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First Kiss – Cara L Mckee

Today we celebrate the launch of the latest collection from Maytree Press, Cara L McKee’s stunning debut, First Kiss.

Heartfelt and passionate, First Kiss invites the reader on a journey of discovery and sexual awakening. Whilst the central theme may be one of coming of age, the collection evolves into a heartbreaking antiphon for independence and survival. A wonderful accessible collection that deserves to be enjoyed again and again and with cover artwork by leading British artist, Annie Ovenden, one to be cherished for years to come.

You can join Cara for an on-line launch of the collection today (Friday) via her Instagram page – search CaraLMcKee. The book is also available from the Maytree shop

 

I took from the sea

I took from the sea
you, my fisherman-sailor
patterned with koi fish,
needled into human clay
which reddens, washed by water.

I gave you kisses,
needled Xs into skin
to remember flesh,
to mark the spots I miss you,
still kiss you on the water.

I took from the sea
your hot kisses which returned,
washed out by the waves.
Your fish swirl into sea.
Kisses fade, washed in water.

I gave my sailor,
kissed him deep into the sea,
all the coy kisses
needled into white clay bone
fading, gone to the water.

Nick

who wasn’t me though we were born
on the same day, lived in the same house. Nick,
today I saw you on screen. You were
alive, so alive that I Googled you.
Did you know online our birthday’s wrong?
Did you let loose that year with a shrug?
Did you lie? Flutter your lashes
make yourself pretty? Did you do that for them?
You did that for me once. We might have been
joking about being carved from the same clay
until that morning. You came early,
bringing me your fears of all you’d given
in the night – your stories, hardly set, untold.
We kissed them right again, remade you as
the man you claimed to be, a dazzle
in our small world as we climbed together
shifting our horizons. As the dew soaked us
you pulled your stories straight. That was all, and
much later, I did not feel you go, which
was proof really, that all our similarities
didn’t make us the same. You are done, Nick.
I am told death was not your doing, yet
I blame you. It’s your turn to prove me wrong.

 

 

 

Fizz and Hiss

Today, in a slight change to our normal schedule, we celebrate Johanna Boal’s latest poetry pamphlet from Maytree Press.

There is so much to love about Johanna’s second collection of poems that it’s difficult to summarise in just a brief paragraph. Beneath joyful language were everyday objects mix seamlessly with images of the natural world personified there is a deep sense of nostalgia and understated sorrow from a writer at one with the order of life.

Available now direct from Maytree Shop

Gran’s Pegs

Gran lived in a terraced house
with a ten-foot garden but no grass.
The doghouse was hidden out of sight
behind the tin bin and the outhouse.

It was always the white line that got me —
the cleanest clothes line stretched across the garden
that looked like Gran had bought a new one with every fancy.

But she longed for blue or yellow —
the ones at Woolworths with matching plastic pegs
instead of the wooden ones that split apart
until she pushed the spring back in
with just the tip of her thumb.

She would wince but never moan.
Gran lived near the canal with the stink
of the brewery filling the air. The pegs
hung like pieces of driftwood on the line.
Gran never travelled far.

 

Snowdon

how alluring and mouth-watering.
Face perfect – blood-red full lips, black oval eyes
set out on the pale skin air – sedimentary rocks
thinned out from the sun like sun-kissed freckles.
Loose shale a harsh brow when I slipped, jumping,
shadows fashioned like mascara smudged Snowdon.
The jagged hair mixed with round feminine features
on your ridges. Wind blowing, frost biting, sun glaring.
Me, squinting at the rocks dropping away, death and beauty
edging the floor of the valley. Look – a reflection,
my face on the mountain in the fast-flowing river.

 

Fizz cover

 

 

 

The Ghost Hospital

Today we celebrate the Maytree Press launch of The Ghost Hospital by Pauline Rowe.

Described by 2019 T S Eliot shortlisted poet, Deryn Rees-Jones as a ‘remarkable book’, we might be slightly biased but have to agree.

Pauline will be launching the collection with a special reading at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery on the 21 November – more details here

If you can’t wait for the launch, or unable to get to Liverpool, then you can get your hands on this very special book over at the Maytree shop – here

Bequest

I bequeath him my skull
(inside which he leads another life),

my hip bones, the roots of my teeth, my scars,
the ones tight with secrets like lieder,
the ones that ache when it rains.

I go back in dreams to that cold kitchen,
stirring porridge on a 2-ring stove.

I didn’t see the devil that winter
nor dress even the smallest tree.

I forgot the accommodations of ribbons
though there was frost enough for two.

It replays itself, his head to one side,
playful, keeping his word, so real
I can taste his breath.

My desire then was a pearl –
perfect, no start, no end, no memory of grit.

 

The Cotton Grass Appreciation Society

Today we celebrate the launch of our first anthology, The Cotton Grass Appreciation Society. Published by Maytree Press, the collection features forty seven poems inspired by the South Pennine landscapes, towns and people. The book features poems by Simon Armitage, Tom Weir, Hannah Stone, Jo Haslam, Gaia Holmes and many more. We’ll be celebrating the launch today with editors, David Coldwell and Mark Kelley at the Marsden Walking Festival where an array of poets featured in the collection will be joining us at Marsden Library from 6pm. Join us if you can.

You can order your copy now direct from our on-line shop – dare we say; it makes a perfect stocking filler.

At the Kitchen Table

The late spring snow
catches us off-guard,
drifts against the henhouse wall,
blots out the distant moors.

And here, in this borrowed house,
we watch, transfixed,
brave the blizzard
to throw scraps for the birds,
half-wishing it could always be like this.

Just you and I
at the kitchen table—
your crossword, my novel,
the weekend papers,
the last bottle of oak-aged red
waiting on the shelf.

Yet we know
the snow will thaw by morning,
and we’ll drive down the lane
for bread and logs,
ice-melt from the trees
pattering on the bonnet.

Then, too soon,
the workday grind will call us back
to the small house in the town,
where everything is a little less bright
and a little less kind.

As we leave,
the weather will change again,
the brilliant shine of it
making us smile,
and I’ll point out a newborn lamb,
his ears luminous, backlit by the sun,
as he watches us drive away.

Amanda Huggins

 

9781916038141

Colin Dardis

Burnt Out Car on Glenshane Pass

“That wouldn’t have been done in daylight.”
Mind you, there’s traffic here all the time
the countryside never at sleep.

Perhaps the flames were awaiting flakes
of snow to dampen its crime, turning
metalwork to eggshell, lustre to dust.

Then thieves tramping back home,
full of drunken exhilaration,
or perhaps, the morning meeting

with insurance claims, paperwork,
the value of guilt inked inside
a little white box of unknowing.

 

 

Colin Dardis was one of Eyewear Publishing’s Best New British and Irish Poets 2016, with a collection with Eyewear, the x of y, forthcoming in 2018. His work has been published widely throughout Ireland, the UK and USA. Colin also co-runs Poetry NI and is the online editor for Lagan Press. www.colindardispoet.co.uk

 

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