Issue 20: Lisa Kelly

Deranged Darling Delight


       •   Light the gas

       •   Warm the bell jar

       •   Season the parakeet


       •   Betty Blue food colouring, five-parts belief in your novel

            to one part slashed publisher’s face

       •   A shot of Bertha Mason, a flaming sambuca

            with single coffee bean, con la mosca

       •   A fly in the soup you didn’t ask the waitress to remove

           like Betty’s gouged eye

       •   Pillows of meringue to smother, as she sleep walks

            into whisky


       •   Whisk up egg whites, Blanche DuBois fine

            as her white suit with a fluffy bodice

       •   Discard the soiled and crumpled white satin evening gown

       •   Slip something guilt-free from your conscience as she’s consumed

            by your strange kindness

       •   Wash it all down with, I shall die of eating an unwashed grape

            one day out on the ocean


       •   O, and Baby Jane, don’t let her near the rats in the basement

            (You always knew she’d spoil, after daddy)

Visible Spectrum


I’m Thea / bore three lovely children / rosy-cheeked Dawn /

rich-tressed Selene / tireless Helios whom I chase all day / holidays /

rare / just two weeks to turn golden / designer fake sunglasses / blinded by bling /

Conformité Européene / UV visible spectrophotometer reveals /

23.6% UV-A light passes through / ocular melanoma / no oracular goddess /

lesson / stay out of the light /


I’m Eos / better known as Dawn / red hair / fair skin / red lips / insatiable /

for beautiful young men / Orion / Phaeton / Kephalos / Tithonos /

some say Aphrodite’s curse / some say whore / these grasshopper men /

always shrivel / must look my best / bake / burn / brown / no UV-B protection /

skin reddening / moles raised and rosy / in the borderlands of dark /

lesson / stay out of the light /


I’m Selene / hide my face / half hide my face / appear in a veil of silver light /

child after child / trapped in this cave / he sleeps / the eye of night /

watches / daughter after daughter / he snores / round once more / feels like the fiftieth /

remember my hair / black flowing / now my waxy skull / on the ward /

I see sisters / crescent stomachs / howling / lunatic / UV-C light is used to sterilise /

lesson / stay out of the light

Echo and Narcissus

tempting to begin each new argument with

                                               the last few words you say

Alas, Alas, as you fail to fix your image

                                               in moving glass

molten, before fragility sets, let me blow

                                               the foreign curve of my hips

shattered by your ideal of self-

                                               suppled thighs

                                               troubled sighs

for yes, I mishear and mistake this mist a wreath for

                                               my love

words cannot touch on how I feel, and you cannot feel

                                               what you touch

flees your fingers in a myriad of ripples

                                               dumb to your dying

my bones turn to stone, and you are deaf to 

                                               my love

for yes, I repeat, this inward gaze on inward gaze

                                               a shrinking pool

where none can speak not in your image, parched call/response

                                               Oh, let us come together

my outstretched hand clasps air, you seek

                                               your own society

a thirst never quenched, to drink yourself dry

                                               for what

for yes, I question, you think you know, but don’t

                                               listen as I mourn

a gold narcissus, like a star, against a blue flag of sky, picked to fade


to begin each new argument with

                                               the last few words you say

Alas, Alas

Lisa Kelly is Chair of Magma Poetry and co-edited ‘The Conversation Issue’ and ‘The Deaf Issue’. She hosts poetry evenings at the Torriano Meeting House, London. A selection of her poems features in Carcanet’s New Poetries VII. Her debut collection is forthcoming from Carcanet summer 2019.