Juliet Cook‘s poetry has appeared in a small multitude of print and online publications. She is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks, recently including Another Set of Ripped-Out Bloody Pigtails (The Poet’s Haven, 2019), The Rabbits with Red Eyes (Ethel Zine & Micro-Press, 2020) and Histrionics Inside my Interior City (part of Ghost City Press’s 2020 Summer Micro-Chapbook Series), as well as this latest poetry chapbook, red flames burning out, published by Grey Book Press in April 2023. Later this year, she has another new poetry chapbook forthcoming, Your Mouth is Moving Backwards (from Ethel Zine & Micro Press). Cook’s first full-length poetry book, Horrific Confection, was published by BlazeVOX. Her most recent full-length poetry book, Malformed Confetti, was published by Crisis Chronicles Press in 2018. Cook’s own tiny independent press, Blood Pudding Press, sometimes publishes hand-designed poetry chapbooks and sometimes creates other art. You can find out more on her website here.
About red flames burning out, by Juliet Cook
red flames burning out contains broken doll fingers bulging their way out of blubbering chicken wire. Losing parts of one’s self and growing new parts in the form of self-created nightmares, body and brain malfunctions, seizures and other divorces from parts of past reality. Pitching standard traditions in the trash, wrapped in drying blood. Creepy bird’s nests and fear of impending death, yet still continuing to create one’s own sizzling and burning red fire, in the course of 20 poems.
From red flames burning out
Mangled Is Still Alive
No I wasn’t trying
to kill an invisible mouse
by accidentally shooting
my seizure pill under the oven
and not being able to find it.
I’m not small enough to crawl
all the way under;
to pull you out if you are
even smaller and more invisible
than me. Really, the unreal
mouse lives in the past,
stuck in my brain from years back,
when mice horded my married life
and I was told what to do and said yes.
We had traps set up all over the place.
One of mine snapped,
but didn’t kill the mouse
that got stuck in it.
It just maimed her.
She screamed underneath
not to stomp out and crush those screams.
I swept the trap out from under the bottom,
extracted the screaming mouse from the inside
and threw her mangled body out the door.
I know what’s starting to happen.
I’ve heard this before, this wooshing
inside my brain as the room disappears.
I sit down on the floor and shut my eyes.
Then I’m suddenly back up on my feet
and confused about what day it is,
what time it is, what I was doing,
how long my seizure lasted and why
I wrote a bunch of people’s names
on a sheet of paper. Why I rearranged
rows of clothes in my closet and piled
rows of books in front of a suitcase.
I don’t remember doing any of this.
I don’t remember where I thought I was going to go.
I do remember who I am though.
Demolished flesh that nobody wants to look at.
Least of all me.
Shaking around out of control,
groaning a low guttural moan
that dries into a hiss.
Acidic vomit drips
from a vulture’s mouth. Clotted
saliva is mixed up with blood then rots.
The good parts get eaten up and shit out.
Haggard hooded vulture woman
with nothing better to do than grunt and swallow
her own semi-digested dead heart.