Jumping into a Waterfall: Anna Percy, Flapjack
Manchester-based Anna Percy is a firework of a poet. But I am left pondering what sort of firework – not a rocket, not a Roman candle, more a Catherine wheel, swirly, sparky and deceptively dangerous.
This collection is as provocative as ever but somehow warmer than usual, influenced by her travels around the country:
We drank till dawn
And now the houses are too peopley
We went to hear the sea to heal our psyches
So hungover that if we sat down in the house
We would miss the day
(‘Why Are Two People Just Lying On The Beach?’)
I love the word ‘peopley’ – just perfect.
The stream of consciousness piece called ‘Fall’ is a brilliant description of cycling in Manchester complete with cat-calling oafs and tumbles on tram tracks – terrific.
he staggers centred down the roads
I have concern for his wayward movements
Waver between worry he might fall
Or that he will start to pay me more attention
the gender chasm yawns between us after half-one in the morning
His nonchalant walk home my anxious trot and stop
Behind this guy I might have got on with
If introduced at a house party
The way a sloppy drunk man can turn on you
Transform from stumbling fawn to rearing stag
(‘Post Night Bus’)
The opening poem ‘Advice for Arran’ is a delight starting, “‘The shops need to be informed we are visiting and stock more / Arran Gold ice cream and the 14-year-old whisky.”
This collection is sometimes disturbing and exposing and at other times funny and warm – not always a comfortable read but highly recommended, especially if you are not familiar with Percy’s work. Plus lovely illustrations by Sarah Peploe.