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issue 4.1 / winter 2018
 
 the view from here /
 from here the view

the pickled body the pickled body

issue 4.1

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the pickled body issue 4.1


winter 2018


the view from here / from here the view


Contents
 
 Editorial

4

5

Emma McKervey Fish on Friday Nobel Appreciating Irony

6
 7

Stephanie Conn The Staircase Mexico City Tracks

8 9

Kate Noakes Auto-portrait as France

10

Mark Russell Men Floating Men Seeking Hospitality Men in Disguise

13 14 15

Featured artist 
 Ria Czerniak-LeBov

16

Jane Murray Bird Keeper

21


Dylan Brennan El Fuerte, Sinaloa ‘After the Storm’

22 24

Mare Leonard La dernière danse des poulets

25

Anna D’Alton in the bathroom

26

Kara Penn The Night I Visited the Anatomy Lab

27


Contributors

28


Melinda Giordano Grammar

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Editorial issue 4.1
 
 The view from here / from here the view

Reality. A mutable concept. Except when it isn’t. 
 
 No one sees it the same as anyone else. That’s a truism. 
 
 So is that. 
 
 And what is poetry in this context? A hologram of a memory of an image? 
 Or a new way in to reality? It depends on how you look at it.
 


Each of the poems in this issue comes from a very personal viewpoint. The world viewed through a particular lens and revealed as never before. 


Read them how you read them. Step into the abyss that looks into you. See the world with new ears. 


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Melinda Giordano
 Grammar The smear of blood
 Curved across the sidewalk
 In a feminine scythe
 A smile
 Punctuated by a single feather
 A birthmark at the mouth’s corner
 To give one pause
 Like a comma


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 
 
 
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Emma McKervey
 Fish on Friday It is customary to eat fish on a Friday, to untether the spirit from the Earth and set it swimming 
 up through the watery elements towards the light,
 as though a soul becomes sunk down amongst the weeds
 and silt with the weight of the week, and on Friday
 glints of the sun come breaking through, splitting the burden 
 of water into runnels and rivers of fractured shimmerings.
 It could be supposed that a Saturday requires birds of the air
 to aid the soul in its ascent, a tiny sprat turned wren
 joyriding the back of an eagle, heading to the top 
 of the sky, ready for the blaze of the Sunday dawn.
 I have no time for Sunday, for the superstitions of faith.
 I choose to find my food grubbed from the Earth,
 hefted with the cling of clay. I wish to eat swine, 
 knowing they have snouted and hoofed and writhed 
 in the dirt, caked in the stuff, and consumed all 
 that could be foraged to consume; I want to be cast
 in the dark and bask in the scent of myself,
 of my own skin, my own blood, every fold and crease
 where the sweat can catch, and on Sunday
 wake wild at the base of the world.

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Emma McKervey
 Nobel Appreciating Irony It is easy to remember the direction of the flow of blood to the heart when it is seen that a vein goes in, an aide memoire not unlike the little knowledge that the clocks come Spring Spring forward and in Autumn Fall back or that that the thumb and index finger of the left hand form a capital L. It is good to know also that when the heart suffers pain and is overwhelmed small doses of dynamite can aid the flow of blood, patches of Nitro-glycerine on the skin dilate the vein, which goes in, and reduces the volume the heart contains. Its work is reduced. In greater doses the arteries dilate and the after flow reduces too. Alfred Nobel knew this as he was treated at the end of his life for a failing heart, he knew of the blood flow in and out, as he knew of the transport of liquid dynamite from East to West on the steamships and on the trains, the explosions through Panama and California and the many dead, the burrowing of tunnels whose granite was then emptied at an increased pace from the underworld to be discarded, fractured, in the light. It is used, his heavy and colourless vasodilator, in construction and deconstruction, for the workers in the factories and the workers who are dead, for breath in, breath out, the heart beat to contract and relax, contract and relax, and the size of the heart and the volume it pumps, for really all that is of concern is the size of the heart and what it can manage to hold.

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Stephanie Conn
 The Staircase I have wakened at the bottom of the stairs, am stripped bare, skin translucent in the dusk light,
 a featureless cartoon figure, not yet coloured in. The staircase is orange and cold underfoot – 
 I think of terracotta pots, kiln-fired clay, burnt umber,
 a desert landscape without a hint of blossom. I am so much smaller than I recall – 
 the stairs rise above me at an impossible slant,
 each bigger, higher, steeper than the last. My shadow has grown cruel, misshapen;
 leaks large like an ink blot onto the first step,
 the one I am still standing on, looking up.

