When The City Speaks
It is no small place
this devil’s field
where the leopard’s blood
runs through the streets
like a constellation
cut from the sky.
Drunkards, drug pushers,
the cold amoebas that
die without seeing a dawn.
In Chinatown, the spell is
set loose, splitting
the sun with fury.
a barnyard of devourers.
Inside, lovers tremble,
clutched tight together
-arms, elbows, lips-
sensual and desperate,
anaesthetized by passion,
by common fear, away
from the cruel madness
that pounds & pursues
just outside the door,
will never be well
Copyright © 1991 by Allison Grayhurst
Published in “The Bees Are Dead” July 2017
“It is our great pleasure to announce that Allison Grayhurst’s ‘When the City Speaks’ is our 100th publication! Grayhurst’s poem is a paradigm example of the tone and theme that The Bees Are Dead set out to promote. It presents modern urban living as a dystopia already contrived – where class is a predator, red in tooth and claw; an airborne sickness. Where ‘opportunity’ is but a taunt.
Grayhurst’s lines are snappy and frantic, reflecting the anxiety of her city’s skittish citizens. Her imagery is bleak yet with a surreal beauty coaxed up by zoomorphic and East Asian references. A classic grayscale poem with flashes of luminous iridescence…
We are fortunate to have two more pieces from this great poet locked away safely in our hive’s vault, and we look forward to sharing these with you in the not too distant future…
Published in “Social Justice Poetry” June 2017
First published in “Journal of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry” #3. The magazine is now called “The Journal”, 1993
You can listen to the poem by clicking below:
“Somewhere Falling has a richness of imagery and an intensity of emotion rare in contemporary poetry. Drawn in sharp outlines of light and darkness, and rich shades of colour, with a deep sense of loss and longing and the possibility of salvation, this is an unusual book by a gifted young poet. Grayhurst’s voice is one to which we should continue to pay attention.” — Maggie Helwig, author of Apocalypse Jazz and Eating Glass.
“Responsibility and passion don’t often go together, especially in the work of a young poet. Allison Grayhurst combines them in audacious ways. Somewhere Falling is a grave, yet sensuous book.” – Mark Abley, author of Glasburyon and Blue Sand, Blue Moon.
“Biting into the clouds and bones of desire and devotion, love and grief, Allison Grayhurst basks the reader, with breathtaking eloquence, in an elixir of words. Like lace, the elegance is revealed by what isn’t said. This is stunning poetry.” – Angela Hryniuk, author of no visual scars.
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