Cockatoo Mask

When you are very isolated or alone, you have this tremendous longing for communication, and also this strong desire to communicate through the body.” – Rebecca Horn


Cockatoo feathers enclose her face,
Enveloping her visage, concealing the base

Desires that lie beneath. She is swollen.
Her legs are in pieces about the room, broken.

An invisible itch formicates her isolated body,
From a sterile view, she searches for some sort of copy

Of substance, purpose and verve.
Unluckily, this bitch doesn’t have the nerve.

She is ill; cancer strokes her lungs, rashes hug her epidermis.
Fractured ribs, dismembered limbs, flesh so worthless.

This plumy mask eclipsing her lame body and mazy soul
residual memories coloured in with charcoal.

Metal and felt garnish her disposition.
It is through monologues of admonition

She understand her limits, staring them in the eyeball,
In dangerous repetition, within these stiffened cell walls.

Comparing her condition to Rebecca Horn’s,
She clips her own hair with a scalpel, a sheep shorn.

But she cannot be a sheep, her innocence lost.
The electrical wiring of her sanity: crisscrossed.

Now watch the manic baby, be careful around her,
Bite the bitch black – she will purr

Again. She is a bad actress pantomiming pain,
Her feathers are protecting her, she cannot feel a thing.

People say that she once let someone into her chasm
With worm-eaten perversion, he induced her chronic seizing spasms.

He kissed her and rotten teeth fell into her mouth.
She kept quiet, when he was not looking and spit them out.

Currently, a peni-less little pathetic victim!
I wonder if her vulnerability was an early symptom

Of all these pathetic fucked up physical ailments
Perhaps just a contributing element,

To her wretched state, somebody start donating to this charity case!
Bills will dissolve her in her hospital bed, a true disgrace.

Indebted women will make the world burn.
The men outside wait for her return.

She seats them atop of her mind’s monolith,
But she’d rather slice them with a scythe.

A corporeal reality cursed with disease
Her life is an impotent strip tease.



The Birth

A response to Anne Sexton’s “The Abortion”

An unwanted child has been born.

Unwelcome cries of existence flood the room.
The family members stare in stilted conversation.
This infant, proof of carnal lies once assumed.

Outside the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee
Arching hills past the Virginia border,
Murmurs grip neighbouring ears of the alien blooded-baby.

Her smooth ivory countenance,
Scratches against the stormy narrative of her creation
In a home providing her with reluctant sustenance.

An unwanted child has been born.

Her waning moon of a mother, pulsing with indecision,
Finally decides to return to China for her pleasure quest,
Avoiding the vaudeville show that is the American vision.

Her father, an isomer of a man,
Holding onto his chiral child,
Contemplating his moral lifespan.

Pelvic unity between these skins,
Formed an ill-fated seed
Betraying his blood-bound kin.

An unwanted child has been born.

From his own wound, from deep in the marrow,
The child’s father consented to her birth
And, motherless, she chirps shrill notes of a neglected sparrow.


by Maddy Devlin

These bones are cold without the marrow
You’ve made me numb so now I’m fine
I killed the birds but not the sparrow

The heart I have is like an arrow
It follows on a useless line
These bones are cold without the marrow

Eyes carry away the wheelbarrow
That is the carriage of my mind
I killed the birds but not the sparrow

So come relieve me of my Tarot
I’ll stop and count to nine
These bones are cold without the marrow

Orgies of matter disrupt my narrow
Vision of your misrepresented sign
I killed the birds but not the sparrow

A servant to your emotionless Pharaoh
She can be. I’m mine.
These bones are cold without the marrow
I killed the birds but not the sparrow.

The Nephilim

Pain will only follow,
Divine blood weeps for her past decisions.
When you tell me what to swallow. 

She ventured towards the charming lad in the hollow.
Unable to foresee this fated collision,
Pain will only follow.

Claws reached at her. With genuine sorrow,
She ate every phrase, she chose indivision.
When you tell me what to swallow.

Squeezing her throat until she wallowed
he performed a serpentine spinal incision—
Pain will only follow.

She drank his juice like an obedient Apollo
Hidden in her glands, ideal love once envisioned.
When you tell me what to swallow.

Her stomach, an expanding marshmallow.
She coped by crying and laughing with derision:
Pain will only follow
When you tell me what to swallow.


Upon entering the space
I whip my head
and gawk at all the medicated seraphs.

Every utterance laced
with synthetic joy: a pill, a drink.
Sexy nuns and kinky sheriffs.

The members of the crowd,
spark plug movements,
drawn on faces,
toothy smiles
so wide you could fall in the gaps.

Bounce around clowns,
nightmarish playground,
slimy footprints,
a hedonist’s blueprint,

They finger the night
needing to feed
their arid tongues and twitchy thumbs.

As do I.

The anxiety kicks in.
Give me some Xanax
for my antics.

The blood-sucking bat
with crimson hair turns around and gapes at me with the emptiest vision.
Why, her eyes must be glass,
leaping in tiny phrases around the room with such hollow tones.

Angular bleeps and bloops,
shout at the masses of flesh
they respond with epilepsy.

Help me. Help us.

The chain-smoker’s haze
bends back like an arched spine,
doctoring the moony air.

And now my hate fills the room with atomic mass and
my depression is caused by whatchamacallit chemicals that
don’t spend enough time in their synapses.
5-HT, baby.

I tell myself that I am fine
Attempting to hold, control
the stigma that is my mind.

And right now I am puking in the trash,
as wide-eyed party people look for love and
serenade me in bathroom stalls.

Like love, I am a pathological liar.
As we all

Icy capes,
Video tapes,
Unknown photos,
Drunken bozos,
Powdered keys,
They’re all groping so intimately.

They say hell is an empty room.


My love for you is searing
Like newly formed blisters on Icarian skin
Mentions of her name reopen wounds within.

My jealousy: a black veil
concealing all my light and goodness,
an exponential effect,
turning my mood into the sea,

I drown myself in anguish.

I wish to compartmentalise you
into a neural oubliette,
Dark and forgetful.

Nostalgic pangs of you
claw at me during mismatched moments.
Subsequently, physical aches and pains of my yearning follow,
and I find myself
battling my known irrationalities
so I can once again be normal, civilised and pleasant
and live complacently amongst the rest of these
ghouls disguised as human.