the poetry that matters

Liz Worth

Liz Worth writes about her nightmares. She also writes about punk rock, makes zines, and obsesses over the words of Daniel Jones. She recently completed the forthcoming oral history Treat Me Like Dirt, which documents the beginnings of the Toronto punk scene. It made her realize she does not want to live in the future.

Work by Liz Worth has previously appeared in the anthology Strong Words: Year Two, as well as in Exclaim!, Broken Pencil, The Toronto Star, Punk Planet, Eye Weekly, Clamor, Spacing, Fish Piss, The Sentimentalist, H Magazine, and This Magazine.


This is a vulgar ritual,
Treading the circumference of paranoia
In a night calloused by the wolf
Lapping between these legs
Before pulling away
With blood across the snout.
It carries the remnants of the dead,
Collapsing them against my snake road spine
Housing this paradise
That demi-ghosts of stigma and bile have built inside of me.
I reduce to noise
On this migrane plateau where
My hair splatters like birds
Against this body sculpted into
A hideous gun, spooning shots
That birth leather horses
Until these walls are woven from equine squeals.
I am all tendons and instinct,
Lungs nothing but cocoons dissolving
Against ribcaged animals,
Cradling psychosis as
They all come in a parade of angles,
These dreams that carve out
Hollow homes to lay down their
Children inside of me.
I'm left drenched in fatigue,
Clutching mangled nerves,
Transmitting radio forests strung together
As necklaces that nip like teeth.
In a hot shot across the thigh
My trigger finger spreads the children
That decipher sleep's metabolism
Until I'm left with guts feeling
Full of insects.
This is dreaming in demonology
Where revelations are coated
In nauseous waves,
Mouth heavy with the salt of saliva
Jaw locked and jowls like a beast
Built with a prehistoric underbite.
I'm only here in pieces, bound by forked tongues,
Paralyzed by what my throat won't allow.


Frantic, this way of
Looking at people
Spitting words from a
Mouth of frayed hems that
Brush against eyes, opaque.
It's end of day and I'm all
Fetal sweat,
Anemic rivulets in my underarms and
Beads along my lips as they suck on this
Sour whore, seeking juices from glass flesh that
Only loosens me until I'm
Building words into beasts with
Breasts rising into
Tumorous satellite cities.
What pours into me pulls back to my
Washroom stall scenarios
Of mother's meat between her legs.
Here I reduce to noise,
Dissolve against the thread of a dead idea,
Mumbling truth
And true intent.

Vision Correction


Walked into one of my bad days –

Sleep chafed against eyelids, working them

Raw to match the way concrete bites into kneecaps.

There I wore hissing sculptures, the frays of my history.


I had spent a summer tattooing tarot visions to my palms. They couldn't make me see.

My muscles stung with the pins of a cat's eye; I craved decay, fed from ash and wine,

Closed my eyes and reflected back the dead pupil manipulation of my diode sky.


My legs were only boneless columns but my chest

Was an amphetamine heart, ventricles mouthing red and blue

Against the white room of this secret house built from the architecture of ataxia.


Dilation spread to the faces of clocks on the wall, casting their hands to veins

Perspicuous below the wrist; eyes couldn't be blurred enough to avert

What was breathing, working between these valves.







They've been removing my bones again

Until, immobilized, all I can do is inhale relics.

I am nothing more than my relationships with voices,

Nothing more than this horizontal glare

That rests on the grinding of these teeth,

That taps out working theories of this muscular complexion

That is part torso, part sting of snow.

These hands bleed across an asphalt plane hanging over top of

Everything, a tired orbital septum threatening to put us all under.

Worn down, I'm licking at the stains that scatter, centipedal and diluted,

Drowning in these vertebrae

Siphoning away my parts in thirds.







This dirt, under nails, picks at these mouths leaking

Heat and tears, neon pink deviants raised across these limbs,

Waiting to be fed ringworm and tetanus.

Their unwieldy suck is weighed by the abraded tissues of these forearms.

This machine, made to triangulate this strangulation

Is breaking down, contaminated on the cusp

Of fattening heat, feeding throbs into these digits

Counting knuckle, sprouting nail, exposing crescents and foreskin.

Typing out this tunneling narrative, doubling into a river dejected

That runs along the wear and tear of this voice creased in the stutter of contusions

That rise, fists along the failing parameters of these swallowed words that paint
The body in bruises, a reflection that's eaten until
There's nothing left of this but ribbons on the floor.



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