Wednesday 2 June 2021

Four Sublime Poems by John Doyle

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


Day One


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,

Hal grumbling.

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

before day-time 


finishes off the rest of us

less beautifully



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 


elderly carcasses.

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


1 comment:

  1. All good, lyrical, visual, intelligent. I'm Jealous


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