Poetry Re-Post for Leonard Cohen Week: To the End of Love by Sadie Maskery

artwork by Geoffrey Wren (c)

to the end of love
music is the last memory 
                   perhaps a fragrance 

                   outlasts it      but          here

there is only 

                    ashes

                    my darling your hands

                                    seem

                                         so       cold in mine

do you remember 

dancing

                  in the small cafe

                       you were      awkward     you 

tried

so hard to please

              me but

my sweet heart                  you step

                   out of time        it is your

smile

        holding

the melody

             the love         in your eyes

                holding            the melody   melody

i remember your

                   love 

                        your eyes            closed

            your hands

hold me

i

     am so

                                 frightened

the music is

       fading

                        hold me

                 hold me

Bio: Sadie (@saccharinequeen)
Sadie Maskery lives in Scotland by the sea with her family.  Her writing will be found in various publications both online and in print, and she can be found on Twitter as @saccharinequeen where she describes herself, optimistically, as “functioning adequately “.

A book review of “Push” by Sadie Maskery

a review by Matthew da Silva

These lovely poems reach out with straining hands to touch the infinite, to press between the pages of a book a moment in time, to capture forever a thought that might stray across the frontal cortex of any person’s racing mind. Or perhaps a lazy, resting mind, as when you’re surfing the internet eager for distraction. The attempt is usually successful, as in ‘404’, which invites us to see the failures of community as it exists online, a place of fear and foolishness where people resent connection before they find the fractured peace they secretly desire. In this experimental poem, Maskery alternates between a more conventional poetic diction and snatches of computer code, suggestive phrases (“HttpResponseMessage Get / (string connection))” that draw you into the authored, mechanical realm lying between everyday utterances written in cyberspace as part of a flame war held any morning of the week in Atlanta or Abu Dhabi. The internet “decays” but “I don’t exist without” it seems, the poet reflecting on the ephemeral by trying to nail down fleeting instants that disappear in the ether as soon as they come into stuttering existence.

A disconnect also exists in ‘Do not enter’, a monologue by a person meeting a visitor at the door. The invitation appears sincere although there is a sign on the door telling people to keep out. Why has the visitor come? It’s not clear. There are no clues as to how this person decided it was apposite to knock – though life is like this, isn’t it? – but what he or she hears should, perhaps, reassure. Questions are raised and some are answered but the sense of foreboding that rests once the poem ends suggests that something is amiss.

This dislocation is repeated in poem after poem, for example in ‘make me’, which is, again, about the internet. Here, in a few words, Maskery tries to understand – and to communicate to the reader – something about its allure, but while the outlines of debate are defined there exist by the end of the poem – which is not long – more questions than answers. What is virality? How does this rare exposure help us to become more completely ourselves? Or is that not the appeal? Perhaps the answer lies in the message of the previous poem, ‘Prayer’, which is addressed to “gods of the ephemera” so that “sins may be sold” (if they could be, we’d all be rich) and “let us devour” the body “sacred / scarred” that we worship.

I really enjoyed reading these digestible items, and the collection often veers off into the inexpressible, as in ‘i’m so sorry, it’s just’ where it’s never clear exactly what the narrator is talking about, just “one sweetness / one beauty” “residue / from its grind / smirching / the smell of small things” though “why / pretend all is well” in this world of destruction and release, of small things broken apart and devoured (looking back to ‘Prayer’) by anonymous crowds of people (looking back to ‘404’)?

Surprises lend their appeal to the chorus of sorrow Maskery unmasks, so in ‘Thread’ the message is thin but eloquent, a single phrase written down to look like a pair of threads – perhaps a strand of DNA encoding our identity – that sit upon the page like flags flying above a parapet on a windy day.

The waves of the lines are enticing and strange. In ‘Beginnings’ an uncommon enticement reveals the outlines of desire, a moment rendered in words like a synapse firing, “The first time we meet the shock / is there but small” and the poet goes on to lay out in miniature the universe of the mind that that instant unfurled. This is a masterpiece of expressive competence, a very strong poem that unearths worlds that are normally buried in the vast wildernesses of memory. As I read I started to recall things that had happened to me, a night when I was maybe 21, a day I went to a party in Double Bay, various times that happened in my life – so long ago – arose to conquer my attention in the flickering present where images combine with the pulse of the computer screen to reveal the mind’s frail existence in all its broken lightness and sorrow.

So the positive dwells in this collection of short poems – many are one page long, some are two pages long – alongside the negative (see especially ‘Networking’), the euphoric (see for example ‘Art’) with the base, the high with the low, the thing to be celebrated with the pain of despair. I was struck by the flexibility of Maskery’s evocative voice, its ability to accommodate a range of ideas and to give utterance to an array of different feelings. This is a memorable book.

