An independent small press poetry review

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4b Tremayne Close
UK ISBN 1 900152 95 9

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Tim Cumming's collection contains some 50 poems, many of a personal and intimate nature. The language is fast moving, sometimes hard to pin down and often the poems have a surreal flavour. The imagery also often has an unusual impact. In DAYS for example we have

	Days that resembled the back of a clock
	or a man smoking cigarettes with a milky eye
	Days that glowed like the end of a cigarette,
	that hung like a favourite jacket
	across your shoulders, down your arms.
In some poems the images appear to be somewhat unrelated and elusive with apparently disconnected lines giving the poem as a whole the quality of renga.

Poems often show disenchantment and alienation as in ALMOST HUMAN or THE LONG SPIN:

	He rang to say he'd be late, then never,
	the sound of his voice not like his,
	but almost human like a tarnished mirror with a face in it,
	its gaze clear but not cold, more like a feeling
	that's been there too long, like too much silence.
HOME TRUTHS, about the break up of a relationship is more concrete than many poems. In SEPTEMBER SONNETS, a sequence of eight, the narrative stops and starts life puff of smoke blowing in the wind and throughout there is again an undercurrent of alienation, a world filled with a bleak uncertainty. This is an excerpt from the last of the sequence:
	... At the corner
	of Stamford Street on the steps of the
	Schiller International University
	A pigeon fell dead at my feet, the
	events of the day returned to their houses,
	the unthinkable in confession,
	the crowded trains, postcards from abroad,
	raised armies, fear of attack
	the endless distances in small spaces,
	the high altitude at ground zero.
A poem I have more empathy with is PUNCTUATION, about the experience of parenthood. This is written in a more conventional style, it begins
	It was the month her teeth came through,
	the first words sinking their foundations.
	I'd wake in the night, dream images billowing
	like air bags, the brass plate of a hangover
	bolted against my temple.
with the concluding lines:
	... The need for sleep
	twisted through us like weather extremes
	and broke off the hands of the clocks.
	Who knows how long I spent
	gazing into her fiery eye,
	the pin point of the turning world
This is a collection I did not feel entirely comfortable with, but is certainly interesting and thought provoking and Tim Cumming's use of language is impressive.

reviewer: Ron Woollard.