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13h · 26

Yikes! Von Eycks's
The Arnolfini Marriage
gets on the tube.

Circle Line....either it or
someone very like Vladimir Putin
and Vladimir Putin in drag

at the next stop
Grant's American Gothic
jumps through the door

just as it closes
they strap hang
looking every inch of themselves

paint dripping from a graze
above an eyebrow
it's very unnerving

sharing a carriage
with great works of art
come alive

I really want to see
who gets on next
Van Gogh without an ear

but this is my stop
and work beckons
I get off but

nobody gets on
not even
a quick sketch

I mind
"...the Gap!"
almost trip over myself

the Arnolfini Marriage
and American Gothic
are discussing do they need

a ticket and what is money
they stare at me as if
"We know where you live sunny Jim!"

"Don't you dare tell!"
they yell

the Putin look-alike
draws a finger
across a throat

the American Gothic
draws a zipper across a mouth
I give a frightened nod

the doors close
and somewhere
in a gallery

their empty frames
stare at
the dumbfounded tourists
22h · 25
NOW, WE IS: 60!
NOW, WE IS: 60!

a Year 8 child
how old I be?

"I be
he gasps

"My're very
for 60!"

60 for him is
a distant planet
in a galaxy far far

from here

I smile
my 60 year old smile
perfected by now

I am starlight
that will only reach him
when he is 60 himself

if he ever
remembers what he has
long ago forgotten


Now We Are Six is a book of thirty-five children's verses by A. A. Milne, with illustrations by E. H. Shepard. It was first published in 1927. My title is of course a corruption of that as I begin the slow decay into the nothing at all.

the town was exhausted.
now all the humans
were dreaming dreams

the town
could relax
into the darkness

tomorrow had come
without their knowing it
yet here it was

as if it had
crept up on them
the future ready to pounce

the early risers
yawned into the dawn
switching on their minds

with a click
the birds woke up
the day.

and the town
the town got on
with the business of being

the town
doing what
it had to do

the humans leaving
their dreams
scattered across pillows

spat into the sink
yelling: "Ohh....
is that the time!"

it was
it was
1d · 26

you were older than me
now I am older
than you

can ever be
(forever 18 &
forever dead) .

I felt so guilty
when I passed
that age

I could exchange
some of the life I had

so that you could
the life you never knew

I used to talk to
your grave
as if it were you...

“Hiya, kid...”

now I find you

the sunlight
on the garden
smiles like you did

the ladybird
over the furrows of my fingerprint

has the same graceful
your body lent to every movement

you are younger
than me
& will always be

and I am older
than you
...will ever know

* * * * * *

The sound of my sister's voice.  We lived in a house not made of books.  The only  texts existed in the texture of the sister finecombing my hair and soothing the pain with...shussh...stories.

'The little toy soldier is covered with dust...'

...exists only in my mind and the vague trellised traces of Junie's voice.  It is here breath against my skin as I fall asleep. It has never entered my mind through print yet it is printed irredeemably...indelibly in my mind.

'What is it again? '

I am following my father...gogging my Dad doggedly for the words of a song.  I scrawl the words across the page of my mind as exasperated his patience explodes:

'As down the ****** glen one ****** Easter many times do I have to tell you! '

My sister Moira is slightly tipsy.  I glow with pleasure as the pattern unfolds.  When she is more that slightly tipsy she will softly and sadly sing.

'I know my love by his way of walking and I know my love by his way of talking and I know my love by his eyes so blue and if my love left me what would I do...? '

I am drunk with her words.  There is a slight smell of loneliness off her breath.  I hang   on   her   every    breath.

I have had four teeth pulled and my world fevers and frets. The smell of sausages sidles up the stairs and seduces me to the top of the stairs.  When I am safely ion danger the smelly magic no longer supports me.  I fall and float down the stairs.  Junie comforts  and croons.  I am lying in her arms in her bed.  Again she sings.  'Again! ' I plead.  She sings again.

'Black is the colour of my true love's hair...her lips are like...'

Her body vibrates with sound and the words echo through me and echo through the memory of me.  For a long long time
the only way these words were written down ws in the breath entering and leaving her body.

When I remember to write...

I write to remember I write to forget.

I write to recover what has never left me but exists in a someplace of my mind.  I write to find out who I am and if I ever was. I write to discover where I went when the wordl went away.

As the bus crashes the book is torn and burning.  The world dies.  A child cries.  I WRITE TO REMEMBER I WRITE TO FORGET.  The book leies strewn across the motorway.  It's spine is broken and its leaves flutter away in dismay.  The book is burning.  It is unreadable as it reads itself to the night's wind. It is an image torn from a dream that is really real.  Its spine is broken and pages turn themselves over and over in the night.

I remember...I forget.

Sunlight streams through the bedroom window...sculpts a sister.  Creates Junie.  She is telling me the story of Orpheus and Eurydice.  Every time I cry.  She says she will not tell me again because it always me makes me cry.  I promise not to cry if she promises to tell me again.  She tells me again.  I cry  every time.  She is not dead.  She is telling me the story of Orpheus and Eurydice.  She is created of sunlight.  Dust motes dance in attendance.  It can not be...more real than this. I write to remember...I forget.  I write to recover the times of her not dying...when she is sunlight and breath.  When she was my book.  When the sound of her was all...around me.  Writing to remember...I forget so much.  I write because I am - lost.  I write to find an exit door in my mind.  The book is broken.  The book is burning.  Pages...fiery pages flutter like lost souls escaping into the darkness.  I write to reach the light.  I write to enter the darkness.  I write to escape the sound of the book burning. I write to forget...I...write to...not forget.                             Remember.

