|Image copyrighted Isadora Gruye Photography|
Kim and Izy are here to unleash our Toads in Tandem piece for 2017. We can’t wait for you to read it. But first, a few words of introduction.
Kim says - The only signs I was aware of, regarding distance in miles and culture between Izy and me, were one or two phrases or spellings. Not knowing much about her, I decided to look up Izy on the Internet and was impressed by her poetic activity, which was somewhat daunting. However, once we got going, it was more like working with a version of myself in a different universe and we riffed on each others’ ideas and fragments with ease.
Izy says - I was so excited when Kim was announced as my toad in Tandem. I loved the idea of working with a poet whose style is different than my own. Where I tend to be stark and obscure, Kim is color and concrete. When I want to burn the page down, Kim brings beautiful form and word architecture. I gotta say, I was so impressed with how fearless Kim is in her writing.Thanks so much for the tango, Kim!!!!
Toads in Tandem bonus: we’ve included audio files of each of us reading the poem in full. If you have a few moments, you can listen to how each of us chose into interpret and read each line a little differently! Also....our accents!!!!
Your lover drapes me on your shoulders,
sunlight strays through crinkled linen,
tickles your unblemished skin.
I protect your sensitivity,
remind you of marmalade
and flyover territory:
fat ants marching on clothes lines
hung tight between windows uncleaned
and chipped by gossip houndstooth.
I am imbued with pepper scent of grass cut
before the heat,
before the thick of summer
leaned over the typewriter
to ash its cigar across the whole of July.
You had me on loan
the day autumn mist rolled in,
left cold droplets in your hair
and smeared its sheen on bare skin.
Now you touch my woollen fibres
to your nose, inhale the scent
and I’m matted with tears.
There is a silence so quiet,
it cuts sharply.
The cables are knit so tightly
breathing becomes labored
in the lemon dusk.
Have the signals got crossed?
Is there no one poised and ready
to decipher these dashes and pauses?
Tomorrow, newspaper ink will be thin
and wash away in street puddles.
And here, the coffee stains on my cuff
will sing boldly on their own.
Winter rattles dust
from window panes,
and you still bring me to bed,
despite my jersey stretched nine years thin
and twisted torn at the hem.
The flat scent of last night’s fire
falls on cold sheets,
falls on your cold, freckled knees.
You sweat through the night,
in your empty bed,
dreaming of a lover’s gift
infused with perfume, the bottle lit
by flames and fairy lights.
Faces merge in shadow,
bask in afterglow,
buffeted by music -
an old long-playing record
by a favourite band
crackles on the deck.
When the spring breeze coaxes
leaves to bud and rain
lifts worms to the sidewalk
to bake on the concrete,
you pull me over your feet.
You stomp proudly through mud
and dropped blossoms,
each step a drum beat
louder than you ever imagined.
Your toes curl and flex against the solidity
of our rubber-soled security,
a comfortable pairing against puddles
and slippery situations –
galoshes for all seasons.