blackmail press 17
Jessica Gulliver
new zealand
Jessica Gulliver, Originally from the north of England, Jessica has been in New Zealand for a year now. When not working as a freelance publicist, Jessica is at home in Lyttelton looking after her toddler.

You hooked into me after midnight
with your blunt stump of an arm.
You curved into me, hooked into my sleeping womb,
creeping carefree into our night-clogged room.

He lay next to me and snored.
He lay statue-still, twitching occasionally with a

It happened so fast :
he was too tired, he said.
I'd lain there thinking mundanities:
Have we paid the power bill?
Is there enough milk for cereal
in the morning?

But it didn't matter, there was no need for passion;
you were quick and strong and single-minded,
hooked into me, curled up in the centre of me,
a little bean in the cramped core of my belly,
rooting yourself down into my clotted blood,
a buttery hook of a thing, a rubbery nub,
a knuckle of being, a comma breaking up
a long, drawn-out sentence.


You cracked me;
gold yolk spilt
between your militant fingers.
It was me, that mess.

We'd meet beneath
the old clock hanging
from the filthy roof
of King's Cross Station.

Walking on sleep-dead legs
you led me; you were bred
by London. I was new to the city
and knew nothing.

Riding by double-decker through the
cramped centre of your city: I slept
against the cold leather of your jacket as
London trampled through autumn nights.

We'd stay buried all weekend
beneath your blankets 
and we'd laugh as your fat cat
nudged us awake hungry, feeling left out.

You cracked me open, my yolk
all golden; you took deft hands to me
and pried me apart.
You sucked me from my shell.

When you'd had your guts-fill
that was that, it was over.

I walked alone into the thrust of the city.
It didn't swallow me whole, but
ingested me bit by bit, slowly.

And today.
I still feel the lack of you,
the crack of you,
the knack of your maverick hand
subverting me still.


She was plucked beneath
the bulk of tyrannous mountains
surrounded by A-frame alpine homes

Night layered itself upon the jagged lines
of the men and women whose sightless eyes
turned from the deflowering
of their prettiest rose:
all left of her the black socket of her head
and her thorns

He was fiendish riding slipshod on his horse
lurching to the middle of the town.
The night was deep by then and the town
legless and stinking of stale ale
wormed their way towards
deep beds with clean cotton sheets.

He quickly
took her from under their noses
that ten year old who some said
the next morning with red eyes and hammering heads
was old enough to know better.

His house was petal pink with wooden doors and windowpanes
and his kitchen slathered with the yeasty sweetness of baking cakes

He locked the door and kissed her rosebud mouth
He couldn't hear her
                           his ears plugged with thick orange wax.

He slept when she left by the front door, blood flowering
her white pants
a red rose from a lover.
Her face split in two by a huge crimson grin.

She walked away from the town and her poisoned parents;
She walked with a swagger and began the ascent of a steep hill
leading to the mountains

She was sure she heard from high up
the watery babble of children's laughter.

She left them all behind,
though her inner thighs were rubbed red raw
and her hands were shaking