Martine's books are available from:

Vulnerability of Order

Tales of Murasaki and Other Poems





Duration Press


Contributor Notes

Martine Bellen Martine Bellen

For the Living: A Chapbook

          Draped Mirror

This written by a fertilized cell trying to understand

Chrysalis of a monarch butterfly.  

Plane-beings in an invented world 

		Tricks up her sleeve or tracks	

Nodding out in the spirit field   

The one moment there's no field, fear, or force. 


A room of false dragonheads, devil's paintbrush 

Will vanish with her 

			         Vanish her.

On her air-borne wall 

Is taped a poster of her planet


On her poster a speculum. 

		Ingredients:  blood, oceans, nightmares

	Or the periodic table set for Macbeth's banquet. 

Hydraulics propel sleepwalkers

		Who want for elemental sustenance 

Bony architecture of a house made from bodily sounds, 

	The canal that collects charnel flesh-dreams.

For the Living

If body is an impermanent manifestation of infinite spirit

Can anyone deny space is haunted?

If love is an expression that death 

Seduces      hardens 

Ghost lover,

You have been gone 

For some time now.  

At first I didn't notice. 

Like a ghost, love slipped out, like sex, your ghost limb

You say you love me, I feel you

In abstentia.  

To ghost means take passage on a ship. Without 

Meaning the world is hollow

Parallel word in which he is husband / servant / enemy / father

Why therapy exists

And one cannot be separate from another 

Without disturbing a complex


To pray is to break silence, break bread.

To pray is to partake 

In the dead

What's not fluid? 

The mind, wind, wants 

Stability, to understand

Has no coordinates

Quantum entanglement their fates inextricably linked

Multiple answers detained through superposition or multiverse

She had the chance to love a man but chose a ghost.  
He will make me happy, she told her friends. He touches a part of me 
that's dead. 

More of her became dead the longer they loved. 

As a haunted human she moved away from certainty, 
Moved toward what she wanted
To be certain. Ha! Ha!

The probability of finding a lover at a point in space 

Until found the lover exists as possibility therefore always exists


A web of relationships and interrelationships 

Bound by boundaries of body

If the space we inhabit is shared by all spirit

Unlimited realm




Our bodies containers we pour out

Slowly until we've left

To choose the extent of ourselves

Distance that separates one event from another.  Soul.

Like the sun eight minutes in the past. How close is that in space?  

Solar.  Look at Saturn! Has it passed your past?  Or Pluto?

More moons.  More. More.

Fear she's not loved, therefore value neutral

As though love were the sun.  Blinding. 

Must not look directly. Like God / Truth

When / where space-time curves nothing can escape it.

It captures me and I become it, therefore cannot see it.  

No communication signal breaks free

        		 Do you know loneliness?

Fata Morgana



She removes herself from the rational realm of feelings

Flooded by a prevailing intelligence 

Where she hides for longer than a mood

That which is “in the air” 

A surround environment, not all of her own making. 

She constructs its interpretation and moves inward.  Sound

						Outside boundaries

For instance, architectural surrounds built with language—doors, walls,
Floors from words.  Would she open the window? double paned, 

Unusually weighty.  A vowel she looks through to see changes 

In weather, to see outside the confines of her scape.  

When the surround she understood encountered the surround that was. 

Plate disturbance traumatizes earth. Bends her, morphs her



Two-thirds of life she's unconscious

A quest through privacy of land not created.

Splinter souls—sinuosities or organic forms flattened to fill shadow space,

The body's music:

Awakens for her dream, sleeps off continuity

But for the sake of survival she believes what appears to be

A one-point perspective system 

In which recessional lines join where they vanish

Creating distortions, objects skew. 

When the assumption of a system is altered, the space it describes 

Changes in unforeseen ways.

Horizontals and verticals support the couple's stability and beliefs in 


To scale a domestic scene

She sees her point vanishing while what surrounds her 

Increases size, clarity of focus.