* * * * *

  5 half-moons rising
on the hand that strokes my hair
bracelets like music
whispering softly in my ear
“Shhhshhh...therethere...shush... shush...there! ”

the smoke appears
to fall up
to the ceiling and then

down blue
it dances to

the shiny saxophone
as if it drunk in

the cigarette smoke
music made visible
here it is

a spiral staircase
the going up and going down
the one and the same

now here
a dissolving double

now again
a sudden sketch
of how naked

we will come
to be
entwined with the music

with bodies of smoke
the making and un-making
of us

our laughter and words
floating up to the ceiling
frozen in the air

clinging there
for all to see
our love written

in music and smoke
the saxophone going
2d · 27

curled up on the couch
with a curled up kitten
cradled in your lap

both of you
out of this world

I smile
at such
a lovely double take

tiptoe 'round
the flat
(afraid that you should wake)

I kiss both your noses
& you both sniff & shift
adopt new synchronised poses

I can only
love 'n' sit 'n' watch
as one of you makes a move

the the other
will match

I take a Polaroid
as I am leaving
place it between

your toes
(on awakening)

it will be seen
to show you

you've been

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:


There is no you nor
ever will be


I sit with my reflection.

Both of us say nothing.

We have

to say.
4d · 18

He stepped out of
the photo

stretched and
gave a great yawn.

He had been standing by that
wall it seemed forever.

The sun shone
in black&white.;

Outside it was

He had never seen  his grandson
who lived in colour

on the mantlepiece just
newly born.

He strode out boldly
in 3-D

with the strange gait of a 2-D'er
trying to put his best foot forward.

It was a long long way to
the photo of Tipperary

and the smiling newborn boy
but by God he made it.

His grandson lay smiling
in a shaft of sunlight

that rocked him gently
and gently.

He stepped into the colour
and turned into a nice sepia.

He held his grandson
against his chest

in Kodachrome.

Then put him back
in the frame.

He managed to return
to his own black& white

as headlights travelled
across the ceiling

before the telephone rang
and the morning awoke

and sleepy feet from above
went to answer it with a yawn:

"Yes...yes. . ."

& again:

The War marches
across the map

on little coloured pins

blood red for us &
bright green for them.

The colours faltering
in the candlelight

after the lights
had gone out.

One can still see holes
from the previous War

that pinned men down
so that they

would never move again
they the never returning.

falling from mother's sleepy hand.

"War is a cruelly destructive thing..."
it both begins & ends.

Men wriggle under
coloured pins & die.

Saki smiles sardonically

I move a pin to where
father maybe is.

I am glad
mother sleeps at last.

In the somewhere of now
a bullet splinters bone

my father falls

the agony of the moment
revealed in the telegram

that will come
a month later.

Father has become

Mother will read her Saki
and cry and try

not to let me see
her cry.

I, a small boy
can't cry.

Death appears
like a fairy story.

What War
awaits me?


The Cupboard of the Yesterdays," a short story written by Saki aka H. H. Munro a few years before he was killed on the Western Front in 1916,.

"War is a cruelly destructive thing," said the Wanderer, dropping his newspaper to the floor and staring reflectively into space.

But the old atmosphere will have changed, the glamour will have gone; the dust of formality and bureaucratic neatness will slowly settle down over the time-honoured landmarks; the Sanjak of Novi Bazar, the Muersteg Agreement, the Komitadje bands, the Vilayet of Adrianople, all those familiar outlandish names and things and places, that we have known so long as part and parcel of the Balkan Question, will have passed away into the cupboard of yesterdays, as completely as the Hansa League and the wars of the Guises.

At the start of the First World War Munro was 43 and officially over-age to enlist, but he refused a commission and joined the 2nd King Edward's Horse as an ordinary trooper. He later transferred to the 22nd Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, in which he rose to the rank of lance sergeant.

More than once he returned to the battlefield when officially still too sick or injured. In November 1916 he was sheltering in a shell crater near Beaumont-Hamel, France, during the Battle of the Ancre, when he was killed by a German ******. According to several sources, his last words were "Put that ****** cigarette out!"

Munro has no known grave.

"'s me!"
whispered the tree.

The aspen quivered.
Shivered in the sudden breeze.

to me?"

I dared to
question the tree.

Tree talking!
Hope nobody hears me!

Nobody told me this is
how grief would be.

"It's me...yer brother
for ****'s sake!"

The tree getting
slightly annoyed.

"But...yer dead!"
I said.

"Ok..." snapped the tree.
"Let's not go there!"

Ok ok I thought.
Keep yer leaves on.

"Yer a bit more poplar
than you used to be!"

I quipped
with a smirk.

The tree
was not amused.

"Why an aspen then?"
I enquired.

"Don't you remember
any of the mythology you taught me!"

I wasn't having the best
of this conversation.

"Yer aspen dear brother
communicates with the next world!"

The tree could see
the fear flit across my face.

"Remember when we was little
we promised that whoever

died first would come back
tell the other...what was what?"

"But that was a kid's promise!"
I quibbled.

"Promise is a promise!"
the tree waved its branches.

"I was afraid that if I appeared
as you knew would be scared."

It paused as a kid
threw a stone and ran away.

