Featured Publication – Seal Wife by Kitty Coles

Our featured publication for January is Seal Wife by Kitty Coles, published by Indigo Dreams Publishing.

Seal Wife uses stories and characters taken from folktales, fairy tales and myths to explore themes of loss, longing and transformation.

‘Kitty Coles submerges herself in the world of myth, fairy tale and legend to meld together personal, natural and supernatural worlds. Teeming with dramatic imagery, these poems reflect a remarkable, and at times, macabre imagination. An exciting first collection that will, like the persona in The Doe-Girl , ‘leave tracks, like tidy hearts, behind’.’ Maggie Sawkins

‘This is a confident poetry, dextrous in its unforced appropriation of allegorical and mythic tropes…Not unlike Ian Duhig’s ‘The Lammas Hireling’, Seal Wife achieves a powerful lift-off into the strange, the occult and the preternatural. Never less than convincing, this is an impressive debut highly worthy of our attention.’ – Martin Malone

seal wife

 

Ragnarok

He will not go quietly, this old red autumn.
The sunsets burn like flares at the horizon.
The air is weighted with the stink of pyres.
Blight makes the leaves surrender, dry and fall.

The river has unseamed the banks and risen
across the fields, made moats around the trees.
Above the mountain, the clouds coagulate.
They turn themselves to blackness, choke the stars.

And we, revolving in our draughty heaven,
dwindle like wasps when winter thins their stores.
I will see you again on the other side of the water.
Our sustenance will be the morning dew.

 

The Doe-Girl

She had always been timid,
reticent, secretive,
wide-eyed, easily startled
by sudden noises,
thin-legged, fond of woodland,
prone to running.

One day, she sensed a pressure
in the skull. Antlers
emerged, puny at first,
malformed.
Her ears lengthened
and her eyes, once blue,
turned black all over,
like ink spreading through water.

Now, we glimpse her sometimes,
moving between tree-trunks,
across clearings,
wary, at a distance.
Her hooves leave tracks,
like tidy hearts, behind.
She vanishes, silent,
among leaves,
dapples of light.
We don’t think she knows us
any more.

 

The Seeds Of The Pomegranate

have a perfumed flavour, biting and luscious,
streak the wrists with fluid.
Their juice marks cloth almost indelibly.

We share a fruit. You halve it and the blade
forces apart the grisly mass of jewels.
You hack, they bleed, fight to retain their wholeness.

You feed me arils from your guilty fingers.
Their smell is winey, green, but I think
of my flesh, the cysts beading its centre.

My mother scours the city
as we lie here. I am lost to her light.
My mouth is full of your gift.

 

Seal Wife

The weather turns.
A wind from the north has flown in,
with its violent curse,
and it raises the waves
till I cannot shut out their yowling.

The old scars itch on my flank,
disquieted.
The hairs on my spine rise up
in the chill that presses
itself under the door,
an insinuating ghost.

The cat has wound herself
to an endless running
from one end of the house to the other,
poor bristling devil.

The grass is aching with frost.
Birds fall, small toys,
from the trees in their deaths.
The cold is murderous.

In the churchyard, the drowned
walk at noon as if it were night.
They return to old beds,
slip in by their frozen wives.

And I am numbing myself
with my baking, my stitching, by washing
the floors till the stone begins to thin.
I hide my face from the mirror:
its enquiry threatens.
If I could forget, the water could not claim me.

 

Previous publication credits are ‘Ragnarok’ – The Cro Magnon, The Seeds of the Pomegranate – The Interpreter’s House, and Seal Wife – Obsessed with Pipework. 

Kitty Coles lives in Surrey and works as a senior adviser for a charity supporting disabled people. Her poems have been widely published in magazines and anthologies. She is one of the two winners of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2016 and her first pamphlet, Seal Wife, was published in 2017. Her website is  www.kittyrcoles.com

Seal Wife (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2017) may be purchased from: http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/kitty-coles/4593990487

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Featured Publication – You’ve never seen a doomsday like it by Kate Garrett

Our featured publication for September is You’ve never seen a doomsday like it by Kate Garrett, published by Indigo Dreams Publishing.

