S  e  c  r  e  t  s    blackmail press 24
Lisa May

Lisa May is a journalist and copywriter and poetry place-getter in the 2003 Blue Fringe Festival (Australia) for 'The Melting Poem' which is featured here.  Lisa is an ex-ballet dancer and aspiring singer and would like to publish more of her poetry.  She has been living in New Zealand since 2004.
Untitled baby

My baby, she lies bleeding on the floor.
She is gasping for breath but she is premature and brain-dead.
I love her but I cannot help her.
She is my legacy.

She will slowly quiet
and develop a calm smile
as the life leaves her.
I will pick her up and hug her to my shoulder
and cry.
Because she means so much to me
and nothing at all.

In time I will wrap her in torn sheets
and leave her on the floor
waiting while I sit at my laptop.
I will look at her small chin
and I will want to hug her lifeless body
but I won’t and that will be my great grief
and hers will be me.
Yet she will not understand
because how could she?

I will take her and put her
in a mouse cage
and the mouse will spin in a wheel next to her
and I will place them in a dump
where the mouse will run until she is exhausted
and I will sit in the rubbish
and stare at the nothingness above it
and it will be silent
Except for the beating of my heart.

And I will leave my baby
where nothing can get at her anymore,
where the rubbish cannot hurt her
or matter.
Where the mouse can lay down beside her
and be beside her in death.
Where broken wardrobes
house the lion and the witch,
where the rusty wind
will blow over her
and my blackened heart
cannot hurt her or
love her.
And I shall cut off my little finger
and throw it into the rubbish
and I shall say to her:
“I never could,” and
“I’m so sorry,” and
the lion, the witch, the wardrobe
and the mouse and the finger
shall cry to the wind: “It never was.”

The Melting Poem
(Ode to manic depression)

Cut off my hands with a hacksaw to stop them.
Cut off my hands and two days later I notice my arms are starting
to get thinner, melt away, shorten.

My hands are haunting me.
They are shrinking me - dissipating me in revenge.
I notice my head and legs also diminishing.
It’s harder to see over the bar.  My head feels tight.
People are too polite to say anything but they seem shocked and
uncomfortable - I’ll have a drink.

The great bowl of the glass sits
thickly between my lips and spills
slightly diluted scotch out of
the corners of my mouth - I am
drenched: I look to catch the
dismayed expressions of my drinking partners,
who have stopped drinking;
and my awkward arm stumps lose the giant glass all over me.
The liquid runs away and my legs
have melted just a bit more.
They notice this too - I am horrified,
excuse myself and get up to go
to the bathroom
- now I am hardly any taller standing than sitting.
I look at their chins
and hobble across the floor
- one leg shorter than the other now; damn.

In the bathroom I notice my hair has
melted and stuck together, except for a
bald patch.
I sigh and no longer care.
My reflection is horrible.

Why didn’t I stay at home?
I forgot to feed the cat!

My tiny wing stumps cannot open the door -
the bar-man comes over and opens it for me.
He’s glad to see me go.

The mini-cab man refuses to take me
- maybe he didn’t understand what I was saying?
My lower left lip has stretched and now
swings a bit - baring my gums and roots.
I can’t be bothered talking anyway.
I smile stupidly and shrug and
lurch and bob off up the street.
Someone else gets the cab.

I walk past a man who sees me,
drops his case and steps back in shock,
fingertips seeking the wall for reassurance.

I smile and bob on,
It’s only me!

A glop of melted hair drops on the
pavement behind me.  Oh well!

I crawl and fall past the park, the pond,
the fish in the pond.
I must get home while I can -
but hurrying makes me disintegrate faster.

I try not to laugh as yet another
horrified pedestrian rushes past - giving
me a wide berth.
I can’t help chuckling but am embarrassed to
be caught laughing on my own like some mad person.

Somehow I get to the door - I am
now a small glob of melted skin
with half my face protruding.
She opens the door
- “Look, look - I’m melting,” I say, laughing
But she obviously has never seen the Wizard of Oz or
has no sense of humour.
She looks uncertain and scared and hesitates,
looking kindly but nervously at me; Closes the Door,
I am alone.
Before my other ear melts I hear her worriedly
on the phone but cannot make out the words.

It is cold and I cannot move - I must
stare at the crack under the door.
A huge overwhelming tear escapes my one eye
and melts a track to the pavement.
It begins to rain softly,
dripping small pockmarks on my head
- my last tuft of hair slides to the pavement

As I sink lower and lower
my brain rushes to the top of my head
to stay alive -
where the rain eventually exposes it.
It crawls shivering from my glutinous
remnants to a small mossy rock
and, shivering with cold,
shelters in a discarded snail shell
and sleeps.  Now harmless.

In the morning it is woken by the vibrations of a door opening
and, uncomprehending, shudders at the tremor of
the pavement being hosed down.


Setting a new world record for sitting in the bath
I watch the waves break over my slippery belly,
and suss out my brown feet.

Staring down a plastic frog whose tongue
unravels when you squeeze his body.
A thorny protuberance of seashell
undulent in the opposite corner.

The sea a pink morass
and I Gulliver and Siren at once
luring you to my silky shores.

The large porcelain vessel
an ice-berg containing a seal
flipping in the shallows
streamlined and frisky,

A rolling boulder fizzles in the water,
changing shape, spinning like an aspirin
in a glass of water,
a sparking bowling ball
to knock out 10 pins.
A buoy-marker
bobbing in a sea like a warm bath,
tethered to the bottom,
full of the will to escape.

Through the steam haze
I haul Gulliver to his feet.
The Siren song drips off me.
Ulysses is tethered to the mast.
The rocks crumble,
the ocean drains away.
The tiles are cold.