Whiteman, your King of Jazz,
dazzles you. Germany cannot pay.
We watch as banks slump,
benefactors bankrupt; you paint
body parts recumbent:
a thigh out of place, a torso
limbless, a breast of lace.
Tonight you play the banjo
and we remember our forgotteness:
Germany pivoting on its wheel
in the darkness and you crossing
through granite to pick and pick
at its city, extracting life
from crystal seams.
Widmung an Oskar Panizza
In this infernal abyss you paint your psychiatrist
and lunatics, bleed them on to paper: Liebeskonzil
syphilis, hellscape. Here in your red world,
the grim reaper rides the coffin, takes a slug
of spirits, drops the dead in some pitiless pit.
There’s no mercy with your marauders, your whole street
clambers through chaos and somewhere in it
you’re trapped opening and closing your sketchbook
like it’s a pair of wings desperate to leave.
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“These are fine hard-bitten poems with the imaginative strength and resonance to stand alongside the work of George Grosz without being in any way diminished by it. The realisation of Eva Peter’s voice is a triumph, and introduces Abegail Morley as one of our most impressive and rewarding poets.” Peter Bennet
“Abegail Morley’s sequence Eva and George: Sketches in Pen and Brush, marked by both authenticity and originality, impresses with startling imagery and the striking juxtaposition of the private and the public. Her poetic account of George Grosz and Eva Peter’s life in the Weimar Republic is at the same time a compelling panorama of a whole era characterized by struggle, violence and radicalism.” Wolfgang Görtschacher, Poetry Salzburg Review
“Morley skilfully captures the rawness of George Grosz’s acerbic images of despots and outcasts in post WWI Germany,while tenderly evoking a portrait of the man behind the art. In lucidly-voiced poems spoken by his wife, Eva Peter, she explores the passion and compassion that drove him. In doing so, she reminds us of the casual and calculated malice we are capable of inflicting on each other in daily living, and that ‘We are those passers-by’.”