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

 

146 pages.

Date of publication, 15 March 2022

The Mouth of Eulalie by Annie Brechin (ISBN: 9781915108012

£10.00Price
  • 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


    velvet, violent.
    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
    anyway.

     

    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.