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Poetry

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Seventh Quarry Magazine

Seventh_Quarry_2Two of my poems, ‘On Mending a Lost Letter’ and ‘Blue Plums’ have just appeared in Seventh Quarry Magazine and it was lovely to get my copy of it in the post and read some of the fantastic writing featured in there.  Here’s one of the poems of mine that was published in Issue 17, Winter 2013:

On Mending a Lost Letter

The paper’s yellowed, but the watermark’s

still plain, hand-made, sheer as a stocking.

 

Some perfume – Blue Waltz maybe – mingles

with ink that has turned grey from time.

 

He lines the pieces on linoleum,

tallies shred with shred, matches threadbare

 

ribbons of words, mends a g’s curve

an n’s bend, holds up the whole, reads her

 

round hand, lays his face against her

old address and hears the paper sing.

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Podcast of ‘The Argument Man in Winter’

I’ve been doing some volunteer teaching at Start in Salford, and recently our creative writing group has been working on poems with a winter theme.  Youth Arts co-ordinator Francine Hayron recorded our pieces and did a lovely job of editing them and adding sound effects, compiling them all into a snow-filled collection. Here’s my contribution, performed by David Jones, a talented performance poet at Start.

The Argument Man in Winter:

You can read the poem here.

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The Argument Man in Winter

The Argument Man in Winter

Play Audio:

He had to be angry because
it was his schtick.  You couldn’t have
a happy-go-lucky
Argument Man.

That was the whole point, the USP.
50 cents for a disagreement
A dollar for a spat.
You paid up

and took what you got.  Whichever
side you picked, he picked the other side.
He knew politics, the law,
the constitution.

He was a born debater, never rude
though imposing, standing 6’8″ in socks
wearing his foil cloak with the red
letter K.

One day he didn’t show.
Another day.  A week.
You were sad, but you weren’t
surprised.

Drugs, you thought, or looking
on the bright side, maybe he’d found
somewhere to sleep with winter
drawing in.

You asked the Weather Woman if she
knew anything.  Sitting in state
by Stoke’s Books with her Big Slurp cup
for coins,

she was robust and red-cheeked
and infinitely wise concerning
windchill factor and upcoming
snow days.

Though she couldn’t have predicted
that blizzard headed our way.
Cold caller, it came for him
silently.

Dead white.  Sudden.  Some nights in your
dreams, you see him calmly make a salvo,
reason the freezing
world away.

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Bliss & Ravenglass Anthologies

BlissI had a great time reading at the Derwent Poetry Festival 2011 and met lots of lovely people.  Now I’m happy to see that the Bliss Anthology is available to buy.  Like all Templar’s publications this anthology is beautifully printed and produced and has loads of great writing in it.  The other collections that were on sale at the festival are also available.

Another collection my poetry has been included in is the Ravenglass Anthology.  That’s available from Amazon and includes some work by poets I really admire.  I felt very pleased to be included in it.Ravenglass

Here’s a poem I wrote quite recently that was included in Bliss:

Paper Bullets

It arrived when I was heartsick, a chameleon’s tail
of postscript, tucked beneath sincerely in my
morning mail.

Just a question: how’s the weather there? How could I know
that scrap of neat print would unfurl into
a haiku

about a bullfrog plummeting into a sleeping pool;
that water’s Diamene would bleed into
a sonnet,

blazoning a long-dead lady’s throat?  How could I know
the wire hairs growing from her head would curl
into the ode

you sent me, set to the archicembalo, full of night skies
and fevered brows?  Or that our temperatures would
rise too high,

too fast, wax-sealed aeroplanes thrust at the sun,
crash-landing crumpled in a corner of my room,
paper bullets,

bone-folded crisp as origami cranes
leaving me out of humour, ink-stained and
heartsick again.


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Derwent Poetry Festival 2011

Derwent Poetry FestivalI’m excited to be reading at the fifth Derwent Poetry Festival in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, 11th-13th November.  My collection ‘Paper Bullets’ was a runner up in the Templar Pamphlet Competition, so some of my poems will be published in Templar’s annual anthology, Bliss.  The festival includes both new and more established Templar poets, including guest reader Mimi Khalvati.  Here’s one of the poems I’ll be reading:

Peach Orchard

In his leaf-curl hand
he writes root stock numbers
dates and heights of trees,
the gross of summer crops.
Some days he traces ridge-veined drupes
onto the pale lines of his ledger.

There are ghosts in the orchard
they drift between trees
their hair a tangled sweet pea vine,
as if death winnowed them.

He draws their drowned shapes,
dropsical,
notes the colours of their clothes,
the way their shadows
rise some evenings from the roots
and beg for water.