Blood Pudding Press Finalist Poems

Blood Pudding Press Finalists

~from the Finalist manuscript Prone As i Am by Bree - three poems


in the fore of winter brown trees
and orange birds like laser points
you give an awfully good presentation.
just your forearm is exciting.
i dont know yet you would hold it
against my cheek while screaming
vile things- my heart a checkered
flag to signal the end of a race.

in the damp, once-burnt grass
i inhale you deeply. you point
to a coyote pastures over,
running with pleasure through
star chickweed, presumably.

and even though it is early, it is
so dark, and evenly, we neither
of us make shadows.

goodbye kisses

your goodbye kisses are among
the best ive had. you say
its cus they are see you later kisses.
i answer i surely will.

you are my taste of true country.
your loud muffler accelerates me.
youre so wrong. cant get wronger.
purple deadnettle sprawls the 
way to the red barn. we cant
go on like this, i say- 

you say we just need to do it 
more, and longer.

just the tips are yellow of

gold grasses and bronze
sedge combine in the advent
of antlers. trees markedly bare,
just the tips are yellow of
frame the creek a county
over from mine. 

clouds striate the sky like vinyl. 
hawks cry in the grooves, taking 
advantage of warm shafts.

the last time i saw you before
the women pulled your oxygen tubes
firm young red maples clinked together
like red stemware outside the lodge
where we danced to Neil Young,
even though it embarrassed us.

i stand alone, not even the sound
of a far-off car or cow, and i hear
you quip,

     i mean the deal wasnt
     supposed to go down
     that way

as a shy hen plants her face in the
crook of a pussywillow, filling me
with all of your grace.


from the Finalist manuscript Uncanny by Judy Ryan Hall - three poems


I am too sad for sadness. Grief is too small a 
word. I need something with heft, something multi-
syllabic and synesthetic, some word which could be a 
paperweight on the pages of this long story.

I need it to have the bittersweet aftertaste of red 
wine on my lips and tongue and the barefoot echo 
of dancing in the living room. I need it to smell like the 
kitchen floor at 2 am and to leave my hands with the 
feeling of the pages of a book with beautiful 
verbs. I need this word to be the rabbits, dead 
in your yard; I need this word to be that noose 
hanging around the rafters of your immaculate garage. 

I need a word, something guttural, Germanic and 
long, a word you need a phonetic guide to pronounce 
and even then, not be sure you've said it just right. I 
need a word with a complex etymology, a word which 
only linguists and word nerds would know. I need a 
word appearing in the Sunday Times crossword, stumping 
all but a few.

I need a word which means the way we clicked; I need a word 
which explains the emptiness that a lover cannot fill; I need a
word in a language written in late night interchange – uncanny,
uncomfortable, unforgiving and rotund with love. 

How I Became an Atheist and a Writer

I am a storyteller
It’s just what I do
I tell tales here in 
The hall, I spin yarns.
Fiction, fact, fantasy 
Merge – I once told a 
Husband that Fact devoid of Fiction
Was boring – and it is.

When I was seven I told
The story of how my family
Almost fell off a cliff in a Jeep
In Egypt while the enemy chased us. 

It wasn’t really a lie. 
We were in Egypt. 
We were in a Jeep. 
Cairo in 1976 had cliff-like 
Potholes that
My mother said looked like
The Grand Canyon. 
It was fact. Embellished. 

That was in catechism class
And I was chastised and told
To ask forgiveness from God and Jesus. 
I started to pray but it turned into
The story of how I saved all the children
From a burning church in Birmingham. Singlehandedly. 

My mother patiently told them
I wasn’t a heretic but that I had a good 
Imagination. (Are these things counter posed?)
But in the white station wagon on the way home she 
Said, while driving from Hicksville
Down Haypath road to our house
Maybe I should write these things down
And stick to the boring facts in Catechism 
Like a man rising from the dead
Or the Virgin birth or Moses parting the Red Sea
And that God and Jesus were Father and Son but still the same guy
That incest was bad but Adam and Eve were the first man and woman
And I wasn’t supposed to ask where their sons got wives
That God flooded the earth and put all the animals, two by two
On a really big boat – and it wasn’t even Monsoon season
I figured that these things were about
As likely as my own heroics
Some sort of truth – embellished – 
Some sort of lie – for fun.  


