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Courtenay Schembri Gray

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the poet

Born and raised in the north of England, Courtenay Schembri Gray reared her head as a budding poet with a penchant for the macabre. Since finding kinship in the rich verse of Sylvia Plath, Courtenay has amassed a large amount of publishing credits. Her poetry collection, The Maggot on Maple Street, was published in 2023.

the poems

Charlie

00:00 / 01:18
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            His stubby fingers grope me, and I scream only air.

            I am a huntress, yet I despise the taste of flesh and blood.

            With his half-dead slant, the man buries my despair.


            Muddy waters slough the sin off my back while I violate my pear.

            Daddy’s belt loops around schoolboy errors, threatening to flood.

            His stubby fingers grope me, and I scream only air.


            Upon the eve of moonstruck men, I open my cervical lair.

            You heave rare meat onto the table, harder than you should.

            I am a huntress, yet I despise the taste of flesh and blood.


            You swaddle her like a baby, leaving only shoes for her to wear.

            When we first met, I don’t think you understood.

            His fingers grope me, and I scream only air.


            We stand on porcelain cracks, silent, with nothing to declare

            Somehow, despite it all, you found me like an earring stud.

            I am a huntress, yet I despise the taste of flesh and blood.


            You have turned me into a woman, but I will not share.

            Let’s leave the world with a gift, richer than others would.

            His fingers grope me, and I scream only air.

            I am a huntress, yet I despise the taste of flesh and blood.

June Bug

00:00 / 01:19
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            With Bambi eyes all aflutter, I drink from the well of men.

            A paper lantern hangs from every bloody coat hanger.

            Under the cloak of 6 am, I am to be born again.


            Lost in a June bug cocktail, I fall for a Parisienne.

            He bought me roses, and I threw them in anger.

            With Bambi eyes all aflutter, I drink from the well of men.


            You know, I think about you every now and then.

            For a red-blooded man, you were placid in manner.

            Under the cloak of 6 am, I am to be born again.


            To my dirty photographs, you would say très bien.

            Rubbing coconut rum into skin, I would yammer.

            With Bambi eyes all aflutter, I drink from the well of men.


            Darling, I need you like I need goddamn medicine.

            Inside a chrysalis, I preach grief-stricken slander.

            Under the cloak of 6 am, I am to be born again.


            You left me with echoes of Non, je ne regrette rien.

            With starry thighs and coal miner skies, I languor.

            With Bambi eyes all aflutter, I drink from the well of men.

            Under the cloak of 6 am, I am to be born again.

The Maggot
on Maple Street

00:00 / 00:55
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                                    Shaken from my sleep

                                    by yellow taxi dreams;

                                    toothpaste is my cork,


                                    stopping the wine from

                                    sloshing around the great

                                    caboose that is I, way off


                                    the wagon, face down in

                                    the sludge. Moontime

                                    butter shoots me in the


                                    eye, hot syrup; that sticky

                                    pudding, fat with guilt and

                                    irony. O’ how I fabricate


                                    the lowest despair, the

                                    deadliest joy, finer than lace,

                                    as impure as rendition. Swear


                                    me a fishwife, an earwig, a

                                    flotsam woodlouse with but

                                    a cube of cheese to stay afloat.


                                    I must get back to the desk, to

                                    the coffee rings and grassy knolls.

                                    To the looking glass, without delay.

Publishing credits

Charlie: The Book of Korinethians (Pink Plastic Press)

June Bug: Idle Ink (March 2022)

The Maggot on Maple Street: Roi Fainéant Press (Oct 2022)

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