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Friday 28 June 2013

Christine Murray


the feather-hook is a seed spiralling in the breeze,
a false signal

it mocks the mayhem of the caught moth down to
its nub stone

its plane is a shell network of dried skin, veined even
- it has a spine of sorts

it mocks the mayhem of the caught moth down to
its nub stone


the red rope is looped around the neck
and brought down the back to the bra-line

it tightly binds across the top of the chest and
is looped down to the cunt-lips separating them

held-to and pulled in the back arches back
bow-bent as if its wood had seasoned in

an iron girder above hot embers and released
steam onto a still lake the hook retracts when

the dress slides into a bluey ripple onto the boards
there are six hooks embedded into the ceiling

stockings catch up the desert breeze on a small
balcony, a strip of silk portholes the room and

sutras are tacked into the walls the hooks do not
look as if they could carry the weight of an inert body

spider-rolled silk-skeined red-cocooned
the bird panics spider-fruits from under
dry eaves

these net-webs are laden with the small dead
best not to move he is demented with hunger.



outside the ragged bird panics
dead flies from the window nets
yet it is not clothed right
- it claws the glass

Christine Murray is a City and Guilds Stone­cutter. Her poetry is published in a variety of magazines and ezines. She has reviewed poetry for Post (Mater Dei Institute), Poetry Ireland and Chris blogs at Poethead, A Poetry Blog. Her chapbook, Three Red Things was published on June 4th 2013 by Smithereens Press, Dublin, Ireland. 

Friday 14 June 2013

Throats Full of Graves- A Review by David McLean

Gillian Prew - Throats full of graves

Gillian Prew
Throats Full of Graves
Lapwing Publications
chapbook review by David McLean

This is a brief review of the latest production by the Scottish poet Gillian Prew, in my opinion the best female poet currently active.

Her liminal love with its dug arms
scoops the red roots of the tight trees
where her best wedding was throttled and laid,
and her lit loss burns in her brain
scorching the slow madhouse of her days.

It might be appropriate that I modestly neglect to refer to a poem in this book that is about me, namely “In the garden with a poet”. I shall, however, refrain from doing the modest thing and mention it.

Days are here – untidy. That is the beauty
of light: it illuminates the mess
for embracing. We are

a long time nothing. There is no place
to exhibit the night like a sword.

This because it exhibits clearly, in these closing lines - which are much better than anything I have done recently - the terrible predicament of those like Ms Prew and myself, who are atheists and might like to be logically precise, when we affect to produce the “poetic”,  When “we are a long time nothing” the word “we” no longer applies to us, time and our world has ceased and probably only Larkin has ever succeeded in saying this properly, in “Aubade”. Of course, I object dreadfully to the term “poet” as a sortal, it identifies no clear class of objects; it is usually little more than a dreadful piece of self-promotion. Were I ever, per impossibile, to make a living by poems, I might allow the description on Derridean grounds - “It's me job, like” - but not as a token of self-ascribed excellence.

More seriously, in another poem, Prew writes

I, like a slow thaw in the garden where
all this started under the sun yesterday
(or years ago) There is

a simmering vitality that permits persistence,
that allows healing and the adoration of wounds

This is close to the essential, the reflexive wallowing in despite and self-contempt that is the essence of anything interesting in literature. The glorious puny assholes who fall down in their sheer stupid debility waiting for some cunt Godot who never even shows, they are so much more beautiful than any alleged poetic perfection:

There is no destiny worth hoping for.

There will be death, and
in the meantime life. What rages
inside is something
if we are lucky
do not fear
or love,
or bother to breathe.

The metaphor of interiority is acceptable here, of course, although I assume the inside to be the consciousness that spreads outside the alleged real. The poems here are of seasonal mortality, or, more precisely, of facticity and thrownness, of being there in this confusing admixture of earth and world that colors memories ideologically and insists - with the simmering vitality that is the sheer denial of entropy that even the simplest organism is - on taking a shot at perdurance, an attempt that is doomed to failure since the ultimate victory of entropy will become the ordered beauty of perfected and, necessarily, unobserved disorder. If we could perdure, this would be spoiled. But there is a pointless meaningless beauty in the striving, one which expresses itself in the laudable futility of poetry, at which Prew kicks serious ass, with poems like this one, of “Memory”:

Bud of the quiet dead, lifting
light from the black-bitten wound. A grief,
a lie a dry, futile church. You are a ruin
of tears and ragged distances. A hidden.
A scarred truth roaming bone. You fail
with a brave despair
like widowed songbirds, their throats full of graves.

The need for miracles, as Prew says, is abject. What actually is, is enough. if one does not multiply entities beyond necessity one can still populate a poem.

I think this may be Prew's best yet, which means that you should buy the thing. It can be purchased here

In Damage Seasons- A Review by David McLean

Michael Mc Aloran
In Damage Seasons  

130 pp
Oneiros Books
Here is one of Michael Mc Aloran's best attempts to do what he does so well, kicking round the scattered teeth of sunlight in a darkened room. The book is divided into scenes that articulate a dismemberment of the drab conventional, and that paint red what already was always painted black.

the amputated limb with which one child beats the other the arm torn away to break the bones of dissolve in dislocation of tears here a ravage there a ravage the nicotine stained teeth and the breath upon…
there is no sun or better yet we have swallowed the dead cum of absence the swelling meat in the mouth clasped down upon till castrative screams echoing violently the bloody dead meat of it spat out into foreign excrement…
The poems are the insistent echo of pointless and life behind the grind of hunger, cum-stained memory, the splendid array of absences and almost forgotten we carry within us like a well-tended garden of cancers.
There is, after all, no denying the beauty and appositeness of lines like:
torn out the fingernails yet ever on till severed pulse of the snare of it hacking in cold corridors warped from one wall unto the next till crimson…
snap snap the fingers snap snapping till ritornellos of the absurd a dressage of crushed bone all afar until yet spun in widow’s teeth of claimed verandas…
Mick's poetry, in a sense, is an angry railing against not so much the dying of the light, fuck the light, but against words not working any more
baseless till tongue to sever-bite in the none of speech the clamour in the echoing chasm of vibratory steel drawn in excommunicable lights deadened yet bustling never ending…
The none of speech might mean that which is unsaid, it might mean the saying of the none, or void, something that is usually done very wrong by way of horrid hypostatization among the burgeoning  insincere nihilists, it might also mean the emptiness and absurdity of Gerede, idle talk, running on and meaning certain things, just not the essential and important.
And what is essential and important is the tooth of hunger, it is the obstinate bone, it is the scattered teeth and the insistent emptiness of discourse, and thus the book ends, perfectly logically and correctly, with:
collapse unto thy dread for the good of nothing claimed none but the shit clinging to the heels it was ever of the all for silences the rapture emptied silenced silenced it was all for the good of nothing claimed
This book is very good, get it here:

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Throats Full of Graves- Gillian Prew
'Throats Full of Graves', by Gillian Prew is available to purchase here