Poems: Andrea Quinlan

Irene Warren posing with a film camera for a Turners publicity shot, January 1957 (TWAM ref. DT.TUR/4/AG801/3).

I wear my heart on my sleeve

I can be drama.
I am often smudged lipstick,
chipped nailpolish and dishevelled hair,
but tonight it is you who is in the spotlight.
The red curtains are open
and though my heart is in hiding
I fear I do wear it on my sleeve.
It’s so embarassing
I feel so pink cheeked
and romantic
Oh my heart,
What a performance!

The Bouquet

It’s almost too perfect.
everything about this scene is fake.
It’s beyond my wildest dreams,
a real artifice like this.
Red velvet curtains,
floodlights, smoke,
a garish green glow,
Though I am not one of the chorus,
the adorers and the adored,
I could adore.
I do have a bouquet
of glitter encrusted flowers.
Flowers are always appropriate.
I don’t deal in metaphors
This performance is real


The show is over
the curtain has fallen
there is nobody here but me and
I am crying in spotted taffeta
in the backroom
will I succumb to the swoons?
the vomits on velvet
the collapses on stained carpets?
I have this fancy
this beautiful hothouse flower
that blooms a deep red
and is deadly to crunch between your teeth

Oh to be the wooer or the wooed

I want to woo you –
I do, but I also wish to be wooed by you
I’m not going to ask you to
I’m going to flutter my fan
and write melodramatic poems
I’m going to wear black lace
and red lipstick
and write about you on the intenet
I’m going to dance to the song Sucker

This is not even the 19th Century

I am not waiting for love
No, not waiting as I
have passed one by
who made my cheeks flush
without art’s assistance
and I am artful – decorative rather than ornamental – but when
it comes to the one I
wished to call beloved
all I could do was
look without seeming
to look and this is
not even the 19th century!
Oh that I had dropped
a handkerchief

Love is a mixtape

Last year I cast us in
a new wave romance in verse
It was like Marie Antoinette
as soundtracked by
Bow Wow Wow
I imagined you
on stage in a black satin cape and myself in crushed velvet
Now when I think of us
I think of you
as you really were
In the thirties, proferring fresh flowers to your stage love
In both scenes I wished it was me IRL
but in this scene I’m
in a beret and
I don’t really want
to wait until everything
is perfect
Andrea Quinlan is a poet and writer based in Christchurch, New Zealand. She is the author of the chapbooks We Speak Girl (Dancing Girl Press, 2012) and The Mysteries of Laura (Birds of Lace, 2013). Recent work has also appeared in HAG, Poems in Which and the Best Friends Forever anthology.

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