Order here: https://www.erbacce-press.co.uk/sadie-maskery

3 poems from “Push” by Sadie Maskery “Lost Child” “Rearrangement” & “Once we were”

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Sadie Maskery

Poems about “Connections” by Sadie Maskery

3 poems from “Push” by Sadie Maskery “Lost Child” “Rearrangement” & “Once we were”

erbacce-press.co.uk

Lost Child

A stray ghost, I think as I lie in bed. 
She would definitely have fun here
in my sleepless head.
Noone really likes hide and seek -
there is the terror of not being found,
through spite or neglect; is that
how ghosts are made, hiding and noone
to find? but I contain oh so many 
forgotten wardrobes and worlds.
I see her with dusty knees and pockets, 
(I would make sure she always 
had pockets, to keep her treasures.)
We would sew tiny books
from scraps of paper and she 
would write secret messages 
to me, her imaginary friend, post them
in the nooks of trees in my mind,
that lonely dreamscape with the mist
and dragons and dusty furniture 
my hollow heart, hands, belly,
empty rooms to hide.

Rearrangement

Her energy is more disorderly 
Scattered through the space
Where she used to sew hems
Sip tea, wear socks to warm her feet
On the kitchen tiles.
She bounces from the shine
Of chrome taps and empty mirrors
Frantic as a bird 
Beating against captivity.
Death is. Death is just
A rearrangement. She is 
Still here, in fragments.
I try to catch a wisp of the laughter 
The smile of her, the kiss
Try to forget 
Entropy.


Once we were

where did the anger go
          to crush 
smash 
reduce to fucking 
                       atoms 
even those split 
by our ferocity 
the visceral 
pulse
        bodies 
        thrashing with
        ecstatic rage 
heads thrown 
                     back
                     not howling 
                     but from the bowels of us
                     sound dragged from the 
pit
they dug 
for us
       
we flew 
                          spinning
shocked 
to monstrous 
                     life
we sparked a war
and traded 
                 our integrity
               for
             a semi
           in
        Guildford



Bio: Sadie (@saccharinequeen)
Sadie Maskery lives in Scotland by the sea with her family.  Her writing will be found in various publications both online and in print, and she can be found on Twitter as @saccharinequeen where she describes herself, optimistically, as "functioning adequately ".


A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Sadie Maskery

with Sadie Maskery:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Sadie: I have always written, badly. My first favourite book was Watership Down. Its mix of children’s folktale, natural history, landscape writing and savagery definitely influenced my adult interests.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Sadie: I read only recently about Tolkien’s writing process. Having the patience and stamina to draft countless versions of a work, to have enough faith in the process and in the worth of what you are writing to labour, really labour, to create something, painstakingly working and reworking each strand, weaving the plot backwards not just to the end – that requires self belief and a faith in your writing. I am trying to find that confidence in what I write. If I draft it a long piece I read it, think it’s rubbish and delete it. I still say sorry as I submit things. Sorry, I know you have better things to do with your time than read this. Sorry. I need to orc up.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing?

Sadie: My Dad brought me up as my mother went to South Africa with her new family. He was a … strong character. We moved home a lot; I don’t feel I am ‘from’ anywhere. Dad did his best but it was a struggle for both of us. It had an impact on me, but I was socially awkward by nature as well as nurture. Overcompensating for introversion affects my whole life, I constantly cringe at myself. Damn right it influences my writing.

Q4: What do you consider your most meaningful work that you've done creatively so far?
Sadie: A collection about my childhood, funnily enough. It is not good poetry (well, it's not found a publisher) but it has been useful to put things in perspective. 

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Sadie: No pivotal moment, I just love it. I used to sing in a jazz trio, the pure joy when what you are all creating fuses to something special, my god. The sting is needing validation from other people. I love creation, hate rejection, so choosing poetry with all the rejections that involves is fun. At least with singing it was someone else's words, mostly. 

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Sadie: Reading. As I have aged I have lost interest in profound works with unresolved endings. Real life is messy and full of despair, why the hell would I read about an imaginary version of the same. I have turned during Covid to 1930s murder mysteries with neatly packaged solutions and courteous villains wearing smart suits.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you'd like to promote?

Sadie: Oh all of it. Contact me. I need to get better at in between bits, I have a tendency to apologise too much for being on a stage. But I like the time when I am in a poem or song.  It's a chance to be someone else. It is transfiguring when you can feel your words connect with other people.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others, or a favorite piece of art or photograph? 


Sadie: A favourite photograph is this one of Louise Brooks. It was this or a photo of Bonnie Langford. I wanted to be a lithe, troubled siren; or bubbly, unashamedly redheaded and performing nightly with Brian Blessed in the West End. Either would have done. I got the troubled and redheaded bits. 

Favorite line from a song?

Is that all there is? If that’s all there is my friend, then let’s keep dancing, let’s break out the booze and have a ball. If that’s all there is. 

