Issue 21: Geraldine Clarkson

[Sweet almond oil, shea...]

Sweet almond oil, shea, and butter of roses

baste the growing gloom, while evening—

like a poke bonnet of blue tulle—

covers the hill’s point. Still years stood out

like a human flower: a new breed and

balance set the clock in the Time Igloo

whitely to the hour when cuckoos called

and gossip passed from mouth to mouth

with a bite which was slow on the breeze.

And she continued to prey

on her visitors; spray crème de menthe

with footprints out of green paper and place

though mine might have fooled her—

she to whom a primrose was always yellow,

who dreamed ‘from rainbow clouds there flow

not …’ Inside, a secret room is tucked away.

Go through growing gloom—still years continue

and she to dream, to breed—imagine.


St John lost this prize-winning volume – The Blue Fairy Book, inscribed by his father.  No music late at night from the Ark.


Book One

Mallory and Malachy breed for Egypt, seeking to populate pain. A mass of till, a chance moraine, brings a maroon quiet to the helm at dawn, a muted swoon. Lot looks out at last over a salty waste, his wife’s waist encrusted in memory, the round of it. Copper ceili drums kettle in at the corner, all music pickled for the time.

Book Two

I would like – the captain’s wife began – her voice querulous, unruly, like whalers or pirates were trying to rein it in with harpoons, but it soared to land in an ashram, found a home in a chantress’s breast. Carry-on in the choir. Six exultant postulants pooled the evidence they’d pulled, ova and ova. But dark whistles and they can scarcely raise the purser. You wonderful electric being, the live-in widow coos to her landing lamp, lost in St Dominic and white.

Book Three

No-er, no-er, mock the twins, twirling fake handlebars over the rails, a little off.

Doves squabble with olive boughs and boysenberries.

Methuselah rejuvenates sappy knees with aloe.


The rain starts up again, rats return. Michael Archangel loiters near the figurehead, stands ready. All the quiet earth bends its ear.

Vergüenza for D. H. Lawrence


Steamed shame and silence

on the train, all the way

up on the funicular high high

foxgloves and phlox running wild and

DHL steps out onto alpine gentians

blue blood whipping his core

his hands frail as a girl’s

skin pearled over knuckles

fingertips inquisitive, firm


Martha’s screwed-to-the-max jaw

just primed with condensed leche

champs on scandal with matrons

from Machu Picchu

the 5% which is matter

pluming out behind them

sierra everywhere

Geraldine Clarkson is a writer currently based in Warwickshire. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, The Poetry Review, Poetry London, Shearsman, Tears in the Fence, Ambit, and POEM, among others, and she has three chapbooks (two with Shearsman Books and one with smith|doorstop). Her first full-length collection is forthcoming from Shearsman Books in 2019.

Copyright © 2018 by Geraldine Clarkson, 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.