Sophie Mayer’s Kiss Off

 
 
 
Sophie Mayer is the author of the poetry collections Her Various Scalpels (Shearsman), The Private Parts of Girls (Salt), and Kiss Off (Oystercatcher), with Lemniscate (Knives, Forks and Spoons) forthcoming. She teaches creative writing for universities and activist reading for English PEN, and is a regular film reviewer for Sight & Sound and The F-Word . Her latest project is I Don’t Call Myself a Poet, an online anthology of interviews with contemporary poets living and working in the UK and Ireland.
 
 
 

 
 
“Love letters across continents, eras and genders between Orlando (Woolf’s and Potter’s/Swinton’s) and Alex (protagonist of Lucia Puenzo’s film XXY, played by Inés Efron), with a twist of feminist theory and all the colours of evolution’s rainbow.”
  
 
 
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“The words of the gurlesque luxuriate: they roll around in the sensual here while avoiding the sharpness of overt messages, preferring the curve of sly mockery to theory or revelation.”

– James McLaughlin, Stride
  
 
 
“This is a beautifully orchestrated, bravura performance for mind and voice. Or, perhaps, minds and voices. For …  the writing reaches out through friends, texts and influences to the jostling realities of the contemporary world … the Acknowledgements section of Sophie Mayer’s pamphlet mentions Luce Irigaray, David Attenborough, Wikipedia and Joan Roughgarden. Oh, and it also names the friends who contributed to the project by responding to those very first tentative notes on Facebook.”

– Peter Hughes, Poetry Book Society
 
 
 
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First Round
 
 
KO to your kisser, sister
lips meeting red leather
you better / go down
this is the kiss-
off blister (this
bliss this bliss too much
lip in all shades and flavours
chocolate ice cherry
pie berry burst fruit of the forest frost fairy
high / gloss
makes lips
stick / screw
courage to the speckled mirror
(they call me the kiss-mister
fogging up your silvered
your hornrims with my hot
breath in a blotted
lipprint lined
in pink no
mess no miss
no make
up in school yes
miss marked
my work with red-
inked kisses small
strawberries of errancy
truancy (run away
with me like a sadie
benning video like
a browneyed girl in the ring
and breaking free
of the wooden o
wouldn’t
oh
sign here for your
absence xo
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
Third Attempt] (ExtraIrigaray)
 
 
A lipped kiss of crossed legs un
crossing. O, you think so do you
wear the pants she pants lips o
pen he writes see ho
wever you pitch it, pitch like a girl (high no
tes, glass rimmed with lip
stick tracery ornate as dynamite
criss-crossed for the takedown (the lo
vebomb wants us all in the o
of wound how juicy how moanumental

the ice breaks up and in
the cut she writes on the mirror over the fatal
washbasin no
pen eyeliner will have to do so
many things (kohl and response
able to lid or lip touching
brush pencil or liquid it will make you
a star
t as
tart a st.
art astarte

in a doublet and farthingale
in a black tux and nylons
in an island nightclub
in a shower a singlet
in the darkness
you are the darkness o
pacity, o paucity of your sync sound
I want to speak with the inside of yo
u

secretly / glancing / eyeline / (o)r love
matches (burnt) letters
addressed for my eyes
only and signed
XO
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
XO 5th S[ea N]ymphony
 
 
you’re a kiss-in in
an aquarium gold
fish lips and bottlenose a little
pokery (when jiggery
makes waves you stay in the still
ness you pitch trough

and you’re home free
squid-flushed with the first
lick of ocean (made me ink
myself hey blue
and all the dolphin-swimming
clichés kick around you click
with your tongue
the diver it’s
become (coraling
fish into glitterballs for the eating

and when the gannets dive wing
folded you rise
to meet them dancing
beak to beak a lucky
streak of finned silver (all dorsal
flex oh yes you are
a muscle crunched and stretched the length
of a lipped horizon under sunset
dipping redly for the perfect picture
postcard wish you were (stamp / licked o

raise a blush from the deeps
of my skin (sunk there by squalls
and cannonballs all spar
and seaweed now full
stripped and seachanged
see the mermaid curled
upon my decks (yo
ho yo ho yo
u who should scratch
pervert see her mix the fresh
into the salt and glitter
out her sign off her call
sign Radio (raise yo
hands in the air
xo
 
 
 
 
from Kiss Off (Oystercatcher Press, 2011).
 
Order Kiss Off.
 
Order Sea Pie: A Shearsman anthology of Oystercatcher poetry,
edited by Peter Hughes (Shearsman, 2012).
 
Visit Sophie’s website.
 
 
 
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