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Poems by the selectors for SOUTH 57

The poems for SOUTH are selected anonymously by guest selectors. We thank Joan McGavin and Lynda O'Neill who selected the poems for SOUTH 57.


I looked through my window at the supermoon.
It looked back, wiped me clean of sleep.

I’ve heard that it smells of gunpowder.
Of course there was no way to check.

I’ve heard that it’s not visited here
since before I was born – and I’m no young thing.

I saw how craggy its face had become.
How small my bump of a nose must have seemed to it!

And how easily, later, it turned my neighbour’s tree
into a black firework exploding.

© Joan McGavin


On the in-flight film
Britney snogs a well-endowed Latino
who raises his hands above her head,
a gesture I’ve seen before.

Tongues massage tonsils
more graphically than welcome
over our grey chicken, cheesecake cube.
Do the young still learn
how to kiss from films?

      Paul Newman holds a lucky starlet’s face
      as those famous eyes over cheekbones
      you could hang a hat on
      pierce with sincerity.

      The more downmarket Steve McQueen
      wears a baffled, caught-short-by-lust look
      as Natalie’s lipstick stays put.

      Muscles rippling in a white t-shirt,
      Marlon masterful but tender in
      'Streetcar named Desire', yells 'Stella!',
      jolts us in the one-and-nines.

I remember how, at the back of the Essoldo
with the latest acned candidate for my favours,
after the Pearl & Dean pillars and
the ketchupped, mustardy hot dog,
a spot of practice livens up
‘The Guns of Navarone’ no end
before the Vespa ride home,
a fumble under the barometer.

© Lynda O'Neill

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