"It would give you a heart attack
And then where would be be!"

"Dead right!" I mused.
I had to admit the tree was talking sense.

Sure enough the old ticker
isn't what it used to be.

"So what's it like being a tree then!"
Trying to make light conversation like.

"Much better than being
dead...that's what!"

A jay came and perched
on the tree's thoughts.

"****...the light is dying!"
rustled its leaves.

"Meet me tomorrow
at noon."

The tree commanded
beginning to lose its voice.

"Ok!" I said choking up.
Kissing the tree,

"Alright Bud" I said.
"See ya Bud!" said the tree.

"Tomorrow it is

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

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

the fog
walks among the tombs
"I encounter my first ***

he was a man
he looked just like me
as if I were...killing myself!"

stretching back
through space & time
the instant of that moment

the German falls
beside a tomb
like a badly written play

Grandad bayonettes
the German...looks surprised
to be dying

Grandad plunges the bayonette in
twists it about
the German almost grins

then the dance
of the living & the dying
in strict time

the German goes down
on one knee
as if proposing to Death

Granddad stabs the German
through the lifeline
of his left hand

the dying German's
left outstretched hand
like a man about to sing a song

"As he fell
his hand touched my hand
'This...' I thought ' hell!'"

all his life
the touch...that touch
impossible to shake off

Grandad tends his dahlias
the dying German
still clouding his eyes

she gasps
at the faded photograph.
a crease hides my smile

" . .
were four?"

she's never considered
this before
I smile at her disbelief

that this fat old man
could ever have been
surely not her age

she acts as if she is
the first four
ever to be

the snakes
and ladders of time

"Oh it's a long time since
I was four...but four
...I was for sure!"

I laugh at her incredulity
"So where did your four go!"
she asks like a defence lawyer

turning to
the judge and jury
of her lined up dolls

"And how did you get so old?"
she clinches the conversation

yes...where did I go
I question myself
four year olds never die

they play hide and seek
in the minds
of fat old men

popping mischievously up
with a now and then yell
"Here I be!"

"But if you were four
once upon
a time ago..."

I feel her
close about me

"Then you should know
I don't want to go to bed!"

I check with my former
four year old self
sure enough he says: "Yup!"

I have to admit
has got me...there

trapped by my child's
impeccable logic

and so we have 4
extra Snakes and Ladders
played with all her

extreme hysteria
stops only
when I fall asleep

she covers me
with a towel
from the bathroom

puts her self
to bed thank
you very much

tells Mummy
Daddy's sleeping!
6d · 130

the bomb fell on the graveyard
the dead laughed
they were used to being dead

the moss had eaten their names
the dead could not remember
who they were

a batch of kids
clutching gas masks
afraid of the sky

blackberries and air raid sirens
his name on cardboard around his neck
they were living the war

the war
had invaded their lives
bombs had become normal

the gas mask
left out in the storm
filling up with rain

he didn't like the gas masks
they turned people
into insects

"A carrot on a stick!"
instead of an ice cream
"but then I'd never had ice cream!"

"Carrots can't
stand them to this day!"
clouds reflected in his eyes

Daddy was up in the air
fighting in the sky
I never cried when he died

he went up in the air
and stayed there
"Next door to Heaven!" Mum says

strange creatures in a field
cows I think they're called
I'm afraid they'll eat me

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
(Little Butterfly...Little Sweetie)

finding it hard
to keep their eyes open

tucked up
in a comfortable cloud

already fast
turns & smiles

even the dark
is nodding off
dreaming of ight

even the cricket
has gone

even the fire
in a nightdress of ashes

all this

only the baby
(our little sweetie)
lies awake

playing with
the bright butterfly
dancing in her

dress of brilliant colour
bobbing on the string
before her.

she tells the butterfly
over & over

she is

but the butterfly
doesn’t understand
the language of gurgle

in the dark
Da da snores

Ma ma
sleeps quietly
only baby awake
( for the miracle that a Brian Ings is)

the kestrel
hovers high
over the Devil's Mother

it knows nothing
of the names
that humans give to things

such as mountains
or indeed
its good self

it only knows
the heights
that it can fly to

and how
glorious a thing
the wind beneath a wing

if it's gaze could
the gift of language

it would perceive
how time changes
mountains and name-ings

it watches words
mutate back into
the original Irish

so that the Devil's Mother
that it flies over today
was once the Demon's Testicles

"Magairlí an Deamhain!"
it screeches
the name

through the dense fog
of  Anglicisation
or Bastardisation.

or God forgive us
the virus of

and it would croak
with laughter
at its own

"*** Dearg" or
Red *****

it is thankful for this moment
of human sentience
so that it can laugh at itself

as a Red *****
flying over
the Demon's Testicles

but in an instant
the instant
is gone

and it is only this
of being

the beauty
of its flight
in the midst of a gale

"*** dearg
ag eitilt thall
magairlí an deamhan!"

it chuckles in Kestrel
before translating itself
back into the English

"A kestrel
flying over
the Demon's Testicles!"


