Dora Malech’s Pocket Money + James Brown’s Against Gravity


Dora Malech is the author of two collections of poems: Shore Ordered Ocean (Waywiser Press, 2009 in the UK & 2010 in the US) and Say So (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2010). Her poems have appeared in various journals, among them American Letters & Commentary, The New Yorker, Poetry,  and Sport. This year she’ll serve as Distinguished Writer-in-Residence in Poetry at Saint Mary’s College of California.

From Pocket Money:

Sound Bites

This week, cheap Valentines.

Sign says half price, bee says Bee Mine.

At home, the sheets say a little blood

goes a long way. The list says dog food

and onions. The neighbor’s lazy gun says

what’ll they do, fire me? Hand says

clap and the trees throw crows.

Whatever the sky says is old news.

Rented house: don’t leave me like this.

The dog begins to pant and piss:

I never said I was your friend.

Summer: Strip. Winter: The End.

Before you say anything babe, I should say

ix-nay on the es-yes-yay, on the ove-lay.

Links to more of Dora’s poems are available at her website.


James Brown is the author of four poetry collections: Go Round Power Please (winner of the Jessie Mackay Best First Book of Poetry Award), Lemon, Favourite Monsters, and The Year of the Bicycle. He also authored the non-fiction booklet Instructions for Poetry Readings and, in 2005, edited The Nature of Things: Poems from the New Zealand Landscape. He has been a finalist in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards three times. He lives in Wellington with his partner and two children.

From Against Gravity:

Song of the Rising

Shells in the soil, oil in the sand.

This tells us, say the scientists, that the sea once covered the land.

It is millions of years since

I last held your hand.

The city shines like sunken treasure. I could never

be a writer. I could never be a sailor.

There’s too much imagination

in the water’s weathered mirror.

Your curves incline the hilltop

where no multitudes have fled.

The soft wind takes my hand.

The soft wind shakes my head.

Links to many of James’ poems, interviews, and essays are available at his New Zealand Book Council page.


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One Response to “Dora Malech’s Pocket Money + James Brown’s Against Gravity”

  1. James Brown’s poem selected for Best New Zealand Poems 2010 « Says:

    […] “The Green Plastic Toy,” which appeared in his & Dora Malech’s DUETS chapbook, has been selected for Best New Zealand Poems 2010. DUETS is extremely happy for James and grateful […]

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