Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011

Suzie Manzoni.

by jamie shaw

Suzie Manzoni is full of wild peaches.
Suzie Manzoni believes a smile
and a daily treatment of hugs
can save my tortured junkie’s soul.
She was once like me but now NA has set her free.
Leaning on my kitchen bench
She’s holding a pile of carrot peelings
in her soft henna-painted hands.
 ‘Do you have a compost bin?’ She asks.
But Suzie Manzoni says it
like she’s asking  if I believe
in the one true Christian god.
And my answer only confirms her worst fears.
Suzie Manzoni always hangs out
wearing that kindly knowing smile
a breeze that softly whispers.
‘I totally forgive that psycho shit you put me through.’
Suzie Manzoni believes she IS the citadel
where the heathens desperately want to be
where our sordid souls are set finally free.
 She catches me smile that old learing smile.
I still love Suzie for her caring nature
and her incurable, sweet despair
at my growing pile of sodden misdemeanors.
And I suggest we fuck - just for old times sake.
 And I get the ‘I expected better of you’ frown
as Suzie drops the carrot peelings in my bin
alongside the beer cans and empty Vodka bottles.

But I know Suzie Manzoni needs me to be me.
Cause if I told her of my organic vegie patch
If I told her I’m trying hard to be good
the shock might be too much for her to bear..
So I smile, strike a match and make some tea.
She wiggles close and we flick through photos
and laugh at each other back in the day
and revisit all those crusty disappointments.
Like the vintage cloths, we both love to keep.

Added: 20.04.2011

Judges' comments on this poem


I love this but think the repeat of the name 3 times is too much, maybe use pronoun for the third - 'She believes...'