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Annie Blake

The River Kent

by Annie Blake


for mein kleiner geist


paper is white like snow / my pen skates / scores the shine / i moved a mountain this morning / like it was running on wheels / because my five year old daughter said / look / i can now crack my own egg /


there was someone inside me who kept moving / i smoked a cigarette by the lake / the sun

the color of the inside of a blood orange peel / and the light of the fall / she wanted to keep trying to save kent / i held my breath / i knew dying had to do with patience / letting go of my greed

for money / when i planted my impatiens and it drowned sideways into the soil / i turned myself upright / my children were so happy / they clapped and sang like they were in a concert / saving the children of the world /



i still need to focus like the point of a spin / dive in without a splash / to retrace his old tracks / but i couldn’t suck in enough breath / showers of the holocaust / the tunnel i’m in / growl

of the sea / massa confusa / nine circles of hell / hot and spiritual / it doesn’t feel like a holy blessing /


i don’t want to leave men on sinking ships / children need their mothers / but if he was my son and he was all grown up /


i’m a gemini / twin pillars / gates of jerusalem / the east gate / jachin and boaz / promontories / there is a space on the shore where you can lie down and sunbake under its blue lights /

mountains have nipples like eyes / moist and primitive / they are still looking for something /


reductionists give me headaches / her voice / hollow tree / dead wood / my mouth an oval mirror  wide enough to swallow newborns / shape-shifting / inlet of her waist / the more fixed her core the more water can purpose her body / her face red / and her eyes hot and body wet in childbirth /


my husband shows me how to let hot water run through / till the pipes sound hollow / dirty water rises like reflux /


when my eyes open before dawn / i see a girl who is looking through my tallboy / i fold back

my blankets / i walk towards him / he is as tall as a man even though he is just a boy /

she said he was a hautbois / i said to her / who do you think you are / where did you come from / she continued kneeling and rummaging through my drawers like she owned them herself /


i told her to at least wait till i took out what i wanted / since everything belonged to me / she moved to one side / but when i searched / there was nothing there that was worth keeping / she took out all the clothes and washed them in the fireplace / bleached them till they were almost white / but i was still angry / so she put them back in my drawer / she told me to make an oboe out of all the wood / her voice was in her eyes / it came out in tufts of hair / they hurt me

like splinters of wood / she said hautbois was pitched wood or woodwind / syrinx /


i keep skating around on ice like my pen on paper / i have to stay in a circle

because that was one of the rules / two of my children deviated / skated through a wall

and into another room /


there was an underground kitchen my whole family was building / it was difficult to get into

this complex because there were skirting boards surrounding the entrance / we went down

an elevator / the kitchen could only be viewed like we were looking at it like a doll house /

it was opulent / and very expensive / we were all in a cherry picker because it was so high /

our heads were swinging and swimming like the clouds do before they break through with rain / cotton balls dipped in mud instead of chocolate / it wasn’t finished yet /


because idealism can never be realized /


i wake at five in the morning / pouring cereal like marbles into my cup / my doubts succulent

at sunset / they quaff water after a run /


living here is living without connective tissue / my surrogate father / hubristic like a fat balloon /  we wash our hands with spirits under the same tap / a ghost swung open the hallway doors

like the saloon doors of a country and western tavern / they told me she was curled up in a box

in the attic / or some other obscure place /


i broke my neck trying to wind through reeds / when i was young i thought they were weeds / i can hear a song within the ogham / crafted a flute and a whistle like the wind weaves them

for the thatching of my roof / that poke heaven / teeth through gum / she protected me

even as i dragged her around the house like a broken doll / she whines like a two year old / i have decided not to buy any more masks for my children to play with / i realized

that it was wrong of me to construct them from my own wood / i found her in a box in the attic / she was sitting in there / her legs crossed /


my children ask me to remember to smile when dropping them off at school / one says i look like a cross between an old man and a ghost / my other child says i’m a plum / sweet on the inside but my skin is so sour / they laugh / i frown / i say / i always smile to the children / for the grown-ups / it’s too much effort hiding what i’m really feeling /


a cross is hard to bear / loss pinned down with a nail on his feet / narcissistic triangulation

