6 poems from Elisabeth Horan

Oral History

Take it slowly now, friend –
Feel the finger imprints
Be the shoulder, let
Old woman feathers
Alight on its middle aged
Muscle, be the interim
Caregiver, ambulance
Driver, ambulatory cane and
Walker, endless appointment
Driver, be the ear, open
For business, for recording
The oral art of the redwood
Pulp, decoding infinite loss
Of children, unimaginable to
The uninitiated. She is
Initiated on everything,
Us, just a little bit
Here and there –
We are not frivolous
But incomparable
By nature. Our troubles
Like our debts
To each other
Mired, selfishly, and
Beholden. Regret.

Be more
Like her,
Less like ourselves
Caught up in the trivial
The bad dreams the
Life disappointments
Cannot be compared to
The nineteen-thirties
Or even the fifties,
We must do the work
To preserve
That kind of strength
May we learn to survive
From it –
May it hold our heart
Chasms together.

Perfect Mother
For Sylvia

I love you dead.
Flower in your Mouth.
Button eyes.
Cotton head.

I love you cut in half…
It is a suit of fine ends.
I see it on, half fits yours/mine.
I wear

The limp skin, I place your benevolence,
perform our will, execute your debtors,
sing Liturgical misery. I reap

The widow cane,
sew mittens, tame precepts, slay
Kingdoms of having laid.

I love you dead.
Rose mouth,
Blackened eyes,
your Greyish-white head

Every single night

That’s where the pain comes in
Like a second skeleton
– Fiona Apple

My brain is a place of deep concern to me. My brain is a place of butterflies and octopi. You haven’t seen a place such as this and I am so happy for you. You tell me to smile and chock it all up to my negative attitude – that when I text you to say I feel sick, that I am afraid of the coathanger snagging the uterus and bleeding me out, of random murder, of sexual demons, of all the roadkill – you say I think too much. You say maybe we shouldn’t be friends… because when I am this negative, it is upsetting to you.

I’m sorry for this.

I’m sorry I cannot fix my slippery gray cell patina – the smile/slime of a barbiedoll on acid; the cool way I snort up the powder of suicide; the way I drink myself to oblivion, decimate my skeleton on the cliff of hopelessness — I fall short. When it comes to being in the world like a good girl — I am terrible at it — bc I am hurt/hurting in my brain, and then, you say, I’m a lot to handle, and you need some time/space away. From me.

I’m sorry for this.

I don’t think I can be normal for you. It’s agony to feel the driveway gravel puncturing my knees as I wait for things to get better — as I beg God to turn me around, let him spank me red/raw, or kiss the toes of his son; (you know I would) — go outside and let the cold burn me – as if it could pasteurize the fetid illness — freeze the chlamydia, the rot, the yellowed liver, brain disease… I imagine you chewing on my sinews… a rabid squirrel; hoarding all the acorns, clogging my limbic system; gnawing the naughty synapse gleaned — all just to make me behave better. I don’t think you have the energy…

I want to be the chickadee who freezes to death on the shimmering pine branch — falls from her perch without ever knowing of death, without ever feeling a damn thing.

And I am so sorry for this.  

Make your move – a sonnet

Love, I to love the way your finger-
Nails ran, like tracks, over my skin – each time
I came, you went farther, deeper, the wounds
Characterize my flesh—a punch to the
Gut—I now know, this is not really love;
I should not-have to fear-your tongue-your touch
You demote me—in your head-just a friend—
I despise friends; I reap nothing; my shriveling

Face-blue; blackened torso, the red velvet
Scars-crimson fork tines – evidence for
Now, for the only gift you ever gave me –
I open a vein. I watch. How the azure
Drip flashes to fire when it hits air—
As it drips like loss—brave testimony. O’er
My elbow

Bad bad girl

Watch me move like a black swan in the night
Sticking out my neck for whoever will wring it right
Ugly duckling, shrinking teen, lapping the piano
Act as if you care — but no one really knows
What I do to myself-how I eat my own brains
How I circle the wagons; how I burn up in flames
I got no one to make me—make me safer than before
I thought you loved me, but you also think I’m a whore

I’m only a girl with a body—lithe bait of neck to choke
Beat me down—tie me up in the hall—fingers and rope
What else are they good for??? Ripping out my hair
Picking at my eyelids—look at me dying in here—
And I swear, I’m guilty—I don’t love myself—I don’t tell
Anyone; I am only beautiful in the darkness of hell.


I am feeling powerful
The drip of honey
Smeared across my lips
Would share it with you
But you are way too complex
To enjoy this —

Nah, I’m gonna burn slow
Be the ache and heat alone
One candle, dripping —

A splatter burn on the breast, thigh
Or waist; all I need to cool
Is water surging outward…

Can you feel the chasm deepening?
My lower back alive with buzzing,
Arching puffs of
Smoke and goddamn, the shock waves —

The ocean is rising, she is tidal.
When I stop to breathe, to take in
The smell of sweet rosebuds,
Lime chemistry, fish filled marina —

Gonna fill my
Nose, bury it in deep. Gonna
Lick my lips
And close my eyes…

Lay back into
The arms of a woman — cuz I am feeling
So fucking powerful, my love… tonight.

Bio: Elisabeth Horan is a poet, mother, and small press publisher living in the wilds of Vermont. She is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks and collections, and the Editor-In-Chief of Animal Heart Press. Elisabeth is passionate about discovering new voices and mentoring emerging poets. She is also a fierce advocate for those impacted by mental illness. (from her website ehoranpoet.net)

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1


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