The ocean is filled up with broken dreams now,
it blows a tomb of hands all reaching out for the sky,
stone dictionaries in plastic bags,
agonise stone wings in ink gulls,
Whale Nation in a plastic bag, breaking like a heart,
blankets of exhausted geography.
The birds are filled with plastic too,
emblazoning emotions in empty bottles,
that never sink, that never hold you, imagine you in mercy.
To feel something, to decamp all the years, to feel something at this age.
The abandonment of light, the vale of light wanting to find something to shelter.
To find something to spotlight and live in,
out of the dark amber and to heaven in.
A nightfall within the living.
To keep going far, to be with the flowers who know the sunlight,
arms like ladders, handing out weather to remind you of livingness.
And you have to praise it anyway, cause it breaks you in two
the seven seas, a heavy metal lover man
the water stars and you all in a backwards birth.
Greta's poem in support of #passonplastic (https://skyoceanrescue.com/passonplastic/)
"BALLS LIKE WINTER FRUIT" 2017
Spray paint and acrylic on canvas
121 x 152 cm
This is from series of poem paintings by Greta Bellamacina. The series blows up short poems to graffiti scale, but written in a uniquely feminine and expressive hand. This piece softens and sensualise a metaphor that begins by describing testicles as winter fruit, describing a whole locked up kingdom of men's emotions being therapeutically released like birds.
COPELAND GALLERY - PECKHAM
16th DECEMBER 9.30 am - 4.00pm
17th DECEMBER 10.00 am - 7.00pm
We found out that Leonard Cohen died this morning
and the world was reminded about poetry
the pale domes of white light
all singing faraway from where we sleep
flame-shadowing gods everywhere
down the Tottenham Court Road
trapped up in treelight
lost in the light of the kitchen
you hold onto me and say
where do they go, the torpedoing shadows that fill the world
where the moon tries to draw closer and touch love,
but doesn't quite make it through the fog.
And how death could be the only way to reunite
and return to music, and find a different kind of peace,
again how the angels must have known already
without the intent of prayers
the long long afterlight
stored up in the day,
shattering the harshness of the blank world.
But still it rains at home.
Like you, poetry still haunts everyone
like the way we brought our baby home from the hospital
all blue and breathed up
covered in traffic, a swaying heaven ship
the new cold in the air of our flat
is gentle, a cradle of ships all resting
making the afterlight command
a nameless world, all static and in us
we all forgot to be homesick
unhurt by the thought of “paradise”,
building empires in our heads, made-up of broken-up light keys,
the way the word ‘key’ is aways rowing forward
pulling us towards the belief of unseen shores
moving us in, and making us mad again
walking near us, playing hell violins
But really moving us closer to our own need for love.
Love which is warred for
safer in the sky
closer to the birds
who know your dreams intimately.
I have woken up in a window
and existed from both sides.
the morning is a train
the afterlife is a horse
Riding, riding, the sky to the sky
looking and pulled up
in the wilderness of the stars that are lit.
Arms wide open, so close
growing into the dark cupboard
a hyacinth stretching
out into the first daylight.
(for Daisy Boyd)
Post-hearted and regretted
we find you already fallen
autumn always kills me
the trees let go silvering fierce
the show is on the ground
the sky is upturned
London is no longer famous
the children are buzzing fingertips
a paper bag of tears named Diana
ceremonial stone walls
cigarette end gasping a golden rope
an arrow of the past
I don’t know how many times we’ve moved house
to find space for dreaming
all of our old letters remain the downpour
unable to disturb the living
Ophelia is in the wind somewhere on the coast
leaving the sand to announce its suffering
the summer before comes back to haunt us
Bunhill Fields undated
the remains of lovers
prepared like a porcelain dinner
always promising and staggering.
Greta Bellamacina featured in Hunger Magazine- photographed by Fenton Bailey all clothing is by John Smedley celebrating her feminist collection "Undammable".
