Open his door. The shock the mind lives
and lives in freeze-frame, stop/start, is more
than this long and narrow room can show;
too long and too narrow
to fit your understanding
of the shape of a room.

Church bell comes disfigured through the window—
the rooftops, the other windows. Glass bears
a layer of old words he smeared,
that only when held up to the moon
make themselves known;
are otherwise, as in a lemon juice trick, nowhere.

Room drips with small superstition-
shivered face of a stopped clock
he never replaced.
And here where he tucked in the chair to his desk,
taking care it did not scrape, refilling
the inkwell with enough words to last long letters.

Mirror above the sink hoards the man shaving,
all routine, how he ordered his flesh,
soap as death-mask telling his face.
Razor-blade moves in swipes you do not see
but for the jaw that shows gradually,
like a dawn’s winter road clearing of snow.

Under shawl for it’s night now,
blue and green bird in a small silver cage;
macaw, he said, from Rio De Janeiro
or Mozambique. Eyes bruised as cobbles
address you only from the feet up.
Hole in the drip of its beak

as if a nail driven through.
Keeping in its feathers,
denying knowledge of its songs from home—
saw his eyes in the dangling glass go black
and a thousand thoughts died; the lamplight flinched,
the room picked up and set down again.

# # #

Lodger in the Ripper's Room by John Davies
originally published in the Fall 2011 print edition



John Davies is from Liverpool, England and a member of the Poised Pen Writers, a fortnightly poetry/prose workshop. His work has appeared in Smoke, The Interpreter's House, Fire, and Nerve, amongst other magazines. John is also an apprentice gravedigger at St. James' Cemetery.

For more of John's work,
visit his Big Pulp author page


This feature and more great
fiction & poetry are available in
Big Pulp Fall 2011:
On the Road from Galilee

Purchase books and subscriptions
in the Big Pulp book store!



Purchase books and subscriptions
in the Big Pulp book store!


Store ø Blog ø Authors ø Supporters ø Submissions ø About ø Exter Press ø Home
Art gallery ø Movies ø Fantasy ø Mystery ø Adventure ø Horror ø Science Fiction ø Romance

All fiction, poems and artwork © the authors. Big Pulp © 2012 Exter Press