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"BEWARE THE DONALL DEMPSEY MY SON!"

The frog slid slowly down
my throat.

It's legs sticking out of
my mouth...still kicking.

The world was running away
into the final darkness.

My eyes were robbed
of trees and sun.

The day being stolen
from me.

"Death by frog!"
How unlikely a dying.

The bullies were all
short-trousered lads like me

sculpted from the sunlight
of 1963.

Then either the frog gave
a desperate last minute kick

or I silently yelled
and expelled

friend frog who
having escaped death by swallowing

hopped it
lost itself in the long grass.

Perhaps the horrible tale
of down-the-gullet

is told still to its descendants
far removed from that sunny day.

"Better watch out..." Mamma Frog
would make her voice shiver

making her tiddlers tremble
with trepidation

"...or the Donall Dempsey
will get you!"

*

I was having a bad day....nothing going my way....but still Kim Moore  managed to wring this out of me in her wonderful writing workshop. She applied a Chinese burn to my mind and out popped this in a seven and a half minute sprint of the mind. I was halfways through reliving the trauma of a frog being shoved down my throat to gales of laughter when I suddenly thought "What about the poor frog? How did he cope?"

What did he tell the other frogs and how in the world of frogs it became the tallest of tall tales and my name entered the lexicon of frog horror stories that have been passed down through generations of frog families despite being the innocent victim! All the frog heard in its terrification was my name
chanted over and over again in great grievous glee "Ha ha ha...Donall Dempsey!"  Me and friend frog were in this tormenting together. But despite all this my name has gone down in frog history as if I were a Grendel or a Grendel's mother or a Jabberwocky. Just say Donall Dempsey and see what the reaction is...faster than a Basho plop and splash
Apr 26 · 51
A STITCH IN TIME
A STITCH IN TIME

Memory passes through
the eye of the needle.

I purse my lips
coat the thread with spit.

One eye closed.
One eye open.

Pass it like a baton
to my mother

sewing on
a loose button.

The needle
a little silver fish

dashes in and out
a frayed shirt cuff/

I walk down a street
in New York

as memory
whisks me back

to an Irish kitchen
a kettle whistling

and my mother cursing
"Ahhh son can you thread that for me!"
Apr 24 · 162
BEING TOLD
BEING TOLD

leaves are the tree's feathers
birds are the sky's fishes
so my three year old informs me

*

She my mentor teaching me her world.
Apr 21 · 40
Q...E. . .D!
Q...E. . .D!

He attaches himself to...
...the end of the queue.

A number.
Number 19 to be precise.

Just another unknown human
in its chain.

All these separate consciousnesses
held together by the queue's formality.

Now shuffling slowly now
fastly now

not going anywhere at all.

We inch to the teller
who controls our time.

But ha!
( No! Not our minds! )

Each of us ennui'd
in our own particular way

our thoughts roaming
free.

One recites Hopkins
to himself.

Another juggles the ingredients
of that night's dinner.

Yet another and yet
another

thinking nothing
( nothing at all )

able to shut down the mind
to suit the body's function.

This, thing that is
us

a human charm bracelet
a walking collection of various DNA

our being threaded through
the eye of the moment

like so much human
( that word again )thread

sewing this
time together

when

the man behind the man
in front of him

clasps the stranger's waist
firmly in both hands and

suddenly sings:
"deda deda deda DA!
deda deda deda DA!
deda DA DA!
deda DA DA!"

Now, one after
the other after

the other
strangers throwing

off their strangeness

all grabbing waists
legs kicked to first

one side then
the other

all congaing
just for that one

glorious moment
of togetherness

before becoming( once
again )isolated beings

but this time
united by

joy
&
laughter.
"SPRING IS HERE, I HEAR. . ."

I carry the sky
across the street

stumble under
its weight.

Now I carry the buildings
and finally some trees and a dog.

The dog barks
at itself.

I look like a mirror
with legs.

A mirror walking
down the street.

We, dance partners
it & I.

I all huff & puff
the mirror calm as anything.

The edges of the mirror
bite deep into my palms.

I am tired of carrying the sky
place it against a red-bricked wall.

Finally the mirror
half cracked at the top

has time to
reflect upon its new home.

I have saved it from a fate worse than
a skip.

It gives my little room
an extra dimension.

A room that isn't
there that I am

always walking in
( ouch! )to.

Sometimes I talk to
the me in the other room.

I paint my room bright
bright yellow

fill it with jonquils
and daffodils.

A red skirting board
runs around the room.

The flowers rejoice.
Spring, it appears, is: here.

There is no you nor
ever will be  - again.

I sit with my reflection.
Both of us say nothing.

We have nothing
to say.
Apr 19 · 29
JUST IS
JUST IS

A bird sings
the morning into being.

The sky itself seems
to emerge note by note

from its tiny throat
as if it sings sunlight.

A bud opens colouring the air
with the scent  of itself.

The grass laughs with delight
in all its thousand green voices.

My naked feet
stepping through its words.

A flock of dandelions
alights about my toes.

Sunlight becomes the world.

“I am the here and now!”
it announces.

Season's greetings.
Sap rises without a second thought.

It just - "is."

A feather flutters as I watch time pass
amongst the garden's trees.

Wondering what bird owned this
balanced upon my palm

it takes to the air
as if it were the bird itself.

A feathered fractal.

A sudden gust blows a rook off course.
It stands its ground upon the air

returning to where it was before
the wind played its practical joke.

Oh how the other rooks chuckle.

A cloud does an impression
of Merlin the Magician.

Then impersonates itself
being a cloud again.

A lark skates upon a sky
as if it were the bluest  thinnest ice

that it may fall through
into some other dimension.

