Author, Renwick Berchild
bob, the trees press, expand; press, expand as lungs.
speaker, who spake the first murmurings—whistler at the window.
that? Faces stack, knotholes of wisps in the darkness,
and wakeful just as I, truculent foreheads, lined lips, I’ve a wife
died, is she there? Another unholy moaner outside, watchful.
at the window: See
the spinning? Hear the hive? Let a demon
its language to you for a while. Let us in - let us in! I’ve a potion
my eye, an incantation beneath my fingernail. He lies - he lies!
are burning in the cold - let us in, let us in, let us in in in!
bake bread when you can steal it? Give us a bed to rest our lives.
winding round the globe, grey cloud a turret on the night’s mount
across the mirror black, little woman set, six arms weaving
the loom with superb finesse—but the hisser? Just a tail
as glass, sliding in its yowls, rabbit whining all through the twigs;
nimbus jugular ripe for tearing, a spilling
of rain; whistler sends regards.
Big Black Storm
have battered my life for days, treble the rain,
on the streets, a highway roaring like a sea of heaves
grimness, mornings glamsy, murdered pink some dawns, strewn
hoods and caps and umbrellas, and the grey swallows up
goldfinches’ wings, the stellar jay sky, it’s hidden somewhere above.
past nights, slicked clean and shined like new black shoes,
through the hammers’ chorus: Ting
slap! Shicka-shick bloosh.
drops go on and on like an ode, dripping into the nooks of depths,
recesses to overflow, the dimmest days underwater, so I drown
reading, make nest in the papasan, piling thoughts around me in swaying
of ruminations and writings; a highrise I build in my living room.
in his indigo galosh, steps the trees and barking dogs, I hear
squish, in the rattling of windows and ringing, creeping into the swards
slide his gloved fingers, to parade his mirages, bend the lecturing air,
all the timber and leaves metamorph into a menagerie, and beasts
lumbering, near upon my small lights but never arrived, so I hold
blankets as armor, carefully cook pasta and sip wine, while the massless
fling as shadows, those nebulous faces sloping in the waterfalls.)
hail—the Big Black Storm—yowls of gale and rivers runneth over curbs;
hail the unrelenting pour of a crying cumulonimbus beyond consoling.
tatter and patter, the gasps and inhales, the sudden capsize of the noise
into a moment’s quiet; so I take a chance to breathe, my ears
in the hum, chattering in the soundwaves like teeth in cold, I take
glum barrenness that has stripped the world, give up my flames--
are doused, as are my feet, so I must adhere to the prattling rain,
in attention to the emptiness accompanied, and acquaint myself
the bite and swallowing of time robbed of me—the clouds rake tears
my glass panes, spread their bodies over stoops, lounging cats
accept the darkened days; nature’s melancholy moodiness
touching the ground with fires that I know, come spring, will rage,
silvery mane will be rewound, and look young again.
Days With Saint Mary
bed is full though nothing is in it.
know the radiation, the nuclear devastation of dragons
came from nowhere to lay down their heads, bellies empty of fire,
from Eden who bent themselves together so to remember;
coiling sheet holds sentience, and the window’s light glows over.
lingers next to me, without a blanket.
covers that white bone sketched in hungry fingernail marks,
membrane of veins beholden to clicking. Brow as stretched chitin.
one. Not one weak hair makes it out. Only the strongest ones survive now.
rest my back upon the Barlaam grave and feel the plunge like getting skinny.
ceiling has no soul, neither the door, the wall nor floor.
window tries, but doesn’t quite make it—no gazes to care.
squealing in some room somewhere and it pricks,
the volume on the television goes high. Someone knocks me.
feet run out so full of giggling. Radios pile all the waves.
is no air here,
the recycling screams of everyone who comes here to die.
dreams pulsate everything. Straps wait in the wings
for fleshy struggles. No light makes it to the center.
is not a single opening there. Only the chambers of the whale heart
to the people who mouth the tile so to lick the feet sweat.
things remind us of the world outside. Like taste.
wont to touch anything with our lips when the orderlies aren’t looking.
smear pen ink on our tongues, crunch pencil lead into our molars.
our palms while we rock so to remind ourselves what the sea was like.
the bulbs make us salivate, spraying with some god who could save us.
miss the flowers. The cold. The sound of wind.
that is here is the tinking of the heat, the stifling blasts
a goat’s ragged breath. My enjoyments, the coloring books
haven’t been used up, the bibles that still have bindings. When I dream
only dream of all the myriad of ways to escape rape, of any kind.
memory is leaving. It’s fleeing so to make room for all the chemicals
primitive jerks that keep me always vigilant, sleeping with one eye open.
bed is my serenity, for it is the one thing that is mine. No one dictates
I go to it, leave it, what things I choose to fill it with.