These are poems about surviving doomsdays. People use the word doomsday to describe the apocalypse, and apocalypse simply means ‘an uncovering of knowledge’. Every life has its share of apocalyptic moments—not only great catastrophes, but also small secret revelations, and surprise twists of good fortune as well. They leave you with lessons learned, and stories to tell.

 

9781910834558

 

You’ve never seen a doomsday like it

He opens the car door for two sweat-and-dirt sculpted
children with ten cent hope – their earth-scent rising
as they root through decades of leftovers, synthetic dreams
once resting on every child’s lips: Smurfs, Garfield, He-Man.

My life at bargain prices, in stasis, this millennial cusp.

An askew Rockwell: the boy and girl treasure hunting
as the July sun makes toffee of the driveway, holds itself
multiplied in each cell of each husk of the rows of green corn
along the road from here to the village.

He asks where I’m going.
 
London, I say, the one in England, not Ohio. His face
doesn’t darken or cloud the way they say faces do;
his eyes stay the same blue when he says I am right
to get out. Either get away or load your gun. This year
 
2000 isn’t going to be pretty. These cornfields will burn.
Houses will be searched, he says, and I’ll be dragged away
like the rest. And he’s going to get his wife and kids
and keep driving. But you get on that plane,

he says, don’t come back –

my life spread out on folding tables between us,
the man laying down five American dollars for pieces
of my childhood; five American dollars
I will change to pounds sterling, while they’re
still worth something, while we have the choice.
 

An august sacrament

The sun lowered itself into our six o’clock
armchair, blushing cream walls to the tune
of Dionysus’s blood, your faith between
my ribs chanting thanks to God for the static
under fingernails

and when the same sun has gone tortoise-slow
and quiet through the ground beneath us
the breeze that didn’t blow today transforms
a moonless night into myth – a remark thrown into shape:
it’s summer, these things happen.

I know
you would dance through
blackthorn if I asked.

You know
I try to believe
in empires, effigies.

 

They say three is the magic number

I. Vows

We sealed the cusp of winter
with wine and a kiss – our lips on the rim
of each glass purging scars; your voice
carried promises across a room in front
of your God and our friends; my tongue
traced the arc of our story: from a damp
night in June to trading silver rings
in a dying afternoon, daring the dark.

II. Prayers

It’s said All Hallows’ Eve is when
the barrier between two worlds thins out
lets all sorts through – spirits, demons, ghosts.
I’d whispered my own brand of prayer
all autumn long: she could claim her place
after the dress was worn, after dancing and relief
from the ache in my feet, after the wine flowed to a stop.

In the Samhain dark, just barely wed, we married
flesh and soul between midnight and the witching hour,
arms and legs woven together – laid out as kindling
on a bonfire bed, licking flames.

And if dimensions met that night
beyond some lifted veil
while our bodies were inseparable –
who can say which action cast the spell?

III. Completion

November soon brought a sadness, a sickness.
Maybe it was too much drink,
maybe a bleed was on the way,
or maybe after the celebrations
we should expect this comedown
under bare trees, steel clouds.

With the third week came exhaustion
and two pink lines
and I understood everything.

 

Previous publication credits for the poems are Prole, Melancholy Hyperbole, and The Black Light Engine Room Literary Magazine, respectively.

Kate Garrett’s poetry has been widely published, nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and longlisted for a 2016 Saboteur Award. She is also the founding editor of Three Drops Press and Picaroon Poetry. Kate lives in Sheffield with her husband and four children. Twitter – @mskateybelle

More information on You’ve never seen a doomsday like it – and details of how to purchase a copy –  can be found on the Indigo Dreams Publishing website.