Eighty-two raw, fragmented, numbered poems in couplets chart the course of a marriage: passion, obsession, humour, love, sex, control, betrayal and liberation.
26. We Are Unconsciously Withheld From Others
In my dream you, the non-smoker,
are smoking a cigarette.
We are sitting at the edge of a large field
extending out into darkness.
A few of us are here but not many
we are all close friends.
Although I cannot see their faces and I know
if I looked I would not recognise them.
‘We’ sounds wrong.
I am not the owner of the dream
simply one of those watching you
watching as you talk.
You wave your hands and I know
the exact instant you have forgotten the cigarette.
I look in your eyes in that moment
the moment when the cigarette is part of your hand
as much as finger and bone and I know
something is being withheld.
You do not mean to withhold it
but if I asked you for it, you could not give it to me.
In The Mouth of Eulalie Annie Brechin is in love. Well, not her and not the kind of love her heroine, Juliette, desires or deserves. No, this is ‘a dark thing,’ ‘the atrocity committed by women,’ confused with sex, and that leads to betrayal and heartbreak. Crafted fittingly in couplets, the poems in Brechin's first collection confront modern relationships directly and frankly. There’s little sweet speech and much graphic telling it how it is. The individual titles for each poem in this long narrative sequence are exemplary. Brechin has a keen eye for details and description; though I’m not sure we should want to share the sumptuous feasts that are Juliette’s distractions here. They, like all else, are hers, alone. – Kate Noakes
“Annie Brechin is a profoundly mesmerising, fresh and captivating poet, somehow both tender and brutal, sharp and vulnerable. The Mouth of Eulalie is a triumph, an empowering read and as uncomfortable as the truth. I found it deeply moving and beautiful, and like all great classics I will treasure my copy of this book and read it again and again." – Salena Godden
Annie Brechin has always brought a special shape. It might be somewhat lived in, may be folded differently, not always a standard fit, but you know it’s gonna hang fabulously. – Tim Wells
Date of publication, 15 March 2022
The Mouth of Eulalie by Annie Brechin (ISBN: 9781915108012
41. Power Games
The first night you let me stay over
we toasted your compliance
with a ten-year-old Talisker
like honey and violet it was
The sex was better.
You drove me home at 6am
I showered and changed into work clothes.
The short skirt, the boots
the tuxedo jacket. And a man’s tie.
Got into work on the dregs.
All day everyone came up to me
saying how chic I looked
was I going for an interview?
I got shit done.
I was shit hot.
Marie came over laughing, saying
it must have been a while.
Suddenly I felt awful
so entirely in your power.
What is fidelity but obedience?
When I show love it means chains.
Why am thinking like this!
This is not how I think when you’re here.
Open the French windows.
The street below is full of people.
Soon he will walk steadily through the flow
he will be impatient on the stair.
His hurried step and his hand
through the wing of his hair.
64. Money Is The Value Of Desire
Stand up to be counted
you stand up to be shot.
The government will bail the banks out
The most valuable thing to do
is keep spending.
We have mojitos to drink.
We have a skiing holiday in February.
These are the good lives.
This is what we paid for.
Money is good.
You can buy happiness.
We have no needs.
We exist purely in a state of desire.
76. Sacrifice Time To Make Yourself Beautiful
At the beginning they say call me
text me whenever you want
I just want to hear your sexy voice.
While they’re still in the hunt.
After a few months
Why are you texting me in the middle of the day?
I’m at work, babe.
Why are you texting on a Friday night?
I’m out with my friends.
Don’t you have friends of your own?
You can’t follow me all the time.
These little boys never heard the story
of Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty.
Only girls get taught that.
Fuck you he says
Why don’t you take care of yourself like other girls?
Don’t call him. Don’t message him.
Go to the salon, get your nails done.
Even if you are slobbing in your pjs
make sure they are silk.
They compare you to posters.
They compare you to their friends’ girlfriends.
For the man-boys, the Peter Pans
the natural state of a woman is mascara and jewellery.
They do not want your passion.
They want you bent over in a nurse’s uniform.
Your success in your job
is due to the advice I gave you.
You’re not happy
because you don’t behave like I tell you.
All I ever wanted was you to be here.
This is what she put on the plate to be eaten
by someone who doesn’t understand hunger.
What he offered… she can’t remember.
She offered herself the dream of love
and it was his job to kiss her, to wake her up.
To end the dream. She finally has it.
His job was to end love.
Annie Brechin received a Jerwood/Arvon Young Poets Apprenticeship in 2003 at the age of 19. After stints living, writing and performing in Prague, Paris and Dubai, she has settled down in Edinburgh. The Mouth of Eulalie is her first full-length collection.