Two of Catherine Smith’s poetry collections have been shortlisted for the Forward Prize. Her work is widely anthologized. She also writes fiction and radio drama and her work has been adapted for Live Literature performances.
I Must Shine Like A Frantic Sausage Woman After New Skin
– my son arranges poetry magnets on the fridge.
Try starting a new line after woman, I suggest.
He ignores me, chews his lip and goes for
Satanic glove of President Hairy Princess elaborately had a delirious wife.
Not that it makes sense, he says, but then
poetry doesn’t have to make sense, does it?
I watch his swift fingers. He’s heading for
his first kiss, heartbreak, all-night parties
where, high on WKD and dope, everyone
will talk in code, where dim-lit living rooms
will be hot-boxed to seal in the stoned and seal out
the parents, who’ll be checking their watches,
silent as they watch the late-night movie,
hoping their kid won’t get pregnant, or left out.
It makes its own sense, I tell him, it depends,
sometimes, where you break the line and he laughs –
Oh Mum, that’s just so lame, how can it possibly matter
where you break the line?
With Love, and the Date
Here, now, in a dim, smoky room,
I am in love with this poet.
(I can’t help myself, and I have tried.)
He recites so cleanly, as if his tongue
is licking the length of my arm. So when
his reading’s over, I’m first
in the queue to buy the book.
I’m going to relish all his poems,
read them to myself in bed,
so when he smiles at me and says,
How silly of me, I haven’t got a pen,
I fumble in the dark belly of my bag
and my fingers close around something
slim, cylindrical. Could you sign it for –
I begin, and we both stare into my palm;
the plastic-wrapped tampon.
I’m burning. I’d like to die. With love,
he says quietly, should that be,
with love? And the date?
[With Love, and the Date was first published in Smiths Knoll.]
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