Ballypitmave in County Antrim would be known in Irish as Phite Méabha ‘townland of Maeve’s *****’. Or as the good old Revn Cupples would have it ‘town land of the pit of shame’
We are talking of a Goddess here or a figure of mighty myth so the Irish would not be afraid to call a ***** a ***** and all hail the Goddess.
Apr 6 · 36

dawn breaks
the War breaks
her waters break

this child
at war with this world
this world at war

she gives birth
to death
glad the War will never find him

here a house
as if drawn by a child
crumbling with time

their names now
only alive in our voices
the characters eaten by lichen

here Time
has come & gone
lives written on water

fragments of them survive
in a yellowed old photo
ripples upon water

tourists we pass by
touched by time
we as human as them

will Time too
leave us thus:
ashes to ashes dust to. . .

old house
the snow
climbs the stairs

on a rusted bed

the snow
looks out the window
at itself falling

the snow
has the house
to itself

the snow
startled out of its sleep
by a human intent on remembering

the snow
more at ease inside
than the human

the human
tears in its eyes
the snow smiles

snow now

human footsteps
the snow
covers them up


Going back to the auld sod to find my childhood home nothing but a ruin and the window from where I saw my first snow fall in the bitter winter of '63 now I saw snow falling inside the house. I climbed the stairs along with the snow and there was snow lying on the bed just as the seven year old me did back in the long long ago. A home that now existed only in my mind. The next year it was just a muddy space and I could walk through where we watched telly and laughed. An old sheep passing between the ghost of the kitchen and the hall.

my machine
of bones

let us perambulate
around this
God-given morning too
my flesh
and blood

do you
not desire
to accompany me

and spirit
If you are

why not bring
your friend

oh soul
surely you
will come for a stroll

and together
we shall be
this tired old

Donall Dempsey
this odd contraption
of a human being

welcomes us

how the roses
in seeing us

and birds race to tell the sky
that the poet
has come amongst us

"Ok ok..
enough already
cut the crap!"

I admonish
the words
"I'm up...I'm up!"
Apr 5 · 85

so young
that I can barely tell
it’s me ..myself

( balanced upon her knee )
trying to pluck
flowers from her dress

amongst the great
of her laughter

the clock shaves off
another bit of time
tick by tick by tick

it doesn't give a tock
a patina of time
covers the dusty ornaments

the eaves drip
Nature's clock
I measure time

by how long it takes
the cuckoo's voice
to travel

from the background
to the foreground of this
storm tossed morning

I feel myself as if I am
the personal measurement
of boredom

a fly lands
on a bishop's mitre
washes its hands

then buzzes off
in case it catches religion

the chess pieces
their silences

I feel like a female mammoth
in a block of ice

Time refuses
to move on

my husband
plays chess
with himself

can never tell whether
he's winning or losing
"I'm a Gemini..!"

he explains.
like duh
"I'm just a poor little Cancer!"

he is beating
himself up
about beating himself

I watch him move from
one side of the table to
the other

like a Buster Keaton movie
an eyelid twitches but
is instantly repressed

the eyebrow
about to be
raised...instantly isn't

he is a bad loser
to himself

a hand raises a King
and a Queen
is taken

his lips
a taut straight line
displays no emotion

I am only wearing
a thong
getting goosebumps

I chew a Swano 4906
bitten to shreds
"Five...I said...five letters!"

loudly just to annoy him
beginning with an O and
ending with OP

"Stowed cables
below water line!"
what kind of clue is that!

I haven't got a clue
"Harold honey!"
I yell

he grunts
"Orlop deck!"

never taking his eye off
of his other self
watching his every move

"Who would have
I think to myself

"That *** and money
could become so

a pillowcase on the line
***** for help
it has lost a peg

holding on by a peg
the wind makes it pregnant
its belly billows

it swells
and takes off
like a ship setting sail

jumps over the wall
chasing its own

"Me an' all!"
I thank it
for the tip

decide to leave
Harold honey
by the latest

calculus battle clue 6 down
“tanquam ex ungue leonem”
N E W T O N I fill it in - done it

the river stood up
its head in the clouds
marched off to find the sea

it took the river time
to find its feet but when it did
it ran & ran & ran

tired now the river
took the bus
spilling some of itself goin' 'round a bend

the river
kicked off the bus
for not having a proper ticket

the river
trying to hitch a ride
no luck

mini skirted blonde
tells the trucker
"This here river's with me!"

river weary now
just wants to lay it self down
and meander

at last the sea dawned
the river plunged in
losing itself in its joy
Apr 4 · 23

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 centre 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.


Guy told me this in Harry's Bar in Venice and all this just added up to how he came to finally live in Bethlehem in Pennsylvania. I was fascinated by the pre-story and his way of telling the story by interrupting his telling by a quirky "...when I say....I mean...." It was worth buying him a drink just to get drunk on that story.

The story was fuel'd by many a Bellini. The guy was a blend between Orson and Ernest as if they had both reincarnated at the same time and simultaneously tried to claim the one body. His name was Sinclair...I had never met anyone with the first name Sinclair before...he was better than a book. È tutto pepe indeed! Wot a guy! Che figata! Che figata!

He was highly energetic in both body and mind and telling stories about their times of being 4 or 7 and 11. This story came forth from man who at 90 was full of zip and zest. I only picked up bits here and there and never found out where his there was.

I was enjoying his speech movements and characteristic tics with that defining "When I say....I mean..." The story went by at a hundred miles ah hour but totally enthralled me and 50 years later still lives on in my mind.

I wish I could have captured his essence and this is only a pale imitation of how wonderful  he was. All the imagery is his too and I merely a Boswell to his Johnson.