Within her flat canvas exists immeasurable depth, 

Uncountable colors, interminable death,

To satisfy her need for proof.

If she believes nothing

Vacant imagination acts as symptom.


She produces information, an energy system, that creates 

The circumstances of her surround.  

Since in the surround only present exists 

Impressions made on space erase backward leaving no record, 

Personal memory. Even love itself is not there,

Or when it was found,

A cessation of action would have occurred.  Her whole life 

So afraid of loving her way, losing her way that she ends up nowhere


Everyone wraps—Internal apperception.  

The past or space she calls herself, 

How she perceives 

Her body surrounded by her room.  When she consumes

Her interior, a visitation contacts her,

A whisper parks in the inner ear or a metallic disc soars 

Into a whisper park, dense forest and future empty.  Afterimage or glow

Remains isolated or invisible to the present, which is what she can


Without an intact surround, ego apertures leak 

Into haunts where shame fumes

And legs, act as a portal, walk her toward entrancing 

Reflections, unoccupiable land, foreign, deserted.

Even mullioned moon abandons

Because love causes descent into death and, yes, belief

Impossible to sustain

Without her surround.


		Crisis of refuge and interior design

	Mind as mirror that draws her

Into the struggle to maintain lucidity

If candlelight can't be trusted to clarify true color


Shame & talk of windcraft sweeping the cadaver she wore

Procures a wing for fight

		Over skeleton forest 

			 		Astray / astral 

No rest there!

Awaiting wrap up—or wake up

            	  Morning's the nightmare

			   Eyes open to

     A dipper of clear water

A milky dipper of stars on a standing night in which ravens revel.


     Sleepers dim with dreams tripping off 

Her disregard for erections

     And wildwood marrow 

Memory's chutes and ladders

Last ghost before Candyland

Sonatas for spiders.   

Words worry meaning in the space of shape

            Scalloped teacup space 

            Shy space / sky space

                   Black hole


Heart's a rumor:  A cut-stone space too inside 

  	Like wild flora beds, a living reshape 

   A bellybutton,  

 Clairvoyant murmur,

	    Presiding genius not dependent 

On light and lens, nor eye.



Her thoughts 

    Leave no track

          Could be lexis or melody

Ashes drift, 

	She drifts,

Thick weather midpassage

Inspiriting forests and fresh fox burrows

			Shrilly cricket

Sounds fasten us to stars

Thought lit and purling, measured and lithe as music

A high cord vibrating the sea

A cord traveling high with sun's light

The higher if minor exploits of sound.


Safe place: abstract, dark, free from nature's rules

             					But only in sleep
System of meaning

As if you express a sound losing its body

A body as a point traveling a rectangle 

Integrated in the formula for measuring love 

The movement the heart makes as it yields to death 

Straight line or unbroken hum

A line allowing vibration 

    To reorder its appearance in time.

		—For Ann Lauterbach
     Martine Bellen is the author of five collections of poetry including The Vulnerability of Order, Copper Canyon Press (2001); Tales of Murasaki and Other Poems, Sun & Moon Press (1999) which won the National Poetry Series Award; and Places People Dare Not Enter, Potes & Poets Press (1991). A bilingual collection of poetry, Musée Magie, was just published in Germany by Verlag im Waldgut (translator, Hans Jürgen Balmes). She recently completed her sixth collection, Living with Animals. She has also written the libretto for Ovidiana, an opera based on Ovid's Metamorphoses (composer, Matthew Greenbaum) that has been performed in New York City and Philadelphia.
     Ms. Bellen's poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies including This Art: Poems About Poetry, Copper Canyon Press (2003) and The Convergence of Birds: Writing Inspired by Joseph Cornell, DAP (2001). She has been a recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Fund for Poetry, and the American Academy of Poets Award. She is a contributing editor and on the board of directors of Web del Sol (webdelsol.com). Ms. Bellen teaches at Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College and Rutgers University.