, our pussies
wet, the kind of woman I desire.
And it was not just that I admired her power,
not just that I appreciated her sexual being
walking through the world, glancing at me,
giving me the benefit of lust. No, I had to
indulge in the full-frontal fantasy.
During two days of seminars, I imagined her hand
carefully inserted in my vagina, her long fingers
first stroking my muscular walls, gathering
the rhythm of sex, opening my vagina
to accommodate four fingers, a thumb,
then squeezing; I imagined how
my body would yield for her, how my lips
would quiver when my body erupted
into orgasm. I imagined looking into her eyes
as the ripples of my orgasm slid her tighter
and more deeply into my cunt. I imagined making
her the new core of my body, my second, slutty heart
in the way that only sex and lust bring
two women together. I imagined sucking her nipples,
laughing with her in the afterglow.
I imagined how much she would want me after I took her
whole hand inside me, and, though I do not
believe this, when my father called to tell me
about the bleed in my mother’s brain
and how I needed to come home to help him
with the work death entails, to mourn with him,
to bury my mother, though I do not
believe this at all, I could not help but think:
I caused my mother’s death with my lust.
Her death was G-d’s punishment for my desire
of someone outside marriage, G-d’s punishment
for my continual, unrelenting lust
for women, which my mother had condemned.
I could not help but see her in death
somehow justified in her anger, in her continued disappointment
with my perversity. I could not help
but think: I am the pervert
who caused my mother’s death.
I could not help but hear her final,
fatal words, crushing the lust,
the joy from the fantasy: all along she knew
I would kill her, and after her death,
she would hiss, I told you, I told you so.

Julie R Enszer