A Poetry Showcase (Sept. 2022) from Jay Maria Simpson dedicated to her daughter Katy Simpson-Langley

art by Kate Simpson-Langley

My Daughter

The beauty and joy that I see in you is 
Every artists dream
Every singers struggle
Every poets inadequacy
All the beauty in the world
To be thrown into the air
For only me to catch

The Apples in her Eyes

Venus holds the calming apple and her cupid bow
She casts the apple high  
And holds her arrow against her heart

As midnight chimes her sleepless night
She hears a rustling in the air
And looks to see a golden bird appear inside her window 
Snapping at the golden apples upon her bedroom wall

Venus throws the precious arrow to disturb the pesky bird
That looks at her bewildered
But leaves behind a gift

Kate caresses the golden feather and crawls inside her bed
To dream of the glass mountain where there grows an apple tree
She climbs the glass mountain and is there just in time 
To touch the Tree of Knowledge with her finger tips

Kate dreams of Isaac Newton and that slippery mountain ride
Of Alice in Wonderland’s journey and the undertow
Of William Tell, the masked man holding a cupid bow
Of Adam, Eve, Snow White and other fairy tales

Her mother says be careful don’t let go of my hand
But Kate sees the alluring apple and smiles
She gathers up the apple and her mother’s hand

Kate dreams of a girl called Florence
All blurred and dressed in white
Of the mirror mirror on the wall
And of all the vanities
Of a Nightingale whose song is lost
Of a tired moon in the endless night
Searching for the dawn

Of apples fallen on the ground 
And of her mother’s hand

She listens to the words he sings
Go back to sleep. Go back to sleep.

Certainty

I watch your hand pass over the group handle
As you carefully remove any stray grounds
You perform a perfunctory task
With so much care and intent

I know that I love you and that you will do well in life
I feel settled and comfortable in that thought
As settled as the coffee grounds that you press down with force
Then slam into the group head

I’ve walked down to the café from work
A chance to see you and drink a coffee made precisely to my taste
You look up at me with surprise, gladness, love
We’re as comfortable together today as those fucking coffee grounds

The sour dough loaf is still warm 
Our coffees carefully extracted
A precious moment in a time
More precious than I knew, more precious than I knew

Lifetimes have passed now 
You no longer make me coffee
I leave the stray grounds on the group handle
And think of your hand

As my feet just hit the footpath
Your boss screams out
Kate’s awesome
I throw up my hands in that weird way that I do, and call back 
I know

I walk slowly, gently back to work
Sure and certain as a mother ever could be

Trompe L'oeil

A million songs echo inside her head
They compete for you her daughter her obsession
A word a phrase a sound a force
A mystic melding of love melody and life

Her head spins she’s anxious and uneasy
Everything is magnified and blurred
The candles flicker out of control
The noise from the party nearby is deafening

A million visions turn her blind
They look for you her daughter
They see an old woman feeling around in the dark
Who trips on an accident of life

She looks around to find hope
But as she’s blinded there’s nothing there
She tries to picture a fragment but
Hits her head against the flaw

A million senses remembering
A life squeezed into a crazy corset
To stifle and prevent

They still sing their songs for you

She closes her eyes and you’re there
Saying ‘come on mum’ or ‘mom’ for affect

You reassure you tell your tale
You chop the fetta the olives the bread

You are Kate
You are her daughter

Eleven Years

The anniversary of 18 July
Imprinted on our souls
Jacarandas losing their leaves
Yellowing
Falling

Searching, searching
I look for you
To find my heart again
To write some inadequate words
To fill an unfillable void
To lie to myself that life is good
Knowing it can never be
To confuse the force 
That forces me to smile at the people I see

Photos, photos, memories
In every crevice of life
To ponder what might have been
To dream against the tide

To swallow deep, to say your name
To call you back to me
To whisper quietly
To muffle my thought
 So as not to scream
To see your number in my phone and your email address
To look at the door in case you’re here 
Walking back to me

To understand the impossible
Seven years away

Photos, photos, memories
In every crevice of life
To ponder what might have been
To dream against the tide



Bio: 
Jay Maria Simpson was born in Sydney, Australia. She worked as an English, Drama and Music Teacher for many years in schools, TAFE and the University of Newcastle. Jay has been a writer all her life. She moved to Perth, Western Australia in 2011 following a personal tragedy. It was then that her poetry exploded. In her poetry she explores reality, change, sorrow, sex, anger, love, death, escape and memory. Jay pushes the boundaries in her writing. She often writes from a dangerous, fearful place where you will find raw honesty. Her poems might also dance in a happy sexual fairy garden. There is no pretension. Jay loves poetry, art, music, satire and black comedy. She also loves reading poetry publicly. 

She is the Creative Director and Author at 'Living Dangerously'.



