Friday Poem – Darling, Would You Please Pick up those Books?


This week’s Friday Poem is one of Poetry Editor Amy Wack’s ‘favourite sestinas of all time’ and is taken from God Loves You by Kathryn Maris.

Friday Poem Kathryn Maris God Loves YouKathryn Maris borrows rhythms, vocabulary and themes from the Bible in this collection of poems. The result is more than artful parody, although a sly wit is in evidence. It is an approach that accommodates large themes, unravelling them in new ways.
The first section, ‘What will the neighbours think?, is a kaleidoscopic view of the sins and sinners of the modern city and opens, appropriately enough, with a vision of a flood to rival Noah’s. The poems feature domestic discord, gossip, suicide, celebrity and anxiety about the safety and behaviour of children and spouses. It says much about this poet’s meticulous poise and tone that we are lured into these scenarios with our sympathies fully engaged. The following sections subvert scripture more directly. A skilful use of form is characteristic, as in the sestina ‘Darling, Will You Please Pick up those Books?’ Other pieces are set out in the numbered style of psalms or parables but have an entirely contemporary edge.

 

Darling, Would You Please Pick up those Books?

How many times do I have to say
get rid of the books off the goddamn floor
do you have any idea how it feels
to step over books you wrote about her
bloody hell you sadist what kind of man
are you all day long those fucking books

in my way for 3 years your acclaimed books
tell me now what do you have to say
for yourself you think you’re such a man
silent brooding pondering at the floor
pretending you’re bored when I mention her
fine change the subject ask ‘Do I feel

like I need more medication’ NO I don’t feel
like I need more medication it’s the books
don’t you see don’t you see it’s her
why don’t you listen to anything I say
and for God’s sake books on the floor
are a safety hazard remember that man

from Cork who nearly died fine that man
fell over a hurley not a book but I don’t feel
you’re getting the point the point is that a floor
is not an intelligent place for books
books I have to see and books that say
exactly where and how you shagged her

what shirt she wore before you shagged her
I can write a book too about some man
better still about you I can say
something to demonize you how would you feel
about that ha ha why don’t I write a book
about how I hoover your sodding floor

and how you’ve never once hoovered your floor
why can’t I be a muse why can’t I be a ‘her’
what does one have to do to be in a book
around here do I have to be dead for a man
to write me a poem how do you think it feels
to be non-muse material can’t you say

you feel for me what you felt for her
can’t you say I’m better than that woman
can’t you get those books off the floor?

Buy your copy of God Loves You from our website. Sign up to be a Seren Book Club member to claim 20% off.

 

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