A butterfly half drunk on flight
pretending to be a flower...flying.

A willow bows to me. I bow to it.
Humbled by its grandeur.

I, the least needed here.
All this would happen without my mind.

My eyes given the privilege of such seeing.
I, a mere observer

trapping in words
what can not be trapped in words.

Time drifts and I am left
with all this beauty

the beauty
just in being.
"RIP IT UP AND START AGAIN!"

My mind poses
or rather

adopts a posture
for the camera.

Even imagines
the legendary dicky bird.

But in the finished photograph
the mind is nowhere

to be seen
only the usual

camel-faced fellow
smiling( if one could call it that )

the usual quota of two
sticky out ears

an enlarged proboscis
that no body could

ever be
proud of.

The mind like Jesus:
. . .wept!

So, this( ye Gods! )
is how I appear

to the outside
world...no...nO!

No use crying over
spilled orange juice.

"Well, rip it up and start again!"
the mind sings to itself.

"Yeah rip it up and
start again!"
THE FURNITURE RUNS AWAY TO THE CIRCUS


The furniture has decided
to run away from home.

Yep, just...up sticks &...gone.

The bed threw itself
out the open window.

The sofa abseiled
down the south side

of our newly painted
sky blue house.

The tables and chairs
have legged it.

The piano left
by the back door.

I stand in
the naked room.

Only a stool
has stood by me.

A three legged stool
I have had since a child.

"Stool pigeon!"
the other chairs hissed at it.

Now I feel King Lear like
with only this fool of a stool

for company.

My mind a blasted heath.

"Why...?" I demand
". . .why!"

The stool hasn't got the heart
to tell me.
Apr 15 · 37
SPRING'S FIRST DAY
SPRING'S FIRST DAY

Spring
didn't know what was wrong.

It turned off the country.
Then turned it on again.

Nothing
doing.

Spring called technical assistance.
Was told there had been

a very virulent
Tory virus.

Blue was now the new red.
Lies were the new truth.

Britain had got a bargain
basement Trump.

Like an Ikea idea
with parts that didn't

go A
into B.

And had a ***** or two
missing.

Oh God
call that a Cabinet!

Nothing pretty
about that Patel.

And a Gove
as toxic as ever.

Spring didn't know
what to do

about
the Tory thing.

What had Britain been
thinking?

Emotional
hari-kari.

Only hope it would run
its course.

Just a fearful chapter
in  a future history book.

"Never has so little
being done by so few!"

Spring made sunlight
and shadow shake hands.

Sprinkled bird song
amongst the hedges.

Did what it had to do.
Got on with the job.

Whatever
the political weather.

"Is there..." Spring pondered
"...more  poets than before?"

I put down my pen.
And cried.
MY LOVE IS AS A FEVER...LONGING STILL

All that long hot summer through
I shared a summer cold with you

that seemed to last forever.

Whether, sharing the same germs, dreams,
bacteria or whatever

it seemed to bind us so...very close together.

If this was love...it couldn't get no better.

And all my heart
could say

even to this day...is:

'Bless you...bless you...bless you.'
Friends of mine who had been childhood sweethearts were coming up to their golden wedding anniversary. They had everything...the big house....well off etc. They were telling me when they first got together they had a flat with not a stick of furniture and slept on bare floorboards. They had nothing except each other and an illustrated Shakespeare's Sonnets. I told them I would write a poem for them. But he died only days before the big day and she only a few days later. So it was at their funeral that I ended up blessing their love.
Apr 12 · 57
"IF YOU TICKLE US..."
"IF YOU TICKLE US..."

The moon intently listens
to the open air

production of
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

- in Venice

this delicious summer’s night
(hemmed in by houses)

where we discover that

“The quality of mercy
is not
strained...”

as a couple upstairs
come home and proceed to make
long loud passionate love

“...it droppeth like.. “

another couple scream and fight
as windows smash and plates crash

“... the gentle rain from Heaven...”

“Agghhh! ”
“Cazzo in culo! ”

and throws his clothes out
the now broken window

“...upon the earth below...”

as a gondola ghosts by in mist
with an atrocious tourist version of
“O Sole Mio! ”

as another window
lights up
and a telly bellows
a dubbed in gangster shoot out.

“Aggggh!
“Va fancip! ”

We are enthralled with
(delighted and enraptured)

not only with
the splendour that is Shakespeare

but also with
the real life drama

of this gentle Italian night
and of how we got

our “pound of flesh.”
Apr 12 · 30
SISTER HAMLET
SISTER HAMLET

Oh, I still remember
your Hamlet
(the best production I ever saw)

you home from school
wrapping yourself in the crimson curtain
of our living room

& stabbing yourself
in the arras
& crying: “ a rat...a rat! ”

& how something or other was rotten
& bringing the curtain down
upon your dying

annoying our mother
critical of your over-heated performance
she sending us(like a bad review)scampering

I will remember
your Shakespeare
to my dying day

your eyes wild
your hair flying
and how

with an entire
cast of you
you acted it out

to my open and gasping
mouth drinking you in
with my thirsty mind

Shakespeare come
startlingly alive me peppered
with beauty & spittle

oh, sister Hamlet
I still live in the wonder
of your telling
ON FIRST LOOKING INTO MR. SHAKESPEARE


I step out of
the here & now

slip into the space
be-tween

second (&) second.

Time scowls: 'Oh...
don't tell me I've lost

....him again! '

Invisible to all
in my window seat.

Now, here
in Llanigon

upon the point
High darren

I again that
little boy

letting the world go by
(hidden in a heartbeat)

lost in THE TEMPEST
of words

caught between the thresholds
of worlds upon worlds.

