You Will Find Audrey Molloy an Innovative Woman Poet

Audrey Molly is an Irish contemporary woman poet based in Australia. My friend recommended her to me for her innovative use of footnotes, which she weaves as part of her poem. Although I couldn’t find any examples of those poems of hers online, here are a couple of her poems that I liked:

What We Learned at Loreto

Nothing useful, like how to apply fake tan
with a sports sock for an even finish
or the way to separate mascara-clotted
eyelashes with the stem of your earring.
Some simple rules would have been handy:
short hem or low-cut — but never together,
and how to keep a bit of mystery.
Instead, lists of dates, battles, treaties.
My overnight bag rolls on the back seat
where I threw it before leaving.
All that’s keeping me from swift death by lamp-post
is the dashboard clock churning up dates:
Ten fourteen, the Battle of Clontarf.
Eleven eleven, the Synod of Rathbreasail.
Twelve fifteen, the Magna Carta.

Here’s another Audrey Molloy poem.

The Symphony of Skin

1. Tuning up

They are there if you listen.

On the train, in the Laundromat—

the instruments, I mean;

bells, stirring in two-way stretch cotton,

(their owner slumped in the window seat,

his work boots tapping a secret rhythm);

timpani buttoned under a cashier’s blouse,

a cello bound by polyester pinafore

in salmon pink. She thinks

the air is flecked with soap dust,

doesn’t realise it’s rosin from her bow.

Air flows through apertures

where, later, fingers will flutter,

strings blur under the rub of horsehair,

their discordant mewl barely heard

above the swish of the train,

the hum of machine,

louder in the darkness of tunnel

or the lull of rinse cycle, then soft again.

Tuning up; they’re getting ready

for this evening’s symphony of skin

to begin at precisely 10.15.

2. Skin music

And you can never explain it in physical terms—

what happens between two people

on an ordinary bed, in an ordinary room.

Let me ask you, could you teach the cuttlefish

of Ludwig’s Emperor (second movement)

in terms of anvil, hammer and stirrup?

Paint the hues of daybreak for the mole?

There is only air, compressed and stretched.

There is always space between skins,

no matter how closely they press.

No touch, only the music of skin;

an oboe sings, a cello answers.

Locked within the strands of collagen,

atoms built of smaller blocks,

each one a capsule packed with strings,

each string a note that’s yet to play.

3. Reverberation

Afterwards, they lie curled,

two bass clefs facing this way, that.

They talk of anything, of childhood,

croak the lyrics to every Paul Simon song

they can recall; this, the highlight,

now the players have left the stage.

They will meet people

who promise them more than this,

more than you could write about this.

Sleep will come later, a raft

pushed out on a starred sea.

What oak bed? Which room?

There is nothing here

but phosphorescence

undulating along their border.

Only this tiny stage

drifting on the night swell,

a single baton on its floor

I like the extended metaphor of the skin orchestra she has created.

This post is a part of #BlogchatterA2Z Challenge 2023.

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