Amanda Bell reads from her new collection Riptide (Doire Press).
Riptide visits the beauty and darkness of Edvard Munch, his work a touchstone for the poet who paints parallels with the pain and joy of being alive today.
Paddle-boarding cousins rescued after fifteen hours at sea during corona virus pandemic, August 2020
What I love about this story is its clarity – there’s nothing vague about the vastness of the sea, or its indifference. Pulled way offshore, you lash your boards together like a life raft, till the dark turns thick and falls to meet the swell. I love that when the helicopters miss you, the Perseids flash like searchlights, an echo of the ocean’s phosphorescence. I love that in the sea there’s just the present – no time to contemplate successive waves. I love that when they pick you up, you’re safe.
The patterns we make in our sleep, viewed from above, would be symmetrical: parallel lines of equal length, separate but – like railway tracks – heading in the same direction; or pillars, bearing weight. Perhaps curled in like brackets, keeping something safe inside; or bookends, holding volumes in between. Sometimes like matching cutlery, tucked in its snug canteen – your knees slotted into mine, or the way my cheek fits in the plane between your shoulder blades, like jigsaw pieces, softened through long use. Or back to back, no contact but the cool soles of our feet; the space between our bodies curving open like a chalice, a receptacle for dreams.
Hoppers and Daddies
The feel of a hopper in the dome of your palms – the gentle twitch of him, the dark quiet. It’s mayfly season, and you’re on the sandy bay, hunting. There’s a little wooden box for them. Rectangular. One corner is hinged, and lifts up on an elastic band so you can slip them in. There are gauze panels on the sides so you can count your catch. They jump against the solid lid. The muscularity of them, their hard carapace, legs like steel pins. Daddies are different, fey and weightless, limbs fine as hair. The squish of their bodies as they’re threaded onto fish-hooks. side on to the swell the sky looks closer then further off You watch the offering as it floats on the wave, the gossamer cast bellies in the wind. It hops, lifelike, as the breeze gusts. Down below they watch it too, the wary fish. Sometimes they take it in their chilly mouths. Sometimes they swallow. silver scales drift from the landing net one by one by one