It’s the melody that goes with it. Peggy Lee or the PJ Harvey cover, either version stays with me on long, still nights.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Sadie: David, husband and love. I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for him. He literally saved me from drowning once and he does it metaphorically most days.

Thanks to these publishers/twitter tags

@paddlerpress
@tethersendmag
@nightandsparrow
@AcidBathPub
@RunciblePress
@sledgehammerlit
@poets_republic
@RedPlanetMag
@rustandmoth
@NightSkyPress
@CoinOpPress
@hexagonmagazine
@sfpoetry
@CrowKeys
@anamorphoseis
@SelcouthStation
@fiftyfiftylit
@AnserJournal
@SecondChanceLit
@MinisonProject
@OddMagCo
@iambapoet
@Dreich25197318
@LitEdinburgh
@SeaborneMag
@GreenInkPoetry
@hedgehogpoetry

@feversof 🙂

A Poem by Sadie Maskery : “And what if this was all it is”

Poems about “Connections” by Sadie Maskery

Poems by Sadie Maskery : “Safe Spaces” “Faith” & “Haiku”

Avalanches in Poetry 2 Entry: To the End of Love by Sadie Maskery

https://crowcrosskeys.com/2021/07/03/sabbat-sadie-maskery/

https://www.selcouthstation.com/single-post/visual-poetry-sadie-maskery

https://www.tethersendmagazine.com/poetry-sadie-maskery

https://www.greeninkpoetry.co.uk/poetry-submissions-all/cross-roads-sadie-maskery

https://www.greeninkpoetry.co.uk/poetry-submissions-all/sadie-maskery-haiku

https://www.burntbreakfastmag.com/post/the-rabbit-by-sadie-maskery

Bio: Sadie (@saccharinequeen)
Sadie Maskery lives in Scotland by the sea with her family.  Her writing will be found in various publications both online and in print, and she can be found on Twitter as @saccharinequeen where she describes herself, optimistically, as “functioning adequately “.

A Poem by Sadie Maskery : “And what if this was all it is”

And what if this was all it is

Nice to meet you, old friend. 
I always knew you were there, 
somewhere between id and ego. 
You were the pulse of conscience
acting before the brain could re-act,
the voice sighing 
            stop
oh stop
so softly, lost in the breeze, a myth.
Now all is silent but the hissbump
of the ventilator;
you are not within but outwith.
In. Out. I drift. But breathe. You wait 
beyond my sight.
Today is the day for a choice to be made.

Do you feel for yourself or only through us?
Like childbirth the first time;  the agony
the not-knowing. 
You feel the wave crash down through 
and through,
and think there is no bearing it; yet you do, 
and keep on bearing unbearable masses
until eternity flares in the eyes
of your child and the terror just... passes. 
You forget. Still we persist. 
I remember when young thinking
"Go through all this mess? 
this horror?
Gladly choose a life of pain 
then choose it again?" 
What a silly thing to be a living creature, 
replicating.

It has not been a bad life.  A lover, a child conceived.
Unhappiness, given and received. 
And so, so much stupidity.
If I could do it all over again would I hear 
your soft sigh 
stop       oh 
stop? 
The boredom though, of eternal perfection,
it has been fun to be flawed, sometimes.

There is a small crease in the sheet 
beneath my thigh. 
I cannot move. 
I think I am suffering. 
I know I shall not wake and find life 
just a dream,
a soft sigh 
whispered stop
     oh    stop.
I remember one spring, fresh wind
heady with coconut from gorse
blazing yellow in the sun. 
The sound of bees and skylarks 
a symphony, salt sweet 
tang of his mouth on my lips falling, 
falling 
into ecstacy. 
Sweet serendipity of time, 
space and being.
Eternal. 
Lost. Breathe in. 
Out.
Inspiration for a lifetime of love.
And your soft sigh whispered 
stop oh
           stop.
Even universes end. 
We never said goodbye.

Here we are. The fraying begins.
I feel the flutter of frail valves, 
delicate whisper of electricity
as the connection 
between heart and soul loosens. Oh. 
Inarguable proof of the final doom.
If there is a chance to escape, 
the body screams 
'Run from 
that mess
that horror, 
the agony of the not-knowing. 
Continue to 
continue
to pray for one last chance.'
Yet, strangely, no fear, here. 
It's a relief to surrender. 
I function despite myself, 
the puppets of pipes and wires,
so I stare at the ceiling and wait.
Nothing of me will resonate 
when I am gone.
All ... this... will dissolve. 
I am tired. Bored, even. I have lost it all
except the scent of gorse, sunshine, 
the texture of wool on bare thighs
 and a song without words. 
You have a question to ask me, 
but 

stop, 
       oh
            stop


not yet


Bio: Sadie (@saccharinequeen)
Sadie Maskery lives in Scotland by the sea with her family.  Her writing will be found in various publications both online and in print, and she can be found on Twitter as @saccharinequeen where she describes herself, optimistically, as "functioning adequately ".