to call the colour of the sky…
Close to the Edge
- Yes, 1972
Death's listless frenzy
outranks milk-men's light-blue aether - was
this your downfall, a curtain-swoosh
Eureka moment Februus handed you?
Your morning tongues are chilled in ivory’s
paralysis, dogma’s bark;
soon those Gods are nowhere to be seen,
drunk on their own abstracts, skies smaller
Because you learned through bottles’ snowy howl
to communicate that listless air,
because the complications of simplicity stink
in bin-trucks growling past
day after day, song after song,
because you dream of pearly-skeletons
descending an algebraic stairs,
uselessly, how that body they sometimes
witness, is useless in his presence,
his voice a fist, his arms militias, his
philosophy your own being -
you have been ordained that something - that
something is fire :
so mugs of milk
are that snow-print
oath you’ll leave us, is this true? -
Bread that crows
savage across this needy city, a token of your love?
Did you learn that
from him? That death is nothing?
superfluous to a
therefore growth is
insipid, milk white and feeble?
Is it real this
river that parachutes inside you,
aware of fresh new
deaths in magazines and movies
the dreamers can
rally round, the chatter through the icy windows
that soon will leer
in gasses, in fog -
a surrender to
Other streets too
know of milk,
whittle to a life of nothing, therefore an eternal white.
In cities there
hopping cobblestoned streets on bikes, killers roamed freely,
jangling bells that
fought with music;
now milk flows down the streets like waifish blood in early Spring, Eddie wriggles on to his next kill
The telephones are talking, not someone not somebody, just a telephone
imitating human life - it goes something like this -
”hey you, got a proposition, only takes a minute, slip on into Sammy’s Diner,
let’s talk through this, you’ve nothing to lose”. Grass grows longer this time of day,
I’m not looking, I listen out for people who died years ago, but their skin hangs like peaches,
the dawn is a beautiful time when you’re lonely, gives you hope,
leads bodies from a town they call despair, peaches ripe, cameras perched in grassy centimetres,
I noticed grass growing, I was at Yoga, a lady from Hamburg cycled somewhere,
where she got to, I don’t know, it hangs from my nose, that failure of knowledge, like a spider,
broken in many more pieces than dawn.
A digital melancholy arrives -
ripe blue saxophone, calling out an eagle-hunted moon,
at the seafront sirens swipe their credit cards and sailors reason rhyme
from great books of their times
to a chorus the blues singer
washed from his crotch and foreskin,
merely seconds to spare.
Imagine if he’d failed?
imagine if his song was a railway track
behind our houses, at feline-mating hours.
The wheels groan like a school friend’s father who beat and beat him,
loved him and cried, that kid’s name was Pedro, but he wasn’t from Nicaragua,
and the wheel hits the long lipstick shine
of steel kissed by brazen moon, steel is a woman, its shapes vary around dusk, when you’re not so blind,
and she tells us all we need to know, how damned this city is,
how we need to talk.
“Pick up that phone, tell each brother they’re loved!”
she said at a convent, three years down from that road where the state-line changed its accent,
left us orphaned by sunrise.
The plastic is talking,
the tv stations won't shut up,
they are all at war with the moon, we creep fearfully, shoulders hunched.
I thought about my life,
where it's going to,
when horse #1 stopped beside me
drank from a puddle.
Horse #1 walked away
then dropped dead.
I drank from this puddle,
as horses #2 and #3 pissed in a puddle yards further up from me.
The grocer died alone at home. He did not dream of horses
or imagine his spirit outside a Judeo-Christian realm,
but he did feed my mule one long hot summer's night
as I rode off into a blackness, a blackness he does not have to fear.
Horses #2 and #3 remained there as I left his funeral.
Sometimes I think they’re following me,
looking around, every few miles or so.
Sneachta ag Titim : Dún Éideann
sneachta ag titim
in áit éigin
i nDún Éideann, i lár mhí na Nollag,
amach as an bhfuinneog
an lá seo -
bán mar bhás, neart mar ghrá,
chomh ciúin, aibítir ag sraothartach gan ticéid.
scríobhtar é i gcló dearg,
miongháire sa carnabhail
máthair, ag snámh ar an anam,
ag fágáil an
cathair : Dún Éideann,
i lár mhí na Nollag. Tá gach rud eile... gan brí
Hot in the City Tonight
Hot on the tails of drag racers downtown,
hot on the high heel wires waiters
riddle around their tongues in Spanish
thinking old ladies know nothing about El Salvador,
hot on the tails of falling hail
that children think stays forever
is a first time they get drugged in hope, a second time a
jazzman sees his sisters crying,
so he writes a song in Spanish about drag racers in a small town not far from where I grew up.
Repo man Wednesday 8am sharp, Yes? Yes.
Lawyers sniffing at his door - something’s came up concerning Jimmy H. - yeah, been a while.
Mobster's kid he ran over went and told his pop, twisted bicycle must be worth one punctured lung?
His goldfish died, Tuesday, 8:01 am, merda happens, they say in downtown Rio.
So I checked in on him, I was worried, no-one's seen him last three days -
there he is, dressing gown on, watching T.J. Hooker,
munching mulchy cornflakes directly from their box. Grab a seat, Romano took a bullet he says.
Vince is first in a long line this week.
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.