The 25 cent Masseuse

The 25 cent Masseuse

I still remember the skin that stretched
across my mother’s sinuses. Alexa Doran

This tells us something
about the things we hate.

My mother’s nose was knobby and delicate
at once. I stood over her
and massaged the bridge of her
nose for a quarter. I felt naked as I kneaded
her and kneaded her.

Why concern ourselves with my mother’s glands?
Why fixate on the blissless grip of an 8-year-old girl?

I could focus on the eyelet lace across our couch
or the snow that lay its blank body beside the bay
window. I could cast about for my father’s mouth,
mutter my millionth save me.

But the brain is a dirty thing
and it knows what I know

so let her surface, awful and center
as she is — we will always know her
tenderness. We will go away and spend

forever knowing the eggshell arch of her nose
rose high and soft, your newborn’s breath, and everything else

collapsed into valleys,

the station wagon saturated with crumbs,
the hours connected to the cordless, the screen
door and cherry smoke that cling in her wake.

 

The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review was founded in 2010 as an online and print literary and arts journal. We take our title from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and include the full archives of our predecessor Moon Milk Review. Our aesthetic is eclectic, literary mainstream to experimental. We appreciate fusion forms including magical realist, surrealist, meta- realist and realist works with an offbeat spin. We value character-focused storytelling and language and welcome both edge and mainstream with punch aesthetics. We like humor that explores the gritty realities of world and human experiences. Our issues include original content from both emerging and established writers, poets, artists and comedians such as authors, Rick Moody, Cris Mazza, Steve Almond, Stephen Dixon, poets, Moira Egan and David Wagoner and actor/comedian, Zach Galifianakis.

Alice Sometimes

Sleep-wasted, I shake out dusk. Evening is for solo-exploration, for lying
naked on the fresh made bed. My body is tinsel coat, my body is a blue dress 
punched from sky. Pills make the archetype come easy: cherry Melatonin mixed
with Xanax, bitter blue. Swallow to turn inward. Swallow to skin-shrink like sealed flesh. 
Sometimes I fall between the folds: my cerebellum
labyrinth. Sometimes I disappear entirely.
Down &
                down &
                               down—chemical mouth 
fruit fragrant. Cheek to pillow. Pillow to forest floor.
A peeling occurs. Who I am is the whittling—the collapse into cocoon-stasis.

Elsewhere, passed out
on the lumpy mattress, the cat swats at my visible tuft. My body buried in sheets, my brain
buried under layers of hypnogogia. Life continues:
coffee pot bubbling, televised re-runs, a radio show
piped through distant speakers. Something seeps

in the interstitial: an NPR voice filtering into the dream stream, intoning 
feeling trappedmaze-like office buildings, fluorescent litalmost a warren

There is water here. In it, my reflection is a hundred things collected under one name. 

Words for warren: bedding, burrow, rabbit hole.

 

Kia Alice Groom is founding editor of Quaint Magazine. The recipient of an Academy of American Poets award, the runner-up for the 2014 Judith Wright Poetry Prize, and a pushcart nominee, Kia’s work has been published in Cordite, Going Down Swinging, The Australian Book Review, Westerly, Permafrost and others. Her work has been anthologized in the Hunter Anthology of Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry and is forthcoming in various other collections. She divides her time between New Orleans, Louisiana and wherever she goes when she falls asleep. 

 
 
 

ECKLEBURG BOOK CLUB | daughterrarium by Sheila McMullin

Exploring the intersection of shame and anger, my work is a fantasy autobiographic. Emerging as lived experience and reenactment daydreams, my poems reflect hostile aggression
against an embodied woman, spectral tendencies to dissociate, maneuver into escapist fantasies, or reproach with candor. It is a trial in empathy. The whole of the manuscript, daughterrarium, explores relationships which are not chosen, which are often mitigated, and exploited as a backdrop to sexual fantasy or maidship. Despite, what emerges by the end of the collection is something with such strength.

