blackmail press 28
Elizabeth Morton         
New Zealand

Kitchen - Charles Olsen
finders keepers:

between my bow legs and your blunt lisp
we are clinical enough. it's true,
I found you this way; cheeks reflecting
takeaway neon, you runt in lichen lit alley,
dimpleless, dog eared, drunk.

all your roads lead to ruin. I was hyena
when I found you, gibbering at wounds
and prospective gobbling. your waterbottle
lungs shivered in my hands. goose eyes
lurched with each slam of gums. no,

I can adopt the posture of Assisi, squat
near slight creatures recounting infant larks
until last hyperventilated giggle. I could've
snared you softly in my duffel hide, purred
lullabies to ruptured drum, ears warming limp.

but as it happens, craving trumps loneliness
every time. when you squeezed my hand,
all i could feel was the meat.

tabula rasa:

hitherto my only windpipe was chillblained
so i might croon of texture, spit rusty sinks,
pigeon wire, octaves of nettle and tooth.

nowadays, voiceless - nouns filched from
refrigerator magnets, encyclopedias opening
with the gluey incense of foreign skins,

tongue slamming at the dry throat stone,
a paragraph tugged into the tail of a comma.

i had my suitcases packed from the first
hunch of muteness. slouched hangdog in
operating rooms, a headful of sponges

calculating its own decay. i knew better then
to grizzle at forecasters, drew them white
pictures of the sinuses where my words might be,

condemned melody to mere punctuation,
extrapolated all the innuendo of the fullstop.

i used to croon of texture, but now my glottis
sags warm beneath a burden of phrase.
i'm still here, i want to tell them,
i'm still.
          i'm still,   here.

the park:

Rain pelts the grass like poultry feed.
Our foreheads tingle from furious grains.
The park where we meet dribbles
stickiness. Pigeons congeal on magnolia
sludge, crocuses honey at the bulb.
Slugs graffiti benches with frothed tags
and my words gelatinise where they meet
your heat, sentences gunked in the hollows
of my throat. Everything is adhesive.
Rain spits its furious seeds upon the
swellings our shadow casts. Dandelions tap
dimples into our knobbling knees.
We are so close, you know, there can be
nothing between us. I watch pigeons greet
each other with numb wet eyes, slugs grope
each other with all the romance of a cooling
turd. There is no promise in proximity.
Your disregard follows me like a dumb animal.

Elizabeth lives on Waiheke Island, amidst the rubble of her domestic indolence. She collects words in paper bags, plastic brains, and ceramic limbs. She spends her life avoiding situations where she might be asked how she spends her time.
She has been published in JAAM, Poetry NZ and Takahe.