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Tome On The Range

Two Poems By: Amy Key
Karl Smith , October 6th, 2013 11:00

This week's new writing comes from London-based poet Amy Key, with two pieces from her forthcoming collection Luxe

Amy Key grew up in Kent and South Shields. She co-edits the online journal Poems in Which. Her pamphlet Instead of Stars was published by tall-lighthouse in 2009.

Amy Key's debut collection, Luxe, will be published by Salt in November 2013 with a launch event on November 28th.

Here, For Your Amusement

Colourwise I’m more meadow than hedgerow
though I have wooden clothes pegs and underneath it all
I’m comfortable as a smock. Less wild than a meadow.
I expect you will wonder what this is all about – well it’s wrong,
like giving names to the eggs in the box.

Here is a picture of a horse very proud of itself.
Here is a drawing of a flower, from hundreds of years ago
– you will still find such flowers in the garden! There is something
you will want to understand in these pictures,
so you spend time with them. Perhaps that’s what it’s about.

I would like to be able to make a very nearly complete list,
of everything that matters to me, leaving nothing out.
Is that what it’s like to be afraid to die? Also
to have the most inquisitive eyes and see beauty beauty
beauty pick away at the wallowing mortar.
To know the composure of a closed clam.

“Too Gruesome!”

Rather a cupboard full of cut-off ponytails than this. I want a life
that allows excessive exclamation. Is not my bed a good bed?
Are my cupboards not stocked in the manner of someone who knows things?
Don’t smirk. We’re talking about me!

I need someone I don’t know for the purposes of affirmation.
It may be Delores. We’re in Palma, dining near the Cathedral.
We take to each other. She invites us to join her in Madrid. We each
have a cute gesture for ‘airplane’. Delores has “an affinity with artists”.
I knew you were a poet she says, gravely.
Most people in Palma dress drab, but Delores knows what suits her.
As we said goodbye, I took off the bracelet she admired and gave it to her.
She wept. Faux-wept. Wept.

R’s convinced my problems are down to being a little ‘too’ most things.
Other friends marshal a rebuttal. Presently, I am creating a mind map
of cause and effect. Would you care to see my mood board (bedroom)?

        I imagine walking down the aisle to ‘Clair de Lune’ in primrose shantung silk.
        I dream in an Orenburg shawl.
        I imagine serenades. Look! The squirrels are skipping!
        I imagine my terribly sad divorce.
        I listen for ardent whispers, “never seen two people more in love”.

C and I gloss our common woes. She takes that sofa and I take this.
In New York, she was described as a ‘Smurf Angel’. In France
as ‘Sapin de Noël’, although faux-misheard as ‘Lapin’. Everyone agrees
she is a Christmas Rabbit. Sometimes I buy makeup just to impress her.
When amores are badly behaved we chorus “Vintage Dino!”
and make our best faces-not-for-an-amore. We go together
but don’t have compatible tastes in the roast potato department.

I wish ironed pillowcases counted for something,
though I’ve learned kindnesses don’t. For a while there
I believed I could imbue affection by means of foot worship.
Silly ideas in that pretty little head! When asked a grand question
like ‘What makes you happy?’ I worry I’m answering from the point
of view of the me on a balcony in Majorca, drunk and rearing
a broken heart, my foot levitated to block out the moon.

I sign off with ‘mille tendresse’ and neutralise my self-image.

Photograph by Travis Elborough