Liz Breslin was the 3rd prize winner in The Charles Causley International Poetry Competition 2016 with her poem ‘Walk A Mile/ Stepping Out’.
As a child in the UK, Liz Breslin memorised Charles Causley’s poems sitting in the bath. She now lives in Hawea Flat, New Zealand and writes poems, plays, stories, articles, and a fortnightly column for the Otago Daily Times. She also edits, parents, partners, skis badly, gardens sporadically, coordinates a school student volunteer programme, drinks too much coffee and loves getting her feet wet.
Liz’s first collection of poems is Alzheimer’s and a spoon, published by Otago University Press in 2017. She is comfy on the page and the stage, was second runner up in the 2014 New Zealand Poetry Slam in Wellington and did an audience-response poem at the 2016 TEDx Queenstown. Liz took part in the ‘52’ project in 2014, where she discovered new voices and fantastic practices. Her poems can be found in Landfall, Café Reader, Takahē and other places in NZ, overseas and online, as well as brewing in the bath. Poems give her hope, connection and stoke.
Her website is www.lizbreslin.com
This week is particularly significant for Liz as Friday 25th August is also National Poetry Day in New Zealand and she will be performing with a ‘Perfect 10’ group of poets in Dunedin. She is also currently writing a pantomime with an iambic panto fairy. Liz has kindly shared a new piece of poetry from her collection Alzheimer’s and a spoon as well as her original winning poem.
From Alzheimer's and a spoon
Sunday mornings after church I got it
if I was lucky/tidy/good. I tripped
it in my hot-handed pocket to the corner
of my wardrobe, dropped it through the slotted
head of a pink porcelain porker. Five pieces
of sweaty steel and every head a queen.
CLINK on empty piggy CLINK CLINK belly,
getting saved. Every week I meant to watch
it grow, bring the pig more bacon, but it was
always raining, sometimes for days.
the first time she does it is on Playa El Tenis,
Matanzas, Cuba, place of the poets and the dispossessed.
this guy with teeth white enough to colonise offers her a wooden tree
for her Adidas and her feet are burning as she walks down the beach
and she gives it as a travel totem to her mum and it takes root on a window sill
in a cul de sac and it doesn’t feel the things that she does barefoot. you can
shoehorn each petal into separate gaps though there’s a way
they prefer to be ordered. but who takes a gift apart? she starts
buying second hand shoes. wait, though, no, she’s always done that. she starts
buying second hand shoes with the intention of setting them free.
there it is in black and white and none the stranger for it. the things
you can read. and this is only a stranger in stranger’s steps. look.
there are always faint prints if you look. she leaves the shoes at life’s
junctions any time there is that Robert Frost two roads conundrum, and besides
sometimes the road is more or less rocky when you don’t have protection
on your feet. in London they see you destitute. in Peru – she dreams
of Peru. left, right. left. she makes little marks on the planet like the biometric
toeprints left by that guilty guy in flour. she bleeds on cut glass, sloughs
off leather, crochide, manmade, molts layers with the next and next
pair from her feet. this one time in Geraldine, Canterbury,
New Zealand (the place her parents warned her to keep the car windows
shut because of the bad fairies) she puts worn loafers
by the playground gate. black, stitched, straight to the bars. a friend
brings them to her a week later and asks – are these yours, is it you?