NEW POETRY BY GEORGE GUNN, IRENE CUNNINGHAM, AND MARK RYAN SMITH
GEORGE GUNN‘s The Great Edge is to be published by Grace Notes in November 2017. A Selected Poems is coming out from Kennedy and Boyd much the same time. Gunn also writes for Bella Caledonia.
IRENE CUNNINGHAM has had many poems published in magazines and journals across the years; now she’s preparing for old age, hoping for more time before the scythe lands. Writing is now heading up her priorities ladder; it usually wins the fight between lounging around or walking round Loch Lomond. Her new website is: http://ireneintheworld.wixsite.com/writer
MARK RYAN SMITH lives and works in Shetland. He has published poems, stories and essays in various magazines, and a book about Shetland’s literary tradition.
The light draws cello music across Bourifa Hill
the peatbanks terrace into the distance
in shelfs of time-packed turf paddies
the lapis lazuli lochs are silent & still
ghost cart tracks emerge from the heather
with eighteenth century wheel ruts
then disappear as memories fade
my father’s tusker & flat spade
are turr’d in under divots
with a bottle of whisky
ready for next seasons cut
lost now for thirty years
their shafts preserved in pine-oil tears
the whisky cork a black walnut
This body has softened, like my eyesight…
these pillows will never be crisp again. Time will
disassemble me. I won’t be hour-glass shaped
though the way ahead is laced like a corset.
When I was the girl on the sideboard Wings
and Elton John snuggled around couples on stairs,
mingled with tart smoke…men ran their navels
across the face of my knees, breathed cider and beer
into my friendly breasts, told me my ankles were hypnotic.
I’d throw them around, watch eyebrows twitch.
We flitted from man to man, all of us wet terracotta,
ripe with the wanting. I became a Rubens woman,
reclining most of the day: not shaping my face
with make-up or moulding this torso into finer lines;
I was an adventure to tantalise a Conan-Doyle-mind,
challenge a psychic. Myriad thrillers, pot-boilers,
tragedies tucked in voluptuous curves of my life…
and at least one farce.
Now, I’m a range of mountains, shifting hills, smooth
lawn running down to water, a garden of dreams.
Fairies live, in my trees, Sundays remind me of men
in my bed. I’m too young to get my own cat –
still mobile which can’t be confused with nubile.
Afternoon drama in Tasmania
Curled like an ear or ampersand,
the snake waits his javelin snap.
In the warmed sand he writes a to-do list
of just one thing. A tick quivers
on his tail. In the bush a careless step
makes him a question mark, his tongue
does the asking. The answer comes back clear.
Metal in the mouth and the day translates
Mark Ryan Smith
All works published by the Glasgow Review of Books are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License and the journal reserves the right to be named as place of first publication in any citation. Copyright remains with the poet. http://www.glasgowreviewofbooks.com