Dissections logo scissors body by Deena Warner


Dissections logo pterodactyl by Deena Warner





Artwork: A Goblin on the Stairs by Will Jacques

Artwork: A Goblin on the Stairs by Will Jacques

Harry Owen

He is spiked into yellow flame, each thorn
a tinder, a flint, the birth-cub rising
like a balloon where a block lifts,

guillotine poised, a decapitation –
on fire, a blazing Sebastian of nails,
skin pierced and slit in a Sioux ritual.

He is carpet tacks, a spiny fierce
rash of manliness, the spite he was born to,
blades dreamt from amniotic fluid,

a grotesque musculature of wrestlers
and a body built from the brain’s decision,
dog-child dreaming all hatreds into this.

He is the blank page of a holy book,
righteousness, truth, the justification
of permanent, inevitable genocides,

or Samson blinded and chained between
two pillars, the painting of a god’s blood-lust,
the burning of three hundred foxes’ tails.

And he smiles, look, all innocence,
from the family mount,
patiently waiting his turn.

(from the collection Five Books of Marriage, 2008)


Harry Owen

St Pius is an eco-church,
our ceiling set with emeralds
green as God’s good earth.

A wealth of autumn flowers
fills the altar, screen and choir,
the hours for enjoyment listed here
where refreshments (secular
and spiritual) reside
between the bookstall and the font.

We celebrate the harvest
in gifts of gold and silver
donated by the reverent,
impressing them with hymns
of praise to raise the funding
to rebuild our ancient spire.

Come in, come in and pass beneath!

From this grim ledge I leer upon
two thousand years of poverty,
guard from you the pulpit’s
gold leaf, its wedge of gemstones,
spitting out the watered blood
of history.


All Hallows: Rainstorm on the Roof
Harry Owen

Let us name this downpour for what it is: sacred.
She speaks, imploring, didactic, telling the truth
that she’s ice, lava, blood, breath, that she’s everyone –
cat, dog, locust, lizard, sinner, saint.

She will be heard, drumming, insistent, for she’s surge,
fierce and flowing, family, friend and nemesis,
scattering cockroaches in some old hospital’s
kitchenette, hot tea and suicide.

She is home and exile, the years between
and to come. She’s applause of rattling teeth,
gasp, intake of startled air, expulsion,
rockslide, erosion, scrape, slither, scratch.

She’s baptism, suspension, percolation, leaching,
dissolution, growth. She is otters, kelp forests,
penguins, seals gathered up and held, sky-frogs, pilchards,
chloroplasts, molecules and atoms.

She sings spindrift, nuclei, plasma, DNA,
wreckage, swamp, creation, each of us. She’s flashflood,
music, rainbow, spirit, mist and drench. Listen to
the sacred names of her cloud’s bursting.



Dissections logo pterodactyl by Deena Warner
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