Orpheus: prime cut

This piece is part of a work-in-progress, a long poem based on the myth of Orpheus. Its subject is the death of the poet. A slightly different version of the poem appeared recently as part of Transformations.


Prime cut


I don’t like it when they leave the heads on.
I mean it’s not nice, is it.

The idyllic order of the abattoir.
Mary is on stunning and bleeding.
She prefers evisceration.
Still, the work’s ok
and it’s her day off tomorrow.

Deft hands perform their daily ballet.

Mary had a little lamb. LOL

Pink eyes,
white walkways.

From somewhere else,
in the heart of the building:
a man’s voice

We listened for a bit.
He had quite a good voice.
Then Linda gave us one of her looks
and we got back to work.



The first victims were the countless birds,
spellbound by the voice of the singer.

pull him apart

chump chop scrap saddle

You’ll notice
there are several conveyor belts,
each carrying a different cut

pink hands
white overalls
a whistled tune

bleached skin
makes bloodless poetry

The trees shed their leaves and,
with bared heads,
mourned his loss.



meaty cut
from the lower end
of the leg

full of flavour
fall from the bone
forgotten cut

yields a generous amount of meat
will feed very generously
stripping the cooked meat from the bone
and stewing it in its cooking juices

stretch it further

they lick their fingers
and belch him



the horizon a bloody bandage

the snake god
the god of clean death
passes in a skull on wheels
whiter than white

humming a dimly remembered tune


Work in progress: Orpheus

One of my current writing projects is a long poem based on the myth of Orpheus. So far there are three sections: Lamb Shank, 1794 and the piece that follows, Orpheus & Eurydice, which has appeared on the Transformations website.

Orpheus and Eurydice


Moonlit clouds
hard as bone

A row of houses
seen from behind,
some trees:
pieces of a stage set

A parked car murmurs
muffled music

Peek inside
through misted glass

She’s under him, twisting

A circle of yellow light moves over them



humming a tune,
he sits up, runs a hand
over the back of his neck

That all you got?

He looks back at her
and she looks away;
she’s elsewhere

Somewhere else,
in another story:
a timer reaching zero

A curtain of cloud covers the moon.


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