Thursday, June 23, 2011

Two Poems by JoAnne McKay

From The Fat Plant

Diamond People

There was a shooting once in Bristol
on a brilliant shining august day.
Unsurprisingly, I can remember
the name of the killer: Crackhead Trevor.
The man who died?
His name? His name I have forgot,
but not his roles: jewellery shop manager,
victim, nor the golden hair still gleaming
on the remaining side of his head –
it was a shotgun job, you see.

And there were others too that blinding day
whose names… whose names I have forgot.
The woodentop, recently excised
from collator’s office where he had sat
amongst paper shadows and bad men’s names
for far too many informing years,
he had the brains to grab the witness
and drive her straightway to St. Pauls
to tour the area to see if he,
the suspect (name unknown then) could be found.

And that witness was a youngish woman
with a daughter dressed in sparkling blue
who she gave away to a passer-by
older woman, but stranger still
trusting child’s life to an unknown other
to seek the killer of an unknown man.

She found him, by the way, and I was there.

And we chased Trevor in our escort
and knocked him down and he got up
and we jumped out and ran and got him
and as I held him, found I was holding still
the cigarette lit as we left the scene
tiny comet trail sparks on bloody jeans.

Once he was safe at the station and swabbed
I returned to shining Park Street,
where the sunlight bouncing off the stone
made the whole rising street heavenly.
When another woman walked up to me
and handed over an eternity ring
worth fifty-seven thousand pounds, 
and she looked so sad that a man had died,
so she did her bit, for this could be
important, unsoiled, evidence.

Trevor had been emptying his pockets as he ran
and in the following hazy days
many others, nameless now
handed us precious, shining jewels
whose glints made hard certain that we’d found
the route Trevor ran down to get to ground.
All these people, these good, good people
and the only name I can now recall
is that
of Crackhead Trevor.

JoAnne McKay
© 2009-present

From Venti

The Magdalene Fleur-de-Lis

Call me Iris. Call me Lily. Your flower.
I’ll keep the boys’ chins up in wartime,
French letters and kisses a lover’s mime
that only costs them three francs for an hour.
It’s memory of me that lends them power,
yellow flag on an azure bed through time
of all the symbol whores I reign sublime;
meanings bloom with every passing shower.
Bas-relief in Babylon, carried by kings,
my spear-head as sceptre shines divine right,
the splayed sepal structure inside me cries
to the Three-In-One whose salvation sings
from within to those who can hear the light:
I split as prism before your rainbowed eyes.

JoAnne McKay
© 2009-present

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