‘Blackbird’ and other poems by Imogen Forster


A bone-hard carapace,
a shell cast on a hot shore,
emptied by the labour
of leaving the nurturing
sea, scraping broad ribbons
up the sand’s glassy slope .
Gasping, digging a damp hole,
she lays round, sticky eggs,
a hundred leathery balls.
Then spent, noon-dried,
she dies, picked clean
by quick scavengers.
Her hatchlings flail
and scuttle towards
the sea, led by the
gazing moon, their plates
small patterned
purses, hardened
in the rich sea-soup
into a vaulted chamber
built to the blueprints
of this old architecture.
Published in Visual Verse


The blackbird sits, a smudge
in the prickly hedge, stooped,
wings and tail all downward.
I want to touch him, to feel
the quick, warm shape
in a cage of bare branches.
What does a bird fluffed
against the cold see
in his crouched stillness?
If I could grasp him by
his ashy back, hold his whole
breathing body in my hand
what would the soft bones
tell me, the barbed primaries
and the mite-infested down?
The bird stirs, and now
shows a bead, a pinhead eye,
a beak ripening to yellow.
Then the sudden thrust
out of the damp bush,
the perfect trajectory.
This was his first lesson,
the enactment of his ease.
Submitted to The Rialto Poetry competition, February 2015

Dancer, after Yinka Shonibare, ‘Girl Ballerina’

I am tailored, buttoned, piped,
the colonist’s clothes a tight fit
round my slim child’s waist.
Net and frills, my costume’s
a good girl’s best party dress.
But am I a welcome guest
or a blackface clown?
Headless, I say nothing.
I am a dancer’s body
in a pair of cotton shoes.
I am a sister to Marie, the wax
and bronze work of M Degas,
shiny, moulded on a frame
of pipes and paintbrushes.
Called monkey, Aztec,
a medical specimen,
the flower of depravity.
I am ten, to her fourteen, and so,
you could say, innocent.
My neat bodice of East India
Batiks is the bright stuff
of conquest, traded from
Batavia to Benin and now
spread across south London stalls.
My Brixton market wardrobe,
my new flags, my hopeful anthems.
Hands behind my back,
my finger resting on the trigger.
Submitted to Faber New Poets competition, January 2015

WP_20150116_19_52_26_ProImogen Forster is a freelance translator, mainly of art history, from French, Italian, Spanish and Catalan. She translated one of the French volumes for the new edition of Vincent van Gogh’s Letters published by the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, in 2009. She has published poems on-line, and in a number of magazines.
‘Blackbird’ and other poems by Imogen Forster

‘L’Heure Bleu’ poems by Aad de Gids and C. Murray

L’Heure Bleu

a dwell in the night a, sigh. a dervish dislodged a textile, sigh
it is the night it is a night on earth the hedges prematurely in
bloom with almost lightning, flowers so, white and optic so,opioid
a scent as some people sit on a bench and conspicuous leaves on
the forestrial floor. oak moss and waterlily release pungent smells
as pungent as sexual. it is the blue hour between love and war,
dark mosses vessels almost for some astral war, the trail of laurel
and pittosporum the navigational mappology by which we float as in,
an unseen jar a headspace placed on the venezolan roraima to catch
this petite star orchids’ unbelievable strong pineapplescent. as
the classic perfumes however stay true to a private royaume along
forgotten paths in venezuela, brazil, malaysia and italy, guerlain’s
famous perfume l’heure bleue stays true to its 1912 formula…..

