Die Back

 

Downpour. Over his ale,
he tells me, Ash wood burns wet.
Trains in disarray, villages
silenced. The English—
forever unprepared. To reach
a bus stop we needed waders.

That website showed us
how to spot the rot: patches
in bark like porter soaking
shirtsleeves; twigs’
black fingernails bared
above canopies.

We fought flash floods
on roads which closed like zips
behind us, to this inn fire
under these ceiling beams.
Some things appear changeless;
there are no tales of tomorrow.

Away in lanes, overhung by ashes’
banana-bunch branches, comes
a creeping flame. Another ale—
he tells me there were fewer
floods, back in his day.

Coming Up for Air

 

She makes him taste of tarragon,
olive oil, black pepper.
He does not rinse his beard.
He wants to wear it

into the warm street like a lit flume.
People gull around his wake,
scenting his beard
comb the line of hers.

A man with rolled sleeves
sniffs and wants to plunge
his tongue
but, through a window, a cab driver

draws breath, tasting
how he waited on
her nipple.
In the foyer, a clerk’s hand

floats over keys,
watching lift-numbers
kiss up her ribs, back down.
The lift fills with pepper

and tarragon. He parts the way,
his beard glowing like her olive
glow, he licks spiced lips
and remembers: goes in.

Creep

 

Your carpet crawls like droplets on a hotplate
and the fear of tiny mouthfuls grows, exponential
to fleabites.

The TV fizzes, and news is scroungers
piggyback our sweet creatures: the country
begins to flake.

You go outside, where dog walkers pointedly
claw at the dole office. Suspicion
crawls up you

as you back for home. Through the curtain,
every curtain on the street fidgets
like carpet fibres.

Bolt Down This Earth

£9.99

Davies can never be accused of leaving his reader unmoved.
Andy Hickmott

Bolt Down This Earth is published by V. Press and is Gram Joel Davies’ first poetry collection.


Cover design by Ruth Stacey

Bolt Down This Earth pulses with energy. These poems hang between ambition and loss; they span survival in the home and on hilltops, stretch over break-ups and break-downs. Gram Joel Davies strips back the boards of existence to look at the wires—searching for human voices where the breeze hums though cable or branch. Adolescent ritual turns to a “lightbulb crushed into light.” His imagery is electrifying. Harmony and dissonance cause unexpected meanings to crackle and spark, while scenes and relationships fuse, so that a “power station is an ice cube / across the mica flats / and cider stymies us.”

Bolt Down This Earth is very vital and very charged.

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Poetry Book Society, Spring 2017

These poems fluctuate between intense personal moments such as quietly mourning a man still living: “When his whimper finally breaks, /a ring of light hides everything”, to wider shared experiences as described in his poem ‘Clubbers’. Unatnticipated meanings arise and Davies leaves ample space for the readers’ own interpretations. A striking collection, full of vitality and enjoyment of the poetic craft.

See book on Poetry Book Society website.

Review: ‘The Knowledge Weapon’ by Annette C. Boehm (Bare Fiction 2016), for The Lake

Boehm’s subject matter ranges and intrigues. So many voices, like the many heads of Mombi. Figures of literary canon crop up, with appearances by King Midas, Lewis Carroll and Elizabeth Bishop. Frequently in a retro mode, Boehm has a preoccupation with outdated science and the propriety of another age. Think of titles such as “A is for Atom—An Instructional Film (1952)”, “a Bird, a Plane, a Man” or “How to Use the Commodore, 1982”, which manufacture a fantastical America of yesteryear, and manage to be both nostalgic and never more than a shade away from sinister. I love the old-school geekiness.

Read the full review in The Lake, June 2017