Blackbox manifold

Issue 14: Maureen McLane

Mz N Monster

So how are you

going to commodify

your brain

asks the mulleted wanker

at the first sherry hour

which features no sherry

and lasts a grim three hours

The mind fails

& depression acquires a new note

that will sound

instantly in this

our new concerto.


it seems

has an archive.

What is an archive

It is a place

of dead things

one can rake over

& decide

if they’re still dead.

Mostly they are

or should be.


is a relevant allegory

and sometimes the very picture

of the real

body made up of salvaged sewn bits.

Mz N has a thing

for monsters

or monster movies at least

She is a second-hand

connoisseur after all

those childhood Saturday afternoons

watching Monster Movie Matinee

with the dad

and sometimes the brother.

What’s happening

What’s happening now

Who’s that

the brother asks each time

someone lurches into view

until she tells him

Shut up.

If you can’t learn

to pay attention

you’ll never understand

how things go

This irks

the brother

who is often outflanked

by Mz N’s verbalism

such that he once punched her

wholly deservedly

to shut her up

This was years after

she’d dared him at breakfast

to pour milk over her head

& he did

It wasn’t clear

who was more surprised

The skim milk ran down

a watery stream

from the pitcher

It was a pale fluid

It was not blood

or a toxic slime mad scientists

concocted or The Blob

The small angers

of suburbia

here breeded nothing

murderous yet

the villagers gathered

with pitchforks

as dumbfounded they plotted

over breakfast

their escape

Notationals / Songs of a Season V

three deer under the apple tree

luxe calme et volupté


how a body goes

vibrating in a white dress

what a body knows


fireworking your way—

shoot star shoot!


red-eyed vireo

preaching to the cedars

no conversions


fat bee in the bloom

polyamorous bee

polyfloral honey

sweet to think

it’s all designed


I don’t mind

admitting the daylilies

catch my eye

and sing to me

July July

I don’t mind

traveling to see

a famous garden

in a friend’s book

I don’t mind

remembering the fungus

on a blighted beech

I don’t mind

the moss invading my mind

so soft & wet this nook

Maureen N. McLane was educated at Harvard, Oxford, and the University of Chicago. A poet and critic, she is the author of three books of poetry—This Blue (FSG, 2014), World Enough (FSG, 2010), and Same Life (FSG, 2008)—as well as My Poets (FSG, 2012), an experimental hybrid of memoir and criticism, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography. Her scholarship has focused on British romanticism and longer histories of poetries in English: she is the author of Balladeering, Minstrelsy, and the Making of British Romantic Poetry (Cambridge UP, 2008, 2011) and Romanticism and the Human Sciences (CUP, 2000, 2006). She has two books of poems forthcoming from FSG: Mz N: the serial (2016) and Some Say (2017). She teaches at New York University.