of families / the triangle and the trinity / hypostatic / a man with a black fencing mask is sitting fat like buddha and wrapped like an egyptian / he waits cross-legged for me /


i want to know the secret of nakedness and the stone soup / the girl rose and stepped up

the drawers like they were stairs / her body was blue / wings of flames / chimneys

are like cigarettes / they eventually burn out / she flew up the chimney / music of the oboe /

a channel or a river / songbird and church smoke / prima materia and flight /

au-dessus de la mêlée /


doors and windows can look simple / one or a hundred / zap me like static electricity / a man approached me / he said he just needed paper and spirits / i found some of my father’s whiskey and rolled up some paper / sunk it inside / message in a bottle / he gave it to me / i carried him up the drawers like i was climbing a scrubbing board / he was so heavy / his head dangled

like a newborn’s / the pain in his body made up his bones / i left him lying in the fireplace /


my sheer bed canopy / that reminds me how beautiful cages are not meant for birds

with wings /


the tiniest birds / the roundest bellies made of velvet or felt / like i dress my children’s chest /

as sticky as velcro / familiar names / i have tried so hard to forget / scare me like the groans

of planes skidding the sky when i’m supposed to feel safe in my bed / the robinia tree / the blood in rubinia and rubedo / is the most beautiful tree in my yard / but long enough to crash

into my children’s room if it falls a certain angle / my rapture in listening to what the wind

has to say is not full-bodied or pure / beauty is safety / i can never grip it for very long /


white journal paper / lines and snow / horizontal / snow white lies dead / horizontal like lines / schooner on a green lake when there is no smoke / she needs unity to rise to sit up like a chair /

for introspection / life and air in a glass box / holy water and fish / like saint rita in her coffin / her god gown is mystical but / i would rather sleep without it because when i sweat / my dreams are too morbid /


my child cries before bedtime / she said her dreams are scary because she can’t move or speak

in them / she might try to walk down the stairs and fall / i tell her i’ll come and settle her

if she cries / but she says / how will you know if you don’t hear me cry / mothers are like tooth fairies / they know how much it hurts to lose old teeth / to have a finger and money and blood

in your mouth /



i have to trust my mother / the one that’s grown with blue wings / trust she can take flight /

like airplanes flying for hours over the ocean / some birds look like fairytale animations /

i like them but i get confused / i don’t know whether these birds are made or real / they have tails / blue and precise like airplane wings / and a spoonful of sugar / marys

are always dressed in blue / she stares at me and never gives answers / i have to find the answers myself /


clouds pinned to wooden ceilings like cotton wood / like the overly thick eyebrows

of the president / his carrot and the stick / i’m sick of being mutually exclusive / of being patient with my legs / our feet are not a tail or wings / they tangle before i fling them into the sea /

my hand over my mouth / not to stop gulping water or to stifle a laugh / i have words that i can’t let spill /


i make letters from alphabet soup / anything linear and sensory that mutually exclusive people understand / they enjoy reading everything about me as long as i taste like honey /

i have a craving for sweetness / but i will never eat anything with more than eight percent sugar / i trained myself on blandness / so that i can taste hypervigilance / when everything is sweet

there’s no longer any inherent value / like sex without foreplay /


i walk into the bathroom and wring out the mat / i didn’t notice there was a flood / i see my shadow in the bathtub / i start panting like a hot animal / it looks like an egyptian pyramid

with long wooden legs / it’s my son / he’s sitting in a tomb or in linen / i pull up the body / i vomit skeins of threads / green and gold and a wine cork / his head is a jar / circumference

and the portal of pi / piping of the steam and the whistle of his beaks /


four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie /






Annie Blake is an Australian writer and divergent thinker. She is a wife and mother of five children. She started school as an EAL student and was raised and, continues to live in a multicultural and industrial location in the West of Melbourne. Her research aims to exfoliate branches of psychoanalysis and metaphysics. She is currently focusing on in medias res and arthouse writing. She enjoys semiotics and exploring the surreal and phantasmagorical nature of unconscious material. Her works are best understood when interpreting them like dreams. She is a member of the C G Jung Society of Melbourne. You can visit her on annieblakethegatherer.blogspot.com.au and https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009445206990.





