Poems by M.F. McAuliffe
Talking Earth Anthology: Poems by M.F. McAuliffe
M.F. McAuliffe is a writer, editor, and photographer who made
her US publishing debut in Damon Knight's Clarion Awards.
Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Overland, The Adelaide Review,
Australian Short Stories, and FEMSPEC. In 2000 her long poem
"Orpheus" was used as a libretto by La Mama Courthouse Theatre,
in Melbourne. In 2002 she co-founded the award-winning,
Portland-based magazine, Gobshite Quarterly. She continues there
as contributing editor and publisher of the new line of GobQ e-books.
She has edited and contributed to Golems Waiting, a collaboration
with local sculptor Daniel Duford. That book was released September 23,
2011 by Publication Studio in Portland.
My father worked at General Motors
He retired after 28 years.
The previous 10 had been spent in the Great Depression
no work, little work, fear.
So far I've worked 36 years
But my father worked 30 hours/week
And I work 40.
So for every 4 years my father worked
I've worked 5 (since coming to the States)
(2008-1982)/4 = 6.3 + 26 = 31.3
So altogether I've worked
(1 = p/t, looking for work, etc.)
+ 31.3 = 41.3 years
and I have to work another 10
(= 12.5 barring death)
I want to devour the midnight and the morning.
I want the creaminess of cloud.
I want the secret life of flames.
published in issue 30 of Cordite, Dec 1, 2009
If you want a forest you're going to have to pull it out of my feet,
out of my skin, out of the veins jumping with exhaustion,
out of the hollows of my bones (the chalkiness of them frightening):
you're going to have to stand my body on a rock,
nail my hands to the wheeling stars (let my tendons turn and twist and knot)
let the wind and standing dark
solidify for centuries;
unzip the glueskin around my fingernails,
dangle it sidewise in the sun,
nick and pluck and pull
my chest, back, neck, arms, thighs;
bundle the glimmering collection of ribs that hang now dry as rattles,
score them lengthwise,
bury them parallel and parallel and parallel;
lie me on the earth,
go back in with twelve-inch needle-nose pliers
cast aside the spleen and liver and calcified mush,
go straight to the cracked black stone of my heart:
re-water and restore it,
warm it with your lips,
hope it still contains the soft, complex stemcell of the world.
published in Studio, no. 89/90, Albury, Summer/Autumn, 2003