Greta Bellamacina + Lorca in new AW17 Shrimps campaign, images by Oliver Hadlee Pearch
Obsessed with poetry as a young girl and encouraged to put pen to paper by her musician father, it wasn't long before Greta Bellamacina started writing poetry of her own. In 2011, the ex-RADA student released a limited edition collection of poetry entitled Kaleidoscope,and was shortlisted for the Young Poet Laureate of London two years later. Since then her work has been featured in numerous magazines, from Vogue to Interview, Lula to Harper's Bazaar, while in 2013 she edited a collection of poetry called Nature's Jewels, in collaboration with MACK publishers. Presently poetry editor of Champ magazine, Greta has just finished editing A Collection of Contemporary British Love Poetry, in collaboration with Fortnum & Mason, a comprehensive study of the many facets of love, and the feelings we associate with it, featuring work from Wendy Cope, Amy Blakemore and Annie Freud. She is currently working on a collection of poetry with artist/poet Robert Montgomery as well as a project she holds very dear to her heart: saving Britain's libraries. Introducing Greta Bellamacina.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Camden - I think there was a kind of madness of soul growing up around that area.
When did you first become interested in poetry?
My father is a musician and would endlessly play melodies on the piano and encourage me to write the lyrics, but they were always more like poems. I don't think I really became interested in it properly until I was at school - I remember being really drawn to Lord Byron's epic poem Don Juan.
Was there a standout poem or poet that made you want to write your own?
Growing up I read a lot of poets like Anne Sexton, Phillip Larkin, and Ted Hughes. I think I was drawn to their open despair, humanity and unapologetic verse. I would also buy CDs just to read the lyrics in the jacket cover - a sort of talking word poetry. But I now feel connected to more metaphysical poets like Alice Oswald and Octavio Paz who have a way of looking at landscape as a continuous home - I am interested in this idea more and more.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Drifting. I interviewed John Cooper Clarke last week for the documentary I am currently making and he mentioned that the "point of a poet is to be idle." I think just kicking things around and being unknowing leads to great inspiration.
What poem do you read when you feel sad?
Over the summer I was shown the poem Free Union, by Surrealist poet André Breton. It starts "My wife whose hair is a brush fire / whose thoughts are summer lighting..."
What's the greatest love poem of all time?
Lovesong, by Ted Hughes. The idea of love being a ghost, which haunts us all to our bones and dreams without a face. I also think Stag's Leap by Sharon Old is an epic love poem to her ex-husband. A brave and muffled account of love - truly beautiful.
How did the Collection of Contemporary British Love Poetry come about?
I was performing at various literary festivals last summer. I ended up ranting about wanting to edit a collection of contemporary British love poems at Port Eliot festival to Ewan Venters one night, as I'd noticed there weren't any. I think we should support and promote contemporary poetry, it seems absurd not too.
Tell me a bit about the Save the British Libraries initiative, how you got involved with it and what it means to you?
Growing up I would always use the local library to study and escape, with its kind of gentle safety. Over the past few years I have been deeply saddened by the cuts that are causing some libraries to shut down. I decided I wanted to make a 30-minute documentary about why we should keep the local British library - and offer some solutions. I have had some amazing support from Stephen Fry to William Sieghart.
Tell me a bit about the poetry book you're doing with Robert Montgomery? Do you write together? If so, how did you reconcile your styles of writing, thinking and working?
We started writing together a while ago and decided our styles seemed to compliment each other. The poems all come back round to the idea of being British, the night buses going round the circus squares of London, the left-over mornings of the week, and the BT privatisation.
What advice would you give to aspiring poets?
I would say, you've got to be self-published. I think the internet has helped to make poetry more democratic with an open audience. Also I think poetry exists in many different mediums and it's about finding your authentic voice through any one of them.
Do you use the publicity you get from being a model to promote your poetry or do you see both modelling and writing poetry as part of the same creative outlet?
I think fashion, like art and music, are connected to statements. I think you should use all forms of creativity to say something and connect them as much as possible because it challenges the medium.
What are you working on at the moment?
Finishing the documentary. I am about to go up to Scotland to film the first library built in Britain by Scottish miners. Libraries are like churches for people, in all seasons of hell.