The Poetry of Yvette R. Murray

Claire Bateman Weekly Hubris Banner 2017

When/Gullah/Geechee folk/meet at the sto’/they speak about how/to cook stone ground grits right./That 2:1 ratio./Instant is like the biblical/abomination. That ratio/reveals itself in refined spaces too/like/cheer squads . . . .”— Yvettte Murray

Speculative Friction

By Claire Bateman

Yvette R. Murray (Photo: Adaisia’s Eye.)

Claire Bateman

GREENVILLE South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—1 July 2021—Poet Yvette R. Murray received her BA in English from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has been published in Fall Lines, The Petigru Review, Catfish StewBarzakh, Genesis Science Fiction magazine; and has poems forthcoming in Emrys Journal and Call and Response Journal. She is a 2020 Watering Hole Fellow and a 2019 Pushcart Prize nominee.  Presently, she is writing her first collection of poetry, science fiction short stories, and a children’s book series. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and a board member of the Poetry Society of South Carolina and the South Carolina Writers Association. Murray lives in Charleston, South Carolina. (Contact the poet on Twitter at @Missyvettewrites.)

Spring Street Ghazal

On a corner-crowded avenue you’d look
Too hard and get that hood look.

Sad girl, sad, drag footfalls in daylight
She is drenched if only you could look.

Better take your time now, blue suit,
Get your cappuccino and a good look.

Dragonflies hover in a garden nearby.
Squirrels dance on hot wire. Should look.

Nests in the “E” of the word “Store”
Life carved in asphalt. Understood? Look.

A spiderweb across pecan trees
Black-hooded kid with a wood look.

A Yew tree squints and comes the vision:
Seeing the whole if only they would look.

The Opposite of Charleston is Pittsburgh

On Fifth Avenue
The kingdoms of Kaufmann’s and Gimbels
beckoned me like
the call of this oceanless town.
Folk didn’t even speak to folk they know
passing by tall buildings on fifth Avenues.
I swam in this:
broad deep brushstrokes in the life of a girl
Coming out of cocoon with shaved legs
Coming out of cocoon with glorious face paint
Coming out of cocoon popping that slang in time
to the tap, tap, tap, tap of the fancy flats I had just bought
from the Wild Pair
not the skinny, high heels of the year before.

Let me begin again.
Ghosts don’t speak out of time.
Old friends, classmates and mothers
marvel as if something were wrong
before which makes this after such a treat-
closing in on the edge of my insanity.
I don’t mind, much,
as it is a reign of my own design,
a sleight of speech
tucked in the side drawer of a mahogany dresser.
A duo that is one
with ocean breezes and Gullah Geechee cadence,
three Rivers, skylines, The Point,
pluff mud, palm trees, and pralines: The opposite of me is me.

The Case of Accomplice Liability in 43 American States
(Stave v)

One hand can lift up life
as well as take.
All that is needed is.
One to be as true as
blue cannot be
if all is all
that they
see.

One hand can take a life
is the asphalt rhyme.
All that is needed is.
One to exist blackly
in a metropolis,
down home down,
any street, anywhere, any,
any

The hand of

Is one hand all
to save a life. a heart. beat.
All that is needed is.
Five fingers. Oh. Five?
A just hin, honest scales,
bring some light,
hand him some hot tea,
drink.

All one hand can
play is one song. Is.
All that is needed is.
Unbalanced forces
The. Take. Kill. Shoot.
Of thee I
Die. Right.
There.

2:1 Ratio

When
Gullah
Geechee folk
meet at the sto’
they speak about how
to cook stone ground grits right.
That 2:1 ratio.
Instant is like the biblical
abomination. That ratio
reveals itself in refined spaces too
like
cheer squads/
boardrooms. It
does not feed. Not
an exquisite dish
to share with new neighbors.
This 2:1 ratio?
It comes dragging the cruel vestige
of a past life so dark/so twisted
one can only speak of in low voices.

Note: “O, Death” first appeared in the Bellingham Review.

To order copies of Claire Bateman’s books Scape or Coronology from Amazon, click on the book covers below.Bateman ScapeBateman Coronology

About Claire Bateman

Claire Bateman’s books include Scape (New Issues Poetry & Prose); Locals (Serving House Books), The Bicycle Slow Race (Wesleyan University Press), Friction (Eighth Mountain Poetry Prize), At The Funeral Of The Ether (Ninety-Six Press, Furman University), Clumsy (New Issues Poetry & Prose), Leap (New Issues), and Coronolgy (Etruscan Press). She has been awarded Individual Artist Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the Surdna Foundation, as well as two Pushcart Prizes and the New Millennium Writings 40th Anniversary Poetry Prize. She has taught at Clemson University, the Greenville Fine Arts Center, and various workshops and conferences such as Bread Loaf and Mount Holyoke. She lives in Greenville, South Carolina. (Please see Bateman’s amazon.com Author’s Page for links to all her publications.)
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