Someday San Francisco
Someday San Francisco will come visit me
when I’m broken like a window
that wrecking ball dealt with on Masonic,
the shortbread girl who stood near Union Square
will pick me up like crumbs before ravens take me;
she will be my daughter, my Persephone, my shoulder to crawl upon,
like a mouse or a caterpillar in Autumn winds in forests,
or a broken man who listens to David Bowie
while his planet asked him for divorce.
Someday San Francisco will come visit me,
tell me February is never gone, waiting in a brand new window -
shining on Masonic
Hal becomes Al,
removing one letter, otherwise he stays the same.
Carl becomes Carole, removing one organ,
adding another, but most tellingly two fresh new letters.
These letters are O and E.
O can mean Ohio, Obnoxious, Oblivious, Obstructive.
I've never been to Ohio, I've never had a sex change,
I did however give Hal back his H by accident,
he was courteous about it, but later I heard it rattling in a trash can,
I am all of the latter nouns, which Carole pointed out to me
hours after Carl left surgery :
I have nothing left for E, except the word "Eventually",
which is what everyone and everything does to me,
over time they leave, eventually. I get used to it
Single Vehicle Accidents
For a man who died in County Galway, Summer 1980
Alone, straight stretch, sun like a basketball,
it strikes like cancer,
single vehicle accidents
near single storey houses
where womenfolk come rushing to find solitary sons
of newspaper moguls, 21 years old, tux and dicky-bow still attached
giving morning its first shapes and witness,
spread-eagled like a dream falling from an ear
that got trapped in light and dusty curtain,
and the cancer that had only recently cleared,
cracked-up limb and jigsaw skull
exciting the sleep from a newscaster's
worn-down throat -
then an interlude from Brahms
finishes off the rest of us
Gillian somewhere in this aether
owns this book,
her signature dated - March 1970, I guess
from some liminality in England
that people occupy in ticking tocks of tea and bitter,
tractors driving past on Tuesday.
I found Gillian’s book, sitting on a radiator in a hospital ward,
sterilising itself as best it could
from dry-rot and AIDS, and things that silently capture
I sit here wondering if I’ve got cancer, or if not -
that simple -
what it was that caused Gillian
to lose touch with this book
is not so simple.
This is all I know of Gillian,
from a black-rot seat in times differing to these,
clocks and watches and clothing she knows.
There are other Gillians lurking here, be aware.
They too will appear, when they’re good and ready,
to share their diseases and dolls, their swear words and sadness
John Doyle is from County Kildare in Ireland. He returned to writing poetry in February 2015 after a gap of nearly 7 years. Since then he's had 6 poetry collections published, with a 7th collection, "Isolated Incidents" due to be released by Pski's Porch in Summer 2021