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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