L’Heure Bleue is © Aad de Gids

*L’Heure Bleue or ‘the bluish hour’ was created by Jacques Guerlain in 1912. The fragrance is velvety soft and romantic, it is a fragrance of bluish dusk and anticipation of night, before the first stars appear in the sky. The top notes are opening with spicy-sweet aniseed and fresh bergamot that gently lead to the heart of rose, carnation, tuberose, violet, and neroli. The soft and powdery floral notes are resting on a base of vanilla, Tonka bean, iris and benzoin. The perfume is mysterious, elegant and timeless. It was created by Raymond Guerlain. The bottle is shaped like the one of Mitsouko and the stopper is shaped like a hollow heart that alludes to romantic pre-war years. [fragrantica]

Famine Ship at Murrisk Abbey *

‘L’heure bleue’ for Aad de Gids
That almost night
at Murrisk Abbey.
Darkness begins to drop
its black capillaries, its ink blots.
Rorschach animals ink sky’s ultramarine
seeping their blue tones into the sea.
The reek looms above Murrisk Abbey.
Altared, a blown bouquet
tissues its stem toward
the famine ship,
its graven skeletons
knit ‘ship’
it baulks the dark,
blacker than the fallen sky,
the fairylight houses.
Blacker still than stone.
by C. Murray
* The National Famine Memorial by John Behan RHA at Murrisk, Co Mayo

7408_944735395543989_347432016492282884_nAad de Gids is from Schiedam, Netherlands. He  works as a psychiatric nurse. trance the ibisworld by Aad de Gids  is available on Poethead. He has co-authored Machinations (KFS Press) an ekphrastic collaboration with Michael McAloran  soon to be reissued via Oneiros Books , and a text collaboration Code #4 Texts  (Oneiros Books, 2014). His  chapbook acryl lacquer lost in the forest  was published by Bone Orchard Press in  2014.

Books by Aad de Gids

 Famine Ship at Murrisk Abbey * ‘L’heure bleue’ for Aad de Gids That almost night at Murrisk Abbey. Darkness begins to drop its black capillaries, its ink blots. Rorschach animals ink sky’s ultramarine seeping their blue tones into the sea. The reek looms above Murrisk Abbey. Altared, a blown bouquet tissues its stem toward the famine ship, bone-souldered its graven skeletons knit ‘ship’ it baulks the dark, blacker than the fallen sky, the fairylight houses. Blacker still than stone. * The National Famine Memorial by John Behan RHA at Murrisk, Co Mayo behan.jpg acryl lacquer lost in the forest

acryl lacquer lost in the forest
Code #4 Texts
Code #4 Texts
  1. Code #4 Texts
  2. acryl lacquer lost in the forest
  3. trance the ibisworld
‘L’Heure Bleu’ poems by Aad de Gids and C. Murray

Sequences — (After Francis Bacon) by Michael McAloran

Sequences — (After Francis Bacon)

2…meat unto collapse/ stead lapse/ the lung’s abort in headless barrage the head is/ traces the/ meat’s sarcophagus is the light surrounding/ the forms that bind the subject-object/being in this from onset’s claim/ the stripping down of/ in gradual of irreversible/ meat does not climb it cannot/ it/ blind limit of/ in/ in conflict there its sense fed to the/ nausea all in the face of/ the sunken eye divulged of meat/ the meat that is the figure’s construct/ gallowing from bone/ opulent the sickness-pity for/from unsung/ carved out of/movement through nothing the flesh/ clamouring/ cascading yet inward and then yet none/ the laughter of the meat is silent/ the its’ cajole/ meat’s blood spills out of vacuum presence/ meat is not void the head is void in conflict there the meat devoid of/ un-sound…

3…the piss/ cum/ shit of celebratory nothing/ the ruptured meat weeps from the skin’s bind/ bound upon as if it/ or/ in that/ celebratory excavations before the foot of none/ meat’s saving graces in ejaculative/ voidal/ or the introspect of needle/ cunt penetrate/ rectal/ the mutilation of/ meat is the worst possible beginning-ending/ it/ other than/ the head lopped off sings to the solar anus of the eye’s mind percept/ though of or or/ not from the give or the taking from of flesh/ is it/ the head is bone the body boned yet/ unto the sky there is no end it perceives the flesh null and void/ yet in the meat of the percept/ even the fault of which applies/ the whole is not correct merely because it is of the exist/ it does not burn unless it is set to/ light…

