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Kay Ireland Oct 2018
In place of calm, read stirring ocean,
Scylla and Charybdis,
between a rock and a hard place.

In place of comfort, read your body,
transient, missing, on a plane somewhere
in a car somewhere on a boat somewhere
without your phone somewhere
somewhere somewhere somewhere
that is not my apartment or my arms
but somewhere where you smile.
Somewhere where your eyes
finally focus.
In place of sleep, read blood between the floorboards
and moving boxes scattered,
read burst capillaries and a savings jar
full of Washingtons and no idea
what I’m saving for.
In place of stasis, read
one fast move or I’m gone.
after Charles Simic
Kay Ireland Aug 2017
There's **** on the floor of the Blue Line.
It's one in the afternoon,

This is the poetry
I don't like writing.

About the Fight Club anarchism
without the sense of purpose.

I watch a man cry
over a woman's leftover Chipotle.

Eight feet away:
the passage of pills between palms.
I don't know the contents
any better than they do.

I keep my blind eye
and loose change.

I keep my middle class pride
safe for another day.
Kay Ireland Jul 2017
I am open for you—
like cemetery gates at sunrise.
Both deities above and below
warn of dire consequences.
Still I am open for you.

Love, and love, and love.
You must admit there was love
in the speckled blue you left on my neck,
and the tight grip on my hip
beneath flannel sheets and morning eyes.

Not love like caged doves and thrown rice.
Not love like three-bedroom house in the suburbs.
Love like no space in your queen-sized bed.
Love like you showing me how to inhale smoke at 3am.
Love like teeth and tongues and thumbs and thighs.

I am open, fully.
Gaping, expanding, overwhelming.
I am racing heart.
I am goosebumps on your forearm.
I am fingertips gripping shoulderblades.
I am love, I am love, I am love.
Kay Ireland Jul 2017
Pulsating track lights.
Sunlight trickling down my neck as it set,
following the same pattern as your fingertips
that afternoon in your kitchen,
dripping like morning sweat.
When there was nothing left to say,
we filled the silences.

I adored your friends before I knew you,
yet my gaze drifted
to your shadow
as you stood behind a sheer black curtain;

no bigger than a toy soldier in my periphery
but I'd already memorised your shape.
I'd know you anywhere.

Sixteen thousand other people saw you,
but none like me.
She asked why I was blushing.

I had no explanation for the way my heart raced
as I remembered whose body I would sleep next to that night.
There you were,
in my sightline,
and yet I ached for you.
Kay Ireland May 2017
I died a few times in the night.
Hungry lips are decades away.
My passport is locked up tight
in the safe in my closet.
I’ve been a poet for so many years now,
but this feeling will always be
All the nudists riding bikes past my window,
all the love songs, all the sad songs,
all the lens flares and strong ‘o’ sounds,
and Jameson, always Jameson;
my hands get shaky
and tap out
on the coffee table
and suddenly I’m spilling drinks on myself
and I need to go for a run
and I feel sick to my stomach
and none of this makes sense.
I see the maintenance man every morning
and he says,
“Just another day in paradise”
and I actually believe him.
It’s easier when you’re so far away
because I don’t have to worry about
having you and then not having you.
I am terrified of the valediction.
Kay Ireland Mar 2017
I witnessed your birth.
Oak barrel wombs,
unknown fathers.
They presented you with so much pride
that I felt guilty refusing a taste.
So smooth.
Too smooth.
Fire should not destroy so calmly.

You witnessed my redemption.
Your name on his tongue
returned me to a Dublin distillery
but I did not fear you.
His offering was one of comfort.
You didn’t hurt as much
with his eyes on me,
my lipstick on the rim of his cup.
I was perfectly warm
in the dead of winter.
Fire should not destroy so calmly.

You will witness my unapologetic sins.
I swig straight from the bottle
to prepare for my numb lips against his;
our numb tongues ruining lives.
It won’t hurt anymore.
You gave me courage.
You showed me intimacy, unflinching,
with your solo cup facade.
You put my heart in his hands
and watched us test the waters,
You will be there
when we collide again.
Fire should not destroy so calmly.
Kay Ireland Mar 2017
He is biblical.
I’ve never had the taste for it,
but I will take his communion
and believe in something,

I’ve been splitting my knuckles on doorframes
just to know some peace.
Broken skin doesn’t hurt like it should.
Where are your healing lips tonight?
Kiss the poetry away from me;
bury it deep and out of sight.
It will find a way to ruin this.
I don’t ask for eternity.
I ask for one lifetime
knowing where your hands have been,
what they have built,
and who they have destroyed.

He is biblical;
I have always worshipped
someone else’s god.
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