blackmail press 18
Steve Ely

Steve Ely is a writer from Yorkshire, England who has been published in literary magazines and e-zines.   He has recently completed JerUSAlem, a long and complex poem 'about America'.  He is currently writing a novel and a researching towards a biography of former federal prisoner Clayton Fountain. 
Cock Pheasant at Long Plantation

Ka ngaro i te nagaro a te Moa.  "We are lost as the Moa is lost"- Maori Lament.

Where the line of the wood turned sharp right
I broke cover and startled
not twenty yards ahead
tarsus deep in winter wheat
the sunrise-edged silhouette
of a sideways-on cock Pheasant
that immediately
sprinted for the trees
and disappeared so quickly
I almost disbelieved
like Abel Janszoon Tasman
on the bridge of the Heemskirk
at glimpsing Dinornis
on a beach
of the savage infested, spiritous land
he called Nieuw Zeeland
the prow then crashing through the swell
and rising
to see the prospect empty.


With apologies to Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Christ is born in the coffee shops of Kandahar,
overdubbed Norman Wisdom films, Kalishnikovs,
Nike sneakers.  Christ is born in downtown Kigali,
hustlers in McGrady vests, parlez Francais, spik Americain?  
Christ is born under Rouen’s golden arches,
iPods playing Kings of Leon, kids in replica Arsenal shirts. 
Christ is born on a Baghdad Google websearch,
English language schools, al Sadr, Lionel Messi,
Britney Spears.  Christ is born on the dockside at Port Moresby,
head-hunters in fake Armani unloading Sony widescreens. 
Christ is born in a billing enquiry, outsourced to New Delhi.
Christ is born in Springfield, in a pineapple under the sea. 
Christ is born in a flying cube, interthinking citizens
prosthetically enhanced: you will be assimilated.

Salt Lake City

“There is not one thing wanting in all the works of God to make Zion upon the Earth when the people conclude to make it.”  (Brigham Young)

In Utah’s chloride waste, he saw the millennial city
floating on the haze.  No virtue in dalliance;
he disgorged the packs of the loaded mule trains
and staked out the ten-acre plots of Zion in high noon’s sunblaze glare.
The templed skyline rose, the fields of maize and hemp;
The diligent Saints did labour at the goodly work of God.
To the Gentiles – their whiskey, Saturdays, slaves;
to the Mormons, the industry of Deseret,
(interpreted, being the Honey Bee), and the sweetness thereof.
Think not of his error and weakness, his bizarrity in the flesh,
but man God-anointed in the sweat of his toiling,
the celestial city, built from American dirt:
in which every Saint will have dominion over a star;
and every second year get a brand new car.