Once saw THE MERCHANT OF Venice. It bobbed along with several different languages taking up the tale and done in a Commedia dell'Arte style. If that wasn't enough...gondolas glided by with their sixpence worth of kitsch touristy songs whilst a gangster movie blared out of a window and two floors up from that a couple made mad passionate ***....everything blended with everything else....real life and Shakespeare all sharing the same outdoor stage.

The best bit was when she( of the mad passionate *** bit )threw all his clothes outta de window and told him to 'cazzo nel culo!' The real life bit I'm afraid by then was beginning to eclipse the Shakespeare bit( sorry Will ). It was almost as unforgettable as Sinclair's rambling tale of "how we came to live in Bet-LE-ham!"

Venice was almost too luscious for words but Sinclair and his tale of how we got from here to there and then "that" production of TMOV was all just too much for this tiny little mind.

Went back again but nothing as spectacular as "that" ever happened again....guess I was in the right place at just the right on time. The mind going "Heeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!"

This be an experimental prose poem letting the prose ramble on in the voice and characteristic stops and starts of the speaker. The whole point of the poem is that you are going to get the whole prelude to the story and then not be told the story!

The danger is indeed very real....the adults know that...the kids know that....even the dead guy knows that! There was a broken worn down sign that you had to get near enough to read and possibly fall in! So the danger could be feral and turn on you with one little mistake or missed step. Hence the barely tamed! The narrator is very fallible!
". . .here
Buckle! AND. . ."

I have( somehow )
escaped( don't ask me how )

the ritual of the head
plunged down the toilet bowl

this the welcome to
secondary school

and flushed
their laughter and their power.

They have bidden their time

and although I believe
I have outfoxed them

....they have outfoxed me.

I tremble on my spindly
12 year old legs

surrounded by the sneering

They hang me from
a coat peg

laughing with great glee
as I try to free

but can't.

I like a living coat
refusing to be clothes.

Then they tear
page by page

my poetry book
to pieces.

Pages like paper bees
crushedcrumpled at my feet.

They make me eat

I spit him out
gasp for breath.

My tongue rebels AND
I fling Father Hopkins at them.

They recoil in astonished

" I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding. . ."

The words sting them
into stunned silence.

This is not
how it should be.

My jacket tears
I fall at their feet

my voice soaring
now above them.

They run from the beauty of the words.

I pick, one by one, up
the fallen pages.

". . . and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and **** gold-vermillion. . ."

The bell rings
for Maths.


I was a sickly kid and pretty lousy at school. Told I was not good enough to do the English Higher paper but that didn't stop me reading the stuff. There was a great TV schools programme on that I would tune into and out of this the great Brendan Keneally would walk forth from its tubes and proclaim THE WINDHOVER.
With his voice and passion for the poem I was entranced and made a fan of all things Hopkins. Years later I meet him casually at a bar where we happened to be having a pint together. I told him this story and all those years later I had the pleasure of him recite it to me once again in the flesh! It was a magical moment. We batted the lines back and forth to each other and plunged into the beauty of the lines.

The last time before that I had met him and his wife at the Grapevine Arts Centre in Dublin. I was a mere sapling then and just beginning to read poetry aloud. I was a country bumpkin and had to run for a bus and as I ran and as they waved goodbye to me I turned the corner of North Great Georges Street AND....fell on my ****! Oh the shame of it!

I used to belong to a poetry collective that hawked a broadsheet around pubs. My poem CRAZY LONELINESS HIJACKS MEMORY OF A BEAUTIFUL GIRL was the hit of the day and Brendan liked this very much. But my one moment of glory was reciting Hopkins with him in a crowed noisy Dublin poem...I had come full circle.

her wardrobe is mirrored
sliding doors
reveal her many selves

hung on hangers
she peels off her present

it falls
at her feet
in a froth of frills

she kicks it aside
she hates
herself in it

she takes a self
from a hanger
unfolds its role

'dutiful wife'
no...ha ha...tonight she
feels more 'vamp'

does she dare
disturb t
he universe

the many selves she is
hang limp
waiting to be the chosen one

she stares at her
naked self
that the mirror holds

longs to escape
the roles
she plays.

she gives
that little
Mona Lisa smile

descends the staircase
emotionally naked
willing to be

the person she used to be
before she became

a mere prop in his play
a must have

she smirks
at his shock
takes the dry martini

from his grasp
drinks it down in
one big gulp
Apr 3 · 22

still see the saw
cutting through time
the small boy's mind

Da's spirit level
disappearing all the time
becomes my Star Ship Enterprise

the saw hums to itself
time eclipsed
with the smell of pine

the song of the saw
sunbeams & sawdust
dancing in time

and lo
wood becomes window
the small carpentry of miracles

a heart-shaped block of wood
becomes my saddle
on his crossbar

we fly through time
tame hills
the tick of bicycle wheels

lost in speed
down down Dobbin's Hill
we the bubble in the spirit level

we haunt the dumps
hunt for a wheel here...a frame there
Da creates a bike

new bikes from old
our "Frankenstein bicycles"
we the new masters of speed

"Look at hands!"
the hill smiles to itself

trees breaking gently in our hands
become our bows and arrows
stolen from young plantations

I a nine year old Chingachgook
limp horribly home
an arrow in my left calf

my Da shaving wood
it curls
to his whistle

sawdust amongst his curls
my Da smiles
as the wood comes good

I still see the saw
opens memory


We had to look upon a loved object( as a poetry prompt )and not mentioning associate 15 words and write the poem from this list. THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS is and still is a fav. book of my childhood( I have still not finished growing up )and it bleeds into the memory of helping( little help that I was )my Da making a window...making a bike...making a fretwork Arkle...whatever he turned his hand to...whether it be a crop of potatoes or a cuddle...his hands were the hands of a God creating my childhood for me.

