black under heaven: a poem by greta bellamacina

With an interest in both “performance and manipulating the way language floods reality”, Greta Bellamacina is the poet, writer and filmmaker who is revolutionizing the way we look at poetry and the moving image in the 21st century.

Since releasing her first collection Kaleidoscope in 2011, London-based poet, writer, filmmaker and activist for education Greta Bellamacina has been navigating the imagistic world of poetry and film with stylish ease; author and editor of a number of poetry collections, shortlisted for the Young Poet Laureate of London in 2014, previous writer-in-residence at LA’s Chateau Marmont and writer and director of her debut documentary The Safe House: A Decline of Ideas, released this year. An activist for the future of education, the documentary touches on the history of libraries and their rapid decline, with a look at the first ever public library in Leadhills in Scotland built by Scottish miners and the reimagining of the future without these all-inclusive sanctuaries.

Together with boyfriend and poet Robert Montgomery, Greta responded to the lack of poets getting both paid and published in the publishing world by starting New River Press, home to several books by contemporary poets as well as a forthcoming Feminist poetry collection Smear: “A kind of non-judgmental guidebook to growing up that any girl could relate to." Her own latest work Perishing Tame is a collection that takes an intimate look at what it is to be a woman from Greta’s perspective, with the themes of femininity, motherhood and the emotional changes that naturally occur as a result. Inspired by the Surrealist movement both in her work and life, for Greta the future of poetry lies in “the streets and in your dreams. Poetry should be entwined into the rhythms of daily life until the awake state becomes as close to the dream state as possible. We all need to start being more open about our true feelings, as we live it such a curated world that we are in danger of losing so much.”

Black Under Heaven

Everything lives unnerved

Tiny cups and scissors hungover

Lilies in heaven marching in glass on the table

Our child arranging the sky, sleeping between the doorway 

blue garments an ocean on the bedroom floor


Your scent a kind of black under heaven 

all raging and soft, 

Breaking the tracks of summer

a chapel in the fourth wall 

always lit up and nursing


I have become larger in it

a new kind of warm ash

burning up the edges

and bathing out the reality TV government

I have become more winged 


We barely notice the ceiling falling onto our bed

Emptying out the ariel stars

that have tracked our whole lives til now

walked with us through hysteria 

And trees made into empty houses


We live in one room 

The BT Tower our lighthouse, 

we have become two mothers 

we are unearthed, dosing in the scent 

that is an eternal morning.

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