Leontia Flynn – Nina Simone is Singing (Mariscat Press)
The judges were unanimously drawn to the felt emotions and witty humour of the skillfully-crafted lyrics in Nina Simone Is Singing. Leontia Flynn is one of the finest emotional chroniclers of our neurotic inner world during what Flynn has called the ‘Age of Interruption’, in other words our current way of life, replete with its psychic overloads and unrelenting connectivity, leaving Flynn to ponder exactly how our selfhood is assembled, and how far we wander from those constructs.
Now that the verdict’s in
Now that the verdict’s in,
the voices raised, the arguments advanced
and assets tabled
for a split, the city stops
seeming to ask: ‘What now?’
The streets are bare at noon
as though inhaled. A sense of locked rooms
and hasty consultation
and over the vacant lot
beyond my desk, three herring gulls reel up
protesting: high and white
like ticker tape reversed.
Airborne relief. ‘What now’
for words – or for the hate boils
and courses through nervous systems?
Look, I’m pushing back my chair and going home,
‘that once-bright casket
from which the jewels have been freshly
robbed’, by the river-road
which follows the curve of the earth
and where, left since the workers downed their tools,
the trees on either side
crowd in – weighed down
with both neglect and bounty.