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Stephanie Conn
 Mexico City Tracks I knew all about the black funeral trams carrying ninety percent of the city’s deceased to the cemetery, and the ancient human sacrifices, stretched over a stone
 so the priest could rip out the heart, cut off the head, fling what remained of the dead down the pyramid steps.
 I was thinking of neither when the tram flung me forward, crushing my body. I was longing for my coloured coat,
 its square shape, how it opened at the chest; and as metal pressed through my flesh like a blade, sliced between
 my legs, I saw only bright shades – red, violet, gold. Broken from the inside out: spinal cord, collar bone,
 pelvis, ribs; robbed of my virginity by an iron rod, I should have died. As they sewed me back together 
 on a steel table, I should have died. I lived – and as my head was still intact, they placed
 a mirror above so I could feast on my face.

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Kate Noakes
 Auto-portrait as France

I


We thought we’d never get used to staying in
 after the Bataclan. We missed our friends, cafés, 
 shops, the senses of the busy city; the school bell
 delivery drivers, fresh coffee,
 the first lungful of secondhand smoke
 but in time, sweet bread and the etiquette
 of cramped tables receded.
 We still made supermarket runs, or rather
 our youngest and fleetest did. Mostly
 we hunkered down, in touch 
 on the remaining wires. Exploring
 each other’s company, we made careful
 negotiations between privacy and conviviality.
 We slept when we liked, had time
 to talk, reminisce, but not plan –
 precious little point, save how to scratch supper
 from scant pickings. Tea we knew lasts for years, 
 honey centuries. Fresh milk became novelty. 
 News was passed window to window, 
 a telegraph of rumour and confusion.
 We distrusted it all.

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II


Before their names were fixed they were the lilies 
 and irises of the east. In the mountains
 and dry lands, they flower in the cease fire season,
 in winter’s wet. Take one, the Aleppo tulip,
 ablaze here and rioting with us in cultivars
 of imported blood. Spring is a mania of blooms;
 virus striped, plain in sight, all intent and black
 at their centres; dark hearts burnt out for love
 or obedience, or something impossible 
 as barrels are cleaned, polished, made ready.

III


A cappella on the metro she hesitates into song,
 her voice broken. She eases her throat open
 for Fête de la musique till the notes come clean
 and clear as wind over ice-fields. She melts
 iPods, floods the carriage with pure sound,
 drowns station announcers, and overwhelms 
 the under-breath hymns of my neighbour.
 I cannot sing, so how could I channel a living 
 if it was me holding out the box-purse.
 I could warble abuse like the wrecked man 
 at Bastille, who, when not watering the tiles, 
 paces near exit 8 downing beer and shouting: 
 our duty, him alive; 
 or it could stand like the wave-worn granny
 at La Défense, buoyed-up by her shopping trolley, 
 silent, but rewarded for being there come rain, come shine.

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IV


A boy – or is it a girl? – rides a wrecked bike
 alone through mud thickening
 into a mire of hope and ambition.
 There are no immortals in the Jungle 
 to request and require free passage.
 She’s circling a bog of half-safety.
 There’s a school in one tent some days.
 He’s learnt to say hello and thank you and please.
 There’s food of sorts, for now
 but no immortals bearing passports.
 She shakes her head, and on camera
 refuses to remember the dust and guns.
 All night, while the men try hitching
 he’s a fox cub, curled up under a tarp.
 She wakes and screams. He shakes 
 and cries for want of an embrace.
 Nothing more. Everything.

V


The figs are not ripe, yet they fall
 on worn courtyard stone in their dozens.
 She counts some eighty four
 one evening, mid July.

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Mark Russell
 Men Floating
 
 About war, they say, there is nothing new to tell the minorities. It is as common to lend money, as it is to borrow money. It is the offer of small personal loans at a high rate of interest, and by equal turns, the high risk involved in the recovery of one’s investment, that may split a city in two (or even three!) A man without a licence to trade may build his illicit still deep in the woods, or give up his co-conspirators to the commissioner. Two men without a licence to trade may develop a profitable sideline in counterfeit licences, or resort to violence and intimidation.

