Blood. Flower. Joy!

Sweet Ladies, Good Morning! Speak of Wickedness. Wonderful Western Future. Comfort. A Season in Neo-liberal Heaven. Stars like Seeds and Swine will Fall. 42 Socialist Feminist Horoscopes. Away My Grievance. Talk. Ho! What Fiend Squatteth There? Bloody Wheat and Sweet Mercy. Practical Sunshine Witchcraft. Joy! Joy! Joy! Joy! Mothers of All Question. Many Marigold Salads. Sister Sorrow What
Sing You? Poems. Lyrics. Songs. A Sequence.

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My second collection Blood. Flower. Joy!  (Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2019) is a sequence of short lyrics. Poems from Blood. Flower. Joy! have been published in Adjacent Pineapple, And Other Poems and Datableed. An earlier version of this project titled Away My Grievance won the 2018 Ivan Juritz Prize.

About this project

Work on this project began after the completion of the manuscript for my first collection, Sphinx; most of the poems in Sphinx had been produced in a very taxing way, under high pressure to achieve an exactness and magnitude which would do justice to the subject matter. Grueling might describe it. Not only was this draining (both of energy and joy) but attempts at writing post-Sphinx became sclerotic and anxious. Blood. Flower. Joy! was intended as a sort of antidote to the figurative wounds left by the labor of Sphinx. The mental procedure of writing it was far freer, as is the style.

The lyrics in this sequence are fun. They explore the comic and strange. The poems in this sequence are attempts at magical voicing, ritualistic addresses which possess magical action in themselves. They are positioned so as to offer themselves for re-voicing, as spells and rhymes and axioms are, and in that way they may both incorporate me the writing subject (the personal) and dissolve/expand/enlarge me (the communal). The poems are anti-individualist, ameliorative, socialist.

 

The sequence responds to a certain set of critical claims on the lyric subject; it represents action taken on Sean Bonney’s statement ‘whether it’s the avant-garde writing subjectivity out of poetry, or international capitalism denying realities that exist outside of their version of reality, it’s to be resisted’. Subjectivities are necessary, not subjectivities which pose as the individualistic index of all meaning, not so-called anti- or post- subjectivities, but subjectivities which give voice to struggle and solidarity in struggle. There’s no reason why this cannot be a joyful voicing. The sequence attempts a recouping of the fallen lyric subject to make her once more fit for purpose; it is set up as the playful voicing of what can be none other than an individual subject, but with one ear to the public language from which its voice is derived and the other poised to hear its voice in the mouth of another and be recognised. The individual is given less as an index of meaning and more as a node in a dynamic and enormous field of voicing. Accordingly, the attitude of the sequence is generous and cheeky. Read extracts below.

an organic, incantatory synthesis of voices ancestral and contemporary. Each poem is an earthy celebration and a woozy spell

James Knight

a brilliant, telling, teasing reanimation of what lyric can be for us now.

Lara Feigel

This irreverent, striking and bristlingly original collection of poems is unlike anything else you'll read this year.

Rebecca Tamas

breakfast be my idle bridle
when winter’s coffee
is soft as the lilly


i sidle out my bed of ivy
as from the pine
lets fly my nightly care


slim picking for finches


more tired than the dawn
that breaks you there
dead bulrush, dead penny


still i will be merry

READ ME

a loafing sprig

solving the salve of solving

with the head of a pig

 

angry all the time

but the bad angry not the good kind

 

buddy, smugness is all i’ve got

free speech is all rightaroony but

 

i just can’t hear you over this frock

READ ME

my kink is Socialism

and portraits of men with carnelian

 

listen up good now, comrade

 

dress sexy

see Tories

go pow pow

READ ME

green green green

goes the ritual beast of Spring

 

feed the mare

her wormwood and grist

 

the cat is in

the pretty black stream

 

go home

vulgaris

you’re depressed

READ ME

you there, you are a druid

of terrible portent

 

i ought to be sick

i ought to be oysters

and lamb fat

 

poor pebble

 

i hear humble thunder

killing snow

and more hot white claptrap

READ ME

But now I have put away
the pepper and dirt


and have a mouth all full
of big yellow teeth


when I was banished
I spoke like the banished


my, my, my,
gardenia and gladioli


now it rains, rains and rains
like wheat in a wreath

READ ME

it would matter tremendously
if in our midst
there were
a thresh of frost


it’s
werewolf vs amethyst
and I know where my money is


it matters whether
an iris grew
from that there drop of sweat
and a pumpkin from the blood


glad tidings of comfort and joy

READ ME

bewilderment very much

 

here on the dark side

of the turtle neck

 

this word right here

can lay down a ghost

 

and you can thank Simon

and Garfunkel

for that

 

all I want

is to buy a good brown loaf

and I’ll see it

in hell

READ ME

lingers his hyacinth
picking up what i put down


enchant


someone’s little blue
husband in the hawthorn


away my grievance


with his blushing blue
frankincense


who needs her innocence?
when i die
i go to boy heaven

READ ME

damn

these green trousers

i’m in

 

no goblin turned heroine

 

Greta agrees

garish as a peony

 

for yielding redeeming

 

jump into the mountain

ass backwards and grin

READ ME

Nobody should experience anything they don’t need to, if they don’t need poetry bully for them. I like the movies too.

Frank O' Hara