4…object of/ scar tissue silences/ yet/ meat stings of the echo-wound/ the bound devour of in/ meat has forgotten/ the head as object desires the other it/ all stripped/ sung from the broken amulets of memory’s shades of silent wasteland/ yet the meat/ still scarred/ collapses under the weight of/ consumption/ because it be/ it can yet be other/ it cannot be other than without choice/ the meat sings blood and sense yet it does not sing of final/ meat is arbitrary/ it sings in pleasure yet it does not sing aloft/ but in the expulsion of desire/ in which none is known/ terms wishes granted it/ dragging out the carcass of it into the light flaying the spectral knowledge/ the meat suffers/ it is a rabid dog in the midst of silence/ seeking to be annihilate/ yet…


5…fleshed on in-step/ bled from/ what is it/ this/ in this is felt yet no/ not of/ in animus of collective taste/ the bleed of asking yet/ bound to/ the face’s demolition/ the smearing of/ hence it lacking identic/ special all as if reverberating sound in cylindrical/ yet meat’s taste is of the flesh it/ sombre ash in the guts/ in the defecate of that already final/ as for the mock bind of sex the interchange and shift of parameter/ meat still yet entwined in the tint of desire’s persistent edge/ all spun together between the animal and the/ obscenely bound to the nothing that is/ if/ where from yet in grip of marrow beneath the flesh’s desertion in/ else never truly penetrating/ the cock lacking the hyenic bone will/ legs splayed/ a cunt exposed/ a rectum/ skinned the purpose of in the thrust of meat and the beckoning void/ of it…


6…the escape from flesh/ momentarily through flesh the loss of being in/ subtle cataract of none/ escapade of/ the blood coming to the eyes the cum coming to the fore/ blind-sighted/ then/ yes or no/ base flesh and the blood-red passage through night/ in machinate of/over again as if to/ yet never the escape from/ not conscious deliverance nor conscious bite/ having bitten the wick between anguish and desire/ chased by the none of exigency and lack/ of final edge and of/ red raw yet no/ of the blood no unless asked of/ the flayed will reduced to ashen/ scar a long the indent of emblem bitten dredge/ the frenzy of/…/all the while the meat slowly erased/ in definite stead/ the sense of final and over and again/ until/ bled out from circus tint of blood/ bone lack…
Sequences — (After Francis Bacon) is © Michael McAloran

mick1Image is © Michael McAloran
Michael Mc Aloran was Belfast born, (1976). His work has appeared in various zines and magazines, including ditch, Gobbet Magazine, Ygdrasil, Establishment, Unlikely Stories, Stride Magazine, Underground Books, InterPoetry, etc. He has authored a number of chapbooks, including The Gathered Bones, (Calliope Nerve Media), Final Fragments, (Calliope Nerve Media) & Unto Naught, (Erbacce-Press). A full length collection of poems, Attributes, was published by Desperanto in 2011. Lapwing Publications, (Ireland), released a collection of his poems, The Non Herein in 2012. The Knives, Forks & Spoons Press, (U.K), also released an ekphrastic book of text/ art, Machinations & Oneiros Books released In Damage Seasons and All Stepped/ Undone in 2013. A further collection Of Dead Silences, was published by Lapwing Publications. His most recent publications are The Zero Eye and Of the Nothing Of (Oneiros Books). He is  the editor/ creator of Bone Orchard Zine and he edits for Oneiros Books.