I wear bifocal lenses with which to see 
As I walk, bipedally: Me up close and  
You far away;  
I am bisexual – loving boys and girls is twice  
The fun and I am 
Bipolar so I get to do it birhythmically. 

My heart is said to have four valves, but I don’t buy that 
It is bivalvular, bifurcated between You and Him 
Or Me and Them or Us and Us and sometimes Me and Me but often You and You; 
Our lives are bisymmetrical – we meet at right angles and then part 
On our bicycles for our bicoastal friendship 
(Or whatever we’re calling this bizarre singularity). 

My brain is bisected into blazing hemispheres of  
Lucidity and sense residing 
Where splendor and make-believe refuse 
To tread – it would be easier if I was bicorporal – 
All this is a bit much for one uncanny head.  


from the Finalist manuscript Paper Doll, Heart of Ashes (Erasure Poems from Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time) by Melissa Atkinson Mercer - three poems


People of my time: lonely: the bughouse
is full of women: blessed

virgin, the taste of raw mouse: ask her
if she believes in the whole

sequence, everybody who could push. Let her bury

the house with a knife. I can’t fix it:
perhaps too confident,

too conscious in the wrong kind of way:
a new heroine,

the first animal to learn.


A girl in any sea
like scales of an enormous fish.

Friend of our long table: run when you want:
the sound of water, you know what it’s like:

dark dragonflies glinting
and humming

with their terrible teeth and claws.


Four moons;

electrical itch of wanting.

May I
at the heels

of Asylum: bent close in the grass, a bowl on the floor:

nothing lived but her.


from the Finalist manuscript Not Your Father's Nightmares by Scott Anton Morgan - three poems

Ululations Beneath the Sheets

My love life is like a David Lynch film;
a conundrum with a Fortean soundtrack.

My skull is ticking, but my hands
are too corroded from playing in the dust

of my parents to hold it steady.
I see now that the exorcism

at my seventh birthday party wasn’t very successful
because I’m still spinning around and around.

I remember your breasts leering up at me,
twisting into hazy eyes swimming with tears

across a malachite skyline peppered with ill intentions.
Your face becomes an inkblot test

which I fail under pressure.
You treat my mind like a maggotorium

and that’s why I can’t get rid of the creaking noise
you hear every time I open my mandibles to kiss you.

The bed shivers, repulsed by my naked corpse:
it thinks I am an indignity,

telling me so in muffled screeches
and corybantic thrashing.

Violently choking on your tequila,
you morph into the Blue Man Group

I stuff your convulsing mass under my bed
to give the Bogeyman his nighttime soup.

Date Night

Her web already held a certain regalia within its silk.
She spun faster, dampening it with droplets of milky sweat.

Our velocity had changed the morning into a cloud-swept dusk
that shivered when she curled her hairy legs in profane pleasure.

I shoved a kiss between her gibbous lips and caught her by surprise
and her growl reverberated through that tranquil gossamer sheet.

Unbolting my eyelids, I watched as she twisted and turned
while a solemn drum cried out somewhere in the bituminous landscape

with a vibrating dread. The peevish moon crawled out to peek at our affair,
curiously illuminating our dusty silhouettes as my girl thrashed about.

My inertia shook, irritable at what the moonbeams had to say.
Then I was blinded by a faintly-scarlet hourglass

eager to spill my hope through the small crack in its bottom.
As she lunged forward, I could only smile stupidly

at the Vespertine gloom. The late hour was penetrated
with bits of my skin being swallowed up.

I took this to be the conclusion of our tryst.
Even now, I can still hear her yowling into the cold night air.

Saturday Night Satyriasis

“Little by little, I shall play her like a fiddle,”

thought the maggot
as he crept through forests of pink pubic hair.

The girl cried for hours,          now that her gangrene nipples
   were starting to pucker outwards like blooming mushrooms.

The rose-splattered walls peeled away
into a panorama of
                        angles and perplexities.

The eyeball, irradiated and
locked between her legs,
    glared forward through the cherry bubblegum
miasma of ruination.

The suspended baby upon the dresser                         oozed
        charitable waterfalls of LSD and

Mouths opening wide to devour
all of her leftover follicles.

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