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Mark Russell
 Men Seeking Hospitality
 
 About war, they say, there is nothing new to confess. It is as common to pose a threat to the established dynasty, as it is to sit at the King’s right hand with a bowl of nuts. It is the gathering of ill-disciplined followers of low means and lower personal hygiene, and by equal turns, the strain on the state’s finances, that may lead to a life of repeat offending and time spent at the Governor’s pleasure. A man claiming honour, rank, or title may be a pretender to the throne, or suffering from malaria. Two men claiming honour, rank, or title may be the two characters in the latest Saturday night BBC 4 subtitled drama series who spark the inciting incident from which all conflict and tension subsequently arises, or over-qualified barmen at the Duke of York.

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Mark Russell
 Men in Disguise
 
 About war, they say, there is nothing new to take to market. It is as common to arrest the ringleaders, as it is to pardon the lot of them. It is the pace of change, and by equal turns, the irrational basis of change, that may confuse the enemy enough to steal away in the night. A man landing on a Scottish shore at the stroke of midnight may be trying to garner support for his religious delusions, or a submarine commander with a folder of top secrets. Two men landing on a Scottish shore at the stroke of midnight may provide greater international leverage than they ever imagined, or be mistaken for the tax collectors (and we know what happened to the last two bastards!)

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Ria Czerniak-LeBov
 Featured artist Ria Czerniak-LeBov is an artist and musician from Dublin. She graduated from the National College of Art and Design, where she studied Fine Art Print and History of Art. Ria is a full-time member of Graphic Studio Dublin, where she works in copper plate etching. Her work has been exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy, Royal Ulster Academy, Graphic Studio Gallery, Impressions Print Biennale, the National Botanic Gardens, St. Patrick’s Hospital, and Glór. 


The prints featured in this issue of The Pickled Body are part of a larger body of etchings titled Fractures, which explores the relationship between remembered spaces and virtual spaces, specifically those found in Google Street View. The titular fractures refer to the broken points in perspective, the parts where the mechanisms of the software are visible, reminding us that this is not quite a place we have ever experienced, or ever will.

List of images
 


1. Fractured Fanlight
 2. Raised, as I was, Under the Clock
 3. The First of So Many Kisses 4. Wounded Gantry


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Fractured Fanlight


Raised, as I was, Under the Clock



 The First of So Many Kisses





Wounded Gantry


Jane Murray Bird
 Keeper Megan Chapman: Memories of distant places She makes a portal – all
 fingers and thumbs,
 crimson and numb –
 to show him the view.
 Two fish in a bowl, whole
 globe in her palms like a gypsy,
 a seer, looking in.
 


Framed in a bubble of salted glass,
 they are submarine.
 Diving bell buddies who,
 just for a second,
 share the same air.
 The water is aquamarine
 or green and they are inside
 looking out.
 


He gives her a vase of diamonds
 that shatter light across the water,
 to keep her safe.
 


She doesn’t know
 if he sees the same colours
 as her.

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Dylan Brennan
 El Fuerte, Sinaloa Felipa says that crickets always make noise, never even stopping to catch their breath, in order to drown out the cries of the souls that suffer in Purgatory. The day the crickets die the world will be filled with the screams of holy souls… – Juan Rulfo, El Llano en llamas.


i. Aubade

A brief limbo. The train approaches, rattling inland from Los Mochis. Time to kill before boarding. An entire town submerged in the pink translucence of grapefruit juice. A desire to record this colonial outpost. A desire to compose a block of prose as robust, squat and rectangular as the fortress that names this settlement. A desire that falters as the naming of things poses problems. The naming of things poses problems. ‘I kill men down by the water’. I photograph the fortress with those dawnlit flowers in the foreground. Bugambilias, I know what they are, in Spanish, at least. Every poet here does. The magenta paper of their petals crunches the laneways from here to Chetumal. A thorny ornamental that explodes into colour against stone, volcanic or otherwise. But this flower, though pink, is something else. I sneak behind the structure to a quiet vista of a meandering waterway, a panorama that I pocket unthinkingly. The grating of insect legs filled the night but the silence now of morning is startling. I am the only one around. The sun low and blinding. The moment has stretched. I run back to the hotel to find Lily waiting with a taxi. Quick and dusty we make our way to the station. The driver tells me that that the pink flower is, in fact, a rosa laurel. It’s poisonous, deadly. Commonly used to adorn traffic islands in Sinaloa. In English, nerium oleander: ‘Neros’, water. ‘Ollyo’, I kill. ‘Andros’, man.

