Photo by Lucinda Chua
To all my readers (hello? Anyone?),
Apologies that I haven’t been updating for a while. If there is any excuse (which, really, there isn’t) its because I have mainly been immersing myself in different aspects of the poetry scene.
Recently, I’ve subscribed to the excellent Rialto Magazine and Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Magazine (which I haven’t received my copy of yet, come on guys! You’ve taken my money, now send out some fine poetic schmutter, why don’t cha?). The Rialto issue has an excellent youth section in it this issue, curated by Nathan Hamilton and has some fine Eric Gregory poets including James Brooks and Sam Riviere. Buy it.
I’ve also been to an exhibition of Ambit Magazine covers, organized by the wonderful Rachael from Clinic (who recently hosted some work of mine, and an audio reading, which can be found here – big thanks, guys!). You can find out more about the excellent exhibition on Ambit’s Facebook page here.
I’ve been reading a lot of the New York Poets recently, and my thanks go out to both Sam and Simon for introducing me to them. There is an interesting piece on Radio 4 regarding Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems, which you can hear, umm, here.
And to my regular writers, Laura, Simon and Jen, apologies for not sharing your work, which you dutifully send me, with the world. I hope that today makes amends for my tardiness.
P.S. that is me, as Don Draper, taken by the talented Lucina Chua.
Cinderella finger – Laura Heritage
I found it.
Encased in glass and more
Than I can part with
But perfect on
My cinderella finger
And as heavy as the thought
That you found it first.
Bonington House – Laura Heritage
Her fragrant room smelt
Like hot, foul rain.
Earthy and stagnant.
She clutched the shiny pages tight
And turned her head away,
But agony was written loudly
On the back of her neck,
Recited over the folds
And down the forked carpet outside.
A distressing series of
‘God help us!’ bawled from behind
Darkened, filthy tooth stumps,
And a trail of salty wet
Down her cheeks,
Along her forefinger,
Leaking to mine.
On the occasion of our 3rd Anniversary – Alex MacDonald
For Faye McNulty
Now is three years behind
Pushing us forward like parents
Or one of those commuters
I deal with in the morning, hoping to
Tease out some of their pressure
Through the act of jamming me in to the tube.
We’re jammed into a small room,
And, like a tube, the ingredients form a thickness,
A togetherness of elements.
When pushed, that concoction laughs itself out,
Like a song that parents sing
That reminds them of something from their past.
Our past is behind us,
But I’ve brought it forward to sit snug
In this room of ours,
Where one thing reminds me of another.
Its small, alright, but our past
Endures no pain, large and beautiful, though it is.
Writing this reminds me,
I have so much to do today that hasn’t begun.
You’ll commute to this room empty,
And you’ll laugh when you read how our love
Is large and beautiful, but is small
Enough to fit into a poem, a tube or a room.
Tourists: At home and abroad – Alex MacDonald
Home: National Portrait Gallery, London
“Their flesh curdles underneath their skin
So they look more like human coloured clouds.
The peacock drags its magnificence across
Her feet – the men look on with roebuck ears.”
Damp tourists consider this fleetingly,
As nations rub shoulders and souvenirs with nations.
They have no patient in soaked-through sandals.
Yet the plump women from the Trojan scene
Blowing across the canvas is hardly remarkable.
In their ears, the tourists’ memory whispers
What they have left behind, where their family
Are packed together, like deer in a hunting ground.
Abroad: Caldera view, Santorini
The road sign promised, in 15 kilometres,
A unique sunset.
Only a short time to see tourists
Wadded round the faying sun and surf.
But it’s the same distance to see lizards
Out-legging the chasing children,
The car seats over the cliff edges
And the busying trucks that suck away waste
Of those remarking the view, holding
Clammy hands, their chests raw as onions.
Getting Myself a Walk – Jen Calleja
Every evening’s like taking a
I’m choking on eyes who
Can’t cope with how dangerously
Clean I am,
What a considerate pavement passenger I am
on Western Road.
Someone will offer me a favour and
I’ll want to come out later to
St Ann Wells’ Gardens.
Park-side lounges are sitcoms for my
Rooted to the shrubbery
from the waist-down
Of indeterminate sex
from the waist up,
From where you’re standing anyway
And from where I’m standing too.
No one’s here to work out the clues, so
I’m straightening up shakily,
A plant growing in the cut-shot shakes
of a wild-life documentary.
I walk through parks at four in the morning to have
The dark cover my eyes under this or that tree
Or along that unlit path, to wear
the same noiseless monochrome and warm grey as
The city, and not
A short, sharp alarm drawing a circle around my square.
I’m not clopping like a lame horse or
A child’s tick-tocking tongue-clock.
Are you counting the bones in
my neck, in my back
During this moment of illness?
A man did bring me down
By the ankle once
By a giant metal chess-set.
It wasn’t really a man
Just someone out of their mind
And I wasn’t a woman
I was just surprised.
People still don’t know how to make a dialogue.
That unrelenting ache makes them think that life,
Even short grass,
Can only be felt at a run,
A thick slam to the ground.
I might have been in a park while a
lawyer in America asked:
‘You had a man at home.
What were you doing, going around,
getting yourself raped?’
Probably the same reason as me,
the same as you:
Dawdling with a chirpy whistle,
Spying for cats,
Mumbling a song,
Treading on the grass,
Fucking the dark with a look.
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