What People Are Saying about daughterrarium

“There are those who have hurt you not because you are ignorant, but because you have a heart.” Sheila McMullin’s daughterrarium is a collection of the kindest rage I have ever seen. The book chronicles, among its tendernesses, McMullin’s refusal to turn the rage onto herself–“How not to blame myself for being fragile?”– and the difficulty of locating what is hurting us, or why, and how to heal a wound that is constantly re-opened. If you believe in rage, if you care deeply about women, then read this brilliant book again and again across your lifetime. Otherwise, “You have to get out of the way.”

–Sarah Vap

What are we born into? What does it mean to be loved by God and Earth? What do we owe and to whom? How does one experience the fusion of anger and shame in a mind and body? What do the doctors say to the bodies that are broken? Where do the bodies go when they are taken away from themselves? How does a body heal itself? How does a body degrade itself? How does a body mourn and survive the trauma of fear, pain and abuse? I admire daughterrarium for pushing too far, for making me cringe with its representations of what one human can do to another, of what a body can do to itself. McMullin takes a tenacious look at violence and the abject while also interrogating, with great compassion, the nature of faith, family and growth.

–Daniel Borzutzky

In a dish of fevered poppies, glassy ranunculus, and red tide hunger, the daughter infects herself. She’s infected by self, burning up until McMullin’s cool hand runs across the daughterrarium’s viral waters. Cancer, the crab, a sunrise that won’t clot. The neogothic daughter, her many manifestations bleed together in this prize-winning jailbreak. She says [t]ake me out of this bed and put me back in the grass, but really she’s taking us. Out, back. Give her your hand or get out of her way.

–Danielle Pafunda

Publisher’s Information

 

  • PUBLISHER: Cleveland State University Poetry Center
  • ISBN: 978-0-9963167-5-0
  • DIMENSIONS: 6.1 x 0.4 x 7.9 inches
  • PAGES: 112]
  • PRICE: $16.00
  • RELEASE DATE: 04/01/2017
  • PURCHASE HERE

 

Recommended Works by Sheila McMullin

Favorite Eckleburg Work: https://eckleburg.org/lessons/week-1-evolving-origins-poetry-workshop-2/

End of the Sentimental Journey by Sarah Vap

Sarah Vap’s End of The Sentimental Journey is a beautiful collection of the most critically astute filth I’ve ever read. With humor, stunning insight, and shimmering vulgarity Vap invents a fresh means of poetic critique in the poem itself. What she unveils for us is our own culpability in the gendered policing of contemporary poetry. I, for one, feel stimulated at being called out. I love this book. –Dawn Lundy Martin READ MORE

Lydia’s Funeral Video by Sam Chanse

Lydia’s Funeral Video is a one-woman play that takes that most existential of quandaries — to be or not to be — and transposes it onto a dystopian not-so-distant future. READ MORE

Discussion Questions for daughterrarium

1. Did it make you think about your ancestors, your present family, your distant family, your plant family? I hope so, and how so?

2. How does this book interrogate the distance between shame and anger, and the somatic and/or thought spirals this can trigger?

3. The book uses several tones throughout — how does the movement through each enhance, compliment, complicate, deflate each other?

About Sheila McMullin

Sheila McMullin is author of daughterrarium (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2017). She co-edited the collections Humans of Ballou and The Day Tajon Got Shot from Shout Mouse Press. She volunteers at her local animal rescue, is a youth ally and organizer, and holds an M.F.A. from George Mason University. Find more about her writing, editing, and activism online at www.moonspitpoetry.com.

Exploring the intersection of shame and anger, my work is a fantasy autobiographic. Emerging as lived experience and reenactment daydreams, my poems reflect hostile aggression against an embodied woman, spectral tendencies to dissociate, maneuver into escapist fantasies, or reproach with candor. It is a trial in empathy. The whole of the manuscript, daughterrarium, explores relationships which are not chosen, which are often mitigated, and exploited as a backdrop to sexual fantasy or maidship. Despite, what emerges by the end of the collection is something with such strength.


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