Sequences — (After Francis Bacon) by Michael McAloran

‘The House of Altogether Nothing’ & Other poems by Jan Sand

The House of Altogether Nothing

The countryside in which it stands
Is broken with large jagged rocks.
Its trees are dark, from northern lands,
Whose branches scratch the sky; boney bough knocks
One against the other. Cold winds finger through
Odd strands of captured human hair,
Torn newspaper strips look as if they grew
Amongst the leaves to bleakly declare
Of violence and despair. Black groves smell
Of damp decay. They display white fungoid growth
Through which black insects grope, explore a shell
Deserted by a snail that caps its glowing trail. One is loathe
To venture near this place of threats
But winding through dead leaves, broken rubble
Is the path where stumble those, full of regrets,
Replete with fears, burdened with trouble,
Pass to reach the house. Its peaks and walls
Assault the sky like a cataclysmic scream,
Intertwined grotesqueries that captures and enthralls
Those destined to drop into its dream.
The weary travelers approach in single file, one by one,
Trudge to the door which swings open wide.
They know their journey’s almost done.
They tremulously step inside.
Halfway down the long bare hall
Their head is seen to wobble, shake.
Comes now a groan, a gasp. Then the fall.
It thumps and rolls. The arms quake
And drop as well. The torso tumbles,
Then the legs topple like loose lumber.
The parts now chute in sliding jumbles
Through a hole in the floor. Nothing left to encumber
The next traveler. The house re-opens its front door.
The upper stories flicker, luminesce.
Moonlight glistens. Something rises to soar
From out a square chimney – glaucus, incandesce
To dissipate like spectral steam.
Something wakens from a dream.

The House of Altogether Nothing is © Jan Sand

These images are © Jan Sand jan1Death


There are rains that drag fog skirts
Across the country-side in stealthy hiss,
That, gently, in determination
Dampens down the grass with sodden kiss
Of sky to earth as caring as a mother
Calms her resting child.
There are rains of panicked horses’ hooves
That illuminate their stampede
With angry lightning flashing on black roofs
While trees sway and shudder in dismay
And water demons pound on window panes.
But some rains come and merely sit
And drum in steady patient siege,
Work soft hammers on the dents and wrinkles of the day
Smoothing anger and distress to flat peace,
Tempt shy dreams to peek from hidden thoughts
And welcome in safe surrender to sleep’s release

Rains is © Jan Sand

2 Am

The early black
Is still unstirred
By yawning morning.
The ceiling fills
With predatory thoughts,
Like quiet children
Come to play
Their silent games,
Poking sticks into
Dark passages
Of forgotten memories;
Memories like frightened mice
That scurry off in panic.
The sadly moaning bell
Sixty years ago on a lonely buoy
Shrugging its shoulders
In a choppy sea.
A special purple
Strangely found on both
An apron and a stub of clay
In kindergarten.
The round eyed stare
Frozen to my mother’s face
As cancer pain
Prodded her to certain death.
A pet white rat curled in snooze

On my pillow by my cheek.
The falling crescent moon
Smiles in my window
Like my long gone mother
Soothing me
Back to the peace of sleep.

2 am is © Jan Sand

jan2Jan Sand is originally a New Yorker. Currently a resident of Helsinki, Finland. Having read and enjoyed his poetry at Open Salon, I requested some work for Poethead.

Bio: I am a former industrial designer formerly a New Yorker, now retired and living in Helsinki, Finland. I have been writing poetry for several decades but am more or less unpublished except at a couple of web sites run by acquaintances met on the web. I know no other poets but take up my time with graphics and poetry and innovative cooking and baking and learning Finnish and relating to the wild animals in my area.





‘The House of Altogether Nothing’ & Other poems by Jan Sand

Poetry : Cut Neck by Zarina Zabrisky

Cut Neck by Zarina Zabrisky
Cut Neck by Zarina Zabrisky


HE (standing with a razor in one hand, a photograph in the other)
This neck connects
Her head to her body.
Her true self
To the garden of her delight
I should have married
A real woman
A woman
Who acts like a wife
Whose head belongs to me
Just like her body
A woman
Made of my rib
A woman
Out of whose rib
I was made
A mother
My mother
Not a phantom of a woman
With curves as lovely
As love itself
But with the eyes
Of a statue
Looking inside
Not outside
Not at me.
Fragmented reality.
Snatches of dreams.
Swimming in light
Silvery outlines shimmer
Close yet elusive
To catch them
I slash on her neck
With my razor
Dividing her head from her body
Photographic blood
Burns my fingers.
I kill her
To make her mine

