17 July 2012

Tuesday poem: 'My mother and the projectionist', by Jenny Powell

My mother and the projectionist

She always missed
the beginnings, too busy
tidying minties and jubes,
stacking the chocolate,
cleaning her silver scoop.

If it was Mario Lanza
she wore her smock
with the smouldering
flair of a leading lady,
her hair plaited and coiled
in case he turned his gaze
to her seat in the circle,
close to the exit.

When she fell in love
with the projectionist
her life became a film.
Climbing the steps slow
and sultry she slid
into his room. They were
reel to reel, breath
to breath, body to body.

In the third drawer down
She hid his photo for 40 years
under a pile of jerseys.
A black and white flicker
of time on a silent screen.

This poem comes from Jenny Powell's latest book Ticket Home, a lovely hand-made chapbook from Cold Hub Press, who are busy over in Governor's Bay creating new New Zealand publications.

Jenny was the guest reader at the Poetry Society last night. It's been quite a few years since I've seen her read, and I really enjoyed hearing her again. This time I really noticed how she plays with rhyme and alliteration in her work - it's so much clearer when you hear it out loud. I have to confess I was a bit sleepy after the AGM, but she woke me up with her energetic reading style - especially with her first poem 'Southern woman' from Four French Horns.

She read quite a bit from this latest book, including 'My mother and the projectionist', which had struck me when I read the collection. As someone who has been obsessively writing about cinema for the last 5 or so years, it was right up my alley. But also such a romantic and tragic story. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

I noticed that Harvey Molloy has posted a video of Jenny reading another of my favourites from Ticket Home: http://harveymolloy.blogspot.co.nz/2012/07/tuesday-poem-double-blow-by-jenny.html. It's called 'Double blow' here, but is 'Isabella Blow' in the collection.

And then, you'll find more Tuesday poems via the hub blog: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.co.nz/.

03 July 2012

Tuesday Poem: 'The Sewing Room' by Vana Manasiadis

T h e  S e w i n g  R o o m .  T h e  d a u g h t e r s  a r e 
s u r r o u n d e d   b y  o p e n  b o x e s  a n d  c r a t e s . 
T h e  w i n d o w s  a r e  o p e n  a n d  t h e  w i n d ’ s 
p i c k e d  u p

What will we do with it then?

The dozens of boxes labelled Little Girls’ for a start?

You’ve heard her: don’t dare sell an inch for nothing to idiots

who’ll use woolblends for blankets and crushed silk for sheets

St Vinnie’s won’t do then

nor will ads in The Post

definitely not Trade Me

or friends who’ll frown and say: more trouble than worth, sad to say

We could keep it all

But where would we put it?

And I don’t sew

and I don’t have the time

What if we didn’t take it from her?

What do you mean?

I mean it’s all hers after all

But can she do anything with it now?

Maybe it could do something for her: whisk her away, lead her off

A trip?

Yes, now you’re getting it

She did love the sea

(although she never learnt to swim)

and she loved ships

she went on that cruise around the world

and she made us drink holy water

and sprinkled it into every room

We need to make a sail

Yes. A mighty patchwork

I’ve got the tartan over here, the red cord is next to you

and there’s this box: Special Occasions

and when we’re done we’ll fly it from the mast up on the roof

This’ll be big


It’ll be big enough to set the house adrift

turn the lawn blue

draw southerly sea-winds

flap seagulls out her way

Can you see her sailing up Akatea Street? Down The Parade?

Looks like she is heading towards The Strait

the Pacific

the Atlantic oceans

and now?

She’s caught the wind, she’s sailing alongside Poseidon’s very arm

Give me your binoculars: she’s floating

on the white organza

way above the sea spray.

Vana Manasiadis, from Ithaca Island Bay Leaves: A Mythistorima.

This poem is for Lela, for Matt, for Wiremu and for Iris, sailing above the sea spray.

I haven't blogged for ages. I hope this will be the beginning of a bit more.