A Summoning of Monsters
Jack Hollis Marr
We had our tongues cut out
when we were born.
They crafted others in their place:
his glass, hers bronze.
Mine was stone, sandpaper rough,
with a thread of hidden fire.
They did not like the stories the tongue they gave me told.
(His glass tongue chimes: his words are
beautiful and can break
You save your words when brittle-tongued
fearing the silencing
shatter and crack.)
The tongue burned in my mouth, and I
swallowed stone-dust, the taste of
old dry clay, stale-crumbling.
I swallowed dust and gravel
spat word on word
so acid that they crack my teeth
– and oh, the things I learned.
The dreadful things
And now with my own tongue I call us come
soft-footed men and women
with bronze tongues that speak rhyme,
who speak the sun:
call It and Thing and That, marching in time.
(Our name is Legion.
We will eat you up.)
I call the scalpel-scar
call fistula, hypertrophy, adhesion, DVT
the tangle of hair growing in her cunt
the piss that leaks from the split-stitched base
of his prick.
I speak emergency rooms and midnight clinics
and call the turned-away:
stale blood on bandages, and I call
the black market and the grey
(mingle, you that mingle may).
the hole that should not be
I call Lack
(these are our monsters)
every scarred body
the blunt nature-castrated mound
the hollowness within
voice of caverns and sinkholes:
(speak through me, oh my wound).
our patched and monstrous flesh
that will not die
will not lie down
in spite of you
our hands that reach and teeth that gnaw
(will chew your bones)
I call the thousand thousand years that we have been
despite your spite
I call our spite
our savage bitter spirit of revenge
in spite of you.
I call the mirror we have been to you
cracked, now, from side to side:
Your slim protection. You must face
the monster now:
his tired face, still bruised,
her burning eye,
Jack Hollis Marr (also published as Jack H. Marr) is an English writer of speculative fiction and poetry. He has recently moved back to the UK after living in Montreal for the past four years. He frequently writes on issues of gender, sexuality and disability, juxtaposed with mythic and folkloric motifs. His work has been published in Stone Telling, Goblin Fruit, Lackington’s Magazine and The Future Fire, among other places. He is currently working on various projects both alone and with his wife Rachel Verkade.