Thursday, 17 May 2012

Poems from Roy Marshall and Jess Mayhew

Alice contemplates the flowers...

In the few months which have elapsed between their publication and now, there’s been some very lively interest in the Crystal pamphlets. People from across the UK and worldwide have been purchasing pamphlets; writing reviews and expressing good wishes. Last Friday, another launch was held in Nottingham, and readings have been going on up and down the country, including a reading at Ledbury in July. I’d like to share two poems by Roy Marshall and Jess Mayhew which have received lots of positive attention. It’s interesting to see which poems audiences seem to enjoy:


For no good reason
we expected his Latin genes to colour him,

for a slick of black to crown him
as he emerged from between her legs;

for olive skin that would darken
at the touch of sun.

Tonight, feverish, oink cheeked,
mousy hair plastered on a milky brow,

he sleeps with her,
a small doppelganger

arms flung above his head,
a mirror of his mother.

Their murmurs and breath
float from open lips

his a perfect miniature
of her own sleep-slackened rose.

As Tim Love said in one of his reviews, this is the ‘kind of poetry which is easy to read but hard to write,’ it’s certainly never laboured.

Here’s Jess’ poem:

Pub Lunch

At the end of your tether
I hunch over Queen’s Head scampi,
bench wood warm under my palms.

On the river, a swam lumbers to air,
black webs tucked and curses
at a man chugging his boat around,

pale under his mildewed lifejacket.
A bee trickles on the lip
of your glass. You swat and miss,
Sending it into shivering flight,
unseaming chubby joined legs, coarse
yellow hairs. Unhook the sting,

until all that is left are the quarks
which tumble and fizz like pollen grains.
You’re not listening, you say.

Mayhew’s sharp observation; the lumbering ‘swan’; the ‘shivering flight’ of the bee, creates a sense of unease, which finally reveals itself in the last line. I like poems which have an almost physical effect on my reading, I can sense the discomfort. It’s this eye for detail that makes her poems memorable.

'Someone Else's Photograph' by Jess and 'Gopagilla' by Roy, are available here at Crystal Clear Creators.

At some point -sooner, rather than later fingers crossed - I hope to write up a blog post about the process of putting together my own poetry collection. To quote Tom Elliot, 'There will be time...'