Two Poems by Holly Pester

historical bed sores 

some women cup their breasts and women without breasts chirp at the thought

women hold their babies up to the light and the women without babies weep at the thought

women with tears in their eyes with gas in their mouth can pose with tigers in the bath

tigerless women check the number of breasts their childless heads their breastless chests 

their sore bone rectangular, triangular 

armless kids climbed inside a clock 

the women with no breasts with red gruesome hair are kin 

prepare bowls of hot gum

in our bellies

we have clowns and bugs 

we have mock breasts and bellies like bowls of hot gum

frig the dried blue men 

a soup for my sister a new earhole where her wound is a light 

the women without babies sing into cat bellies

we hunt for sliced up income 

for mamma’s dark red underwear 

strong girls breathing in rivers 

drinking out of each other   speaking out of each other’s backs 

sing for our empty friend 

some river bellies some ocean some singular bump

health custard 

bomb shoes 

who killed our cave? who let out our weal?

a cave for my baby 

a rubber ball full of honey

without babies we chirp into caves into everybody’s cave

drinking a pool of tomato pips and the last strings of egg

delicious forever 

find a cave for my injured friend


Spirited Pictures

An aerial photograph of antelope
black sesame seeds on a plate
are not insects
I am not a sporty god or ghost
my insect head sweats it is going to picture
keeld huts
dark burns on the sea
The image isn't magic
the dints on Her fruit face
Her finger-pocked dream is not an aerial photograph
of rats in flooded tanks  
or black seeds surrounding a pie
There is no God’s eye view of this bed
of mating ladybirds in lava
A plate is murky I say
to the pie
I am not your god
but I have licked you full of paradoxes
Tinnitus and the neighbour's oi! 
are not song
Pierced drum skin
your fingers finger in
Aerial antelope and sesame seeds are not insects
that bite and drill
that little mad and stamp
They are not insects that bite and drill
like the body at the hook of a mouth is
spotted with weird phonemes
But this is not its autopsy
This is not the holographic autopsy
of an ancient mummified corpse


Masturbating with sea shells

An empty shell can be reclaimed for its crinkles and ranges
or a money-smooth cuttlebone.
You tested a little helper polymer rubbles we tested special
thread. I said soak, said I was a hairy pipe.
I collect seven—it’s like wealth—we sit on one each,
groaning protein lacing different net. Lipping up, doubling,
crying to a planet in the groin. Communal,
dislodged naughts, we repeat fragile
kinks. Nibble a beat into lamb tuck.
Supra-natural. Ek-static.
Transcendent houred shaped. While a conch
we hallucinate prayers &; immune
systems. How dare we know how to use them like this / Shells
are open to suggestion, you can make them buzz.
Autoeroticism synched to reproduction to music that she calls
her little “chickens”.
Perched at the ridge of the game, from lucre gear to whiskey
burn. In a pearly row holding our knees, jeering at the wobbling sunset,
drawn like a comedy on ancient mosaics
we can use jelly from the ray’s nest
we can use jelly from utility
we can use
wine Best
wine Best



Holly Pester is a poet working with sounds, performance, radical storying and dream logic. Her book, go to reception and ask for Sara in red felt tip is a collection of archive fan-fiction (Book Works 2015) and her album, Common Rest (Test Centre 2016) is a collection of collaborative lullabies and sound poems. She is lecturer in Poetry and Performance at University of Essex.