Tuesday 17 May 2022

Laura Sygrove, "Three Poems"

Laura Sygrove is a recent graduate of the Creative Writing MA programme at the University of Leicester. She loves mythology and folklore, horror games and graphic novels, and is currently looking to break into the publishing industry. Her poem ‘IC-4593’ was published on NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory blog in 2021. You can read it here

Below, you can read three poems by Laura. 

About My Poems, by Laura Sygrove

These poems are taken from my MA Dissertation, a creative study on the effects of consumerism, and rooted in my experience working in retail and customer service. Consumerism as a system is built upon the backs of the working class – many of us actively participating in the exploitation of others through no fault of our own. Purchasing consumer goods or services in the market is unavoidable, and arguably essential in sustaining a happy and healthy lifestyle under capitalism. 

With these ideas in mind, ‘A Supermarket in Connacht,’ ‘SCO-117,’ and ‘Wood Wide Web’ were composed as short allegories, exploring themes of hospitality, greed and excess, autonomy and compassion. ‘A Supermarket in Connacht’ details the downfall of an ancient Irish warrior-Queen, whilst likening a trip to the grocery store to a kind of spiritual experience (one often encompassed by the phrase ‘retail therapy’); ‘Wood Wide Web’ conveys the idea that we, as consumers, are led, as opposed to being well-informed and in control; while ‘SCO-117’ addresses the role of machinery and technology in the workplace, displacing blame and responsibility onto inanimate objects. 

A Supermarket in Connacht

     I’m a regular at the Empyrean – 
The ollmhargadh down the road –
     I burn as six-wingéd seraphim
clothe my feet, mouth, and nose.

     Like Queen Medb, ruthless
And revered by all – 
     Risk it for that prized stud,
Stand by as men brawl;
     Raise babe and army 
As far as Donegal.

     Home is Éire – 
Where open-air
              spirits roam;
                                  Trace the gibbous moon         
by the cruel light of day,
      Waning       at the summit of Cnoc na Ré – 

I am equal to him if I possess equal fortune.

     Sip black coffee with syrups
And shop-bought jams;
     Climb man-made cairns,
Fall prey to internet scams […]

     You crazy babe, Bathsheba  – 
Indulgent in earthly riches – 
     Suckle forbidden faery fruits,
Rotting figs in pale juices;

     Pinch the flesh 
from fuzzy skins,      Savour pulp fiction 
And trashy magazines;
     Reality TV on livestream.

     Swim out from Galway Bay
to Love Island,
     Make haste and mate
Atop the Celtic moors;

     Pull me aside for a chat – 
Avenge my sister, 
Tit for tat;
     I am felled by a piece of cheese.


           Do you think I am an automaton? – a machine without feelings?
    - Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

     I have as much sovereignty as you – 
As much jurisdiction, and as much purpose!
I am a pillar of industry – 
     What have you to contribute?

I am phenomenal 
     Qualia of consciousness;
Saunter supermarket aisles 
with Psyche, my Soul – 
     A spectre chained to an endless present.

I am fleshless, full-bodied;
Sinewy nuts and bolts – 
     A tightening in my chest 
as you tinker and tarnish.

“Do you wish to continue?”

I only accept card payments, sir – 
Do not burden me further with loose change/  
                                                                    mere pittance. 
You’re all the same!
     You push my buttons,     finger 
                                             my slots,
     Play with parts of me you shouldn’t touch.

~ please insert absolutely nothing here ~

I am the future.
     I insist:     You cannot continue.

Wood Wide Web

          Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, 
          For thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
- Hebrews 13:2

     Droplets of atropa belladonna 
on eyelids – Emerald iris          
infused with ink black,     And blinded –     
     In anguish, think of me;
Seek sanctuary.
     Surf mycorrhizal markets,
fungal fibres laced with lipids –     Sidestep symbiosis 
                                  and slurp the sugared soil.    
     Stop, thief! – Translucent tears 
do wilting flowers weep;
(Ne parles pas, parasitic ghost pipe! – 
     Undead snowdrop! – Feign sleep!)
With bated breath, and tree roots 
                                           Feel your way – 
                           Hack mycelial networks and infiltrate
the mainframe.

    Brainless mould – More bold than I – 
Traverse the showroom floor with ease – 
     Ankles swathed in yarn-like shackles;
To loosen, soak the knots in LSD.

With tentacles that sift and tend
     to self-service warehouse,     Descend – 

Confide in slime to reach the labyrinth’s end.

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