Issue 29: Fran Lock


Flesh for Frankenstein Hyena

the breath of resurrected life, falling into my open mouth: omnis caro ad te veniet. was putting the reck in requiem mass. i am my own large lair, and you – repelled and parched – an unrelenting renaissance of shame. yes, you are a beginner’s animal. a loves-me-not animal. a museum animal. a throbbing consensual muscle. i am absurd bravura, underdog in eclipse. we’re talking about flesh: a miscarried process, an abject practice. this donor body, this doner kebab. impia vivis ac dira sepultis. i unwork your funhouse habitual, the sterile dustbin of a job well done. and how do you like me now? i am the lazarus animal. the meagre mistress of famine, the dubious mistress of fools.

has a hyena a prayer? would strip the gilding off of any given idol. virgin of militant nimbus. ragged hole in your calendar of silky martyrs. oh you, you are a tenderly voguing animal, constrained and sultry, damsel in his pouting plot – oh, mr darcy! an optional mammal, cobwebbed cult of manners, a doubting sex-bot. hyena prayer is not your wafting ethic, plain and fancy pathos, a pair of accurate hands. queer as a kind of voluptuary hindsight, an intercession of swanning monsters, carnivory hysteria licking around the candle fat. i’m talking about flesh: butcher’s ideas, bad ideas lit up along my jawbone. a fouled pearl is lovely, work out your salvation on this dire hyena’s knot.

we were talking. and here comes the mexican mansplain. woo-hoo! christ on cracker! women and similar troubadours, he folds us in the wingspan of his banker’s ledger. he is a roll credits! animal, a lights, camera animal. his swaggering affect is slog. comes roun’ ‘ere, sniffing our siege, sniffing our lilting-time-of-the-month, sniffing our nursery defects. says: this body is disintegrating groves, cannot speak, cannot think. says flesh is the punk extraordinaire, is a dominant logic, a moral epiphany. we were talking about flesh, which we’re meant to renounce at the turnstile, decanting ourselves into see-through plastic bags. or else you are all flesh and no mind. oh, my dream job, oh, your wonderful dying.




Sparring fox

      ‘and for this reason we call prostitutes wolves, because they

                  devastate the possessions of their lovers.’

i sab myself, ta very much, oh trojan dog, absurdly


i sab myself. the dunno of this nausea is heavy.

i sab myself. this fake-anatomical, waste of little reasons.

i sab myself, my power is in my paws.

i sab myself. and all the dirty philtres of paralysis.

i sab myself, a vehement fear, as able as the birds.

i sab myself. the escapist scut that haunts my dreams.

i sab myself to flowers when i think no one is looking.

i sab myself, foot-mute through your errored thunder nightly.

i sab myself. my grammar of vigilant whelpings.

i sab myself. i am the symbol and the sermon.

i sab myself, oh leaky forcing-dog. knocking over piglets

like marxist republics. knocking over lambs like rotten skittles.

i sab myself. and don’t you wish your girlfriend was as high

and meadow fed.

i sab myself, axe to your obmutescent sky. inherited crow dissolving.

i sab myself, announce an unfavourable omen.

i sab myself. entwine and urge.

i sab myself, imperative tread on the stair. moon at its most numbly censored.

i sab myself, babbling kidult baby steps.

i sab myself, pitching a creep. nailing my twitch to a manger.

i sab myself. triple my reddest thrusting. the old avail! and ruin me!

i sab myself. mortuary heil.

i sab myself. all those dead and coming coins. all those slotty heads.

i sab myself, remanded, remaindered. dog without the possibility of parole.

i sab myself: sparring fox.

i sab myself, the breath becoming fast. a telling green. this long, administrative bone.

i sab myself. slut walk 2010, the english collective of prostitutes.

i sab myself. frission vector. the robin, choked.

i sab myself, rasping. i saturate your dancer’s mark.

i sab myself. raincoaters holiday, some watery perve. baby,

the whole dark thru.

i sab myself, fecund oddity.

i sab myself, patient culprit.

i sab myself, the story cornered. who’s telling this thing?

i sab myself of broken focus, luminous, intransitive.

i sab myself. eros in his gown of totalled violets.

i sab myself, shedding marrow.