‘I kill men down by the water’.

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ii. Nocturne

On the boardwalk the night before, Lily dampened softly the riverside air, sobbing into my chest her fears of not mothering. I told her how much I loved her thighs. One scarred. The other tattooed:

Three peonies, one for each A white butterfly A fourth one opened

unopened DealĂĄn dĂŠ

a hopeful shade of grey

We clung to each other besieged on all sides by the encompassing clitter of the nocturnal. The insects feasting loudly upon the carcass of the night. We surrendered to its darkness, the hypnosis of the stridulating crickets. I thought I saw the dark twinkle of an alligator drifting by but it must have been a paddling of ducks or scraps of plastic. Closer still. Everything but ourselves a moat.

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Dylan Brennan
 ‘After the Storm’


 after Diego Rivera

Greens, lilacs and greys depict a soft dampness of aftermath. You are an old woman in a painting, an experiment in style from the formative years. You move through dawn, a littoral zone. The coastal land a scab that rocks gently against saltwater, perpetual dissolve. Jagged limbus of a bitten fruit. The best part just beneath the apple skin. Always towards the boat wreck. Fleshy silver with metallic glints then gutted, disemboweled at night by storms. Wooden ribcage whistling and beckoning. Time. All that remains. Canvas, bacteria, fire. The fibres of a body. With your mourning clothes and inclined beetle gait you are easily read. From the left to right in the Western tradition slowly you walk in the direction of words.

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Mare Leonard
 La dernière danse des poulets On the Île Saint-Louis two chickens roost in a butcher’s window, a still life before the blue pan heats in Grand-mère’s tidy kitchen, in an ancient village on the Seine. The Resistance grew strong here, grand-père insists. The Peugeot, loaded with Reblochon, truffle laced Brie, cassis sorbet from Berthillon, almond tarts from the pâtisserie, sister chickens, wrapped in wax paper, sliding in their box. No soft straw, they clack in disbelief. After a long night with rooster, (that beast of the yard) he never let up, the sisters consoled each other, bac bac    bac bac They sang in tender duets, reached the high notes    until their breasts collapsed. Grand-mère greets la famille, lifts the chickens into the roaster, legs crossed over each other, correct in pirouettes, toes tapping at the barre, doing what they love. Their legs relax, sizzle when sautéed when onions surround them, hum when Grand-mère adjusts  their wings, sigh when she pours   the Sancerre, pokes and pulls their legs apart into perfect jambes.

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Anna D’Alton
 in the bathroom further up than I thought, fingernails scraping
 at the shelf, splinter dust lodging, dirtying under 
 what I can’t fight off any longer, scrub at nails
 in the cracked sink with bleach dripping off
 the toilet bowl’s lip, I see it glow green and
 drip in an unsynced steady ’til the bathmat’s
 mould squashes in and glares black
 in the fibres, in the dirt-streaked
 corners of the tiles, ceiling tipped,
 and I am palm-flat to it, wheezing, convulsing, 
 shoulders chipping off the grout,
 


we have no toothpaste tonight, it’s been 
 taken away, and the valve won’t let the water up
 the drain though it keeps trying, when my
 elbow knocks the soap dish to shattered
 enamel I am scrambling on my knees
 to scoop up the pieces like they’re
 my own teeth.

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Kara Penn
 The Night I Visited the Anatomy Lab When I first met her, this ballroom-dancing creature
 of silks and quiet strife,
 she was tattered, yet
 inexplicably beautiful.
 


The bag zipped away,
 the stench of formaldehyde
 rippled through the dim room,
 and her—so touchable and organic,
 eyelashes pressing paper-thin skin.
 Her name written in pen on a label.
 I said it aloud, Ella, and then again.
 


I had already spent the day enthralled 
 with thin-veined bodies of autumn leaves, 
 fragile husks embodying whole histories
 consumed in the crumpling of a hand. 
 


With deft motions of a scalpel
 some student, an early afternoon artisan,
 peeled the architecture of her hands.
 I tugged a certain tendon in her forefinger, gasped
 to watch it spring up, obedient as a puppet.
 


I knew then she’d played concertos
 and sonatas on glistening ivory keys,
 the ruminating notes emitting from within
 the slick black box of the piano.
 


The room filled with music then,
 I danced—one step, then two, holding
 her leaf-dry hand with its twig-like bones,
 moving in and out among patterns
 of light and hovered shadow.
 


