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ELISABETH BLETSOE          
 
 
 
 
 

MAIDEN CASTLE
 

"you seem to swell so tall as a lion...
I fancy you would be a match for any man when you are in one o' your takings"
 

let's toss as men do, ride
barebacked and astride,
the rinsing content of my soul
released to an eloquence of skin
rising in bubbles, an
artemsian rapture in
the miracle of self-examining:
I draw back my lips and
sunlight illumines the tulip interior

Thesmothete, I am
the law-giver, the beasts
are tarred with my
    glyph
where my boundaries intersect
gives meaning to your lives, pour
  ash, urine, blood
on the terminal stones; mark
the territory
    as dogs do

"& whenever I look up"
  your eye
at every crack, itching,
the prurient hole; the bride
stripped bare by her suitors
    dragging after me
the spoilt middle-class boys
who would emulate me, would
masturbate inside me,
  steal my words
but lose their coin of meaning;
    sensing
  your bone erection
  I turn and say, sit
    and swivel, honey

    (honey)

veiled in tacta, I enter
  the nebulous swam,
interpret the oracular
    voice of the hive
leave bee-cake and rags
for a town spread like a
dissected bird, canescent,

    gorge de pigeon

penetrates the septum, traverse
capillaries and venules:
Grey Schoolhouse Lane, Glyde Path,
  Icen Way,
    old wound-paths,
walkways of Jeffreys and Cheeke where
chestnut, lime, sycamore
  percolate
through a dense menstruum, deposit
    an auriferous marc

shards of Roman tile elude
webs of superimposition;
  lacunae
cradle totems of the present moment:
woodlouse crumbles
    in loose mortar, goldenrod
sticks through
  curve and filament of ammonite
tracing the braille, book of the city
Colliton House wall, hard, stuff
that glitters, a compression
  of maricolous organisms;
    holiness and pollution

disease-repository of the museum:
"the brotherhood of iron, the metal of Los,
of cruelty, weapons, whips, the spindle of destruction,
the plough, chains, fetters, etc"

bull-stake. carfax.
the original church-triad,
  parish-markers,
half-buried dynamos pump their energies
(systole / diastole) along South walk
concentrate the brood-figures
  of the Frink bronzes
"those of tender conscience
    martyred":
the womanform (Helen Tremayne?)
reeks of male piss
    invisible ligatures

plague-scorch and fire-sepsis
form crusts of silence
among "pleasant town houses"
(a prayer-request at St. Peter's
    "pray
for my husband who bullys me")
  and marriage, that's
a terrible wooden story
is "walled gravy", stand
your ground and be cut to pieces;
the ritual slaughter of Mary Channing
abused arsenic-wife, cheered
by a "cast of thousands"
    Maumbury Ring
abscesses the consciousness
the air latent with accusations
is swallowed  is taint

    "nobody can hurt a dead woman"

the usury of sex  territorial
sniffings
the enclosure, terebration of
    the psychic envelope:
and whenever I look up
  your eye
inhales my presence, would
flense me with its shears
ram me with its telescopic lens
bore its gaze to my bones'
    diaphyses

not born to naifty, I walk
the city on the hill, the New Jerusalem;
queen of the cornmarket,
  the little gods of the fallows,
nightwalkers, swan-poachers and various
    shatter-headed persons

my skirt licks up scraps
  of libellous poems, my
footfalls like snowflakes
    in the ruminant dark
heart a mazed bird, my
palm holding a single grain
carp, pericarp, germ; the wonder of it
(my mind spreads away so)

  "it is all that is made"
 
 

(Bathsheba Everdene, Dorchester)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 

 

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