Blackbox Manifold Celebrates its 10th Anniversary with Launch of Issue 20






















Deranged Darling Delight


       •   Light the gas
•   Warm the bell jar
•   Season the parakeet


       •   Betty Blue food colouring, five-parts belief in your novel
to one part slashed publisher’s face
•   A shot of Bertha Mason, a flaming sambuca
with single coffee bean, con la mosca 
•   A fly in the soup you didn’t ask the waitress to remove
like Betty’s gouged eye
•   Pillows of meringue to smother, as she sleep walks
into whisky


       •   Whisk up egg whites, Blanche DuBois fine
as her white suit with a fluffy bodice
•   Discard the soiled and crumpled white satin evening gown
•   Slip something guilt-free from your conscience as she’s consumed
by your strange kindness
•   Wash it all down with, I shall die of eating an unwashed grape 
            one day out on the ocean


       •   O, and Baby Jane, don’t let her near the rats in the basement
(You always knew she’d spoil, after daddy)

Visible Spectrum


I’m Thea / bore three lovely children / rosy-cheeked Dawn /
rich-tressed Selene / tireless Helios whom I chase all day / holidays /
rare / just two weeks to turn golden / designer fake sunglasses / blinded by bling /
Conformité Européene / UV visible spectrophotometer reveals /
23.6% UV-A light passes through / ocular melanoma / no oracular goddess /
lesson / stay out of the light /


I’m Eos / better known as Dawn / red hair / fair skin / red lips / insatiable /
for beautiful young men / Orion / Phaeton / Kephalos / Tithonos /
some say Aphrodite’s curse / some say whore / these grasshopper men /
always shrivel / must look my best / bake / burn / brown / no UV-B protection /
skin reddening / moles raised and rosy / in the borderlands of dark /
lesson / stay out of the light /


I’m Selene / hide my face / half hide my face / appear in a veil of silver light /
child after child / trapped in this cave / he sleeps / the eye of night /
watches / daughter after daughter / he snores / round once more / feels like the fiftieth /
remember my hair / black flowing / now my waxy skull / on the ward /
I see sisters / crescent stomachs / howling / lunatic / UV-C light is used to sterilise /
lesson / stay out of the light

Echo and Narcissus

tempting to begin each new argument with
the last few words you say
Alas, Alas, as you fail to fix your image
                                               in moving glass
molten, before fragility sets, let me blow
the foreign curve of my hips
shattered by your ideal of self-
suppled thighs
                                               troubled sighs
for yes, I mishear and mistake this mist a wreath for
my love
words cannot touch on how I feel, and you cannot feel
what you touch
flees your fingers in a myriad of ripples
dumb to your dying
my bones turn to stone, and you are deaf to
my love
for yes, I repeat, this inward gaze on inward gaze
a shrinking pool
where none can speak not in your image, parched call/response
Oh, let us come together
my outstretched hand clasps air, you seek
your own society
a thirst never quenched, to drink yourself dry
for what
for yes, I question, you think you know, but don’t
listen as I mourn
a gold narcissus, like a star, against a blue flag of sky, picked to fade
to begin each new argument with
the last few words you say
Alas, Alas


[Lisa Kelly is Chair of Magma Poetry and co-edited ‘The Conversation Issue’ and ‘The Deaf Issue’. She hosts poetry evenings at the Torriano Meeting House, London. A selection of her poems features in Carcanet’s New Poetries VII. Her debut collection is forthcoming from Carcanet summer 2019.]

Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Kelly, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.Blackbox ManifoldBlackbox Manifold

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