Ella, this was our cotillion.
 We understood the etiquette
 demanded of every leaf,
 muster one’s deepest hue
 and pursue, with elegance, the fall.

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Contributors
 Dylan Brennan is the author of Blood Oranges (The Dreadful Press, 2014), Guadalupe & other hallucinations (The Dreadful Press, 2016), and Atoll (Smithereens Press, 2014); and is co-editor of Rethinking Juan Rulfo’s Creative World: Prose, Photography, Film (Legenda/Routledge, 2016). He lives in Mexico City. Stephanie Conn’s collections The Woman on the Other Side and Island are published by Doire Press. Her pamphlet Copeland’s Daughter won the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition and is published by Smith/Doorstop. Stephanie is currently a PhD researcher at the University of Ulster. Find out more at stephanieconn.org/. Follow @StephanieConn2 Ria Czerniak-LeBov see page 16. 
 


Anna D’Alton is from Mullingar and lives in Dublin. Her poems have appeared in journals in America, Ireland and elsewhere, most recently in American Chordata. Melinda Giordano is from Los Angeles, California. Her pieces have appeared in Scheherazade’s Bequest and Vine Leaves Literary Journal among others. She was a regular poetry contributor to CalamitiesPress.com and also nominated for a 2017 Pushcart Prize. She writes flash fiction and poetry that speculates on the possibility of remarkable things – the secret lives of the natural world.  Mare Leonard lives in an old schoolhouse overlooking the Rondout Creek. Away from her own personal blackboard, she teaches through the Institute for Writing and Thinking and the MAT program at Bard College. She has published four chapbooks of poetry; a new one, The Dark Inside the Hooded Coat is available at Finishing Line Press. www.mareleonard.com  Emma McKervey’s debut poetry collection The Rag Tree Speaks was published by Doire Press in Autumn 2017. She has been shortlisted for various awards including the Irish Poem of the Year Award at the Irish Book Awards in 2016; and is a recent winner of the Michael Mullen Poetry Competition.  


Jane Murray Bird lives on the edge of Edinburgh and performs poetry for plants in return for food. Her work has appeared in magazines including Magma, Mslexia, Under the Radar, Poets’ Republic, Freak Circus, Ink Sweat and Tears, Not Very Quiet and WIFIE. Kate Noakes’s latest collection is Paris, Stage Left (Eyewear, 2017). The Filthy Quiet is forthcoming from Parthian in Spring 2019.
 Her website www.boomslangpoetry.blogspot.com is archived by the National Library of Wales. She lives in London. Kara Penn lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, three young daughters, and two dogs. She is the founder and principal consultant of Mission Spark, working with nonprofits, government, and philanthropic foundations to further the missions and social impact of their programs. Kara is the recipient of several competitive U.S.-based fellowships and holds graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and MIT. She coauthored the book Fail Better, which was published by Harvard Business Review Press in 2014, and was selected as one of the best business books of the year by Business Digest. She’s participated as a 30|30 Poet for Tupelo Press, completing 30 poems in 30 days. Her poetry has been published in a variety of journals including Ekphrasis, Rockhurst Review, Studies in Arts and Humanities, and the Meadowlands Review.   Mark Russell’s publications include Shopping for Punks (Hesterglock), Spearmint & Rescue (Pindrop), ℵ (the book of moose) (Kattywompus), and ‫( ا‬the book of seals) (Red Ceilings). Other poems have appeared in Shearsman, Butcher’s Dog, Blackbox Manifold and elsewhere. 


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the pickled body
 www.thepickledbody.com 
 Facebook: /ThePickledBody 
 Twitter: @thepickledbody 
 thepickledbody.tumblr.com Since 2013.
 
 The Pickled Body is edited, designed and produced by Dimitra Xidous and Patrick Chapman. 
 
 The poems and artwork featured in this issue are copyright © 2018 by their respective authors and artists, and may not be reproduced without permission. 
 


The Pickled Body is © 2018 by the editors. All rights reserved.


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The Pickled Body - Issue 4.1 - the view from here / from here the view  

Issue 4.1 - Editorial - the view from here / from here the view Reality. A mutable concept. Except when it isn’t. No one sees it the same...

The Pickled Body - Issue 4.1 - the view from here / from here the view  

Issue 4.1 - Editorial - the view from here / from here the view Reality. A mutable concept. Except when it isn’t. No one sees it the same...

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