Tuesday, 11 April 2017

R.Z. Joyce

My next showcase R.Z.Joyce has no compunction ruffling a few feathers by saying on her Instagram last week; that if she was a male and had written a poem like the one that was showcased she would have like a gazillion followers. I'd never really given much thought to gender with regards to poetry. Do women have to work harder in this realm to be considered equals? In fact just this past week while I was inputting Cockroach Blueprint Anthology submissions I'd noticed that one of my contributors was a female who signed her name with that of a male. It's definitely a dialogue worth exploration. This subject certainly does offer more than a slight amount of food for thought.

There's a stillborn in Brazelton,
Warm yet,
with a definitive lack of first breath,
and a heartbreak that only was a moment.
It's a sad day for the rugby match too
As the ground knows the reason
For loss
and a frostbitten morning sky
Chewed and digested
with unbuttered toast and cold coffee
reminds us how grey
is the color of regret.

I can't imagine what having a stillborn baby would even begin to feel like – I think it to be probably one of the most traumatic things a woman can go through. I imagine the recovery from something like that -- would be at half past never. The careful way in which R.Z. layered this touching piece is quite poignant indeed. When there is absence of colour, a monochromatic palette takes over and transference to grey is quite the relatable mood when an instance of horror has occurred in one's life. I must admit I think this piece is carefully crafted – the way R.Z. Speaks of a “stillborn in Brazelton” and how “it's a sad day for the rugby match too” tying everything to the “the colour of regret.” All three aspects strongly featured within these words – as emotive as one can get when describing incidents that render grey aura's during moments of intimate turmoil.


I didn't mean to die that day
As the sands drew down
And the tar sap oozed in the heat.
There was nothing more for me to do there
But I almost forgot to breathe
And the breeze didn't cool off
anything at all.
A year later I wrapped my car around a
pole.
I said I had a foot cramp
But that was a different matter.
On this day as I sat on the mossy rock
Turning it over and over in my hands
The metal wasn't even cold
With my dress sticky on the backs of my
thighs
And my temples dripping...
There was nothing more for me to do there
But I stayed.

I wonder how Dali would have painted an accident in the heat of the sun the way he did his clocks. Would they drip with sweat and fall as one dimensional painted beings would? When I read the piece above, I thought of a wayward soul that had no idea they'd just died – how they would rest closest to the scene of whatever accident ended their life – in a state of constant confusion. I must admit I personally relished the lines below:

I didn't mean to die that day
As the sands drew down
And the tar sap oozed in the heat.
There was nothing more for me to do there
But I almost forgot to breathe
And the breeze didn't cool off
anything at all.

I just love the casual way R.Z. Joyce starts this poem – so matter of fact especially with something as heavy handed as death. Indeed, once again more subjects to ponder upon. 

Bring me the writer that rambles at night.
The one who is sick and whose words are contrite
Bring me the stumbled, the accident prone
The ones who drink often because they're alone
Bring me the words of a bruised barren soil
The tracts now gone sallow
The till and the toil
But sweep them all downward
And brush them away
They're crumbs, they're husked sweepings
They're compost and hay
The dust of their musings
ne'er blind my bright eye
Le me tamp down the embers
Of swathe burnt ripe rye.

I was reminded of a scene from one of my favourite stories by Oscar Wilde called The Happy Prince. The story was about this statue of a prince, who stood in the centre of town tall and proud able to see all of his subjects suffer. He'd decided that he could offer respite to them while they struggle in their daily lives by asking a little swallow to deliver gold or jewels to each of those who required aid. One of these beings the Happy Prince and asked the swallow to remove sapphires from the eyes of the prince once the gold had been peeled off of his statue to give to a playwright. Enough to buy some wood for his fire and food for his belly in order to finish a play by luna's light and that of a fresh fire in the place.

Bring me the writer that rambles at night.
The one who is sick and whose words are contrite
Bring me the stumbled, the accident prone
The ones who drink often because they're alone
Bring me the words of a bruised barren soil


I'll be damned if this section doesn't remind me of every writer I've met at some point or another in the course of their life.  

Please take the time to follow R.Z. Joyce and her thought provoking body of work on Instagram.