Nine Poems by Marianne Morris

COMPANY EDITIONS is an independent publisher of poetry and visual art. The journal, Company, was founded in 2013 and is published three or four times per year. We will also be publishing chapbooks beginning in late 2016. Company Editions is based in Athens, GA, Iowa City, IA, and Cambridge, MA. You can contact the editors by emailing




The following poems are from WHO NOT TO SPEAK TO, 2007-9.



The ghostlike apparition of the outlook email alert

catches the sleeve of your eye as it drifts away.

CONGRATULATIONS!  You are already dead. 

And if already dead, CCTV merely prevents

the bombers from doing their job.  Nothing

prevents me from doing my job. 

When the tube slows I wish for a bomb

not just the threat of one and the lies,

at last to be spared the

necessity of wage labour, just

one day broken out into light.

But disasters never come

when you’re ready for them, ‘we have a

passenger unconscious on the train in front,

we are hoping they will be removed shortly.’



Ravishment, the character of a hotel. 

The trauma waits for you

frantic not to miss out

on mint choc chip.

                   In the shop the wrappers tug,

shining eyes and language boost,

twirl, ecstasy.  What pours itself

to our demands attention, now just look here.

Coming alive, a munchkin army,  

rip into you

         meat you, hands covered in hair, neat

blue suits, cajoling eyes, benign to buy it buy it

is all after all the colour of belief. 

         It can be difficult.  Which ones

are out to get you, which

ones aren’t?  You might be fooled into thinking

that some of them aren’t out to get you but

they all are, all the little hairy-handed ones.


Ravishment, a magazine with a free gift of lithium.

Absolutely genuine hundred percent quality love,

it’s not just you who has the crazy idea maybe

something looks back from inside of you, some

inanimate object buried before with past hurt, a

plastic dog, a tablecloth full of invisible glass shards,

a plastic dog again with a free gift of tongue caress. 


                   A limit of calm destroyed by your

inability to remain inert, the munchkin drags you

by the hand into the biscuit aisle, kicking up the floor you can’t

keep your pants up, the mystical presence of money in you is

all that you are.  The bag?  It’s at the hotel.  Maybe

maybe just leave it at the hotel.



A prejudice exposed

only burrows deeper into itself.  It is a hedgehog

prejudice, cute as a remote.  The kernel of

the hedgehog prejudice is not hatred, it burrows

deeper still and past

all that, deeper still into the conviction

that there is such a thing as ‘the

right thing’, you can make

love or you can talk it out

you choose to make love

reeling the baked frisbee past

all tenderness into the repeatable

moment of possession, jettison

of white pearls clotted in the throat

of meat.  Places you don’t want to go

to: Kandahar sorry Kandahar



Oops, shit.  Culture moves faster than

you antiquate yourself down the blender

of darkness eyes puffy and slitted against

the owl you bought, a series of bones

jutting out, starvation I would

always move in this way, she said stuffing

lace petticoats into the case on the road

to Prada.  But not to delve

too deeply into any one thing

not unless I bought it, unless I brought it up. 

Move faster than you, play

tame, autocue the dead.  I just put an


bird in my mouth, gross. 

News item.

Bush shit on by bird, perhaps swallow (they

are mean fuckers and will fight), this is the

visible and this is what glistens beneath –

we are inert underground, avoiding a walk

to the you can’t say it – zero sum values in

a kind of game.  I told you

all this as you laid there

in the past, naked for the most

part, lying about the girls

skipping through with their

arms practically broken,

hoping you’d be able

to look at the high metal toys and we could agree

on a price together, giving up things left, right and




It is a day when the afternoon is

cold (pretending summer) and Mighty

Teas lie like lingerie in a basket of

food before us.  For Heaven’s sake. 

Our rent agreement is more

radioactive than sex.

This event has been scheduled: a

leap into the past second-hand

anecdote.  They say you are dragging

her down with you, your daughter

who danced in fountains in the 90s.

That was the

problem though none of it was

real.  A fee turns the pedals

that turn the earth and everyone

on it, not one of them counted by vote.

