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Annie Blake


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‘…At length the soup copper repairs did need, The Coppersmith came, and there he seed, A dollop of bones lay a grizzling there, In the leg of the breeches the poor boy did vear! To gain his fill the boy did stoop, And, dreadful to tell, he was boil’d in the soup! And ve all of us say, and ve say it sincere, That he was push’d in there by an overseer. Oh the poor Vorkhouse Boy …’ The Workhouse Boy from Modern Street Ballads by John Ashton

i held the woman in my arms /veronica of the whore /
stroked her like a cat and spread ointments over her skin /

i keep seeing a red light on a vintage keypad office telephone / 

chrysoprase crystal has healing properties / i don’t stop thinking until the tea light gives me the signal of her smoke / she is a lighter source / polybius square and a papal conclave / black smoke or white / tribe / a column or intermittent puffs / i’m the moon now / a blue tiger ritual and a priest / i drove my car into a river / the water splashed back on the shield / and the engine seized / i finally realized that the river was so much stronger than me / maa durga /  om sri durgaya namah / 

mythopoeic womb / i found stone coffins under the ground / i attached my infants to the mouth and navel conduits of the small gods / so that they could be filled with milk / i wore a silk white pleated skirt and i noticed flowers were growing over it / a halo of birds / the hoop of a skirt / 

horns of a bull / take the bull by the horns / red bull / theseus and the minotaur / half bull / half man / ariadne and her clew / he freed the woman but he didn’t take her with him / his father lay himself into the sea / from a cliff / his sails / black wings in his back and the aegean sea / 

a cow gives birth under water / then a horse / i was in an incubator with dark naked children / but i covered my most intimate parts with furs / i was dragging a snake to the river / it was in a sack and five meters long / i wanted to take it out near the water and analyze it there / i saw it had a shoulder and an arm and i realized it was a lizard / 

we have to let our tails go so a new one can grow / my physiologist told me i had medial epicondylitis after lifting five kilogram weights because my shoulder used to dislocate when i was young / 

the cliff face / grooved like a scalloped shell / it’s no longer a cave / the lion the witch and the wardrobe / fish in a bird’s beak / birds with graceful long necks like reeds /  in the meadows there are butterflies / 

the surgeon cut a hole in my throat / it looked like a mouth / i tried to recover / but my body was grey and feverish like oliver twist’s gruel served up in the workhouse / in a marshalsea prison / at least our family was kept together / i slept in a cot in a war hospital / there was a tarp for a roof and when it rained i tossed and turned like i was on a ship during a storm / 

the ruses of women and my bronze shackles / bronze altar and the sea / heracles / one snake in each hand / samson and the whore / he scooped honey out of those he killed / god is paradoxical and amoral / delilah and judas iscariot / and the way he died between two pillars of the temple of dagon / his body like a cross / tree of blue birth stones / heracles killed the nemean lion / and wore the golden fur over his body to became a rock / 

the entrance into the crystal ball / twelve labors of heracles / the wings of a dove /  how they hatch out of it without cracking it first / samson is shemesh / made out of bronze /  and all the people / holy and minimalistic / veiled dresses to hide their hair / it is part of nazarite vow to keep your hair long / constituents of the back of the lion / he is hauling them up the face of the cliff / or the sky / 

i’m wading in the sea / there are clothes without a body / there is an electrical crucifixion stuck to the leg of a pier or a table / it shines like a shop advertisement / the sea is so black / prosciutto / or pork belly / layered / for the body is squashed / it is expensive because it consists primarily of fat that takes so much more surface space than muscle / 

scalloped shell / vertical cliff face / how every part of my family slides down its ruts from different angles / to find the same river / the man was a shadow / i have two fathers / superfecundity / his name is payne / a simple countryman and so full of pain / he told me i was veronica of the whore / mantis shrimp on the sea floor means the reconciliation of the opposites /  when i learn the value of the flesh in the ticking machine / i will find an image of a mother and a wife / and the constituents of myself / 

acheiropoieta and the volto santo /



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for mein kleiner geist

my own solitude and an invocation like smoke / virgin wings / wet saliva laced around teeth / we are at the shore / my children show me the transparent coat of a jellyfish / swollen organs /  the rainbow colors of a bruise / a pulse that bongs in my body like a bell / i’m scared of what sticks like chewing gum to the floor of the sea / 

my skin /hiding machine /

i’ve wanted to write a book for as long as i can remember / i realise now my greatest work is / my life individuated / and those of down the line / 

a child’s grave / my husband questions if this is a healthy attitude / my children run to see a graveyard / are beautiful / some / like they’re getting ice-cream / some say they feel too cold and creeped out / a picket fence / around her body like a cot / there are flowers and a rusty windmill / over one hundred years old / 

i tell my children / many children died in the olden days / there were no immunization needles / men usually died much younger than their wives / i tell them it was probably due to long days of harsh labor / but strange that women birthed so many children and many still survived much longer / 

i comment to my husband how so many husbands and wives / their children / are buried together / he nods because he knows exactly what i’m thinking / my son tells me / i will make a wrought iron gate for yours / he knows my past well / i tell him his children will need his money more than anyone else in the world / i show him a beautiful monument / angel and a victory upon a marble spire / i tell them / this is for the living / 

because we don’t believe in living until we die /

my son asks me what would happen if he accidentally fell into one of the graves / i said you need to find a way to climb out again / he’s reading an inscription / his name is henry he says / i put my arm around his shoulder and ask him to say a prayer / i look at him / he’s in his own world now / 

i put my mouth close to his ear / the dead are more alive than we are / 

it’s time for me to let growi watch them from my car /


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