i sab myself, oh serially girdled hound. wobble-fox, the riddle


i sab myself. predicament of pines. his cum smells of resin and i

want him. the shot fibres of a catwalk maille.

i sab myself: time’s text. the fall collection, breezy opals.

i sab myself, white confetti.

i sab myself. noir of wanton cells.

i sab myself. present space, this slender reciprocity.

i sab myself. 2007, a loose metaphoric exchange with a skinhead’s


i sab myself, a melody of stinking sheepfolds.

i sab myself, my pelt an alternative furze.

i sab myself. the tricky buzz of being near. warbling throwback,

your neanderthal mutt.

i sab myself: fatuous rehash, the one with the hard sums, the one

with the bloodwork, the one with vitamins and x-rays.

i sab myself. deaf ear singularly whispered.

i sab myself. pride, 2001.

i sab myself. livid names for most temptations. the mossy bowers.

florally ad nauseam.

i sab myself, trembling fraud.

i sab myself. there’s a portrait of me making big, open-handed gestures in an attic.

i sab myself, oh lushy beast, impeccable bride of missed opportunity.

i sab myself for the bigger springtime. forward of pale assumptions.

i sab myself, lean, an inevitable learning dog. i don’t want anybody else.

when i think about you, i sab myself.




‘Inflamed by the war yell, spurred to the charge’

‘For such is said to be the nature of females that whatever they view, or even if they imagine it in the mind during the extreme heat of lust while they are conceiving, just so do they procreate the progeny.’

i have seen them fall from horse as from grace. a horse they inhabit like a hometown, being half horse. and they are prodigal, they people their return with horses. they have pressed a starving mouth to the blacksmith’s anvil. i have seen them – audacious in spirit, swift of foot and trembling in limbs – the sleepless conspiracy of horses. their offices crossed, they were tawny, thwart, and weeping. the hour’s mare, admired and fatal. a horse is a virile witness, who turns informer when his mane is cut. i have seen them, pale garrons, those scrumpy minions of toil. the gaulish cob, dipping his long head like a sturdy novice. i have seen mules, dragging and ashen. their plebian lingering. do you see how a boy is a horse? how a horse had it coming? a horse is that well-hung cameo thought, stalking my tricked bed thoroughly. a horse is an aura, is the fright of your life, the woke corpse commencing to strut. i binge-watch their moonwalk, half afraid, and yet – i have seen the horses fall. a bull’s head stamped on his harness, the bridle spurned, even his shadow thrown from the saddle, the saddle also thrown. i have seen them whipped and limping, bearing a satchel of rocks, the outline of a woman in chalk, a leaking stack of bibles. i have seen them shot. i have read the poems of their killers, wailing, in a great debauch of pity. mercy-turds, who shit the kecks of vigil. i have been invited to writhe, submit, expiry’s bride, wringing my hands. the horse is the coming ghost, is young life departing in a spree of silky petals. they grind your advice beneath their hooves, they intend an oblivion, dashed on the rocks. have you ever looked at a horse? really looked? i had a horse, had a boy, but that was several bright egos ago. i loved a horse like a boring child, with pastel crayons and flower crowns. he was rude and able, i could never keep him from his feet. not one of them. give a horse its due. horse is the loved culprit, tearing at the traces of your bland care. i have seen them fall from horse as from grace. and i, most piebald bitch, gestate a return. the horse is the thief. is the outlaw, assailed.




Story of O

/ thinks he’s all that, though. says his smoky decrees in slacktivewear.

/ pleasingly cool, my energies exceeding grace, i woke up this morning wearing all my serpent on my sleeve. bodily cobbled.

/ commanded and vacated, a scented crevice.

/ dubious, reticulate melancholy. i experiment with pressure. i am putting the squeeze on.

/ for a torqued surrender.

/ can’t think how it happened.

/ magic. libidinal swagger. libidinal havoc.

/ my mind is a wonder of gutters. is the punk haunt replete.

/ tell me, can the feraltern speak? in english?

/ his language is the kept skull sanctioned. necklace of human ears.

/ renders speech impossible, or enables only its colonised forms.

/ i call to him. my voice is dainty and itemised, is small pink flowers in receivership.

/ i call to him. rank and welling squeal.

/ i slobbered all over his sober hatching.

