Year of a Hundred books – #65 Wine For A Shotgun

Wine For A ShotgunWine For A Shotgun – Marty McConnell


I’ve never written a review of a poetry anthology before, so it’s difficult to know how to start. Marty McConnell is my favourite contemporary poet, so when I finally discovered she was finally publishing an anthology, I was quite excited, even more so when it turns out that she was also releasing it as an audiobook, which is the format I experienced Wine for a Shotgun in. (Unfortunately I discovered that the audiobook actually doesn’t include all the poems from the anthology, which is a pity, but I’m still counting this as a whole book).
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Can Lyrics be counted as Literature?

What’s this? A post that does directly relate to a book I’ve read? When did that last happen?1 As much as it’s books and literature that’s the main focus of this blog, music is just as big of a factor in my day-to-day life. According to my profile, I’ve listened to on average 47 songs a day since early 2005, which I think seems like a bit of an understatement, but that’s neither here nor there. Though I’m just about too young for the mix-tape era, creating playlists was a particular hobby of mine during the first couple of years of university. As my (woefully pretentious) NaNoWriMo account from 2005 attests, I’ve often tended to prefer ‘Songs that have plotlines’. Almost as bad (or possibly worse), is the fact that at one point I’m fairly sure I tried to argue that we would be better off studying Morrissey & The Smiths for English Literature than we were studying William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience. I’m not necessarily proud of that, but I do still dislike Blake, and think that discounting music as a form of literature is a mistake.

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The Good Old Days

Those could have been the good old days:

Cheap Bleach on your hair

We got deep, warm, drunk,

In summertime,

Below the trembling moon as the stars unfurled.

We wrote our names out on the sidewalk,

Something rare was going on,

The world was never going to end.

We did what we could,

While the world waited for an explosion,

With a wink and a wave.

So that’s when we went,

All the way,

heading westwards towards the Sun,

To California,

Where no policeman walks the beat,

Where Hollywood lay, piled up to the sky.

We went fast. We were free,

And we did our best,

Once we contracted American dreams.

Everything we always wanted.

Well, you know,

It just burns me to remember.

Watching you while we dreamt.


Found poem from a Genius playlist of Eels’ The Good Old Days

Schrödinger’s Letter

The note is on the table,
Waiting for me expectantly.

In one universe it says

‘I have broken your heart;
Leaving you for a cute young blond.’

In the same universe it says

‘I have nipped to the shops;
To stock up on wine and condoms.’

I decide to prolong the moment:
Sustain the waveform and head
To the shops myself.

I’ll either find you,
Or chocolate, tissues, and trashy magazines.

The Crown of Love

I swore to the stars
It was wrong, although you said it was right.
The times we had…
I liked you for them.
But I ended it, this thing you had started it.
I thought the story was over.

I packed up my belongings and I headed for the coast
Hiding the fact I felt dead again.
Just a lie I told myself to get by
but my heart kept waiting
I couldn’t think, I was too tired of life.

There was always a crowd at the sea
but one day you were standing, smiling.
I hung my head low, avoiding you
So, so much past, felt like
A heavy stone around my neck
I couldn’t think straight.
I tried to get away and
pretend it was not you coming across to me.

You’d damn both of us, girl.
You looked me in the eye, and
I heard your voice ringing like a bell:
“I can’t accept that it’s over.
I made a vow to you,
Don’t you remember?”

Breath deep to calm down,

“If you still want me, please forgive me.
You’re still very loveable,
But you can’t throw all consequences aside.
It’s time you knew what you really want,
and if you want to be with me,
Go and tell him that
you have chosen this crime.”

We sat, seeming to be in disbelief
until we were but silhouettes
ready to be reformed.
We knew we’d never ever be the same
but it all felt fine.
It was a great adventure.


I sit within the valley green,
in the pretty twilight,
under the boughs, beside
a heart carved tree trunk.

Svetlana once sat across from me,
“Let’s get out of this country,” she’d said,
“Take me,
“You and me, forever,”
She took a map,
Ink faded black,
and drew a straight line.

“I’m awfully busy,”
I said, “I can’t do it,”
And she left me all alone.

I should never have come here.
I want to see her
and I think it’s a sign that last night,
I dreamt I could not stand by myself.
She was my girl.
It seems there’s no sun,
Now that she’s gone,
And I’ve not laughed in a long time.
She was my only one.