'Come to me...
...with a thought! '
the ******* book calls

'Your thoughts...
...I cleave to! '
I whisper to its words.

I all at once
my own

Ariel & Prospero

set free from the knotted
pine of dyslexia

thanks to Mr. Shakespeare's
spell.
Apr 11 · 19
HANKERING
HANKERING

"Honey and mmmmm
mustard!"

The sun glares down
upon such a diet.

She balances the bowl
on her pregnant belly.

Her body not her own.
"My baby boy's hijacking me!"

At least with her last girl
it was non-stop ice cream.

Ice cream and pickles
Oh and blue crayons.

She knows now it is
pica.

But that knowledge
doesn't stop the craving.

A cloud too
pregnant with a moon.

Stars tremble
in a puddle.

A car's headlight
travels across the ceiling.

"Mmmmm mustard
and honey!"
Apr 9 · 25
BE NOT AFRAID
BE NOT AFRAID

She fled the forest
but the forest followed her.

It crept up
behind her then

loomed up ahead
like a Grimm's tale

that nobody and everybody
had heard.

Don't step off the path
but the path had forgotten

itself ages ago
the directions too had

gotten lost somehow
it would appear.

To go back now as scary
as to keep going on.

She was lost
to herself

"Be not afraid!" she quoted
scripture to herself that

she hadn't thought
she had known.

The howl of a wolf somewhere
around the next bend.
Apr 9 · 161
THE MERE MAID'S TALE
THE MERE MAID'S TALE

I feel like a mermaid
dripping on his kitchen floor
I want to drown in his love

I feel mythical
he just thinks I'd be nice
saucy

I sleep in the bath
he only wants to part my legs
I flick my tail at him

I balance on my tail
run( so to speak )
through the roaring rain

alas I climb out of
the fairytale
he yet another bland Prince in 2-D

I run away to sea
can taste the salt on the wind
its waves welcome me

I need
a Hans Christian Anderson man
a he who...understands me
PEELING APPLES SOMEWHERE IN 1914

the War not yet
a week old
already tears that will last years

she can still see
his pale hands
peeling apple after apple

the apples
looking startled
**** beside their skins

the naked apples
the flamenco swirl of their skins
his hands pale as death

now where the apples lay
that day
the telegram of his death

she can still see him
turning into the shadows
throwing her an apple with a smile

she is angry with him
for dying
her love not enough to protect him

under her apron
the baby kicks
it will have his smile
SO MUCH FOR THE WEATHER FORECAST!

It was raining
in the kitchen.

“Splish...splash! ”
said my footsteps

enjoying themselves
like never before.

It was like
a swamp.

The butter was swimming
in its blue bowl.

The sugar
had dissolved in its.

The bread was
sodden

and was busy losing
a lot of its breadiness.

Little pieces
of ****

lazily floated from
the cat’s litter.

The sink
had half a sink of rain

in it
as well as last night’s ***** dishes.

The kettle with the lid left off
had filled itself twice.

It had never rained
in the kitchen

...before.

The book left open on page 69
was dying.

The mobile phone
looked like it wasn’t

having an exactly
good time.

The stone
that some kids had thrown

sat on the table
like a king on its throne.

The broken skylight
gathered around it

listening like flunkeys
to everything

the stone
had said.

The birthday cake
lay dead.

The ink
on the letter

wept
copiously

ran
away crying.

Respondez s’il vous plait.

It was raining in the kitchen.

“****! ”
we both said

in unison
“****! ”
O KINDLY QUEEN OF THE SILENCE

He was ten
and I was sixty.

He an all black
cat with one white spot

living all his nine lives
at once.

I( ha ha )
supposedly his master.

In truth, he
the master of me.

He, asleep now
upon my left knee..

Always the left
never the right.

Always a knee
never a lap.

His purrs
turning into snores.

Rather than disturb
such sweet slumber.

I stay still
even when the leg: cramps!

He wakes, yawns(
as) only cats can.

Paws pad pad pad
across black&white kitchen tiles.

His night just
beginning.

Mine just ending.

The cat flap
*****.

*

This cat was silence itself...even if it was a quiet night the cat would deepen the silence. We were adopted by this cat just like that and the cat was given the  name Fred only then Fred had kittens so became Frederica. So he became a she.

But because it didn't sit right on the former Fred we called her...O KINDLY QUEEN OF THE SILENCE which far more suited her essential character.
Apr 6 · 26
FIRST A LITTLE NIBBLE
FIRST A LITTLE NIBBLE

First a little nibble
of a frayed curtain

then with a gulp
of sheer delight

it began to eat
the new sofa.

First the throw...then:
a checkered cushion

until it had all been
consumed.

It licked the door
wanting to escape

the room wherein
had been born.

Slowly slowly then more
and more

eagerly it
advanced up the stairs

on little flame like feet
before bursting into the bedroom.

It blossomed
It bloomed.

A fire engine tore then night apart
all sirens and lights....sirensandlights.

By dawn the fire had grown
weary of itself

smouldered sulkily.

A child's yellow shoe.

Half a teddy.

. . .lay at the fireman's feet.
Apr 5 · 29
AT A LOSS FOR WORDS
AT A LOSS FOR WORDS

somehow it all goes
wRoNg

Prospero's brother kills Prospero
this time around

Miranda is ***** by Caliban

Sycorax reclaims
the isle

I imprisoned again
within the pine

the cowslip crushed
beneath unseeing feet.

Where is a Shakespeare
when one needs one?
Apr 4 · 19
THE REST OF THE STORY
THE REST OF THE STORY

The dried up lake contrived to look both
surprised & embarrassed

like a lady in a bad dream wearing no clothes
whilst singing in church or doing the supermarket shop.