"There is so much stubborn hope in the human heart." Albert Camus 

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Jay Maria Simpson

Bio:

Jay Maria Simpson was born in Sydney, Australia. She worked as an English, Drama and Music Teacher for many years in schools, TAFE and the University of Newcastle. Jay has been a writer all her life. She moved to Perth, Western Australia in 2011 following a personal tragedy. It was then that her poetry exploded.

In her poetry she explores reality, change, sorrow, sex, anger, love, escape and memory.

Jay pushes the boundaries in her writing. She often writes from a dangerous, fearful place where you will find raw honesty. Her poems might also dance in a happy sexual fairy garden. There is no pretension.

Jay loves poetry, art, music, satire and black comedy. She also loves reading poetry publicly.

She is the Creative Director and Author at ‘Living Dangerously’.

Q1: When did you start writing and who influenced you the most now and currently? 

Jay Maria: I think I always loved writing. Even as a small child, I would hide myself away and write on scraps of paper that I found. When my family was watching TV, I’d often be in my bedroom writing, mostly letters to family and friends. I always had pen and paper in my hand, never a doll, rarely a toy. When I travelled, I constantly wrote. For a short time, I rarely wrote anything – fulltime work, mortgage, husband, and family changed my focus.

I came back to writing, but especially poetry when I needed to deal with change and find the new. When my beloved daughter, Kate died in 2011: Katy, poetry and madness consumed me. I have not been able to stop writing poetry since then. It is my love, my centre. I was mostly influenced by life, music, art and lots of wonderful, challenging poets – Kerouac (of course), Bukowski, Plath, the list goes on.

Q2: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer? 

Jay Maria: Probably the death of my daughter and the reaction to my poetry from other poets who valued my writing.

Q3: Who has helped you most with writing and career? 

Jay Maria: I appreciate a number of people who could see in my writing something that I was unable to see myself. Their support, encouragement, and belief in me is deeply appreciated. They are especially, Australian Artist Robert Williams – Perth Western Australia; American Poet, Victor Rainey – Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Irish Poet, Gene Barry – County Cork, Ireland and Italian/American Poet, Giulio Magrini – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence you? Have any travels influenced your work? 

Jay Maria: I grew up in Sydney, Australia. I come from a working-class background and a large loving Catholic family of 5 children. This shaped the person that I am and my ability to eventually shrug off convention and the catholic church. Travelling enriched my life and my ability to open my eyes to new worlds. To quote a friend, Kathleen Gilbert:

 “Jay Maria Simpson looks the world in the eye and sees it as it is. She is intensely alive to the full range of experience, from deep love to unfathomable loss. She loves fiercely, and even in the depths of grief she keeps alive the light of positivity and hope.”

Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively to you? 

Jay Maria: My poetry – all of it

Q6: Favorite activities to relax? 

Jay Maria: Art, music, family, long walks.

Q7: What is a favorite line/ stanza/lyric from your writing? 

Jay Maria: Probably this, for now – from my poem ‘Tarantella’:

“We evoke your spirit, Vali’s spirit, the forever presence, the woman spirit

We care for your animals the hundreds that look for you in their sullen wantonness

We exist because you exist because art exists because we are the visitors of life and death”

Q8: What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song or song that always come back to you as an inspiration? 

Jay Maria: I don’t think I have one song or even a few songs. Music is often in the background when I write though sometimes, I prefer silence. I love 80’s rock – Patti Smith, Bowie, Lou Reed, The Cure, The Ramones; Contemporary Australian artists/bands – Something for Kate, Kate Miller Heidke, Megan Washington; Tool, A Perfect Circle; Jazz Ballads, Chet Baker and Cool Jazz à a la Kerouac; Classical, especially JS Bach.

Q9: Do you have any recent or upcoming books, music, events, etc that you would like to promote?

Jay Maria: I have sent my first Manuscript for a book length anthology to a Publisher and await the outcome of that. I am recently published  in Voices From the Fire Anthology Vol 9, Dumpster Fire Press, The Writer’s Club, Horror Sleaze Trash, Fevers of the Mind Showcase, Ukraine: The Night and the Fire Anthology, Drought Gudkov and Bedroom Anatomy Lessons Anthology, Dumpster Fire Press.

Bonus Question: Any funny memory or strange occurrence you’d like to share during your creative journey? 

Jay Maria: That poetry could bring me to life and destroy me at the same time. I’m sure that is neither funny nor strange but there it is!

Thank You.