_Your name_: what’s your name?

Do you feel cushioned by accumulations,

by the forethought required by accumulations,

do you feel defined by purchase?  Is it

purchase that shapes you, breathlessly

in between sex and philosophy and

the accumulating bank statements.

I hate to break

this to you but in real politics there

are cups of tea and the right things

are said and they are polite and want

to wear nice clothes and are nice and they

walk down these plush runways.  It is a

surprise to find you here.  This is not

really your kind of thing.  Perhaps you would

be so kind as to go back to your own ontology.



The wipers go across the screen, changing

the various spheres of influence inhaled

through the window the ice, air, dark eyes

gloomy and incompatible with Strangeness,

which you need to get acquainted with, again

and again the notion of

control bears wings

of metal, stuttering cages of thing and wire

that rise with social effort.  The blind lines

glistening, pig-like, schweinlich – and certain of cheques

as even the number eludes them.  Walk through the

bazaar, bizarre compartments of contrary elements,

boxed jobs reserved for the technologies of the self

on the shelf. 

Try different breeds, and strands. 

The fronds lift and close the shadows in and

pieces close in on you, like a mouth blacked out,

its teeth wet with Sisyphus and peroxide,

addled hearts and broken time

as the evening draws out staying put

as chaos breaks around its cloud or wave,

perdurable to withstand even £24.99.



So they haven’t replaced all the parts in our heads

It’s still the same old mechanism 

I was late figuring this out, meanwhile they’ve all been

Practicing authentic newness with such skill

It’s called Modernism

But how are you supposed to discover a

New way of believing when everything is gone

The Eiffel Tower, this haystack,

Loses itself in distance

Like a needle in the gray clouds

You return

All the walls fade in the night wind

All the monuments

Are off 

You’ve come at a bad time

The words are blue and glitter on the air

But they die on the page

No one collects fragments of sunshine lost in the dust

The strongest one walks alone around his conquests

You will cut the heads off for him

Even when he doesn’t say thank you

Even when his dreamy eyes deceive the world

Life draws itself out for him like a wave

And quietly takes its share of here

Runs through the airfield with its big mouth open

And crazy eyes

Guided by the sun

Light breaks on a din of cries


He would go alone to the depth of day, to punch the canvas

But he’s too fat

When his spirit rises, his head hangs low

Hurt by the turn

And the unrivaled ending

Taken by a spider

This firefly

Night is a star



because the sky is full of helicopters

furious lambs droning not high

enough above Taksim Square

surging upwards I confuse a flood of

black and white paper

for birds


                                    mosques poke up like the rockets

                                    they negotiated in the Dorchester


old man carries a basket of bread on his head

young man looks like a Hoxton replica

at 5am our local imam finds his heart

knowing only the devout are listening

whereas, in the afternoon, he is quite dejected

misses notes, is brief



Maybe she wanted me to deal with her

And called up the doctor to come after me with a pin

That pricked the lung, so its crystal balloon slipped out

Full of words, the ones drawn in cartoons

Each mouth said the things it always said

Each head moved back and forth, the same

The page number did not change either

I had the sudden thought of an old maid

Until she spilled the thing I needed

The one plug holding the water in

Uncomfortable streams

In them standing a crippled woman

Up to her ankles in mud she took off her

Cape and threw it into the mud and danced

Never acknowledge pain, least of all your own

A city will be good

A city’s signs will subjugate the rest

Of the signs, you’ll see

Once I’ve written it out properly

I’ll give it to you then


Marianne Morris started Bad Press in 2003, after submitting a poem containing the word ‘cunt’ to an editor who responded that he didn’t like her ‘syntax’. Her first full collection, The On All Said Things Moratorium, was published in 2013 by Enitharmon Press. She holds a PhD in performance writing from University College Falmouth in the UK, and is currently studying Chinese medicine in California. Recent chapbooks include DSK (Tipped Press, 2013), Iran Documents (Trafficker, 2012), and Commitment (Critical Documents, 2011).