the poetry that matters

Petra Whiteley

Petra Whiteley's poetry has appeared in Osprey, Seven Circle Press (and also in their printed anthology CircleShow vol.1), The Gloom Cupboard, Eviscerator Heaven, Apt, Osprey & Eleutheria, Counterexamplepoetics, Unlikely Stories 2.0, Paraphilia, the Recusant, Fissure, The Plebian Rag (print and online), The Clockwise Cat, Full of Crow and has been featured in Outside Writers Collective etc... articles on political/current issues, essays on history and methods of poetry & literature movements, current poets and lyricists had appeared & will appear in The Glasgow Review, Osprey, Eviscerator Heaven. More of her poetry is forthcoming in Paraphilia and Danse Macabre. First collection of poetry 'The Nomad's Trail' has been published by Ettrick Forest Press in 2008 and her chapbook 'The Moulding of Seers' has been published by the Shadow Press in 2009. She is currently working on a children's book.

(Ship)wrecking of Schism

This is flesh of the black red light
set against the white on two for one
offer on the apocalypse.

Ivory for glass. Children here
sell their hands for a pound.

They are the chalky schema -
the merchants of their sacrifice -
we are the mouthed backwards zero.

This is the fear pumped out
and out. (Eucharist)

The din of the knuckles,
the hum of the hunger,
the piston of the wrecked
and manufactured
as braves of some uncertain
tribe burning coarse tongues
crippled and magnificently golden.

The veins of the leaves spread
on the glistening silver forks -
sticking out ribs. Decomposing
pantheon - consume
these already dying dead. Happily
so. Do you
lick Death? Such beautiful eyes,
kiss and strain, deify
the hatred.

This is the maths of the shipwrecked,
spreading through the icy waters
like orgiastic plague.

Logistikon of the hydra who empties
ashes on her artifice and the begged, beg.

Philology of the buttons, swinging
left to right. Applaud it
slowly and Now.

Breath, collected

Inhale I.

The endless movement of clouds is an omen
of grabbing onto something that is anything.

It has a stamp of happiness, but smells nothing like it.

Salt of the tide sucked unto the hard statue of men,
eyes doublelit and mouth-moving in metallic tempo
is the taste left of it - lines of nails in the mouth
and limp silence.

Exhale I.

The repeat of otherness - dust dots in the smoke
of it will not diminish but grow thicker and thicker.

Inhale II.

There is no breath
that the sea won't swallow like foam
or spit like stones on a winter beach.

The swift guillotine of weakness and night
is the wind that comes over the waves
and cuts out the lighthouse.

The rain is always there, the hollow world of it
that slinks down colourless and insubstantial.

Exhale II.

This is only possible when unseeing the seen.

But when you see the seen, what is there to see except
the act of seeing, which means nothing and everything?

Inhale III.

Living in this is waiting for chrysalis,
but we are here only aping and aping,
mouth gaping with silicone sentences,
the measure of rice that is us. So ripe
and ready to appease with the soft meat.

What is the colour of sacrifice? It is so
easily given. It must have a fast flow
as bright symbols and jolly old songs.

Exhale III.

No is the only word that matters, and no,
there will be no Icarian wings built or burnt,
only black river of fustian gestures and screams -
the blind rats in the cellar, the virus of need
rushing to see through us and push the walls open,


Inhale IV.

And there, up there is the shine of the years spent
inside the midnight and the sharpened fog of speech,
waiting for the murmur of blood to start walking.
Backwards, right into it.

(now, let's breathe)

Speaking unto water

The Word

This is not my town, I dwindle here, just so
a line of dust in a thick night lingers to lull.

There are hunters of tingles, they will
not understand this thing, this tiny thing
that is so out of tune, shyness like a knife.

They will grab it and eat. It is a feast of the itch.
After all. I am the slip of their pale tongues.

I leave a taste behind, that uneven string
of razor cuts, blood ribbons and sea floating hair.

It is not my house, that place of squeezed eyes
and long nails, torn asunder, sudden and pointing.

These houses talk and laugh. It happens behind
the red, red door. White roses fall from the windows,
they are the dirty words - that keep watching me.

Soon they will say something strange to me.

The Sentence.

Breathing and unstill.
I drink poison for each of my wrongs.

Here I am, diminishing,
and this water is my only nakedness.
I clutch at it – the nightmare voodoo toy.
A blanket of untied light. It was hacking my knee.
I was a willow tree during its night.
I counted ten swans barking in dead air.
Awaiting the fall, the kill, the skulls.

It wasn't enough. I had to scream it out loud.

The sun cannot be broken!
And I can cut death in half, my womb - a blade
and a sickle of the grass above the heads of hunters.


A Study of Sun

Day is something the horse by the train tracks will soon finish kicking and eating.
Sun will chase the flies in the swing of a long tail and cry explosion out loud.
In the morning it will stir like an egg in butter. It will have forgotten the smell
 of the planet like the planet forgets its smell too. It is the stickiness of frying.

This is the first name of my freedom - eating the sun
without the paper god and his bright shining eyes.

The air is cold when I get up, but I rise; swing-walking
forwards: intricate colours are out there, somewhere.
I will kiss them as they press into your morning mouth.

That is the next name of my love - licking the sun
without the seasickness in the landlocked place.

Roses are the fruit of sex. How we devour them and breathe their being in the twilight,
even more so when the sun is soaking its eyes in salt water. The thorns become the hands
of the clock, ticking the beat of the spoons; the bones, the strings of the guitar.
There will be music child, exultant and without the smear of the fathers.

There is the fading name of my being - I am an orb that has no knowledge of orbiting.
I have a sense of ruin snowing all around me; I believe it will not bite me
so my mouth bites random darknesses, believing they have the bread of sun in the middle.
 There is no gravity in the core, there is always getting away. With it.
And the black earth is always smouldering. For it.

The air is cold when I fall. I applaud phoenix in the sun.
I strike my matches - it is the sound of my hands clapping.
And clasping. There is no one to hear it. Still, it is a pretty toy
anent my hands are loosing grip and soon they will be served to I.

The last name is my death - I have faith that it will free me from struggling against
the sun.
As the flesh dissolves, I will finally become.

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