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Bridget Penney

Updated: Nov 14, 2020

Bridget Penney was born in Edinburgh and is now based in Brighton. Her book publications are Honeymoon with Death and Other Stories (1991, Polygon), Index (2008, Book Works), and Licorice (2020, Book Works). Stories and non-fiction have appeared in print and online magazines: among them gorse, Snow lit rev, and 3:AM Magazine. She is founder and co-editor of Invisible Books, publishing innovative poetry and prose through the 1990s with occasional manifestations since. Currently she is guest-editor for Book Works' new series, Interstices.


Athena B.

Fishersgate, Sussex. December 2019.

I have been turned to stone

by my own shadow.

Rough enough justice?

Medusa laughs at me.

Pissed And Fallen Over,

both my arms broken.

I must be dreaming.

The weather doesn't help.

Habit of speech, if I

could craft words into

stanzas, rueing the

typewriter I threw out.

Her severed head rolling

its eyes, snakes knotted

beneath her chin. No

muscle cuirass has wings.

It produced a sound as

from a myriad

lorries. Imbricate

bosom plate, my girdle,

twin cranes crossing their arms.

In my angry moods:

Removal without

authority of an-

y oil OR removal

without colouring

or marking of oil:

‘Like fucking Alien

bursting out of her chest’.

After-effects of


crack into a scaly

film on my stomach. Dear

valued customer,

how did we do? A

hundred tassels of gold.


Spouting Homer in Greek

doesn't prove you un-

derstood it. With her

hands full, (ironic)

and, born fully armoured

Clearly a multi-

tasker, she is the

companion of heroes

Athena the Goddess

of wisdom, craft and

war adds classical

charm, not in some slutty

off-the-shoulder number.

There's little doubt she

would be a talking

point in any garden.


Flowingly, with feeling.


puts words in the mouths

of the dead and absent.

C.C.T.V. ghosts us.

The air is alive

with images in

high resolution. ‘We

would leave secret objects

we had been given

in the dead of night

and take from the tunnel

other hidden things: not

even your priestess

knew what these objects

were,’ Medusa says.

‘When i was just seven,

i was dew-carrier,

then at ten, i learned

to bake bread, then i wore

the saffron robe and danced

as a bear before

my menses started,

and finally, having

become a lovely lass

with a necklace of

dried figs, i was raped

by a drunken sailor,

god, whatever, and you

were merciless, A-

thena’. Same old, snake

tressed grrrl. Our Queen's elec-

tric seabeds out there we

must guard against whom?

Napoleon? Tun-

nels run from the redoubt.


From subtle to sassy

we got you covered.

I hate this lipstick,

it is very sheer with

great big chunks of glitter

that feel grainy on.

It looks great with a

smoky eye, or just

Glass of milk, broken

blonde, venerate, de-

ceiving or fraudu-

lent, falls down or gives way,

and we just wanted you

to know you are help-

ing other people.

Hello, happy birthday.

Dreams at the bottom of

the street; hidden book

room. Greetings, fish-tailed

nags, you, Sthenios

and Skylla, (secretive

creatures who do not

seek out human con-

tact) make a commanding

Say ‘I'm on a donkey’.

When we had witches

we used to burn them,

but, in Spain, they sent them

to Ibiza. Enter

this 16 digit

code to earn yourself.

Three corners, no right turn,

yes, my lack of sense of

altitude & scale

is remarkable.

The radar horizon

is approximately

seven per cent fur-

ther away. In air

and sea travel, a naut-

ical mile = one min-

ute of arc round an

Earth meridian.

I did not say Port Said.


Simple polygonal

structure; the word is

paving. Bramble or

dandelion by my feet.

Neoclassical urn,

antiqu’d patina.

Cable box under

our U.P.V.C. bay;

star lights up our neighbour's.

Recycling, rubbish.

Fully helmeted;

from my armpit sticks out.

Lift me onto a stack

of pallets, a child's

plastic play kitchen.

Horizon climbs higher,

no privacy veil. Bare

bones of the flower-

ing cherry, pruned

in vase shape for sunlight

A location that needs

no beauty filter.

Complexity is

the new reality.


The magic mineral

of the middle ages

combined with portland

cement; fireproof, ratproof

and practically in-

destructible. A

series of roofs that

look like a staircase pushed

Prefab, chainlink, cement.

All kinds of windows.

Dormer, eyebrow, port-

hole. Bricks stacked on pallets

LBC common brick;

high quality clay

facing brick suitable

for all applications.

Soft red imperial

handmade brick. Concrete

common brick; Thermal

Mass & Sound reduction

Class A Solid Blue Brick;

precise square-edged smooth

brick conforming to.

With great compressive strength.

Frostproof, a special mix

of aggregate which

is enhanced by time

and the weather. Handmade.


Do you pay attention