blackmail press 16
Elizabeth Morton
new zealand
Elizabeth Morton is a wayward god, far too arrogant to be considered goody-good. She lives hermetically on Auckland's North Shore, with piles of overdue library books and, perhaps with relation, stomach ulcers. Previously she's been published in Jaam and Poetry NZ.


Redecide the fall.

When you were the crouch behind the powerbox
it was in vogue to alarm. Roadside limpets
stopped to dispose their tar-rag snorts.

It was all very funny. That was summer. We were six.

I remember disposal after the hunch. You said, lean out
from your lantern and I said it doesn't matter anyway.
Get me back get me back
    I yowled
as you spun me down the hall.

Of course I was clean.
Don't you know gods come with blank-tread,
packed into walls with elbows of soap?

I, but not myself, lips down in a city square,
and by the way, the ransom looked so good.
Clean up, I remember you said,
clean up your brain and the snot in the mirror.

Well, once clean my head was in the dark
and I knew not where I stopped. The dark was
and wasn't mine to eat.

Roomless-solitude is the birth-name of pause.
Eyes grow and ears grow
and so, I became a cartoon fog and
you became a throat teased into goose-bumps.
    Bitch    you said   Bitch

Of course I never wanted to come.

Moon Man

They said they knew,
and made the diagnosis:

"too naked a being
and far too broad
to wander in our backyard
among cat-bones and citrus-trees"

and I said I knew also
that I had stopped too soon
and on the wrong Earth.

There was no way I could last
among cradles and lovers and shepherds and sheep.

So we came to a decision
and they shook my hand,
then they tied me to a tree

and left.

The Gamblers

Did I tell you the one
about the skinless kid
who fainted on our porch
and woke up
thirty six with lungs so dry
you'd claw a toothpick
in and not a vein would hatch?

We made our bets that afternoon,
her on the porch, us with cocktail umbrellas
jabbing jabbing.

Most said it'd take an infinity,
waking her, putting her to sleep and even then
she'd fuck it up.

But fundamental probability, I croaked,
will laugh 'told you so' at the press-release with
all those monkeys typing Hamlet.


Lovers and scientists
shrug neohype into the dawn.

Nobody notices they sell Vitasex
at the teahouse. Nobody wonders at
the perpetual sawing of celphones and stars.
At the teahouse, Darwin is relative
and Huxley, an ape.

Remember then, the pallid girl
in her glow-room. Hell and ragnarok,
à bout de bras.

Cackhanded followers will say
she was a martyr to sunbeams and stone,
that her tired rind couldn't hack
the alien rays that wore the new dawn.

I say, forget the expense. Remember instead
her darkened squint,
a smile, almost, as the geiger tallied