Wednesday 30 August 2023

Gram Joel Davies, "Not Enough Rage"

Gram Joel Davies grew up in a council house in the Westcountry. Working class and university-educated, he is enthusiastic about psychotherapy and works as a counsellor in private practice. His poetry concerns itself with an experience of being (through rural and urban landscapes) and with belonging (in relationships marked by emotional disturbance). Publications have appeared over the decades in Magma, The Moth, Poetry Wales, The Centrifugal Eye and many other places. Not Enough Rage will be published by V. Press in October 2023. His debut collection, Bolt Down This Earth (2017), is also published by V. Press.

About Not Enough Rage

Not Enough Rage is very gutsy and very heady. Written over the course of two decades, it is something of a companion volume to Bolt Down This Earth, but pushes Davies' perceptions and style to new points of contact with the world. It is at once peripatetic and personal. Themes of awe and disaffection wrap around one another like wrestling dragons, equally matched. The poems often have a musicality that is intended to buoy meaning on a current of implicit feeling. Rather than exclusively literal or logical, this is writing that hopes cast a magnet into the back of the mind and bring up knots of association, as much sensed as seen.

You can read more about Not Enough Rage on the publisher's website here. Below, you can read two sample poems from the collection. 

From Not Enough Rage, by Gram Joel Davies

A Taxonomy of Wingèd Serpents

When dragons, one bold as rusted pipework,
the other bluer than icebergs, pitch
and lacerate each other inside the mind,
at times I’ll plummet, while other days
I’ll walk a comet. Not caring much
what phylum/family/genus the symptoms are.

My doctor differs, mid-turn on his swivel
chair under the sincere light of his PC
with his coded manuals near: classification matters.
Medieval bestiaries, with their stunted
perspectives, draw commonalities through sea lions,
fishes and ducks. But, he assures me,

modern expertise puts little stock in superficial
characteristics, then loses me in split-tooth jargon...
Order Calidraco ... Dracoform ...
A web search churns up myths, citing creatures
who raise little boys in splendid palaces,
feed them riddles reinforced by scalds

and love, or heap approval on a bed
of starlit coins. By his screen light, the doctor
discredits links with Triassic lines –
you may be rough-mailed and warm in the marrow.
He even touches the genetic element, a stratus ribbon
helixed through a moody firmament,

most interested in the composition of the belch-
stain chemical breath. With swivelled eye,
he advises that identity, as it pertains
to conflicted dragons, has a crassness stigmatised
at meal parties (and better left unshared). My affect
wears the flare of rust and roars like glaciers.

In Which *I* Don’t Fit

*I* don’t look good     in bandana or tie-clip
and tattoos slip *my* skin     like film off cocoa
Clinique ‘Happy’ abandons *me*     up the extractor fan

*I* always admired thatch     cottages
from inside student digs     but council kids
took the posh piss     for the way *I* said
actually     the accents *I* tab through
are like game toons’     facial hair

*I* don’t     quite     qualify     for social housing
perhaps *I* belong     with the badger
drunk on fallen apples     so *I* buy craft ales
with *my* JSA     and sit in the park trying
to figure out poplar hybrids     by street-light

the skate-ramp runs cool     but *I* never learnt the fakie
everybody interesting     leaves the country     *I* do
Guardianistawaffle     then remain in tenements
with the names of men     coal-toting
up quicksand rivers     too heavy
in *my* face     for bachelor
honours     but groundsman     gutter-laying
don’t believe in     clinical     depression

though it’s BBC boffins     who give *me* the best buzz
*I* protest     against buying the licence

retail management     is afraid
*my* lexicon derogates     their intelligence quotient
it’s these entry jobs     which *I* enter
and re-enter     endlessly
the ones *I* step off     like Chaplin from a tram
HR greasing *me*     into tribunals

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