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She takes the stand
With the voice of millions on her back
And speaks the fact that we all know,
far too well to be true -                  
                                           Me too.

She is heard but not believed,
She is heard with faith deceived .

When will it be enough -
Is one in six not enough ?
Is one sister, one friend
still - not enough?

one colleague, one mother, one wife, one lover -
one teacher, one doctor, one preacher, one author -
one husband, one son, one brother.
Which one will it take, to stop
the non-consensual clock
and make us realise that -

Time. Is. Up.
Sean M O'Kane Nov 2018
When great aunt Maggie passed away years ago, the one thing I really missed was her angelic voice.
The swaggering, sing-song lilt of the mid-Derry accent was as sweet as the confections she used to pass out to us as kids:
The inflection, the intonation, and the slight lisp she brought to it was so gloriously unique but was never heard again.
I often wish I could go back with a tape recorder to capture it in all its glory and relive how wonderful she was.
Now all I have is a untranslatable memory that can't be brought back to even vaguely approximate what it meant to me.

And now here I am again with the same obstacle.
The same tones, the same inflections albeit through a different light have just been extinguished before me.
This time there was no digital device rushing in to capture our time before it ran out.
No instinct for preservation was forthcoming - we were too busy having fun & 'being here now'.
No, once again I am bereft:
All I I have is here (in my heart) and and here (in my head)
The loved sounds I miss will always resound there albeit without backup
Voices lost but not forgotten.
Sean M O'Kane Nov 2018
It's a phrase I often playfully use to describe my queer self.
("Were you ever?"my beloved Alison uniformly says in jest).
But now it seems unusually apt in another way:
As I swann around this empty house, the decor, the photos, the ornaments and old perfume bottles overwhelm me.
My head is brimming with memories as I glance past these fragments of our shared lives.
My loss is palpable and yet inescapable under this roof.
She surrounds us on the walls, hanging over us with her beaming smile amidst the family photos.
I want to escape but I can't:
In a mad way I want to believe that something of these relics around us can bring her back somehow.
She did after all carry something of the old Irish paganism with her.
But, no, this ancient shamanism is sadly absent in a room drowned out by every token of Catholicism you can think of.
It's all too much for this first born to take and yet she is still here in the tiny gaps of these precious artefacts.  
Hidden away where you can't see her.
So, no, being honest right now - I'm not quite straight yet.
The head and heart will realign soon but not with this gnawingly painful grief.
Pray for me.
Sean M O'Kane Nov 2018
Breathe In, Breathe Out
Breathe In, Breathe Out

The background silence is deafening against the sound of your own awful struggle.
The inevitable is patiently waiting in a darkened corner of the room as we sit around your bed in reluctant readiness.
A noble hardy vigil but one that, unlike the others, I must confess is new to me.
I had consciously avoided receiving death all my adult life and now here, my greatest champion and comfort was being dragged into the snare.
The last hours were truly stifling - I wanted to scream my lungs out and tear down the walls.
How could it have come to this ******* pitiful ending?
But no,
knowing your calm patient Christian ways the only righteous path for you my sweet, was to take your hand and whisper our last words of love to you.
It was the only way for you, mother.
Death is not the stuff of over-dramatised fiction, it's the quietest test we face for those we love.
Sean M O'Kane Nov 2018
How often do you hear the expression "there's never enough time"?
Too much to fully comprehend its full ramifications:
The lost moments,
the endless "what if?" of unrealised human experience that simply vanishes in the ether,
the cold antiseptic realisation of death and one's grief for the time not spent with loved ones.
The misery of losing out to it all.

I say stop.

Embrace your family & friends while they are still sharing the same breath as you.
Forgive them for whatever trespasses they have & find a new commonality in love.
Tell them of their unmeasurable worth to you and all the others in their demi-monde.
Endlessly compliment them on their radiance and sheer uniqueness in the face of adversity.  

But don't forget to relish the gloriously diverse life all around you.
Or seek out the beauty of humanity's immense creativity and start to participate.
Sample how life can be truly transcendent if you just pay attention.
There is more to us all that waiting on the "right", convenient moment to connect.
Because, my friend, there is enough time for us all:
you just need to change the direction as time is no friend to our fragility.

