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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“I have to be rent and pulled apart and live according to the demons and the imagination in me. I’m restless. Things are calling me away. My hair is being pulled by the stars again.”

{Anais Nin}


The Double Image

{The Double Image
by Anne Sexton}


I am thirty this November.
You are still small, in your fourth year.
We stand watching the yellow leaves go queer,
flapping in the winter rain,
falling flat and washed. And I remember
mostly the three autumns you did not live here.
They said I’d never get you back again.
I tell you what you’ll never really know:
all the medical hypothesis
that explained my brain will never be as true as these
struck leaves letting go.

I, who chose two times
to kill myself, had said your nickname
the mewling months when you first came;
until a fever rattled
in your throat and I moved like a pantomime
above your head. Ugly angels spoke to me. The blame,
I heard them say, was mine. They tattled
like green witches in my head, letting doom
leak like a broken faucet;
as if doom had flooded my belly and filled your bassinet,
an old debt I must assume.

Death was simpler than I’d thought.
The day life made you well and whole
I let the witches take away my guilty soul.
I pretended I was dead
until the white men pumped the poison out,
putting me armless and washed through the rigmarole
of talking boxes and the electric bed.
I laughed to see the private iron in that hotel.
Today the yellow leaves
go queer. You ask me where they go. I say today believed
in itself, or else it fell.

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Witch-Ikon Book Launch and Art Exhibition

Witch-Ikon: Witchcraft in Art and Artifact is an upcoming publication from Three Hands Press, examining the iconography of witches and their magic through the centuries, to be released on October 28. There will also be an exhibition of contemporary artwork which is featured in the book, running from October 5 to 31 at Mortlake & Company in Seattle. I have long been fascinated by the witch as a powerful image and symbol, and by the history and aesthetics of witchcraft and diabolism, so this promises to be delightfully edifying to me.

“The figure of the Witch has haunted the margins of religion and spirituality for thousands of years, as a figure of transgressive spiritual power, outlaw magic, and alluring sexuality. Equally pervasive is her presence in art, from ancient depictions in the Near East, through the European Middle Ages, down to her present representations in occult subculture….Equal in potency to the figure of legend and romance are the magical artifacts which emerged from the varied traditions of malefic magic… The mask, the idol, the knife, the cauldron, the spirit-bottle, and a thousand other magical objects also serve, like the image of the witch herself, to embody a transgressive and beguiling aesthetic.

The exhibition WITCH-IKON brings together an international consortium of artists with varied esoteric and artistic backgrounds, infusing the witch-mythos with new imaginal vitality.”


The Sonnets to Orpheus: XXV by Rainer Maria Rilke

But you now, dear girl, whom I loved like a flower whose
I didn’t know, you who so early were taken away:
I will once more call up your image and show it to them,
beautiful companion of the unsubduable cry.

Dancer whose body filled with your hesitant fate,
pausing, as though your young flesh had been cast in bronze;
grieving and listening–. Then, from the high dominions,
unearthly music fell into your altered heart.

Already possessed by shadows, with illness near,
your blood flowed darkly; yet, though for a moment
it burst out into the natural pulses of spring.

Again and again interrupted by downfall and darkness,
earthly, it gleamed. Till, after a terrible pounding,
it entered the inconsolably open door.

– Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Stephen Mitchell)


Poetry: “Moonwalk” by Ted Hughes

A glare chunk of moon.
The hill no colour
Under the polarized light.
Like a day pushed inside out. Everything
In negative. Your mask
Bleak as cut iron, a shell-half–
Shucked off the moon. Alarming
And angering moon-devil-here somewhere.
The Ancient Mariner’s Death-in-Life woman
Straight off the sea’s fevered incandescence
Throwing black-and-white dice.
A sea saracen and cruel-looking.
And your words
Like bits of beetles and spiders
Retched out by owls. Fluorescent,
Blue-black, splintered. Bat-skulls. One day, I thought,
I shall understand this tomb-Egyptian,
This talking in tongues to a moon-mushroom.
Never wake a sleepwalker. {See more}