When I say 'lake' I mean the body of water
that lived up in the old quarry.

It always gave us kids nightmares.

Our parents always warned us not to
go there ...but go there

we always did 'cos it was dangerous.

And that was its attraction.
Danger barely tamed and still feral.

It would give us the creeps just looking at it in sunlight.

The police tape looked real pretty
fluttering in the slight breeze like an art installation

that everyone who was someone
deemed important without knowing its meaning

or if it had one.

But hey what do I know?

The lake wore its dead body
like a cheap glass ring pretending it was diamond.

When I say dead body I mean skeleton.

The skeleton wore concrete shoes
as if it had stepped straight from a corny gangster movie

riddled with cliché.

It just grinned at the police
flash photography as if it were a celebrity

famous for being a celebrity.

He still wore a heavy gold crucifix
on a thick chain around its neck

that shone in the sun.

The sun smiled down as if it were smiling down
on a picnic or an ordinary walk in the park

as if it were innocent of the things it seen.

'Hey, I'm Summer being Summer...! ' it seemed to say
'Dead guy eh...what a ******! '

The dead guy was alive in his death
as if he were soaking up being the center of attention.

And yeah sure it was just another ordinary Summer
when I was 9 or ten or something like that

but this was just the beginning of the story...
...the rest of the story was somewhere else.
Apr 3 · 59
A LUCKY SO & SO
A LUCKY SO & SO

As he lay
in the pool of his death

the motorcycle continuing on
a little further without him

before it too
lay down

as if to sleep

he thought the blood
was like a child

wetting the bed

and the fear of
someone discovering it

in the cold light
of morning

he began
to cry

just like the boy
of then

though this was now
and very far

from the place
of his childhood

even as the stink
of petrol

enveloped him

a bird sang

& he thought: “This is the most
beautiful thing...! ” he had ever heard

& his heart grew sad
& silent to hear it

concentrating on it

& on his shirt

emerged a badly-
-drawn map of the world
(but recognisable as such)

(America being a little
lopsided)

drawn in blood
seeping through his fingers

(continental drift slowly joining them together)

“I am half in love
with easeful Death...”

he quoted to himself

and wondered who had wrote it
and where he had ever heard it

“Yeats? Keats? ”

Death as if
anyone might have imagined him

turning up
at a fancy dress party

and only coming second
to a fat guy from Hastings

who obviously had a better costumiers
than Death

(Death thinking this fat bloke’s next)

looked on
dispassionately

as if he had seen it
all before.

There was nothing
new under the sun.

This job could be
so boring.

Humans make such a drama
out of the simple act of dying.

Always the same song & dance act!

Death held his hand
& then...let go.

When he awoke
Death
was nowhere to be seen

and the hospital
bloomed around him

gazing into the fluorescent
tube of light

life seemed almost
too bright

hurting his eyes

a nice pair
of legs

approaching him
& telling him

( he watched the words rise & fall
in the perfect mechanism of her chest

which he couldn’t take his eyes off )

telling him
in no uncertain manner

as if scolding him
(had he wet the bed?)

“Well, you’re
a lucky
so & so!"
LIKE MUSIC MADE VISIBLE

You forever always

like music
made visible

running through my thoughts
memory's shaky home movie

here a grinning granny
with half a head most of the time

or an uncle
with a cloud upon his head

there the camera elects
to look at only the grass

or an aunt always on the edge
of a frame

quiet but not quite
one of the  almost theres

an uncle represented by
his shiny new shoes

and a sudden falling
shot of skies

and a passing bird

these black and white people
in their black and white world

moving through silence
as if they were swimming

through time
flirting now

or shying from
the camera's gaze

as the footage comes
to an abrupt:

stop.

But you forever always
like music

made visible.
Apr 2 · 27
AT NIGHT
AT NIGHT

At night
I visit

the village
in which I was

born.

I float
above rooftops

dive into the house
next door

to my own
little home

swim down streets
with all the swagger

of a fish
amongst coral reefs.

It lies to the northwest
but is submerged

beneath the waters
behind a dam.

Each night
I visit it

leaving my body
behind

drifting in dreams
diving beneath the waters

of the Past
(swimming where) I used to walk

trying to remake it

memory by memory
tear by tear.
AGAINST THE WEIGHT OF A FEATHER

9/11
crashes into Maths class
the boys whoop and jeer

treat it as a video game
"Ohs" and "Wows!"
as death unfurls

they laugh with glee
and yes, this is a video game
- for real

we watch aghast
at what appear to be
people jumping rather than...

the unimaginable is happening
fractions and equivalences
are left behind

what we are seeing does not
add up...numbly we continue on
the boys still hyper

Ancient History -
a jackal-headed God
holds the scales

weighing us
against the weight
of a feather
Mar 31 · 25
"...OG!"
"...OG!"


'...og! '

You command
the language

&
it
obeys you.

Providing you
with a dog.

A sleepy dog
who when he hears you

wakes up
trundles over to you

slumps
at your feet

& then
goes back to sleep.

You
the Queen of Words.

'Ahhhh...og! '

you stroke
the word

& it obeys
your every whim.

'Dog! '
I say.

He opens an eye
&...looks away

as if to say:
'Who's him...then? '

Ahhhh....my little cave girl
I love

your little explorings
of the tongue

and how
the world comes
when it is bidden.

'Dada! '
you pronounce

& I
too
come at once

tied to
the invisible string

of your
voice.
WHAT IS NOT THERE...THAT'S THERE.

She saw music
written upon the air.

"I see..?" I said.
Not really...seeing.