I never got around to reading THE WEPT OF WISH-TON-WISH but loved the sound of it....Dobbin's Hill( which I cycled down as a child and ran up as a soldier )became the Great Snake( what Chingachgook means )and I indeed made myself a Chingachgook. The rest is just memories held in haiku and bursting in time like bubbles.
From 30/30 prompt. . . I was reading THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS and helping my da with his work...whether it be wood or bikes from different bits.It was that eternal summer of childhood and I desired to be Chingachgook. Out of this tale of time lost...time found is woven the present poem. Here be the words that helped in some way went to the making of the poem. My da worked in wood...I work in words.















Apr 3 · 25

the wheeze
of the sea
breathing in and out

a wall
crumbling back
to its beginning

as the wisteria
with all its gentle strength
has crushed it to the ground

a town
by the sun

as if it were a faded
photograph of
its long ago self

a silence
too loud
for the human ear to hear

the blackbird led
his wife
up the garden path

as if the crazy paving
had been laid especially
for them & their kind

I thought it odd that
they walked instead
of flew

as if they
were acting
the human

they both
deep in conversation
about bird current affairs

or gossip
about those
noisy robins

when they hit the deck
they both stood
in a deck chair each

continuing what
they had been
conversing  about

maybe blackbirds
had taken over
the world

& I
the last human
to know

or all other humans
had been changed
into blackbirds

they suddenly
made loud caw
I took to the air and flew

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
merely 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

as the footage comes
to an abrupt:

but you forever always
like music
made visible



We call our dogs
and they come running

black black
as ravens

faster than thought
and memory.

Excited they tell me
of all the many

they have encountered.

What it is like
to just run

for no other purpose
than the running.

They see the world
through smell and speed.

Delight in
just being.

Outrunning the wind.

The sudden scratch
of a bramble across an eye

is a happenstance
that sees me

wearing a black eye patch
with a diamante twinkling.

I see the world better
with my one eye.

The other was too lazy.

"Yeah's the world!
So what!"

Lazy eye easily
bored with perceiving.

Looking, but:
not seeing.

The dogs see me
as the reincarnation

of Odin.

The land is lost
in mist and myth.

The mist devouring
a man

with every footstep
the world erased.

Yet, I outpaced it
gazed once again

upon a moon madly
in love with its reflection.

Look up into the sky
the inside of a skull

that once belonged
to the great giant Ymir

whose death
made all life possible.

Odin and Vili and Ve
make soil from his flesh

bones become

blood becoming seas.

"See the clouds..?"
I tell my little girl

( already far more
ancient than I )

"They were once
Ymir's brains!"

She accepts all this
with great aplomb.

"I wonder..."
she ponders
"I wonder.. . .

what the clouds
are thinking?"
Apr 1 · 33

She laughs like water
pours herself
into my embrace

whatever shape
within these arm

I kiss her
with a love that
cannot harm her

the container
of who I am

holding her
like water's laughter

Uncle sleeps
with pursed lips
as if kissed  by a dream

perched upon
this kiss
a butterfly sits

as if an Uncle's lips
were the most natural
place for a butterfly to rest

or as if
it were an illustration
of the soul(a symbol)

in a magical book
that explained
such things

outside the trees
breathe gently

& exhaling
a soft whisper
of wind

bees carve a map
out of the air
for other bees to see.

out on a limb
two birds
sit & chit chat.

a fox(unseen)
passes by  as if
it had never been

a big big bug
topples off the top
of a tiny stone

onto its back
wriggling its arms & legs
as if it were trying to

through the currents
of its fear

one of the gossiping birds
sees him as a tasty treat
eats him

Inside the house's
El Greco shadows
a kitten

exploring the newness
of the world it finds
itself in

jumps onto
the sleeping statue
of an Uncle

with a butterfly
perched upon
its lips

kitten tumbles
into my Uncle's crotch

before climbing
the mountainside
that is his chest

takes a swipe
at the soul
pretending to be a butterfly

just as my Uncle
to this reality

& his soul
flits just
out of reach

the fireplace
& the mantlepiece

she had an ego
that could be seen
from space

a mind that could strip
an apple of its skin
in one perfect coil

but today she was feeling
like a faded
carbon copy of herself

and it was this
that so unnerved the others

not knowing whether
it was a ruse or a trick
on her part

could she really
have a heart when
she was not biting heads off

I not being afraid of her
I dared to take
care of her

she too surprised
that I simply
walked around her defences

as if they weren't
there and won her
with a simple "You ok?"
Mar 31 · 25
( "Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?" - Act 5, scene 1 MACBETH )

dawn chorus
switch on kettle
for first cup of coffee

but what's this
white kettle
streaked with blood

I have stepped into
a gory horror
real life movie

an hallucination
but how can
a kettle bleed

and now I see
my hands
bathed in blood

more readily red
than can be imagined

I have become
Lady Macbeth
the play come alive

I can still smell
my own blood
"Oh, oh, oh!"