The Exorcism of Ecphora

by Annie Blake



I wasn’t sure who kept switching on the lights. The house was supposed to be empty. I waited for him to come home because I needed some reassurance I wasn’t losing my sanity. He came home.


But I’m sure I switched off all the lights after everyone left that morning.


When I was alone the next day, I could hear footsteps outside my room.


The more my ears open, the more my voice shuts down. It’s automatic. Sometimes I become a mute. The steps outside are full of water. Insidious seas. The opening of the door is an apertural view of a shell. But I am like a camera with an aperture stop. My room is heavy with empty.


I didn’t want to look at the door.  The knob was a potential bomb. But my hands turned and wrung me out anyway. I was under water. Fog can weigh you down under water. Sink you like a rock.


I could hear a ship sounding her bells in a storm. The kelp was the only thing alive in the sea. Even the fish were dead—upside down and gummy; sliced palms of haddocks. My hair and the kelp—how land and water marry.


I swam through one eye and then walked through the other.


Someone has left the light on in the dining room. For fuck’s sake. How many times have I told them to save electricity? I saw Keren approaching the stairs. I forgot he lived here. He looked a little like my son. Sometimes he looked like a native and other times he looked Russian. He didn’t look at me much. He was an introvert. It must have been him. He’s the one opening all the doors. I’ve told him before. He says he’s cold. All he wants is heat.


But I was his mother. Too young to know anything about estrus. The mind has a way of adjusting its aperture stop. A room surrounded by curtains susurrating with the floor—a scrambled view like egg battered in a jar. The wind bubbling at their hems—they are stage curtains all around. I’m in the middle—wind around my ankles and my heels—buzzing around like bees.


I obsessively worry about four things. I alternate them like the blades of a fan—the gentle suppleness of knives. How they spin through fingers and umbilical cords. How they promise the ooze of overripe summer.


When I stop at a red light I notice a line of cars in the rain. The dissonance of their wipers. The sagging rhythm everyone tries to keep in time with. Ridding the windshields of rain.


When you lose your ability to distinguish between fantasy and reality, you have nothing else to lose.


I told Keren I was an empty offering. The two bells on my body; feeling the firm curvature of fruit; milk of its figs. Here are the divides of our tongues—the longing of their sweet juices. His hands were more bone than fat, for he always ate grainy bread. His hair was as alive as kelp. A regenerative sauna. The body I was in—white and damp on the snow. Feeling the pleats of our moist skins like slithers of consciousness. Like the flash when a photo is taken. When I feel like I’m in a wound that tightens like the waist under a woman’s corset, I know I have to climb up its ribs again. When I feel like I’m in a widening wound like the hips of a rainforest, I know I’m heading the right way.


The laces of my dress are ribs. I held him. His breath bathed in the fermentation of fatigue. His fingers were long and could play the piano. His purpose was to evolve beyond onanism. My mother and father taught me to look for bean clams in the sea. Just under the sand. We dig with our fingers. The arperture of his nails—eggy salty pus. Clitorides. Eating raw; the wounds of our eyes.


The hair on his hands. The growing fibers of his arms. Fingers looking in the mud. For the twist of the umbilicus—the dark purse of her lips. A borehole. The four costae of the Ecphora. The easy snapping of ribs—the relief of his fingers like the tearing of threadbare fabric. Handfuls of eternal ash. The opening of the dry earth for mouths—the lifting of the gullet. The thawing of white on the field. He cleans the interior of the white buffalo. I learn from the divine licks of his teeth.


The bells were ringing to call the child who died. My body was turning over like red meat in the mist. Town criers are ringing their bells to summon me. It is the end of the war and there will be a holy wedding.


When children climb into a dry carcass of a buffalo, they must first eat what fills it. Then there will be the adjustment of their bodies inside by the unwinding of their joints. All children need shelter from storms. He scoops out the dust of burnt bodies; the cracked shells of the vase.


When children are spoilt with bruised fruit, they will break everything you have.