"Oh like birds
perched on telegraph wires

becoming a musical score
in themselves?"

She shook her head
as if trying to clear it

of my words
not understanding her.

"No! Not as obvious as that!"
she snapped.

I stood corrected.
She raised her finger like a batton.

"But with...mordents and accents
clefs. hold and thrills!"

I tried to help her along
with her explanation.

"Like notation you mean
key signatures and such!"

"I see them in 3-D
and in colour!"

I could only smile
unable to keep up with her.

"I have only to pluck them
out of the air

set them singing
within my being.!"

I looked at the sky
it did not sing to me.

It spoke only of clouds
becoming other than they were

of weather
that was to be.

She hummed the sky
softly to her self.

I wish I could hear
with her eyes.

*

"An hallucination is a strictly sensational form of consciousness , as good and true a sensation, as if there were a real object there. The object happens to be not there, that is all."

Principals of Psychology  - William James

Ceri only attained this ability when she survived the motorbike accident that killed her boyfriend. When she awoke a week later this"seeing music" was as natural as breathing to her.
Mar 30 · 27
LEAVING
LEAVING

I scrape my shadow
off of the wall.
.
Fold and re-fold it.
Pack it neatly in

a tiny suitcase.
More a hold all.

All that's left is
a slight stain

on some wallpaper
roses.

Already fading.

A scrap of sunlight
chases itself

like an annoying
yappy dog.

A broken bit of glass
sticks in my toe.

I peel my reflection
from the full length mirror.

It is like trying to
grapple water.

It comes unstuck
lifts off with a slight gasp.

I funnel it into
a minature

empty shampoo bottle
250 mls.

Outside a taxi
honks its horn.

Its sound invades
the silence

of this box
like room.

Four wall that
( even now )

fail to recognise me.

"Where to mate?"
asks the driver.

I look at his photo
!.D.

"A. Death."
it reads

as if this was some kind
of surreal joke.

"Anywhere and nowhere."
I answer.

"Anywhere and nowhere."
Mar 29 · 28
CARNIVAL OF TEARS
CARNIVAL OF TEARS



I am
that wonky carousel music
that makes you feel

you have opened a door
in your mind
and stepped into

THE TWILIGHT ZONE
only for real
I am a Hall of Mirrors

throwing the many mes I am
into my face
each one a mask

within a mask within a mask
( don't laugh )
I am the Haunted House

( scream if you like )
I am the Tunnel of Love
being kissed by a skeleton

running running
helter skelter
"Welcome, my dear

to all
the aghhhhhhhh
fun of the fear.
Mar 28 · 180
BACK INTO HER OWN FUTURE
BACK INTO HER OWN FUTURE

she pushed into the air
the wind held her there
solid as granite

time too seemed to
solidify
held her in her place

umbrellas escaped hands
took to the air
like the strange birds they were

she felt like
a wooly mammoth
trapped in time

she felt like a fossil
waiting to be discovered
her watch told her it was after five

suddenly the wind
released her and she fell
back into her own future
Mar 26 · 46
PINNING MOTHER DOWN
PINNING MOTHER DOWN

"I always..." she put forth
" ...remember Mother

as a delicious smell
like an apple

pie cooling down
or a heated up dinner."

"Though now..." she corrected
her put-forth-remark

"|...as the nasty smell
of her elastic pale pink

roll-on corset.
Always gave me the shivers!"

Her words stood forth
upon the air

as if they had been
carved from there.

Pronouncements: never
just mere speech.

"Or that stink of mangy fox
stole she never wore

that always hid at the back
of her wardrobe

its beady little eyes
daring me to come nearer

so it could( and I knew it would )
bite me in two.

Or her knitting
that the cat always peed on

( she couldn't smell
a thing herself poor dear )

her scarves always smelling
of Tiddles.

Yes, Mother was as
perfect as Michaelmas daises

in a vase.

Although she always pronounced it
vas/e not va/se.

She was always such
a difficult woman

to pin down.

*


Visiting a friend in a ward....got taken over by the lady in the poem who thought I was her husband and started going on about her Mum. I didn't know the lady but for that short time she made her Mum immensely real to me. Her name was Betty as was her Mum.
MY EARLY LIFE AS A CHILD


when I was a child
I lived without time
never gave it second thought

I lived in the now
there was no before or after
I was merely me

being me
in an eternal
present

much like the cat
who never gave tomorrow
the time of day

it appeared that I
had always existed
and would forever do

just
to be
that was me

a piece of sunlight
tripping over a stone
a footstep left in mud

was world enough
to be going on with
just to be the miracle

time it seemed
had never owned me
I was just Planet Dónall

Dempsey-ing along
to my heart's content
laughter my only language

in love with
a world and the world
madly in love with me
Mar 23 · 31
12 FINALLY ARRIVES
12 FINALLY ARRIVES

cornered by Pi
at the party listening to
a stream of never ending decimals

"Polygon?"
"Yeah, mate
ya just missed her!"

feeling a bit obtuse
wanting but unable to
chat up that cute angle

a group of isosceles triangles
throwing shapes
on the dance floor

a tipsy triangle
spills her drink
over a square

numbers
in their prime
strut their funky stuff

"Why....hic...why"
argues 4 drunkenly with 5
"...can't I came after you!

a decahedron
taps the mike
"Eh...1...2...1...2!"

1 & 2
don't notice nobody
French kissing on the dance floor

leaning up against the wall
a very very drunk
right angle

123 wolf whistles
as ABC slinks
suggestively by

123 asks ABC
for her number
"I don't give out my digits ..seen?"

at the Infinity Disco
the parallel lines
finally meet

"Forgive me for saying so but( hic! )
the squares on your hypotenuse are equal to..."
she slaps him across the face

Sine and Co-Sine
passed out
in the same corner

"My field is trigonometry!"
boasts Tan
"What's your star sign?"

