Can a source of inspiration be a partner-in-creativity? Can a muse be a collaborator, when without one there is no other?
With her new chapbook 'The Laura Poems', Juliet Cook proves not only that an outside and, in effect, sleeping-partner, can be part of collaboration but that with new input, the result can be nothing short of brilliant.
Poets have often drawn inspiration from works of art, playwrights from historical figures, artists from mythology and fable. Here Ms Cook takes a fictional character (who found physicality in a film, TV series and a book), mise-en-scene and subjective haunting atmosphere and added a good dollop of her own sinister, secret ingredient.
I am a fan of David Lynch. I am a massive fan of David Lynch. His themes of (dis)possession, metamorphasis, disembodiment, traversing time and space, strange disappearances, unexplained occurences, endings that don't add up... his films could have come straight from Artaud's own Theatre of Cruelty.
I am also a fan, a MASSIVE fan, of Juliet Cook's poetry. The meat hooks and glass eyes, the deformed limbs and scarlet stains, the poison, the cookie cutters, the inedible evidence.
So when I discovered Juliet had published a collection of poems inspired by the tragic figure of Laura Palmer (Twin Peaks), I was so excited I nearly wet myself.
I wasn't disappointed.
This beautiful chapbook, bound with feathers, tied up in lace, sepia pages, text the colour of dried blood... is why we will always have books. E-books and journals are great but nothing can beat the organic beauty of a perfectly bound book to hold in your hands.
There are 10 poems here, all so evocative of the Lynchian mood. Each one has such a different atmosphere, an aura, or an aroma that lingers. Some of these poems are so cold, nearly frozen, as to almost be written documentation of the cold, dead flesh of Laura herself. But this collection is not an epitaph. Neither is it a eulogy. It is more than that. It is an excercise in immortality.
* * *
"moving near the edge at night" Julee Cruise
When the border has been crossed
& the roulette wheel has been spun so many times
& the red velvet curtains have been torn open--
L. can sometimes be found
gambling with the periphery;
half-numb / half-raw,
fondling another pill.
'Here pussy, pussy, pussy...'
And she slinks over
with her smooth white flesh.
With her smooth white marble kitty mask.
With her riding crop flicking like a piece of tail.
'Here foxy, foxy, foxy...'
And the madam gallivants out
with her black-seamed stockings.
With her dangling maraschino cherries.
With her tray of petite needles.
Red & black ants invade
the sugar bowl. Madam wants to play
a game of checkered pasts.
A catty show of punishment
doled out by small syringe.
Blackie, Blackie, Blackie
rides the white horse.
She gives her henchman a shot,
then a whole line of glossy cherries
to pick one / lick one / prick one.
Red & black Queens of Hearts compete.
L. takes on the role of a sweet taboo
Scheherazade who uses her body
instead of words. She knows that none of them will listen
unless she arches and curves. Purrs perverse flirtations
half-dreamland / half-nightmare world.
Her half-red-lipped / half-black-lipped
doppelganger is a playing card
pinned to her own chest.
What happened to the girl
who smiled behind the perfumery?
She's lost in the shirring;
choking on red velvet
Reviewed by Rachel Kendall