Anna Akhmatova

This land, although not my native land,
Will be remembered forever.
And the sea’s lightly iced,
Unsalty water.

The sand on the bottom is whiter than chalk,
The air is heady, like wine,
And the rosy body of the pines
Is naked in the sunset hour.

And the sunset itself on such waves of ether
That I just can’t comprehend
Whether it is the end of the day, the end of the world,
Or the mystery of mysteries in me again.

— Anna Akhmatova


An Excerpt from Bonedog by Eva H.D.

And the home-style silences and clouds
contribute to nothing
but the general malaise.
Clouds, such as they are,
are in fact suspect,
and made from a different material
than those you left behind.
You yourself were cut
from a different cloudy cloth,
ill-met by moonlight,
unhappy to be back,
slack in all the wrong spots,
seamy suit of clothes
dishrag-ratty, worn.

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Anatomica – Joanna Ebenstein

Anatomica: The Exquisite and Unsettling Art of Human Anatomy by brilliant Morbid Anatomy founder Joanna Ebenstein is now available for purchase. This is a beautiful 272-page volume exploring anatomical art across seven centuries, for those who are fascinated by bygone artistic conceptions of the human body. Joanna’s other books include Death: A Graveside Companion, The Anatomical Venus: Wax, God, Death & the Ecstatic, and The Morbid Anatomy Anthology, providing some of the most interesting, historically-oriented nonfiction fare that I’ve read. She has also coauthored Cabarets of Death: Death, Dance and Dining in Early Twentieth-Century Paris with Mel Gordon (Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin), which is due to release in December and which I am eagerly awaiting.


The Somnambule

{ I have put away the despairing flesh of childhood
Entombed my unnamed, availless years
Within driest flowers, cracked spines of books
And a stone with a soul of blood,
Sloughing off some fine plum-black cocoon
Or chrysanthemum bloom
And I had myself a waking dream
The dream felt white,
Like old bones
And hurt softly as rain.


“They will not exhaust it, for its matter is inexhaustible.”

{She sailed beneath a sky of lilacs, each cluster of which was heavier and more charged with anguish than the word “blood” at the top of a page.}

{Where do the angels’ progeny now meet?….I turn to my youth; I fall asleep in it. I try to revive it by kissed lepers, canonized guts, flowers condemned mirthlessly by notorious councils, in short an entire legend which is called Golden, the even more overwhelming miracles with which [we] teemed…}

{It is not to be wondered at that the most wretched of human lives is related in words that are too beautiful.}

—Jean Genet, The Miracle of the Rose


“The murder was sleep. And death was not what we thought.”

…it was a world to sink one’s teeth into, a world of voluminous dahlias and tulips….The trees were laden, the world was so rich it was rotting….she trembled upon the first steps of a sparkling, shadowy world, where giant water lilies floated monstrous. The little flowers scattered through the grass didn’t look yellow or rosy to her, but the color of bad gold and scarlet. The decomposition was deep, perfumed… But all the heavy things, she saw with her head encircled by a swarm of insects, sent by the most exquisite life in the world….The Garden was so pretty that she was afraid of Hell.

{Clarice Lispector}


Carbonized Forest

The eye that was open on Friday.
The portent and the portent’s flensed hide. Ribbons of flesh
swarming downward. Like a school of leeches
deserting some unlit cataclysm.
And a briary phantom there, Stygian, erect.
Saying, here is the untranslation of the world.
Mounted on a spire of form.
The disembarkation of abyss. Fragmentary sputtering.
And what you thought were dark whiptails of illumination
were bristles from a shaved bear
being milked for bile in a rusting cage. Nested
among the mesh of soft translucent sounds
fallen from your lips, the
vestiges of someone’s breathing.

{by Forrest Gander}


I built a self outside my self because a child needs shelter

{She gave me a birdcage for my bird, I think
I might have loved her a basket
full of beautiful poison berries}

Gala Mukomolova’s Without Protection is a heady draught: it is disjointed hallucinatory image, weaving mythology of the fearsome Baba Yaga with vignettes of chaotic frenetic modern life. Mukomolova uses the English language in an unpredictable, splendid way, bending it to her will, her witchlike power. This compact collection is infused with strange color, both violent and tender. It reaches deep into me. Sometimes almost ugly, not always delicate or shrinking by any means, it is a censer of potent fragrances to my overfastidious brain.

Excerpts after the cut.

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