12 finally arrives
everyone goes berserk
'HAPPY NEW MATH!"
Mar 22 · 33
OUTRUNNING THE WORLD
OUTRUNNING THE WORLD

You ran and
the world couldn't keep up with you.

Here, in your third year
you discovered falling.

As if the world had
tripped up.

You look at your grazed knee
amazed at your self.

Blood oozes
from your chubby little skin.

I cry.
You do not.

You are just amazed that
there is an inside to you

that can somehow
leak out.

You dip a finger in
taste the redness.

Your laughter
is a spring

that bubbles out.

You can not understand
my tears.

My feeling your pain
on your behalf.

Or in this case
your "not-pain."

"Daddy - not cry!"
you comfort me.

You dry my eyes
with golden curls.

"Tilly run again...see?"

And you do so
to prove a point.

And once again
you are immortal

outrun the world.

Leaving your father
further and further

behind you.

You run into your future.
Become your self.

A tiny thin scar
the only reminder

of a pain only I
can remember.
THE LOVERS ATTEMPT TO DISCOVER EACH OTHER

"Azure...are you sure?"

Surely blue's...just...blue!

We just let the sky...be...sky.

Refuse to pin an adjective
on it.

"An onion?"
" I hate 'em an' all its minions!

We float on a sea
of green green grass.

Roses chat with the trees
shooting the breeze

nodding in agreement
with everything the wind says.

The words are all
used up.

Useless for what
we feel.

We communicate in
kisses...caresses.

Bodies speak
for themselves.
Mar 20 · 27
THE TOWN DRIFTED AWAY
THE TOWN DRIFTED AWAY

There was a slight
breeze.

The town drifted
away.

A house tried to stay
but it lifted like a leaf

losing itself in a fog.

A tree held on
hoping against hope.

Then: it was gone.

Then there again and gone again.

The sky too had blown away.

The moon was nowhere in sight.

A star blinked on and then
- off.

The year itself
unable to remain.

Even time vanishing
before my eyes.

The dead were dead
once again.

No longer alive.

Memory unable to
hold this world together

for a second more.

It vanished into
the little angry alarm clock

dancing its way
across the table top

falling quiet
losing its face.

So this was the reality
of now.

A cockerel crowed
just to make sure I knew

exactly where
I was.

*

Ahhhh memory is a strange land...they do things differently there...but it is a fragile emotional ecosystem that can be blown away just by waking up! Cockerels and alarms don't give tuppence for your state of mind and have a tendency to yank you back to a reality as it is rather than a reality that once was and that you hoped could have been a forever is.
Mar 20 · 38
THE TOWN DRIFTED AWAY
THE TOWN DRIFTED AWAY

There was a slight
breeze.

The town drifted
away.

A house tried to stay
but it lifted like a leaf

losing itself in a fog.

A tree held on
hoping against hope.

Then: it was gone.

Then there again and gone again.

The sky too had blown away.

The moon was nowhere in sight.

A star blinked on and then
- off.

The year itself
unable to remain.

Even time vanishing
before my eyes.

The dead were dead
once again.

No longer alive.

Memory unable to
hold this world together

for a second more.

It vanished into
the little angry alarm clock

dancing its way
across the table top

falling quiet
losing its face.

So this was the reality
of now.

A cockerel crowed
just to make sure I knew

exactly where
I was.

*

Ahhhh memory is a strange land...they do things differently there...but it is a fragile emotional ecosystem that can be blown away just by waking up! Cockerels and alarms don't give tuppence for your state of mind and have a tendency to yank you back to a reality as it is rather than a reality that once was and that you hoped could have been a forever is.
Mar 20 · 39
BETWEEN THE WORDS
BETWEEN THE WORDS

The leg that had fallen
asleep: suddenly awoke
attacked him with pins...with needles.

"Ow!"  "oW!" & "OW!"
he shouted at himself
shaking a leg

He felt like a bad
Xerox copy of
his self.

The typewriter glowered at him.
He glared right back.
"Do your worst!" it smirked.

"...the men who moil for gold..."
the old Service line resurfaced
"Moil...ha ha...how true!"

His measly one-finger-typing
trying to keep up with
his mind...fall...ing..be...hind.

The typewriter trying to
find his train of thought
the clickety clack of words.

Man morphing into machine.
Both one & the same.
Only the next word...counts.

Thinking & not thinking.
The mind in free fall.
The words pumped up.

Loving the return of carriage
the next line springing into
being.

"Coraggio!. . .coraggio!"
His mind admonishes him.
"Andiamo!" he exhorts his words.

On a roll now.
One part of him( writing ).
The other singing THE RUNAWAY TRAIN.

"And she blew!
And she blew...blew...blew....blew...blew!
Ooooohhhh....oooooohhh!"

Uh hu!
The ribbon of his mind
wearing thin.

Words now in red.
& now.
In nothing.

The words appearing
like their own ghosts.
A mere impression.

"Don't leave me this way!"
his mind sings to them.
" I don't understand how I'm at your command..."

The "e" key
raising its angry  littl     fist.

Stu...stu...UCK A gain.

Typewriter: quiet now.
Weeds of silence
growing up

between the words.
Mar 19 · 30
FACING UP TO REALITY
FACING UP TO REALITY

There is a tap
on my shoulder.

I turn around and
face Reality.

"Well, well..."
smirks Reality

"...Fancy
meeting you here!"

I smile inside my self
keeping a poker face.

Reality always insists
on calling me by that name.