I am still an animal. He still wants me so he crawls inside my craw. He holds onto my entrails for he doesn’t want to feel disconnected. He is heavy. I unlatch my body. His arms outstretch—as well as his legs. Branches instead of switches, to keep me erect like a memento mori photograph. Like a hallway coat stand laden with coats. We can open more doors this way. Keren’s round parts are bulbs. He is growing. I can feel him. He builds a fire in my body for the extrusion of his bones to take place. We rise like the unmistakable mast of a ship. Even in the storm, camisoles are billowing. Lucent—a scintillating lighthouse.


I am standing in our body. I am russet. The color of potato when it is pulled from the earth or an Ecphora—my hand that spiders out of the sand. For I come from the earth; from the water first.


For posterity’s sake.


The ox is ploughing the earth, making furrows in my body with his plow. He made goblets out of his horns.


Menstruation is circular. I mistake it for the putrefaction of fish. Sometimes I smell the exploitation of fish at the marketplace. Their high protein content makes my body able. I drink from his horns. He explains they are aphrodisiacs. I eat croissants for breakfast because they look like horns and the croitre of moons. Made of glass. Air. Viennoiseries with laminated dough.


I’m sick of sitting in the dough of the unknowables—their knuckles knocking, kick-starting me like the manufactured steel of automobile parts. In grade school, I cried because I didn’t want my mother to leave me. When she left, the teacher took me outside. She told another teacher she was looking for lice.


She wasn’t looking for lice. She was pulling my hair.


 I stopped squalling. Fear and silence hold hands instantaneously. Sometimes the only way to make someone love you is by tip-toeing in their shadow.


Walking in front of them is harder than letting yourself hang.


Keren swims inside. He pulls the nails out of my hands. I unknit my web because when I was young I wore lace veils to church; a lace dress up to my chin. My finger nail catches on to the lace.


She shakes like her gallows. Her legs are her last.


 It is walking into the fall—the unmasking of our leaves. And feeling this time, I will live to bud. The gentle creak of the doors in the hallway. The lights divulging all my rooms.


The pigeon is fixing a nest on my balcony. It was winter— its winds untying its cries like the primitive crimes of animals. It is a large bed I sleep in for he could not bear the crying of newborns.


Maybe he carries the cries of his mother. Of himself.


I remember my mother’s silver coins splashing like paint against the wall. The cooked spittle of her belly. Simmering; how it curdles into maggots in the sink. I watch while she strains the tubes in her throat.


His father’s exquisite concentration of his fingers while loading his gun. Her tuft of red hair—whatever is left under his fingernails. The hot blood-speckled skin of a pecked buffalo. The fur is taken off when the circumference of skin tries to hold the weight of a metal bullet. Blades for a tongue. The licking of blades. Shining silver swords.


His hands are sewing me. My father’s noose. His dollar bills and his will—he lets loose from his wrists. His fingers, though work-stained are lissom when tying rope. I am tightening up my daughter’s ballet bun so her wisps of hair are bent back. The elegant twist and overlap of a hair net. A stiff coat of hairspray. She is taught there must be no deviation from the steps she is taught. The rope’s final rip through the well floor. The bucket tapping against the floor—breaking dark red coral.


The blood-run snow—welling in the deep wrinkles of her skin.


My son tells me I’m so nice now. He asks, Were you angry because when I was small I was bad? We hold each other like red ribbons around a gift. No, I say. It was all about me.


I can now throw my voice like a dart.


When she awoke her skin was unrippled like she had been sleeping in a glass box. The scales of my shells are opening. I have learnt to break open the clam by unjamming its hinge ligament.


Rain is sweetest under the dry fan of eyelashes. On top of the cracked egg of snow. The mouth is a clam. Teeth—a wreath of diamonds. The tongue a live mollusk. My hair—a curtain of herb in the spring air.


My body green and sown in the field.





Annie Blake is an Australian writer, thinker and researcher. She is a wife and mother of five children. Her main interests include psychoanalysis and metaphysics. She is currently interested in arthouse writing which explores the surreal nature and symbolic meanings of unconscious material through nocturnal and diurnal dreams and fantasies. Her writing is a dialogue between unconscious material and conscious thoughts and synchronicity. You can visit her on annieblakethegatherer.blogspot.com.au and https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009445206990.