Liv Mammone


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These feet
        blue cracking necrophiliac's delight
This soup burn scar
These legs
        crooked         unshaven
This limp     this switch    this lean
These weather-vane knees
This unused cunt
These thighs
        don't touch     and are not touched
This ass
These audible half-metal   hip bones
This red web of callus between finger and thumb
This left hand
        pale and jumping spider
This right hand         useless
These IV scars
These wrists
        that do not turn
These arms
        that pull me from the floor
This stomach
        a burning church
This fucking heart
These lemon breasts
These carpeted underarms
These shoulders
        like crow skulls
This spine
These four feet         these ten inches   this hundred pounds
This mezzo-soprano throat
This tongue
This mouth
This jutting front tooth
This mustache
This nose
        prone to blood flow
These dark circles
This turning left eye
This dandruff
This cropped back hair
This brain filled to the brim
                And every single scar
This one
and this one
and this

* * *


     after Rosanna Warren

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the giraffe

as her staircase neck bends





      by the edge

      of the watering hole back legs

      spread birthlike

      absolutely parallel

      with front

      forming an isosceles

      shadow under her belly,

      knees turned out, shuddering

     l ike the fluttering

            nerves of a tightrope walker,

      rearview-mirror eyes scanning for danger under sleepy lashes.

      So I

      on crutches

      thin and black

      as if my torso and head were

      camera and tripod rubber

      soles shape of her hooves;

      stand in the sea

      Knuckling down in the

            sucking sand



                                   in bare feet

           and pick up seastones

                                    stowing them in the pocket of my jeans.

* * *


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That's incredible

People leave their    houses They
jump the front steps three at a time. They drive
to the grocery store when they crave their favorite
to banks     to swim     to the gym where they run in
place or kick     They walk their dogs surprise their loved ones
they fuck people    they love and those they don't know
They don't consult They wound and sustain wounds

Run around your block listening to your favorite song and you are a god to me
Because there are days
I don't eat because even the idea
of what I'll spill makes me choke splutter with hate
There are weeks where winter is a parasite in me and I think I will die
of the throbbing and the falling and of having to    keep so still

When I'm lying on my stomach sleepy from the pills
I picture the woman I see in my head
when someone says my name 5'10"    black heels no stockings.
You can't count her ribs

She is living in a six floor walk up
in a city where no one knows the child in her school photos
maybe Queens         maybe Thebes     maybe London    maybe Yerevan
Somewhere where her family has to time their phone calls
she cooks salmon in nothing but salt  cuts her own hair
She puts on bright lipstick green or fuchsia red in the evenings
Maybe she goes out dancing   She definitely runs
leaving a half cut mango on the edge of the sink and a favorite album playing
for whatever bird shakes its wings in the cage by the east window
She has many birds
and if she is in pain   that's her choice
proof of her blood   her clamor

* * *


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I'm twenty three and I just made chicken soup for the first time.

and there are so many moments with that sort of joy
but they're not beautiful.

They're years late. They come on Wednesday afternoons with shaking hands.

I peel a fruit without slicing a thumb
even if it takes an hour.

I walk the block without stopping for breath.

There isn't a lot of romance to "wow,

I can get this pair of sneakers on."    Maybe none at all.

Maybe Sylvia did what she did
because she'd cried over burning dinner.

I've been there, too. I'm just not as good with the stove.

* * *


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My vagina has put in
for a transfer from my legs.
"Irreconcilable differences," she says.
"They're crooked. Criminal. Either they go, or I go."

Rigidity keeps them splayed, a cold couple in separate beds.
At six years old, the tension
between them reached such a pitch
my vagina started to fuse shut, went mute.
My mother slathered her daily in estrogen gel
and she exploded.

Now she sings opera—
speaks Hungarian with only just the slightest
Long Island accent, designs her own wardrobe
of eighteenth century gowns
insists all Georgia O'Keefe's flowers
are portraits of her.

She says she's overqualified to work with my legs.
Their bad attitude is affecting the higher ups.
My right hand hooked on relaxants;
my back collapsing into its low self esteem—
she can't work under these conditions.

At weddings, while I dance all night,
my vagina tells me I look like Shakira.
My legs turn me into something like
a baby pony on three shots of Jose Quervo

When my vagina makes my toes curl;
my legs won't let them straighten again.
I have to sit up and pull them like artichoke leaves

When the lady conductor on Long Island Rail Road
asks for proof of my special needs
my legs spasm their shame while my vagina
quips, "my special needs include:
cannoli cream, poems by the Earl of Rochester, and
an orgy with the entire Huston family."

In Times Square last week, a shirtless, drunk fratboy
with a sign around his neck advertising
flinched away from my legs,
his douchebaggery silenced.
My vagina bitch slapped him.
She demands to be objectified like any able pussy in America!

She wants to go clubbing; throws
spiked platforms from Trash and Vaudeville
at the wall next to my head while my legs lay stiff
and snoring by the bedroom door.
I try to explain that I can't
apply winged Nefertiti eyeliner or punk faerie
lilac highlights with one hand.
Can't clasp necklaces or keep loose in stockings
I am not the woman
she'd be proud to wear.

The blame for all this falls
on my legs. She calls it a
crippled cunt conspiracy.
But she thinks I am worth more than books,
blogging, and being called cutie pie
by a homeless guy or some gamer with a fetish. My vagina thinks I'm sexy.

She says it's not her fault

if my legs can't support that.


* "The Stare is a Lens Panning Up"and "I Can't be a Confessional Poet" and are originally copyrighted to Wicked Banshee Press. "Animal Stance" and "People Leave their Houses" are originally copyrighted to The Medical Journal of Australia.and "Vagina Resigning" first appeared in Poetry and Performance.


Liv Mammone is a poet and future-novelist currently navigating the choppy sea of life after the MFA. She has studied and taught creative writing at Hofstra University and Queens College, and worked as an editor for American Book Publishing and PineRock Productions. Her work has appeared in Poetry and Performance and is forthcoming in Wicked Banshee and The Medical Journal of Australia. Follow her on Facebook or as mammone_liv on Twitter.