"The name's...Imagination."
I remind it.

"Donall's...Imagination!"
giving it a Bondian spin.

"So, still keeping the poems coming
...I see!"

it smiles facetiously.

"How could I not...?" I answer
giving nothing away.

I do not ask Reality
to sit down.

It shifts from foot to foot
embarrassed that it knows me

and who may see it
talking to me.

"Well...be seeing you!"
it smirks yet again

seething with anger
that I and not it

is Donall's little pet.

I nod.
Say nothing.

"Ahhhhhhhh...tough!"
I say to its retreating back.

Trap it
in this poem.
OH TWICE UPON A TIME...A SHORT SHORT TIME AGO!

Oh we ran & we ran &
hid ourselves in the barn

you with your beautiful
black river of hair

that freely flowed
down the course of your back

but now streamed out
behind you in the air

like a great banner
of fear.


We hid
amongst sacks of seed-oats and tears.

“It’s not fair...it’s not fair! ”

your crying trickled
over dirt-smeared cheeks

hiding ourselves
deeper amongst the whinnies & dreams

of our plough horse Dolly
a colossus this near us

half afraid of being
trampled by her innocence

lost in the animal
smell of her.

Aunt Nellie
jealous

of the tumbling torrent
of your hair

its cascade
of curls

telling us she would fetch
(like a spell)  
the police & tell

(“*****....witch! ”)  
we counter-spelled

them to hold you down
as she sheared off


(the cackle of her laughter
setting fire to the air)  

the crash of waves
over your shoulder.

I clutched your arm
and ran

blind tears
both of us

into the wind’s
comforting arms

vowing no one
would ever touch

the magic
of its flowing.

Her words
screaching after us

her voice
a hawk of the air

us two
scurrying little mice

frighten by the shadow
of her calling

devouring our names
in their saying.

Her evil
made all the more real

by the chance
courtesy call

of the local police
the deadly gleams of shiny size elevenzies

we watching
in mortal terror

through stable chinks
trapped in a cage of sunlight spears

from our jail
of tears

as if we were
about to be

burned at the stake.

The flames
of our fear

already licking us
with its horror.

Us Hansel & Gretel’d
as any fairy tale

terrified amongst
the bric-a-brac

of horse
& plough

lost amongst harrow...coulter...& straddle
double-tree...check-reins...& mandril

sneaking into bed
only when the sun set


Aldebaran

the eye of the bull
in the constellation Taurus

smiling down
on us

and the innocence
of our ignorance.
Mar 14 · 21
MY MOTHER'S HANDS
MY MOTHER'S HANDS


My mother’s hands

washing potatoes
washing kids
washing pans.

My mother’s hands
on bitterly cold days

******* yet more washing
on a pregnant line

the line growing nothing but
nappies

her hands blind
with the cold.

My mother’s hands
ironing clothes
ironing clothes
ironing countless knickers
for my seven sisters.

My mother’s hands
taking my hands
in hers

such love...such laughter!

My mother’s hands
patting talcum powder

on another baby’s ***.

Mum being Mum.

Me, kissing

my mother’s hands
for all...they’ve done.
Mar 13 · 20
EIGHT OKTAS
EIGHT OKTAS

Walked out the door.

First thing that hit me
was an isobar.

Right in the right eye.

A weather map had fallen
out of the blue sky.

A row of black *****
lying in the back yard.

A star perched
upon a roof top.

A warm front
lay across the road

in a solid red line
with red semi-circles

which shortsightedly I
had almost fallen over.

An occluded front
lay perfectly balanced

upon a low wall
upon which graffiti scrawled:

"Up de Rids!"

Their fanaticism
badly misspelled.

Weather! Whatever!

I tried to put on
a brave front

but it was no use.

There were tears.

Here, here and:
. . . here.

*

Complete cloud cover (eight oktas).

In meteorology, an okta is a unit of measurement used to describe the amount of cloud cover at any given location such as a weather station. Sky conditions are estimated in terms of how many eighths of the sky are covered in cloud, ranging from 0 oktas (completely clear sky) through to 8 oktas (completely overcast).

Isobars are lines on a weather map joining together places of equal atmospheric pressure.

On coloured weather maps, a warm front is drawn with a solid red line with red semicircles.

Symbol for rain is a black ball and the symbol for snow is a star, then you know sleet will be a ball plus a star, and two, three or four ***** denotes heavier rainstorms.
WILD WAVES CRASHING
ABOUT THE OLD HEAD OF KINSALE

I scramble
into your bed

like I'd do when I was 2
or four or more.

Rub your back for you
(you my 95 year old child )
until sleep gathers you in.

Just like you did for me
when I was your little boy.

I listen to you as slowly slowly
your dreams capture you.

I love your each and every breath.
I da da da Over the Waves and you smile.

And when you awake
two hours later

there I am
still rubbing your back.

You smile and tell me
your mother would do the same

when you were a tiny boy
wild waves crashing about the Old Head of Kinsale.

So here we all are
the back rubbers of the ages

all in the one place
sharing different times

comforting soothing
easing all the pain

wild waves crashing about the Old Head of Kinsale

**

I would rub his back for him and the warmth and friction and affection would calm him down and he would drift off to sleep but then if I stopped he would begin wake up again and start to cough...so I continued for two hours and he finally woke up rested. He was surprised to see me still there rubbing his back for him. Said his mother would do that for him when he was small and I said you used to do it for me when I was small. So there in that one magical moment were all the back rubbers paying no attention at all to the different times and all time became this one moment.

