'33.9 Million Miles From Lyme Regis' by Laurie Avadis
Posted by Insertponceyfrenchnamehere on Sun, 22 Mar 2020
Cerasus Poetry's latest publication is now available to buy on Amazon:
This is how Laurie describes it, in his own words:
"My relationships with my biological and musical family, with lovers and love both lost and lingering, have been passionate and implosive.
I have ghost-hovered through life to the patchwork soundtrack of Waits, Sparks, Queen and Korn, in the company of whales and angels. I have dined in the discarded thorax of an alien insect, climbed the face of a brownstone and stared from the window of a loft apartment in New York as the street below dissolved in to war.
I am plagued by the suburban dilemmas of our time: who is going to take out the rubbish, whose turn is it to change the water in the fish tank, what is beyond the word forever?
When love ended in separation, in a journey to Mars and beyond, I found a voice I had never heard.
I am Laurie Avadis and these are my poems."
.. and if you haven't clicked 'buy' yet, here's a review by Philip Sidney:
We need poetry like we never did before; so how timely that Laurie Avadis has now launched his collection, 33.9 Million Miles From Lyme Regis, published by Cerasus Poetry and available now, on Amazon.
There is energy, humour and raw emotion writhing through this highly charged volume. Laurie Avadis is an original.
In this the era of distancing, separation is a familiar notion. Although the poems recount a particular experience, the poet’s unique imagery helps readers to give meaning and new perspectives to their own sense of change.
The collection is divided into four sections, each looking at a different aspect of this highly charged struggle:
On the Frayed Edge of Functioning
This Distant Thunder of a Slammed Door
I am the Rabbit You are the Hat
She will be the Anthem for your Heart.
A narrative structure to negotiate the order of the poems is signposted, but each poem works as a stand-alone piece; distinct, fresh; mixing the mundane with the breathtaking.
The poet gives us deliciously intense moments of pain and small moments of beauty:
she wrapped a freshly painted egg
in a peppermint green and gold silk scarf
and crushed it to dust… (She Had Not Aged Well).
Violence, love, beauty and destruction merge:
flecked in their reflected hearts
with the blood orange glint
of burning shops and perfect hatred. (Love In A Time Of Riots)
We drift to new landscapes, cityscapes and into the lives and minds of unique and complex characters.
There are Alice in Wonderlandesque moments. Notes discovered walking – and falling – in a park reveal the place we have fallen to is one of ‘moral turpitude.’
The journey through the collection is like inhabiting improvised jazz, totally immersive but you are never certain where it will take you.
‘The eye took a cab’ in ‘The Beekeeper of Manhattan’; and we too can cast our mind’s eye into the world of Laurie Avadis’ creation.
We pitch out onto this journey alongside the ‘emergency bassoonist’, clutching that precious handful of our nearest concerns:
to be wanted,
to be needed,
to be left,
to leave (The Emergency Bassoonist).
Laurie Avadis draws our focus to that electrical storm created in the space made by a split. The poems take on shifting colours as they are read, they fizz in the mouth with the tang of new ways of showing the familiar:
Her hair smelt of tangerine static,
her arms still fox cave moist warm from the shower. (Tangerine Static).
Humanity merges with the non-human, all becomes one, and the one is a thrilling thrum of feeling. Observe whales taking tea, the breath of a dog, called Murder, circling a room. Witness a woman’s final conversation – with a black-faced gull. A cat is given to a lonely man – and it does not give words of comfort.
Chance encounters shake us into new understanding; a man hums by a ticket machine and:
from his gelatine fingers,
would tremble, (The Recipe For Making Bees).
Or moments of recognition:
a recovering heroin addict
with a psychotic personality disorder
and a propensity
for acts of random violence.
We could have been brothers. (Cannibal).
Damaged adults are confronted by damaged children, in red-sequined shoes, with half-completed tattoos or carrying knives.
The poignant, ‘I am Your Imaginary Daughter’, will leave you weeping.
Difficult relationships with parents living with trauma, who in turn pass on their sense of anxiety and isolation, creates an explanation for difficulties in relationships later in life:
You were my almost father
and I was your nearly child. (The Day Before The Day Before You Died).
There must have been school bound kisses,
the language of love cannot always have sat
as heavy as stones in your mouth (Dirty Little Footprints).
Laurie Avadis evokes that powerful feeling of how others are in us and of us:
She resides in your
synapses and ventricles (Atom By Atom).
and that when they leave, they also stay.
The final poem, Mars, is utterly devastating. It reveals the end of a relationship when the love that was is cast away as having been:
‘…the shadow cast
by the explosive collision
of two disparate worlds.’
‘33.9 Million Miles From Lyme Regis’, is not an easy read, it is too exhilarating for that.
Velocity builds to its cataclysmic conclusion; where Lyme Regis may as well be Mars.
Call the emergency bassoonist – we really need him.