Links:

https://feversofthemind.com/2022/07/25/a-poetry-showcase-from-jay-maria-simpson/

A Poetry Showcase from Jay Maria Simpson

The Shadow of My Moonlight

For KSL

You sit in the corner of my room

Beside my bed

Your sweet blue eyes sing a mournful song

Our song

The nightingale sings a song too

It’s about you but I can’t hear the words

I ask you to slow down

You ask me to keep up

We tumble through our little lives
Like the roller coaster full

Of falling down and rising up

We find love at every station

Along the way


To listen to speak

To stretch beyond imagining

To find the time to have a beer

To tell the storm to go away and

Leave us alone

Cabaret

The Weimer Republic began in the midst of several major movements in the fine arts. German Expressionism had begun before World War I and continued to have a strong influence throughout the 1920s. A sophisticated, innovative culture developed in and around Berlin, including highly developed architecture and design (Bauhaus), a variety of literature (Doblin, Berlin Alexanderplatz), film (Dietrich Der blaue Engel), painting (Grosz), and music (Brecht and Weill, The Threepenny Opera), criticism, philosophy/psychology (Jung) and fashion. This culture was often considered to be decadent and socially disruptive. The mystical arts also experienced a revival during this time in Berlin with astrology, the occult and the esoteric.

it was a rainy sunny moody day typical of the neglected mouldy muddled heart of the artichoke the entrée the layers and layers of dinnertime gastronomy

they could not find the dressing that filled the spaces dressed their lives smothered their faith with herbs and fetta folly

she was sitting right here beside her woman

they sat at dinner demure

their eyes smelt garlicy lusty

should they leave the table

that is sodden with goodness

get out before the mass

avoid the confessional

clutch their starving hearts frolic naked in the herb garden smell the basil the thyme place rosemary garlands in their hair suck the undergrowth read banned books joyful forbidden lesbian sex

commit mortal sin scatter dead flowers smother the fainting night while taking a bow with Marie Magdalene 

slide down their river ride

over and over

and over again

The Foetus
I noticed the familiar boy sitting outside the pharmacy – actually between the pharmacy and Woolworths. I could see that he walked that fine fucking line between life and death – that delicately fine line, a whisper, a tiny breath, a riddle, a question. Walk the line with your head held high, slice the pandemonium, check the mirror, check the corner, the cops are on the prowl.

Sebastian supposed the day disappearing around him

he could head back home to the helter skelter shelter

it was a very long walk and he had no shoes no coat

no money for fun

a twenty would get him through the night

into the morning

without having to endure the blustering confrontation of the boys next door

they came in handy sometimes when he was feeling horny or hungry or both

He wanted to see his mother

soak in a warm bath,

slip into clean sheets and

smell the summer jasmine outside the window

relaxed with lace and silk

he wanted to be welcomed not turned away

for his filth and neglect

not reminded of his unfinished PhD

He wanted to sleep like a foetus

floating inside a dream balloon

to be called down for breakfast

to cut some jasmine for the table

to sing the song of eternity

beside Bach or Bartok his old friends

paint his mural on the gallery wall

write the haiku for the old church

remembering the floating arc that spoke in whispers

and made sure he was naked in his ministry to god men

he wanted to ride his dirt bike down the track

and roar into the river

Finishing the weed, he fell into bed with impotent Fred, to dream the river, the jasmine, of finding the twenty for tomorrow and of the next pandemonium.

The Dinner Party

The baguette fell from the table

it hesitated for a while

rolled back and forth

the parmesan chunk toppled quickly

 the Chateau Cantemerle

teetered

then exploded like an unpinned hand grenade

spewing its red lips into your black velvet

your constancy, your composure now exposed

the dinner party fills with absurdity

like the laughing giggles treading the grapes

the stylish carafes waiting to be served

the Bruegel falling off the prison wall

the grape vines

the mighty terroir

mother earth singing her cantata

accompanied by the voice of god

the scramble for folly fills the room

nakedness bursts through veils of constraint

card tables are upturned revealing the queens

dogs go mad

howling hooting at the moon

your mouth remembers the smell of the forest

remembers the taste of the undergrowth

the funeral car rings the bells of delight

Another Silent Vision

You wear the face of your skeletal mess

The scab on the edge of my face itches

I wear my pain of broken and shattered

Your wear the face of innocence

My cuts

my bruises

my eyes itch

they are healing now

they are calling you

black and blue and yellow

the surgeon’s careful lines of repair

will hold my eyes in place

you will take those stitches

and throw them away

my memory too

my scantily dressed hope

you will turn on the gaslight and furtive away


Bio: Jay Maria Simpson was born in Sydney, Australia. She worked as an English, Drama and Music Teacher for many years in schools, TAFE and the University of Newcastle. Jay has been a writer all her life. She moved to Perth, Western Australia in 2011 following a personal tragedy. It was then that her poetry exploded. In her poetry she explores reality, change, sorrow, sex, anger, love, escape and memory. Jay pushes the boundaries in her writing. She often writes from a dangerous, fearful place where you will find raw honesty. Her poems might also dance in a happy sexual fairy garden. There is no pretension. Jay loves poetry, art, music, satire and black comedy. She also loves reading poetry publicly. She is not a fan of Zoom.
She is the Creative Director and Author at 'Living Dangerously'. 

https://livingdangerously618190523.wordpress.com/2021/12/21/poetry/