His mother used always be terrified of him lying on his belly and looking over the edge of the cliff at the furious waves eating the land. He would then run down to Mrs. Fitz who had a big gramophone   and she would always play him and he never tired of it...the instrumental OVER THE WAVES which would become in time THE LOVLIEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR  as sung my Maria Lanza.

He would often sing it to me or play it on his harmonica or accordion and I was enthralled by it and him and amazed that he could have been a small boy just as I was!

I simply adored him and he was the loveliest man and the most gentle of souls.
Mar 10 · 29
YEAH! THAT MOMENT!
YEAH! THAT MOMENT!

the moment
oh no particular moment
that you would know

the kind of moment
that comes and goes
without your knowing

not even a moment
you would recall
from the long ago

one of those moments
that doesn't stand out
just quietly being itself

no special significance
nothing special attached to
its just there-ness

rain roaming
over the Curragh Plains
in a sudden sun shower

furze set ablaze
with a yellow
so yellow

you could hardly
credit it to be
just so

you know
that kind of moment
that refuses to let go

a moment that
only a poet
would know
Mar 9 · 41
GRIEF...NO FLOWERS
I would haunt
the Yeats'

hunger for the nearness
of their paint

lose myself
in their ooze

the colours squirming
as if they could crawl

off the canvas

slither into my senses
until they inhabited

the teenager
who would visit them

again &
again

stand in front of
GRIEF

(because he knew what it meant)

always always
the paint

deserting the canvas
attaching itself to the ends

of his
nerves

so that he
became

NO FLOWERS

walking out of the National Gallery
into the stolen sunshine

composed of nothing
but

their Jack B. Yeats
collection

my footprints dripping paint.

***

JACK B. YEATS
(1871-1957)

PAINTER AND YOUNGER BROTHER OF WILLIAM.

GRIEF WAS PAINTED IN 1951.
NO FLOWERS WAS PAINTED IN 1945
Mar 9 · 68
ROVER SAVES MANKIND
ROVER SAVES MANKIND


unaware of earth's customs
aliens invade on April 1st
earthlings refuse to take them seriously



"Yeah, like...right!" or
"Woah! Great costumes mannn!" or
"Take me to your reader, yuk yuk yuk!"



the small four legged earthling
called Rover ran rings around us
howling "...ow...oW. . OQ!"




passed fluid from its rear end
onto Org's left strider boot
hisssss...cackle....pooooof



Org blows a fuse
collapses in a heap
crawls out of his survival suit



"Why it's tinier than a shrimp!"
the "...ow...oW. . OQ!" creature
gobbles him up



the the four legged creature
invades our ship
passes fluid on our controls



"No...oh nooooo!" we yell
"...ow...oW. . OQ!" it yells
the motherboard goes up in smoke



so here we are
stuck on this strange planet
trying to avoid being eaten



hide in the hills
only come out again on April 1st
what are we doing wrong



once again demand
their immediate surrender
they only make their "ha...hA. . .HA!" sounds


"Yeah, like...right!" or
"Woah! Great costumes mannn!" or
"Take me to your reader, yuk yuk yuk!"
ANSEO A TÁ TÚ
(YOU ARE HERE )

Spring had come
dressed the farm

in its best green.

Even the sky
wore the latest blue

a sort of shy
eternity.

Birds had been
perfectly positioned

after a great deal of thought
by whoever had put them

there.

Furrows crawled lazily
across the face of a field

glistening with a newness
that the day couldn't

help but be
excited by.

The trees were beside
themselves

madly in love
with time

who had been kind
to them for ages now.

Ballea lay
smiling before him

Even its very name
made his heart dance.

Even the very saying of it
made his soul swoon.

"Anseo a tá tú!"
he says to himself.

The Irish sweetening
each loved syllable.

"You are here!"
he reminds himself

in case one of the birds only
spoke English.

And never was the boy
who had come back

in the shape
of a man

as delighted
as he.

"Anseo a tá tú. . .indeed!"
his ghost smiles to his self.

*

I was wishing that in his dying my father would return  to the little farm in Cork and complete his life cycle by being the ghost of the little boy who adored the earth and sky of his native place. I wanted to hold his hand and bring him here... even if only in words. Da...you are here! You have come home...walk into the light.
WEARING EACH OTHER'S FINGERPRINTS

midnight
tips the candle
slowly slowly

until the pain is bearable
our fingers scream
wax stealing our fingerprints

we laugh in the dark
peel off each other's fingerprints
they lie there

alien animals
cooling on a saucer
sleep finds us

wearing each other's fingerprints
( you me
I you )

years later
not even Death
can steal you from me
Me and my big sister Junie entertaining ourselves before the advent of telly back in '63. We made replicas of all ten prints and swapped...she wearing me...I wearing her....become someone else even with this one little gesture. And indeed she would walk into my mind as easy as a lift the latch and walk right in. I too was free to walk into her thoughts and visit how she saw the world. Wrote this for Women's Day because this gentle 18 year old woman meant the world to me. Still does....always will.
THE MOMENT RUNNING AWAY


And there was Spring
( but not any old Spring )
but that particular Spring
lying up against that Winter.

And there this Summer
you surely remember
side by side
with an unforgettable Autumn.

All neatly nestled
in the Family Album.

It amused us
to throw time together
to have the seasons
have a page of their own.

And here we were
all caught up in our living
as if time
were a golden coin

that could never ever be
spent entirely.

And me a child
or rather various children
turning first into
this man and then that

seeing how change is
the only constant.

Page after page
remembering who we are.
The people who we forget
we were

living out
our black and white lives.

Laughing now
in Kodachrome.
The moment
instant as a Polaroid.

Us as us
hardly knowing ourselves
before we become
someone else.
A good snapshot keeps a moment that's gone from running away.”

– Eudora Welty
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