SHE (enters, he doesn’t see her)
You slashed at my neck
With your razor
You wanted my body dead, obedient,
Only yours,
Still desired by everyone,
Yet your toy
Your property.
My dear,
My neck is a living bean-stalk
It shoots for the sky
A rail-track for the train of my song
A beam of light
A telescopic snake
One thousand burning giraffes
Up and up only,
Away from you,
Away from any man.
So high
That all you can see
Are parts of me only:
Lips. Eyes. Tears.
Neck. Breasts. Hips.
Fragmented reality
Floating in violet sky
Oblivious to your lust.
No knife will help you.
I am not to be butchered.
I am not to be owned.
HE (looks out the window)
It is not the sun in the skies
It is lust.
Spread over the horizon
Like a snake,
Like a trap
Waiting to open,
These lips will devour you.
You think it is love
But it is death.
You think it is lovely
But it is evil.
I observe it
My photographic lens
Opens and shuts
The only way to survive
Is art.
In your fantasy
These lips are for kisses
For flaming touches
Flesh to flesh
Feeling flushed
Dear, my lips will devour you
Drink you
Drain you
Dry you
To the last drop
To your death
But not with love.
My lips are not for loving
Not for feasts
Nor for flesh
Nor for you
Nor for any other man
To own
My lips are for singing
For sounds so sinful
So strong so scary
They singe you
With music
Seal you
Steal you
Slice you
Scar you
Kill you

Some women
Are songs
Not bodies
Not lovers
SHE (laughing)
Tie yourself
To the mast
Blind yourself
Flee for your life,
Brave hero
My body is me
But I am not my body
Do not deconstruct me
Do not serve me on your plate
Do not attempt to consume me
Do not enter me as a mirror
Look into me first
Do not look at me
Listen to me, hear me, know me
For when you know me
You know you
HE (looks into the mirror)
When I try to go though your mirror
All I do
Is cut my hands
Your beauty was created to ruin the world
but the world will ruin your beauty
One thousand ships launched by you
Into the space of eternity
Never return
You send them to death
yet without me
you are never alive


Like empty hangers
These lovers’ story never unfolds
It doesn’t exist anymore
yet it is here
Suspended in the air
Swinging in the draft
In the indeterminate place
The fur on the imaginary fur coats
ripples like waves
Heaves like breasts of sleeping beasts
This transparent narrative
Is magic carpet rich.
Invisible threads of him and her
Create the pattern
of eternity


this window is so dim
the garden outside looks wet
as if it is raining
it is not
i can see streams of water
pouring down the empty yard
and down the alley,
yet the asphalt is dry
light grey
pigeon grey
the asphalt is cracking
like a desert
yet what are those torrents in the yard
I’m calm
nothing hurts inside or outside
the yard is empty
the gate is swinging
and the water is flowing
yet it’s dry, so dry
but the trees are crying
I see roses and some flowers i don’t know
swaying and crying
the invisible rain keeps pounding on my head now
how loud is this rain
I look at the dry coffee table outside
at two empty cups
filling with the invisible rain
here comes the fire engine
the siren is deafening
I can’t hear it
but I see it
it is red
it is fire
the fire engine is here
to put out the rain
this red rain
here comes the police car
to arrest the red rain
here is the ambulance
they say it’s for me
I’m not in pain
yes this is a razor
but there is no blood
you must be blind
there is no rain
there is no fire
there is no blood
there is no love
and I’m not dying
I’m dead
I feel nothing

red rain and razors, cut neck and the voice of space are © Zarina Zabrisky

Author’s note :

I am attaching my poems from the series “Cut Neck” inspired by Man Ray and Lee Miller and first performed at the SF Legion of Honour Museum at the exhibition Man Ray/Lee Miller-Partners in Surrealism.  

I was lucky enough to read next to Man Ray’s “Lips” but that performance was not taped, unfortunately. It was my favorite reading setting. I attach the images that have inspired the “Cut Neck” and “The Voice of Space” by Man Ray and the photographs of performing next to them.  It was a very special moment in my artistic life.

There is a video of these poems performed in the Upper Gallery of the Museum. Here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gC4kjPh5Mc

If this video is too long, there is also a performance of “Cut Neck” only, by Simon Rogghe and myself to the music from a surrealist film “L’Etoile De Mer.” (also performed at the exhibit):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2PEAKmE_Vc 
Zabrina Zabrisky
Poetry : Cut Neck by Zarina Zabrisky