Monkey Puzzle

By William Gilson
ISBN 978-0-9928946-6-5
Price £5


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Bill Gilson is an American from New England who came to live in Cumbria with his young family in 1995. In these utterly distinctive poems he writes of the conflicting emotions of this transition. Conflating the past and present almost seamlessly, here is one man’s attempt to confront the puzzle of how we end up living the lives we do.

“Gilson places details and relationships in such a way that they transcend the simply biographical.” D.A.Prince in londongrip.


The farm

A house, recalled
from my old life in America.
It is spectral now,
invisible to the people
who drive past the new houses
along the Naugatuck-Middlebury line,
the single lane road.
Cow barn, hay barn, spring house, sheds.
The brook with its swimming hole where
cousin Norman cracked his head.
Once, alongside the railroad embankment
an Ansonia man buried his murdered wife:
Bill Fenn, Lennie, Donnie, Uncle Frank
went to watch the cops dig.

On the steep hillside in back of the cow barn
we back-and-forthed with the flatbed truck
and I rode atop the piled hay
through the big barn doors.

In the house on Sundays
the women talked and cooked in the kitchen
and in the dark parlor the men
watched football on a 12″ black-and-white RCA.

The ghosts of my cousins, of my brother and me,
run through the rooms, up and down the stairs,
out the front door, into the sunlight.


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