****** my ****** hands
under the running tap
discover the deep cut

my right hand thumb
it would appear
the culprit

"All the perfumes
of Arabia will not
sweeten this little..."

how come
I cannot yet tell
and yell

now that
the pain
decides to turn up

I act the part
to the hilt
discover that

pushing plastic
into an overflowing bin
cuts to the bone

who would have thought
indeed that this old poet
had so much blood in him

A plastic container that once contained olives and feta until devoured  squashed down into the bin not realising that its rim was super sharp and I didn't even feel the cut. Then turning back to the coffee making and lo and behold the horror unrolled the 'how can this be so' moments. And ******* much blood. As if the whole 12 pints in the human body had chosen to take up residence( squatters rights)in the thumb and to to a runner when the fisrst cut was the deepest.
( mother... )

See? I walk... I exist. . .
in this new sunlight
despite your death

this morning
you will never know
somehow I persist

the world has turned
on its axis
leaving you behind

Death sits in your chair
I long to
**** it

everywhere I see you
cut out of the pages
of today's world

I enter this
moment - in a second it had
closed behind me: NO EXIT


First ever known  picture of Dónall the Dempsey. Yep...that's me all her tummy! She said I was a gentleman and didn't show...but then I was a tiny little baby weighing in at only 2 lbs. Now my belly button weighs that!

you were
the bit

where the map
creased & tore
leaving us unsure

looking through
a hole
at our own big toe

you were
the bit

where the map
was folded in four
and had to be

awkwardly unfolded
just to see
where you were

you were
the bit

that was just off
this map
ending in mid air...

...see next map:
...the issing

you were
the lost map

you were
the wrong map

the map that
there was... map of


A charming friend who could be a terrible person...who when she died got transformed into "our wonderful kind understanding etc., etc.," Or all the things she wasn't in flesh and blood. In real life she would stand you up...let you down...lie...etc., etc. I had a dream that I went into a shop and asked for "...a Map of Death please!" and the shopkeeper said he had just sold the last one to my friend. Hence the poem that came about that told what she had been really like but through the medium of maps.

Obviously when you write a poem you chose the balance of mood and words and what to leave in and what to leave out so that you focus on whatever emotional trajectory you come in on and that gives you the mental landscape of what you have elected to view.

Come in on a different emotional trajectory and you get a completely different landscape of the mind...a whole new planet Poem. So the backstory may be left out until you have to tell it or fill it out or write a different poem. Going to a reading in Paris  and learning that the theme has to be of death and its whatfors and wherefors... meant that this poem which I happened to have in my possession suddenly forced the background story to the the explanation comes about 2 years after the writing of the poem. In time this backstory or the view of the story as seen from this point of perspective may in itself become the poem that eclipses this one in a total eclipse of the art.
Mar 30 · 25

My smile

in my compact

as I get carried along
in a river of people

flowing down
High Holborn

stiletto-ing back to work
with the other temps

laughing gaily
amongst ourselves

looking forward to
a weekend’s Paintballing.

I add a little more
scarlet to my smile.

My smile
gazes back at me

almost in love
with itself.

I trap it
in its little prison



Burdened by
my beauty

almost sick
to death of it.

What others would die for
I’d die to be without.

I shiver
in the sunlight

feeling un-really

It’s not easy
being a myth

especially in these times
of disbelief.

I still recoil
in horror when people recall

that hoary old story
of how I was loved a river.

Oh really Arethusa!

I gather up
my green hair

into a ponytail.

Oh those ****** Greeks
and the stories they tell!

Now I am a millennium
or two


I remain still
as beautiful as ever.

Suddenly a voice
comes after me

his shadow
casting itself over me.

Oh ye Gods!

Surely not here…not now…not…again!

“Hey darlin’…why leave
why such a hurry? ”

that old river God

disguised as a cartoon
bowler-hatted-pinstriped-brolly-carrying English gent.

But the wrong vernacular
gave him away.

The river Yob
as he was known even back then.

I tried to pretend
I was mist on a mountain.

But he
wasn’t having any of it.

His voice
pursued me

his shadow
the shape of my terror.

I turned into a stream

made a run
for it.

The English gent
dissolved as he

poured himself
into his true form.

I could feel his
strong undercurrent

how his waters
wanted to mingle with mine.

I started crying
which only made matters worse.

And yes…yes
he caught me of course

chased not longer chaste
filled with his lust

& it all happens
all over again.

Who’d be a nymph…eh?
Lusted after…turned into a tree or river.

It’s enough
to drive you nuts.

Ye ******* Gods
I hate being a myth!

It’s a curse
having to go through it

every time someone reads it.

It’s so…frustrating!

Tired now.
Ooops this is…my stop!

I shoved Hughes’s

back in
my rucksack

leapt off just
as the door closes.

There seemed to be some
commotion on the street

and **** and double ****
Holborn Underground

was closed
due to flooding
Mar 29 · 35

I am
that wonky carousel music
that makes you feel

you have opened a door
in your mind
and stepped into

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

helter skelter

"Welcome, my dear
to all
the fun of the fear!"
Mar 29 · 34

I  gaze
into air

this empty space
inside where you

no longer are.

Stars twinkle simple
as a nursery rhyme

planets revolve

maintain their perfectly
elliptical courses.

I am eclipsed.
An ellipses...

without your words
your kiss.

The night sky
plucks a star

pins it
on my chest

a medal
for making it this far

beyond grief

beyond hope

for remembering not to
forget to...


The Heavens
in all their glory

bless me
curse me

with words

to spell out
your absence

your presence

the only thing
that would

make sense of
all this

useless beauty.

