Soul Searching, by Melanie Oberg


Soul Searching


I peel back my skin and crack open my ribs

I pull apart my lungs and reach behind my heart

After some rummaging around-

Fingers sliding on slick warm skin

I find a piece of my soul and place its legs on the table.


Next is my head, which I have to hit against-

The wall for it to crack.

I pull apart the shards of skull and skin,

Tugging and wrenching the annoying hair out of the way,

And locate my mash-potato brain.

With a magnet I pull all the tiny pieces

Of my soul out from each cell and mold it on the table.


Now my soul sits in a semi-state of half-human shaping–

Bulbous head and too-long arms drooped at its sides.

I take a pen and fashion a sort of face with my clumsy inarticulate fingers.

Now its lop sided eyes regard me over its curiously gaping mouth.


As I look it is changing colours;

A strangely beautiful pattern on its deformed body.

I gently pick it up and breathe on it.

As it inhales for the first time I place it on the floor and watch as it stands on its bent, unsteady legs

And wobbles out the door.



The Siren


I am insatiable,


A strange-scaly underwater creature,

Crawling from the depths of my darkness,

And singing your reflection into songs.


The familiarity of your face,

Distracts you from my own pale sightlessness,

The thin and fleshy insecurity-

Pulled across sharp bones.


I lure, pull and drag my relations

Behind me, sunken and submerged,

Trawling the bottom.

So many craters of cosmic meetings.


I am irrational,


I will draw you in to drown you.

Like Narcissus you will fall in love

With your own reflection

And the echo of a song.


For what purpose?

So much energy in the seducing.

So I burn, and you, un-enamoured

With ashes and craters,



I am emotional,


It is not my sex or my society;

If anything it is my cavernous rotting


-the want of intelligence,

The vacuum of spaces between what I want

And what I mean.


I am unavailable,


Suffering without feeling;

Hurting without meaning.



I Have Measured my Life in Coffee Spoons


When I die pour coffee on my grave-

Maybe I will again wake-

And drag my caffeinated corpse into the sun


How dare I rest! Soundly sleeping in the earth,

With my hands folded neatly over my chest.

So when I die pour coffee on my grave.


The totality of my life is society’s slave

So pry with shovels my body out of the grounds

And drag my caffeinated corpse into the sun


To stagger among the living, grimace, smile and wave

To shamble, bow and dance for propriety’s sake,

I dare not sleep, so pour coffee on my grave.


The coffee has long been burnt, been badly overdone

Hardly worth a funeral-

Cut short, when you drag my corpse into the sun


So revive me! Since my work’s never done

Though my rotting flesh will shiver and ache.

When I die you’ll pour coffee on my grave

And drag my caffeinated corpse into the sun.