When I usually think of maggots… well, whenever. I think of the dead. And this book, The Maggot on Maple Street, has that too. Well, a death wish, and yet words coming alive as well. Flesh, finding oneself, and fuckery. I Think Maple Street’s Bugged.
If you don’t read anything else, with the way things are going in the world today… Remember, The Maggot on Maple Street for your bug-out bag. It will remind you that there was once intelligent life on this planet. One of the many things Courtenay Schembri Gray is trying to convey. Well, that’s amongst many. And did I say many other things going on in her head? Brains! Indeed if the zombies haven’t gotten to you yet, you still have. That is if you’re reading Courtenay’s book; Ms. Gray, if you’re nasty… indeed, some elements of this work. You’re warned.
Long story short, or compilation, which it is. It’s a collection of poetry from a quite profound young writer. Not to sound cliché. But each and every poem really makes you think. That’s both a good and a bad thing. But more on that in a moment. Such a mind. Courtenay’s talent is immeasurable for such a small work. But if there were more to it. And yes, I have read other titles of hers. Such as Cherry. I suppose she can’t give it away all at once. Such experiences and realizations. Which should drive us all while. You’ll see.
That is if you’re lucky enough to read this work. I imagine “read” would be much too small a word for it, like something out of the movie “The Menu.” When it comes to writing… You do not only read her poetry. You imagine, dream, you relish every single word. Again there is far more to it than that, and again if you will give me the time. I ask you to share some of your time with The Maggot on Maple Street. Hell! The title alone asks for that and far more of us. I have discovered that myself.
It’s not as if Courtenay is asking you to take this journey alone, as she, too, is on a path of discovery of her own. To be on the same road. And yet we all end up in different places. Or maybe we like where we are and choose to stay, as The Maggot on Maple Street will remain with me for quite some time. There’s indeed so much to keep in mind while reading it. The same can be said for her, which is why she chose to share her thoughts with the world. The Maggot on Maple Street
If you have stuck with me until now… no spoilers. These are only my own personal opinions. Yes! Other than this. What are you waiting for? Go buy this book today. Yesterday, if you have a time machine. My own idea. Courtenay takes me to some strange places in musings.
The two poems that garnered my full attention from the get-go were “Mother Cauldron” and “Saturn (De)vours.” There was a line that immediately gripped me in “Mother Cauldron.” And again, the mere titles of these works will give you pause. And then it’s as if you’re running through the words, and you do catch them. Only you don’t know if you’re winning or losing. Or if the writer herself is in her thoughts of how she sees, well herself. This is the same way you see “Saturn (De)vours.” And maybe that’s it. Those two poems were when I first started seeing the writer. And not only the feelings and emotions she was invoking. Now is this a good or bad thing? I don’t rightly know. Yet as for me. I indeed liked seeing the writer and not only the dream that she has shared now. But the mix in everything…
In every other work of Courtenay’s, you’re looking to recapture that moment of her looking at herself in the mirror. This is where Courtenay truly shines, to be quite honest. Having kept up with her other work. It’s the difference between working on herself and “working for the man every night and day.” The fact that most of her work falls into the former is pretty brilliant. Finding those truths that she has discovered about herself. You can only wonder if she, too, stopped. Like you will find yourself doing as you read through her poems and go, “WHOA!” I can’t say how many times I did that myself. Sometimes you may even need to close the book and let the ideas settle in your mind. Just for a bit. One of the reasons it took me a bit to go through such a small book. It’s that damn good.
It’s that damn good, and other things you will say about The Maggot on Maple Street. What, is the title too long? And if I tried quoting Courtenay herself, I think we would be here all day. And I could be reading her book again and again. Um, I guess?
And that brings us to the good, the bad, and the ugly. Well, not really, as I gave this five stars but then again… I’m pretty picky when it comes to books. So I wouldn’t exactly call myself a softie. Not when it comes to this kind of work, ha-ha.
As I’ve already said, the best part of her work is when she’s more or less talking to herself than it seems to an audience. You can tell every poem is like that, but you can see the difference in the wording. It may just be beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that to be sure. Which is something that Courtenay herself is trying to see. Everything can’t be beautiful, and every poem of hers… As a collective, you see the best. But here and there. Sit at your typewriter, keyboard, pen, and paper; what have you and bleed, right? Courtenay does plenty of that and more. It may even scare you in places. Or invoke other emotions and the thoughts of other bodily fluids. And the experience or lack thereof that this writer may have in her own life. Coming to such things, um, maybe.
And again, I say experience. I’m not exactly a genius or anything but with Courtenay. Besides looking up her other works, may I suggest you invest in a dictionary and thesaurus? Am I being overdramatic… in a way? But as any guy can tell you, you’ll be on cloud nine and focused at the same time, and then suddenly, it’s like, huh, after a moment. Keep in mind; that this is poetry and not prose. So there is no warning between particular states of thinking or being. But I can promise you’ll stick around for the whole ride. Courtenay’s poetry can be a bit of a mindfuck for the best and worse. There’s no question about that. Is there a better word than that? Well, I lack this author’s vision. I have read her entire work and enjoyed, studied, and liked it. Something or other…
It is worth the read, though. And for everyone telling me to tell my friends. I can honestly say, at the very least, I have shared the name Courtenay Schembri Gray with some I know. And I’ve said what I’ve said to you and everyone. I Think Maple Street’s Bugged.