March was doing that thing
where it was just becoming
April and

the thunder
muttered to itself
'bout something or other

it rumbled
Very un-Eliotish

Rain fell, but
its heart
wasn't in it

a bird
was exploring
time and space

sticking a little bit
of song
on to a quarter to two

where the Downs come up
and say howdy
do to the horizon

you: were
as dead
as ever

all memory could do
was draw a child's
stickman version of you

I still refused to believe it
but time was
wearing me down

that bird just kept on
trying to glue
that one piece of time

to that one piece of place
but it just wouldn't

I turned and walked away
"Where is tomorrow?
In another world..."

as the poet had said
can't say I could
answer that question
Mar 28 · 21

Motorway sign says:

Sign coming
into town says

appears to be

and there they all are
long forgotten Thursdays
that nobody wants no more

So many
used Thursdays
to choose from

a much used
from 1963

a forlorn
from 1863

come and

no one will want
a Thursday
their dog died

or the wife left them
or the Wifi
went off

rainy Thursdays
that nobody wanted even
as they were happening.

but there's a big rush on
the Thursday to come.
everyone wants to have one

We leave the Thursday market
with the next Thursday
in the bag so to speak

it's up to us
to make
a good go of it

it ticks away...Time tickles.
motorway sign says:
Mar 28 · 32

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

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

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
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
of which he couldn’t take his eyes off of)

telling him
in no uncertain manner

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

“Well, you’re
a lucky
so & so!
Mar 27 · 29

You made a chain-mail dress
out of cut-out Coca-Cola cans.

Perfectly...painstakingly crafted.

On a hanger your dress
rattled angrily in the breeze

as the wind blustered in the window
throwing your preliminary drawings around.

Every gesture
became musical.

A yawn tinkled.
A kiss clanked.

Stroking me or
stroking the cat

each had its own
musical motif.

Your chain-mail dress
sprung forth a ******

and then – hid it.

Flashed your ***
and then – forbid it.

As a male
I was quite intrigued by it.

I was a knight in distress.

You were a lady in shining armour.

As if I had been sleeping
to your beauty kissed me awake.

You smirked:

“ Listen bud, Princess to Prince like,
I’ll show you where the ***** in my armour is! ”

You divested yourself of your dress.

It clattered to the floor

like a silver shining serpent.

You breathed
upon my lips

(kisses tasting of expensive wine and cheap cigarettes)    

“Kiss love.
Discover me anew!

And I will show you
a thing or two.”
Mar 27 · 36

"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
" 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

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 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.

Also curiously enough she never said "she said..." but rather "she put forth...."
Mar 27 · 40

“Right. . .!”
I try to explain it
with chocolates

that she
( girlishly )
keeps trying to eat

I pick a luscious
dark chocolate seahorse
and I say “Now this is. . .”

( and she finishes
my sentence for me )
“. . .your hippocampus!”

she squeals. . .
iwth herself

“That’s correct!”
I praise her
“. . .it’s shaped like this seahorse!”

“And it controls
your memories of you
your “who you are”

your “how your self assembles
its sense of self with all
its past and future mysteries!”

“Yes. . .yes. . .that’s it!
she claps her hands
thrilled to bits

by the familiar
the reassurance of sounds

"And this twisted twirl of almond
with a real almond in the centre of it
“. . . is your amygdala!”

she blurts out before me
“You got it”
I smile

“Everyone’s got one!
a seahorse & an almond
one on each side of our brain.”

“Now the almond tells you how
to respond to the things
that you’ve assembled

into a sense of self
. . .with the proper emotion
. . .the right feeling.

. . .whether you
just like
or love it.”

“Oh, I love it. . .I love it!”
she almost sings
“Now, explain it to me again!”

I give her
the finished explanations
and she eats with exaggerated

mmmmming & ohhhhhing
“I love your explanations
about what’s wrong with my thingy”

she knocks upon her head
like it was a door
to a self that she had

outside of

most times
she doesn’t even know
her name

or who
or what
she is

but she loves this story of

she loves
each sound
each word

each letter each pause
of the chocolate

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

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

it appeared that I
had always existed
and would forever do

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 26 · 39

pins & needles
my little one calls it
"scrambled legs!"

I ****** you from
your dying
place you here

outside time
words and memory

make you forever
the boy you were
tell you to go play

on a day
you could
never forget

go on father
be this

who never can
he can die


“The bell strikes one. We take no note of time
But from its loss.”

"By Nature's law, what may be, may be now;
There's no prerogative in human hours:

Where is tomorrow? In another world. . ."

Fragments of Young's poem fled through my mind as my Da lay dying. In my mind I talked to him all the time and sang songs to him. I tried to place him beyond this hour...bring him back to a past where he was but a boy and happy.

Night Thoughts

Edward Young (1742-1745)
Mar 25 · 41

He is cradling baby
in his arms.

We like iron filings
cling to his Dad-ness.

Sisters and brothers
cuddle into every side

of him

Two more siblings
clutch a leg each

unwilling to
let go

this prize position.

I am curled on the back
of the sofa

about his neck
like a human scarf.

We are laughing at

"... a horse is a horse,  of course, of course. . ."
we all chant in unison.

Or sing the theme to

"New York is where I'd rather stay
I get allergic smelling hay..."

Doesn't matter what we
watch as long as  we

can be
part of him.

"...our dad is our dad, of course
of course..!"
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