Tag Archives: films

Sophie Mayer’s Her Various Scalpels

Sophie Mayer

Sophie Mayer by Lady Vervaine

      
Sophie Mayer writes passionately and politically about poetry and film anywhere and everywhere she can, including Horizon Review, Esprit de Corps, Blackbox Manifold, Sight & Sound, Little White Lies and Artesian. She blogs about reading as Delirium’s Librarian, and is a regular contributor to the review blog for Chroma journal, where she is commissioning editor. Her Various Scalpels (Shearsman, 2009), her first solo poetry collection, was the auspicious start to a very exciting three-book year, followed by The Cinema of Sally Potter: A Politics of Love (Wallflower, 2009)and (as co-editor) There She Goes: Feminist Filmmaking and Beyond (Wayne State University Press, 2009). Her next collection, The Private Parts of Girls, will be published by Salt in 2011, and she has future plans for encounters between poetry and film. Visit Sophie’s website.
   
   
Rearranging the Stars
Sophie Mayer
  
after Anthony Minghella’s The English Patient
  
Lost you. Out here, where a call to prayer shivers
stone into song, where night falls like knives,
  
there’s a trick to the sky, how you see it, smell
what’s coming. It is like reading. It’s so small
  
at first, and granular, then overwhelms: eyes,
mouth, hands, hair. You cannot possibly sleep.
  
But you do, lulled by wind and waking. Stories –
his stories, more stories than there could be stars –
   
breathe around you with their shine, draw hearts
on dirty glass. You know what they find in deserts:
   
fragments. Texts under sand winds, brilliant disasters.
And you, in secret, on fire with new constellations.
   
   
Previously published in Staple 71: The Art Issue (Summer 2009).
  
  
Her Various Scalpels

  
pieuvres / lèvres (lilies / lips)
Sophie Mayer
  
Did I realise then that I would spend my whole life
with their lipstick on my face. Other girls and their kisses
 
goodbye. I know that now, having watched soft asses
walk away from me, having been paid my tithe
 
for watchful quiet. For the flattery of desire. Ingrown
hair, that’s what it’s like: turning against the razor
 
blade and on itself. Like my toes, curled mazily
through each other with waiting, waiting that flows
 
up my calves and out my mouth. A shower in reverse:
a fountain, inwards out: And what was in her,
 
I felt that too. All her hardness in my fingers
rattling her stem. All those flower words, perverse
 
euphemisms for a force like an ocean
in a swimming pool. Did she not see
 
what poured out of (her into) me? Salt of her sea,
stick of her sap. And it’s not the explosion
 
that I’m talking about, her wet cunt a concrete
underpass around my hand. It’s the light that thrums
 
from her lily-mouth, her pollinated tongue
extended like a stamen. Like a beesting hot-sweet
 
under the skin, a tear oozing from an eye. An ingrown
hair turning outwards against skin tough as petals
 
under drops of rain. The pain of it like cold metal,
like waiting. The stem of spit plunges down
 
and you wonder that such softness does such hurt.
No softness in the doing: spit’s active as a limb,
  
a cock, a race, a city street. It dances itself thin.
The stem of things. Wet birth. My first.
 
 
Buy Her Various Scalpels (Shearsman, 2009) here.

Simon Barraclough’s ‘The Open Road’

The Open Road
Simon Barraclough

 
What if colour film came first
and all these searing sunsets, curly copper mops,
pink-fringed parasols and gaudy frocks
were so much blah to an eye that thirsts
  
to watch an ashen rose unfurl,
see the charcoal sheen of a peacock’s tail,
a seascape rolling in drab grayscale,
dun smudges on the cheeks of girls;
  
dancing flames of heatless brume,
rockets spraying asterisks of chalk,
greybells blooming on pallid stalks,
the world’s flags starred and striped with gloom?
  
We wouldn’t dress our hearts in motley threads
and fix the world in greens and reds,
projecting all the loves we said
we’d never leave but left for dead,
  
and might not glimpse the widening seam
between the separating reds and greens
of everything we’d thought we’d seen
on our memory’s monitor or silver screen.
  
  
 
First published in Los Alamos Mon Amour (Salt Publishing, 2008).
  
Read about The Open Road, the 1926 British colour travelogue that inspired Simon’s poem, here.
  
Visit Simon’s Salt Publishing author page and read more about
Los Alamos Mon Amour here.
  
Check out Simon’s website.

Tom & Viv

“I don’t keep a line that Viv hasn’t approved.  I rely on her completely.  She’s my first audience.”

– Willem Dafoe as TS (Tom) Eliot
 
 
“I gave Tom the title to The Waste Land.  We worked together side by side for years.  I am threaded through every line of poetry he has ever written.  And he has my undying love.  He will have it until the last breath leaves my body.  And he knows it.  And nobody can ever take that away.”

– Miranda Richardson as Vivienne Eliot
 
 
“Vivie was, of course, the strong one.  She made cowards of us all.  Well, me, certainly.  Terrible, really.  Can’t forget it.  It never mattered to Vivie what the world might think.  She’s a very honest person, you see.  She stuck by her beliefs.  She believed in Tom and his genius.  She loved him and she stuck by him.  Never left him.  Never ever left him.”

– Tim Dutton as Maurice Haigh-Wood (Vivienne’s brother)

*
   
“And last, the rending pain of re-enactment
Of all that you have done, and been; the shame
Of motives late revealed, and the awareness
Of things ill done and done to others’ harm
Which once you took for exercise of virtue.
Then fools’ approval stings, and honour stains.
From wrong to wrong the exasperated spirit
Proceeds, unless restored by that refining fire
Where you must move in measure, like a dancer.”

– TS Eliot, from “Little Gidding” (Four Quartets)

Sex, Drugs and Modern Art

“Everybody wants to get on the van Gogh boat.  There’s no trip so horrible that someone won’t take it.  The idea of the unrecognised genius slaving away in a garret is a deliciously foolish one.  We must credit the life of Vincent van Gogh for really sending this myth into orbit.  I mean how many pictures did he sell?  One?  He couldn’t give them away.  We are so ashamed of his life that the rest of art history will be retribution for van Gogh’s neglect.
 
In this town, one is at the mercy of the recognition factor.  One’s public appearance is absolute.   Part of the artist’s job is to get the work where I will see it.  I consider myself a metaphor of the public.  I am a public eye, a witness, a critic.  When you first see a new picture, you don’t want to miss the boat.  You have to be very careful because you may be staring at van Gogh’s ear.”
 
– art critic and poet, Rene Ricard, in Basquiat (1996)
  (written and directed by Julian Schnabel. 
  Based on a story by Lech J Majewski.)