Ross Sutherland’s Things To Do Before You Leave Town

 
Ross Sutherland was born in Edinburgh in 1979. He was included in The Times’s list of Top Ten Literary Stars of 2008. His debut poetry collection, Things To Do Before You Leave Town (Penned in the Margins), was published in January this year. Ross is also a member of the poetry collective Aisle16 with whom he runs Homework, an evening of literary miscellany in East London. His one-man poetry/comedy show, The Three Stigmata of Pacman, debuts at the Old Red Lion Theatre in Islington in January 2010. Visit Ross’s website.
 

Ross Sutherland

    
 
Critical praise for my last relationship
Ross Sutherland
   
At first glance, our faces appeared little more
than frayed notes, hinting at a distant mood.
Yet, on reflection, there was something compelling in that fraying:
My beard was loaded with the channeled pressure of something
                                                       being said.
Her eyes were not one thought, but two.
   
If you kept your nerve and stuck with us
You would have found that each day we spent together
had a distinct tone and shape.
Our subject range was impressive:
A man regresses himself through his previously owned automobiles,
A snow crystal grows synthetically on a petri dish,
Ovid laments his exile from Rome.
   
In winter, we underwent an odd shift of register.
Humour masked an aposiopesis. I trailed off into northern slang.
My invocation of a lost England was haunting in its fragility,
A place Frank Ormsby at the Belfast Telegraph described as
                                                      ‘a world of cries’.
  
She was as personal as Emily Dickinson.
I was as striking.
We were happy spanning joy and death together.
Cutting out every word we dared,
then walking out upon empty streets,
heat rising up into the negative space above us.
  
There were occasional poor lines,
but they were made noticeable by their rarity.
A meditation on the exchange of Christmas gifts
whilst well written,
felt too much like a generic picture of despair.
  
   
 
Published in Things To Do Before You Leave Town
(Penned in the Margins, 2009).
  
Buy Things To Do Before You Leave Town.
  
Check out a new animation based on another of Ross’s poems from Things To Do Before You Leave Town.

3 thoughts on “Ross Sutherland’s Things To Do Before You Leave Town

  1. Julie

    Excellent!! I wish I could write longer lines with such flow. And big cheers for this line:
    “Her eyes were not one thought, but two.” It’s a lovely pause and awesome emphasis after stanza one.

    I love the title and book cover, too. His style reminds me of a friend of mine, so now I have more links to pass along to a friend. Thanks again, Michelle!

  2. Pingback: One Night Stanzas » Blog Archive » Procrastination Station #59: Happy 2010!

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