MAY/JUNE SELECTION: CHERYL FOLLON, MHAIRI OWENS, NATHANAEL URIE
CHERYL FOLLON‘s latest collection, Santiago is published by Bloodaxe Books (2017). Her poems have appeared in The Herald, The Dark Horse, The Times Literary Supplement, and on BBC Radio 4 amongst other places. Her first two poetry collections are Dirty Looks (2010) and All Your Talk (2004) both published by Bloodaxe Books.
MHAIRI OWENS is a Scottish community worker with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of St Andrews. She tutors in Poetry with the University’s International Summer School. Mhairi writes in English and Scots and is Scots Languages Editor for The Scores. Her poems have appeared, or are pending, in anthologies and journals including Glasgow Review of Books, Obsessed with Pipework and The Rialto.
NATHANAEL URIE is a writer and photographer from Lincoln, Nebraska. A recent poem, “The Slob Genius”, appeared in April during National Poetry Month, in the small press print anthology, Pennsylvania Bards Northeast Poetry Review (Local Gems Press, Long Island). Urie has published previously with Glasgow Review of Books.
Even when the flames reach
the thirty feet ceiling that girl sleeps on.
When the fire’s covered the whole house
like a napkin placed over a top hat with a rabbit in it,
the girl just shuffles round and turns over
and gets comfortable on the other side.
When the house is nothing more than a
smoking pile of sticks, a tumbling smashed beam,
she gets up and wonders what to have
for breakfast: maybe a little light egg, a little stewed fruit.
She’ll maybe even get the papers later,
lounge around with her sunglasses in the park.
What’s hell like? Well, if it even exists
there’re a few big well-positioned fans
to keep the fish heads cool.
All the trillionaires like to chat about
suitcases full of diamonds and racehorses
while they knock off strange dust
from their masks like dust from a sombrero.
A sombrero – now, there’s a thought,
a blast from the strange and distant past.
All this talk of
singing ships to
rocks with lures
of eld. All that
We know why
in a thin place,
in smirr with
and uisge beatha,
why her sister’s
seal eyes look
the earth’s slope
in its dizzy
Morrough | mermaid; smirr | breath-like rain; uisge-beatha | whisky
holding it together
Jim Harrison used to sit down and write this stuff proper,
let it get away with him, got across the page with just a pencil,
ended up with Legends of the Fall, Dalva, The Woman Lit by Fireflies
I’ve looked through his poetry, sifted for objects, was
jealous of the way he used the word ‘primrose’, how he was able
to write about the mail, slugs, the general slop under his galoshes
he wasn’t going to write a common love song, as if a piece
of sheetrock was more interesting, passing up infinity for
another broken tooth, the slime mold of an old swimming pool
that’s how I wanted to be, postcards hanging by a single pin,
the raised lettering on a gold button worn down to smoothness,
icy windows in brittle sealant, we can stand to live another day
her mouth was soft
John MacDonald’s Nightmare in Pink,
I read the passages as though I have something
to learn about writing
the same goes for Ruark’s The Honey Badger
or a prose poetry anthology
these old American paperbacks
with broken spines
sometimes you’ll find a library
card in the cover
from North Platte, Nebraska
a tanned envelope where they
still stamped the numbers
in dirty ink
or opening a three-volume set
of Elmore Leonard,
The Hunted, Swag, Mr. Majestyk
discarded in 1985
you’ll discover suitable ways
to write dialogue,
how to introduce a safari jacket,
a ticket window,
the Detroit National Bank
there is a streak
of pastel in the words,
the cover art
who walked into the hospital room
had pumpkin gold hair,
her mouth was soft
and the marigolds on
the sill a fiery copper
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