blackmail press 33
Rae Pater
New Zealand

Tui Taonga 1-5 Penny Howard
Rae Pater has been published online and in print. She has three grown up
children and a cat named Gus. Rae has a B.A in English literature and
works as an adult literacy tutor.
Human Pyramids

All the words pile

up                    on
each other. The twitch between
synapses solidifies on carbon

Air is borrowed –
I breathe in what others breathe out.
We inhale, exhale each other
our words pile up
They found pyramids of bodies
in gas chambers.          They said
those still alive climbed
on top of those already dead       or just
weaker and smaller. But what if –
what if
those underneath massed together gladly
to form a pile - construction - flesh cathedral.
So those who held their breath longest –

borrowed breath,

exhumed exhausted air,

might climb to heaven?  And,
as they reached the apex of their grim pyramid,
another opened from its peak, upturned like a flower
of gaping faces. Maybe they reached the six-tipped star
where God was said to reside
before the greasy stench of furnaces
repulsed his olfactory. Perhaps
it was agreed, in a last unspoken silence,
to bequeath whatever they had left,
a foundation for whoever might survive. You see,
all my words are amassed
from graveyard corpses –
a stellar collection.
Whatever /and/ or /but/
I place
and where I place it,
stays, as though a forget-me-not bouquet
upon a tombstone. Here lies
Lord of the Flies    my Dylan,
Ezra, Homer, re
defined –
We build upon our framework       one
another, chain -
linked together.
If others were good
they made me better.
These, all these, my poets, leave their
ampersand       and      enjamb
with songs of grass.

I tread upon, rise upon,
mix ash with blood to fill our pens,
stroked with fire,
from the caveman's granite parchment.