Saturday 1 October 2022

Seven Poems by John Doyle

Coaling Tower, Marion, Ohio: Photograph by John Sanderson


America -

horse-hoof symphonies,

yellow school-buses,

stern and dignified tribal elders 


called to arms in sepia

before English, French, and German rifles

flash their lens first - a lens without an eye, 

shutting America's narratives forever.


I guess John Sanderson is our eyes, 

our hopes, 

our tribal chief.

Pale as sorrow sinks itself into sunset


people make the sign of the cross -

double-barrel knife-slash through the letter S.

From the monolith bleeds the narrative,

America -


black gold, ill-fitting suits,

picket-fence fuelled by lemonade,

God Almighty giving back our prayers

to slackly burn

The Rapture

Carousel void of




stray cat thunder and lightning 

chit-chat rattling bins at 3-28am 


as whippet boys 

with grease monkey faces 


close the lid 

on time and history. 


Boyfriends and stray cats 

become that white tipped grass of eternity


in the mountains

where Morris Minors


show gravel roads little mercy

after an Anglican ceremony





Just Fontaine scored 13 goals for France

in the 1958 World Cup. 

That was just phenomenal,

a right and just result for years of blood, 

sweat, and tears.

It was just the way the shit hit the fan, 

I said, feeling blue for myself 

after another 

D - grade,

just another paper running rings around me

like that Frenchman in Sweden in 1958.

Just get out of my face, 

I've nothing more to say,

I just ran out of milk,

shops are all closed



I'll build a new world order

from the cloudy rubble of tower-blocks


and the souls of blues singers

who died from cirrhosis of the liver,


or country singers

with their throats slit 


two-hundred and twenty-two miles wide open

by hitmen 


hired by Satan.

Norm Jenkins


phones me twice a day.

For fuck sake, Norm


I stopped playing golf

that time I popped four discs in my back


that night we ended up 

in a lap-dancing bar


a few blocks from the United Nations.

Norm's a real sweet guy, 


looks after his mom.

It came as no real shock though


when they found all those heads 

frozen solid in his fridge,


the postman, the superintendent,

that lady from Mexico


who left the banisters on the staircase so shiny, so bright.

Some still had their glasses on, the detective


with the pencil perched on his ear, told me.

Norm wears glasses.


That's still no reason though, is it? 

I used to be able to cry so easily,


now it just hurts my ribs 

'til it cuts right to my knees.


Social security checks and golf-clubs 

are an uneasy match anyway,


like Newman on one side 

of that Towering Inferno promo-shot,


McQueen on the other, 

one pretending the other one isn't even there.


When I picked up the bible

I felt the electricity shoot right through me,


like ice-cream through a hole in my teeth,

I spent all morning with punk-rock bands


who released one album in 1978

then ended-up working in door-to-door sales.


Those blues-singers come looking for me

crawling up the slippery sides of skyscrapers,


it was sweet the way Adam West and Burt Ward 

would do the same thing, and maybe Sammy Davis Jnr


would open a window

and commend their efforts


at keeping the city safe.

Anyone who cheats Satan


isn't as heroic

as one might think, given a moment to pause


and reflect

as I should have done,


when I turned to that page in the holy book

and a boy from a town 


where everyone kills everyone these days

stopped, and offered to build a new world order


with something better than

jagged stones from tower-blocks 


flat on their backs

like Kafka's only known victim.


Too late,

as I tune my guitar 


and fill its chambers

with silver bullets

Psychological Warfare


Your superego drips of ambience -

a little higher on the richter scale

than a drunks’ pissing contest,

a little lower than someone collecting trash;


a splattered evening’s rain

is syllables 

your page and ink

is losing by the dollar


in a stock-market crash

no-one saw coming, except a janitor

smoking cigarettes 

on the pinnacles of the 58th floor


overlooking the city while it lay calm, 


the easiest of meat

he smiled,


turned on his heels

listening to 

Marquee Moon

for his 9pm break. At 10pm


capitalism with all its trappings

lay dead,

the president called you

on his hotline, your lips trembling like a fawn


Song For Elmore James 


Some days Lord, I'm a believer,

some days Lord I fear I'll end up ass-deep in Hell,

today Oh Lord I plan to stay a believer -

I noticed the delta's starting to swell...




and Sundays


Saturdays and Sundays

stamped like tax-returns

on grinning drain-pipes,


rural cowards drowned in hedges

on roads of fat and mud-splashed drunks. 

We stoop to pick our alms, 


draw guns 

and wait for rain to spit its encore,

horns beeping, whoosh past -


a salt-nose teenage convoy

worth parking tickets, assault charges,

gobbled up in tabloid newspapers by grinning drainpipes.


What remains - unburdened, and dry -

is an effigy, 

an axis of daring sparks.


The cafe manager

asked the boys to leave,

one slit his throat from ear to ear,


gold coins -

(a treasure trove’s worth)

came squirting from his guts

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.





No comments:

Post a Comment

One Poem by John Yamrus

  she was not your typical girl next door. to begin with, she had a name that sounded like a bottle of cheap perfume. but, she did have the ...