/ fickle gape. fickle gap. fickle gob wetly smacked.

/ how did this happen?

/ magic. i hate his fiercely parcelling tongue. craft and curse.

/ magic is the cunning grave defaced, not this –

/ tedious sexy hijinks, obscene and saddened, lavish and ambivalent, ennobled and null, and meaning’s reach is total, ken?

/ god help us.

/ in this poem, the tongue is the motif and the miracle. did you know worms taste with the whole self of their lowly questing? how ardour erupts in unlikely places.

/ it’s not that i mind. lust will be inexhaustible, imperilling.

/ my guiding desire a rollick of consumption. he tramples my turning, milks my fangs.

/ but how did it happen?

/ what quirk of quaking supernature, i?

/ did i invite it? power enters me, perpetuates itself in my mouth, slick and merry in equal measure.

/ become a subject, a self, subjected. the french have a boudoir word for this. my tits like posthumous puddings, all white and green.

/ to end in a tail is an agreeable aloofness, a disciplinary flourish.

/ he comes with his friends to tally and bracket me.

/ i tighten the circle of myself.

/ one melancholy stocking. i unhook my obedience.

/ ornamental. instrumental. this shock collar, this metal cuff.

/ wanton. with a ruthless whimsy.

/ i outdo. i undo. do i?

/ blatant revel. i rave available. i veil myself, avail myself. my very eye a tempting hood.

/ how did this happen?

/ i did not err from power. power made possible what from power strays. i read it in a book.

/ how the punishment creates the crime.

/ the escape, i mean. oh man, how many snakes does it take to change a lightbulb? how many snakes on a plane?




Sweet ‘feraltern’ Melusine

(A song for poets and men)

it is filth, but not just any quickened garbage.

of indelicacies and ostentations, pleasure’s ditty-

clench, it is better not to speak. and if it is filth,

it is immaculate filth. your art is collusion. your

dowery of fickle nudes. i eat your pimping slang.

no mere rogueing wench. no mere strolling lingo.

as much in the clip as the kiss. so many kelpies.

a squad of dewy ponies. so many mollies in bloom.

licentious. this body has satiny vocations. to watch.

to wait. a surge to short your wound-up charm.

any charm, your shrunk charm gnawed.

i dreamt the wreck i was: coral staged its subtle

colony inside of me. i was sunk but not drowned.

mélusine, which i misread as messy line or loon

or the motely, loosened sea. siren of this graceful,

armoured muzak. this antique noodling, wind-

wank on a shepherd’s pipe. the pastoral is a girl

landed, garlanded never so cheaply. the cumulous

shebang of my body is lost in translation. hey,

dreamboat, fairy isn’t fair. your inexpressible

bride. the fusing mindfuck of my thighs. your

eye, cored at its keyhole, i parcel my vanishing

up with a violent resignation. stare, like a slack

flirt at my back, or forcing the fluthered air out

of me, grind me between a dragon and a worm,

a stricture and a whim. if i am a creature of water,

lucent, lustral, lucine, larcenous.if i am a serpent,

the fang aptly milked, the black bile aptly jerked.

now i’m slinking away like a blasted dracula to

hide in my dank grotto. now my face is a gorgon

alarmist, going through the motions in a mirror.

all the poets gathered in a church hall, dragging

their classical epigraphs after them like personal

fucking rainclouds, bringing the animal, irksomely

figured. animal as a fearful athlete, animal as

utmost mercenary kern. they don’t know shit,

and here i come, mélusine, call me mel, call

me lucy. nah, a mooted carrie, shedding my legs

for the short-lived pig of it. you ever eat baked

eel? tell me about my flesh, braised and flaked,

how it slides off the bone, how it melts in

the mouth. reduced to a hot, wet stain in your

wok. my body is bound, tenderly stunted.

a breed of chicken born without beaks, a kind

of skinless fish that needs to stay pregnant in

order to float. i had this dream, these tortured

pets, these rosy and quivering studs, these

chimps in diapers. no ta. my name is omen

and monster, not proper, not pure, and all

the yobs of conflagration are my tribe. when

you see me, death swanks into the kingdom,

horns forward, leading from his twink hips. oh,

it is filth, but not the crudely subdued cunt of it,

not the orchestrated cunt of it, not the cunt

snowed open. it isn’t delinquent. it is aslant.

