Tuesday Poem: ‘Here Come My Months of Sorrow …’ by Charlotte Simmonds

Here Come My Months of Sorrow …

In the soot-ridden winter there will be holes in my boots.
I will let go of your hand and refuse to hold it, overcome by an unaccountable sense of shame for who we are.
Posters will become more vivid, their messages more pertinent.
Sparrows will get out of the way of my feet and I will say to you,
“Streisand is wet! Sentimentality has no place in this life of mine.”

In the muted first weeks of autumn, I drank coffee after coffee and poured hickory sauce on everything.
The days were condemned to a soft abundance of smoky brown things.
Pretty boy after pretty boy wandered across my gaze.
“Presumably the houses don’t float off down the street!” I heard, and the answer came back,
“No, they are tethered.”
I, however, I floated over the tarmacadam and past the sewage leaks,
off up the hill through the mugger-filled trees of the town belt.

Telephone poles descended in the hurricane, crashing around my feet.
I wrapped myself up in the eyes of an arrogant jackass and felt safe.
Mushroom season had not quite yet begun.

Born in 1983, Charlotte Simmonds is best known for her work in Wellington theatre. Her plays include Arctic-AntarcticThe Story of Nohome Neville and Unwholesome Clare who Worked in Kitchens and Smelt like a Dish, and Burnt Coffee. One bio states that Charlotte aims to become New Zealand’s most famous bipolar playwright. This poem first appeared in issue three of New Zealand’s hippest journal, Hue & Cry. I first read Charlotte’s work when I reviewed her first book, The World’s Fastest Flower, a few years ago. Her voice is unique: urgent, irreverent and confessional, and quite unique in New Zealand poetry. I chose this poem to continue my theme of sorrow or disappointment because, while the tone of the poem is melancholy, the narrator seems to welcome the emotion or at least be resigned to its coming: a sense of self awareness.

For more Tuesday poems check out the Tuesday Poem hub.

3 thoughts on “Tuesday Poem: ‘Here Come My Months of Sorrow …’ by Charlotte Simmonds

  1. Love this. My favourite bits are the line: “Streisand is wet! Sentimentality has no place in this life of mine.” and the idea of the houses being tethered.

  2. This woman is amazing – and you sum up her work so well Sarah: ‘unique, urgent, irreverent and confessional…’ Does she have another book out apart from The World’s Fastest Flower?

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