Joanna Nissel’s Guerrilla Brightenings will be published in Spring 2022.
Joanna Nissel first discovered poetry through the gateway drug of prose poetry while at Bath Spa University. She has since been the runner up for the Poetry Business New Poets Prize, ‘Pick of the Month’ for Ink, Sweat and Tears, and won the Bangor Literary Journal 2020 Ekphrastic Competition. Joanna is completing a PhD in ‘Mentoring in the Contemporary UK Poetry Ecology’ at University of Southampton.
On rediscovering a favourite dress
Every so often, clash comes back in fashion –tooclose–
scarlet against primrose, aqua against teal.
Now we pilgrim the chalk tracks, learn
the revolving cartography of village windows:
forlorn glances, disapproving gazes, an absence
or deluge of applause. Facebook posts implore nuance,
ask, who are these enemies in our manors?
We examine the pathway’s cultivated borders
and soften at peonies in cerise, mingling
with burnt umber of red helianthus
–that, too, was a choice. Behind hedgerows,
I hear a woman tell her child
to stop flicking beetles from the magnolia.
It takes a moment to understand a system of rebirth,
it takes an opening, that is to say, the warmth
of you sitting beside me.
First published in Tears in the Fence
The Long Man of Wilmington
There he is Skinny light-man master of rigs
quick-wit stage-caller His voice over the tannoy
directs bulbs conjures an Arden that pulses with ravesweat
He taught my father about love
as if browsing cheese samples
proffered on a paper plate
eyeing all the mad delicious options
the possibility of Wensleydale
In a series of guerrilla brightenings
he infiltrated forests lined the branches
with fairy lights tubes of colour devils saints
One night they snuck up chalk paths
scaled the Downs strung the Long Man
where he reclined lazy as a man can be
until his body twin poles glistened
golden light Edam topaz
Take this for a fertility symbol sweetheart