Wednesday 6 April 2022

Three Poems by John Doyle

All Parties in the Matter of Joan Crawford vs Bette Davis Please Step Forward  


Enright and Hardshaw Electrics Ltd -

A play in four acts;


that was my first (and last) taste of Broadway.

It wasn't that good a play, 


it had nothing to do with electricity

not Mr. Enright, nor Señorita Hardshaw, 


she recently widowed

by a horse and cart flattening the Spanish ambassador, 


who died

four days later from complications 


arising from a ruptured bladder.

No, I didn't make it on Broadway. 


Five months later I appeared

in my own dream as bass-player in a trash-metal band


playing Maynooth summer festival, 1993. 

There I met


Joan Crawford on her way to pick a fight with Bette Davis.

I said to Joan 


if she would like to star in my play

as Señorita Hardshaw, she said


hey Romeo, wasn’t your name Maguire

last time I pistol-whipped you?


 - then I woke up 

as the rocker next door tuned-up


his bass, 

frightening Joan away.


Bette Davis took little time 

gatecrashing my next dream


as I stepped forward, 

the judge making an announcement


about all parties

in the matter of Joan Crawford vs Bette Davis

The Lesser-Known Presidential Assassinations

For Alyssa Trivett


I was born with lots of things across my hands,

snowflakes, blood, 


water from the Rio Grande.

Nothing compromised the science 


of each individual component,

snow-drifts grew larger, 


started a family,

moved north, blocking tin-can Ford trucks on freeways.


The blood I took, 

I added it to the bones from lesser-read pages in the Holy Book,


Adam had sisters, brothers, no-one spoke of, 

Eve was married twice before.


The lesser-known presidential assassinations spring-up

from tributaries of the Rio Grande,


William McKinley -

A good Protestant


County Antrim name

with sizzling stagecoach wheels


in thickened rains - gives church-yard

its Sunday chatter. 


James Garfield is mentioned in archives

where cigars, brandy


and the Witherspoon family 

of New England make generous donations


to rebuild our church-hall blown down 

in the winds and rains of 1908.


I was born with lots of things across my hands,

it's a map that remains,


its fauna blotchy

like dead animals hunting near a desert dirt-track


mutes and blind-folk 

were too terrified to rub with tar.


This is the word of someone's Lord;

Praise Be

There's Sadness in the Man From Los Olivos  


Behind me - 

ocher brick jigsaws

of cars with plain clothes detectives,

weekends of warm air

that drags a city's light

from jumbo jets

I merge from;

patterns of squealing glass

and jazz LPs nurse their wounds like babies

sleeping in pork-pie hats.

The glass-fronts of general stores scream

when I touch them. I really don’t know where I can run to

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.

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