November 7th 2018
My mother passed away last Thursday and in my grief over the weekend, I have been contemplating on the fragility of life and how we relate to each other when that fragility falls. I guess I was lucky in that I did (just) make time to be with her but I know many others out there were not so fortunate to have that last chance to be with loved ones. I think this poem reflects my slowly emerging way of seeing all of this differently having previously using my busy life as an excuse not to engage with what really matters. I'd like to think that might be why I was called back to her before she went. She did, after all, tell me not to worry last time we spoke because she knew I was a worrier. Her very last words to me as the Skype call hung up. RIP Mum. ***
  Sep 2018 Sean M O'Kane
Deb Jones
People can fall into the habit of feeling low. We can get used to anything,
Especially bad things.
Doesn’t that scare you?

Get up off the floor.
Get dressed in something,
Light and flirty.
We WILL be getting *****.

Did you think the way up is easy?
I am teasing you,
It actually is.
First you raise your eyes

You make eye contact
With the first person you see,
Walking towards you.
They will look back at you.

They will first look confused.
Then look conflicted.
Do they know you
from somewhere?

The social awkwardness
Will try to stifle you.
Don’t drop eye contact,
Don’t blink.

Just slowly smile.
Let the smile calm this stranger
Don’t look away.
This is the best part

As you close the distant
And are ready to pass,
Say casually
“It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?”

The person will relax
And their sweet smile will greet
The next stranger.  
And they will make eye contact.

Something so simple,
Can not only make you feel
Connected and good  
But you have paid it forward

To a stranger.

Let’s all start drawing straight lines
across this crooked world.
  Sep 2018 Sean M O'Kane
Mateuš Conrad
well... feminism has had its three waves
of revisionism -

    and there i'm sitting on
the windowsill,
   smoking out of my window -

watching the moon sloth the sky like
an demonic snail -

in the misty haze of a large patch
of cumulonimbus -
    right up there at around 50,000 feet...

thinking to myself?
   why are there two orbs of varying
light concentration
penetrating the sky
   and embedding the moon
in an eerie aura?

never mind -
   i still don't know what the chemical
formula for timber is,
or what sort of material is on
the moon that allows it to reflect
light from the other side
of the Greenwich Mean Time...

last time i heard: can a rock surface
reflect light?

          well then... ah... never mind...

but feminism has had its three waves
of instigation and two subsequent
waves of revisionism -

so it made me think:
   why not a second wave of fascism?
a revisionist wave...
    well... as far as i am concerned
the Italians were much paler -
   in their intentions than the Germans...

fascism 2.0 -
and the sort of fascism that would allow
me to be men...
    drunks, foul mouthed, you name it...
athletic, not-giving-a-**** losers of
sorts, among the glam of whatever else
it is that a man is...

working on the idea,
i had to think of a list -

   hmm...

          who then?
ah!

      Stanley Kowalski
   (from a streetcar named desire)...
John Wayne
  (notably from true grit)
    Charlton Heston
(from the planet of the apes)
   Tony Curtis...
              Hemingway,
Bukowski,
               Ezra Pound...
     Clark Gable
    Gregory Peck
                   the list is seemingly
endless -
   at least in the portrayal of
said characters...
ah... ****!
   Kevin Spacey as
Lester Burnham to boot!
            ah... double ****:
Denzel Washington as
Troy Maxson...
    because apparently "being"
a "poet" is little more than
the lesser stature
of a garbage man...
             unless of course:
you fiddle into a cosmopolitan
fixture.

    oh... and certainly an appreciation
for a traditional Turkish barber
shop...

something very much akin / borrowed
from America circa 1950s...
   and an unabashed sensibility
concerning good tailoring -
   but then also the prophetic
vagabond look from time to time...

just a vague idea -
    but something along these lines -
but then again, what a silly idea -
what is racial purity in
21st century England?
   some sort of vague notion
       of an even vaguer dream?

but i guess the notion of
individualistic purity:
   the purity of the individual is related
more to: who can and who won't
be swayed by alien opinions -
2nd or 3rd party -

        which includes this opinion...

i'd subscribe to put the idea on
the following zenith:

              grammatical cleanliness -
linguistic order -
            a literary tact -
   something along these lines -

after all: the 20th century is not the end
of a theory -
given 20th century communism this,
while 21st century socialism that...
ideas prevail...
   evolve - or devolve - regress
or make alternative progress -

               also given:
    there already is a fascist movement
elsewhere, other than in England -
where: it would be completely
impractical -
                  
                       prime tenet would also
be, what it already shows:
   non-expansionism of a culture
or a people -
                           more akin to
American isolationism under
                                                  F.D.R.:
i­ have a strange sentiment
for that president.
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