Mary whirrs in a yammer bell saying that it is all over.
and learnt I say, “All
I (Still) Love My Crazy
always paced the living room in the cresting digits. One splintered night, he stole me from my bed. He placed me on the carpet, and conversed with me until he had explained the wispy line that bound three generations of shared blood.
Slapped my face when I
drifted. Dragged a circle across the fibers. His gangly form, his weasel head, his mouth a pit of piano wires. “You got the bad parts, you got the bad parts!” Family is a cancer, that grows until the corporeal form rips its own head off and spills the beans
in shatter. My tummy he pokes with a pencil. “You’re full of beans, you’re full of beans!” There are cameras--everywhere—in
the lampposts, in the trunks of trees. The family hamster is a mechanical spy come to take our dreams. “I’m just kidding, I’m just kidding!” I was a robot. He opened my mouth. His arm was an elephant nose that went down and tickled my stomach lining and he
said he felt a spider down there. “This is our secret, this is our secret!” My gums are made of pennies, my shoulders blown open from bombs. Trembling, or is it breathing? Life a frosted lemon cake full of teeth with crowns. “The sugar has anthrax, the sugar’s
got anthrax, don’t eat it!” Everything’s too sweet, everything’s too sour, and there’s daddy with his enormous yardstick, jogging through the hours. “Your mother’s hiding vibrators all over the house, your mother’s hiding vibrators all over the house!” I lock
the door. The carpeted floor full of government microphones beats like a drum. I see father in his bathrobe on his hands and knees, squishing shoes on my sleepy feet, with his greying eyeballs shooting out lasers and his lungs heaving light beams. “We have
to leave, we have to leave!” The sun is a hale fish beneath the water, the dog jolts me with a wild cry. I’m back again. I want to die. I want to roll my wail into a candlestick and have my daddy come light it for me. “I have to go away for awhile... just
awhile, just a little while.” High pitched noise. Dried blood cocoa brown. My mother runs herself ragged through the town. Where is daddy—where is he now? The Toyota Ford slams against the wall and his colorless body washes up on its side. Mooring this, mooring
all of this, those synaptic corpses gone glinting with each swell that licks them.
never slept, but he’s sleeping now.
you know I’m crying now? I miss my crazy daddy.
Terrors With Bob Marley
slow yourselves. Oneiric couplings unhand
umbrella, pluviophiles, wet your lips
another’s thin neck, my city is full of swans
through their nights.
call them, they in the white mantles, stethoscope garlands, the smell of
beneath their fingernails
ghosts beneath mine, digging in the sheets, my back a long canoe
in the rondo of wheeling voids,
bought a condo in the Chthonian scape
a youngling of wandering legs
chased me to the rims of grimy oilbanks where I’d mutter my loves,
round, tongue searching for a step to place toe on.
cry. Even now I house
leviathans cramped and camped out on the couch,
the piquant moombahton, my sensorium engorged
off the dragons, in the reggae oscillations
blowtorch shower, the nurtured sweat beads, the daisy chain, my portrait
earth-tones, mise en abyme,
Valhallveien my head roams, each sleep I shed a thousand hellion years,
paused in time.
anyone ever really know
city that raked me, smothered me at the bottom of a staircase
a moving target; spirits swerve, images whistle,
dance in the forever mumba of woeful maracas.
Renwick Berchild is half literary critic, half poet. She writes at Nothing
in Particular Book Review, and her poems have appeared in
Headline Press, Whimperbang, Free Verse Revolution,
Spillwords, Vita Brevis, The Stray Branch, The Machinery India, Lunaris Review, Streetcake Mag, and other e-zines, anthologies, and journals. She was born and raised on the angry shores of Lake Superior, and now lives in a micro-apartment in Seattle, WA. Find more of her work at