i hid my body from you for your own good.

you’re a child who cannot look upon deformity

without tearing up or puking your guts. you’d

want to fix it. you’d pity me. or wear me like

a pitch cap made of your own tragic steadfastness.

you’d want a medal. you’d take me from town

to town like any aggrandised freak. you’d tell

your friends not to stare. you’d secretly hope

that strangers would stare so you could slap

them upside in defence of my honour. like will

fucking smith at the academy awards. you’d

come not near. you’d cum in a sock. shit that.

my name would flood and rupture the tongue.

the brackish swell. there is no limit to my

virtue. i mean, no virtue in limits.




The Romance of the Rose (redux)

/ a love poem, parried.

/ after sappho. if you must.

/ being always a situation and rarely a comedy.

/ a rose worked over. a solved rose.

/ a rose unfolding, like the meagre thrill of salary.

/ a trickledown rose, touted.

/ a haunted rose, hyped.

/ an obvious rose, decidedly sublime.

/ a poem in which rose is the organising pronoun.

/ the pale pink rose of sinister pride.

/ the blue rose of martyred chivalry.

/ the red, red rose of insidious pricksong.

/ the off-white rose of nazi smack talk.

/ the yellow rose of hindsight.

/ the black rose of cynical allegory.

/ it was and wasn’t roses. a kilted tulle, repeating itself. her inventory of veils.

/ a swag rose. a bling rose. her mouth was a heaven of raw pins, as she fixed a rose to our dropped jaw.

/ i saw her. drew the corset of my long covid tighter.

/ mongrel rose, dog in the apothecary.

/ rose as girl crush. a crushed girl.

/ not courtney love! courtly love, you twit!

/ a rose for chamber-lechers. poem as a catalogue of believable roses.

/ everybody endlessly named and ushered.

/ rose of any acted excess. the laboured rose of being understood.

/ volatized tease of a rose. brat rose, trash rose. a laden yokel.

/ a reckoning rose. the wasp, mutely humbled by its poseur’s perfume.

/ a lean obituary rose.

/ rose of straggling iambs.

/ i saw her and puked. all the boisterous twaddle of metaphor.

/ that is the rose as both the symbol and the gesture.

/ men are mainly screwing and confused. the doomsday cult of the rose. a rose disowned. the rose avenged.

/ a nemesis, an expert. a patron saint, beheaded.

/ a grabbed pussy of a rose.

/ the two-dimensional rose of romantic subplots.

/ the feelgood rose of discount chocolates.

/ that is the long con of the rose. the dusty, sulking rose of manuscript marginalia.

/ a stalker’s wilting tantrum.

/ a ponderous, syndromal flower.

/ a rose of reeling willingness. persuaded, plied, appeased.

/ i saw her, and i – spikemoss, the imposter rose of jericho.

/ oh, sauntering rose, improperly pleased.

/ oh, risk’s rosette, lushly purposed. crutch of a rose. clutch of a rose.

/ grubbing rose.

/ gag-reflex rose.

/ the handgasm rose of stand your ground.

/ a love poem, scattergun baroque.

/ the cheesy decal of a rose. formula rose, rose procedural, rose eternal.

/ the foxed erotics of a rose.

/ she was a rose-clinician. she sequenced this rose.

/ my desire as a furtive one-liner.

/ it has been too long, it has been too long.



[Fran Lock is the author of numerous chapbooks and ten poetry collections. Her most recent chapbook is Forever Alive (Dare-Gale Press, 2022), and her most recent collections are Hyena! Jackal! Dog! (Pamenar Press, 2021), the long, lyric manifesto White/ Other (The 87 Press, 2022), and Hyena! (Poetry Bus Press, 2022). A new collection of poems "a digusting lie" is forthcoming from Pamenar in 2023. Fran is the Judith E. Wilson Poetry Fellow at Cambridge University for 2022-23. She is an Associate Editor at Culture Matters, a member of the new Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry, and she edits the Soul Food column for Communist Review. She currently pinballs between Cambridge and Kent with her beloved pit bull and eternal muse, Manny.]


Copyright © 2022 by Fran Lock, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.