Tuesday 23 January 2024

Seven Poems by John Doyle


Radio Killed the Digital Star

The basketball-bounce cheques
hang like Peckinpah extras out by the hinterlands of the cash register

As Dylan sings Tangled Up in Blue;
a student from Venus tried to twist his gut in Voodoo spells

and Adam Smith laid out in a series of psalms
how he could regain his virginity.

We're 57 seconds walk from the right place,
the wrong place is burning, smoke rises and the hills

are belching up their Roman soldiers.
I know you're an actor, your eyes tell me your cheeks don't know

where where your lips and your chin fit,
it's more of a social thing, sipping coffee cups

turpentine took its cues from.
Mary Magdalene slides a screwdriver from Peter Sutcliffe's spine,

pauses, appreciates how soft his final flump is,
knows sometimes science is as peaceful as God

when the trash is taken out - "and mark my words",
Mary roars, "radio killed the digital star"

making prime cuts of Sutcliffe's guts
with her ten-speed automatic chainsaw. Her heels were higher than the moon,

my eyes were a fireball
she walked through, telling me how I could get rich if I wasn’t such a Commie putz



Mexilhoeira Grande

Iberia's skins on dried-out land
never troubled this simple stream,
a complicated river may pose a challenge

on that sneering glint from summer,
whispered rumors
of farmers brought down

from the north - like rain sneaking around,
while young men who sit in bars
leave tractors lonely, to die,

the empty swimming pools
a post-office hint of blue,
talk of Pompeii-chic tiles all the rage in 1975,

German Shepherd's song
on the circumstance
of train-station's decline.

Summer dies early, in April -
where does its song begin?
Two things return, solemn thieves in bright white nights -

they're shaped like humans,
deadlock in the stink of carriages
to Faro -

monsters they are,
monsters be damned. I'll slay them by sunrise,
then it will be summertime making its dreams

from soil and water on peeking hills,
rivers whispering different rumours -
No matter. I am king now; O novo rei.




Front cover of the Belfast Telegraph, January, 10th, 1976

The outrageous mutter of coleus
glitters on his stage, pushing Saturday's wrath on blurry shocks,
blurry from a passing train, a limp and fattened taxi perhaps,

but intimate to my listening eye,
the blur, nothing more than
a listless light

from a passing door
of times birds gathered round the church spier
learning not to be animal or beast or feathered missal,

being to simply be - that is it, it and all - and everything needed,
making this poem for me
through a sterile century, as time doesn't care, doesn't speak of the relatives

of the cold fingered waves,
the food at the jazzy food parlor
stretched from its hazel knots in outrageous times -

today a time of less outrage, less starry implosions -
today a day of Edwin on the newspaper page
with his jackdaw and Jack Russell; County Antrim, 1976



Darkness Falling : County Wicklow

July 27th, 2021

Iris-blued darkness fell on top of me;
does it have a soft soft voice, or a hard foot-stepped cackle?
I won't listen,
my soul's not with me tonight,

no body fills this ground hard enough
to jangle our teeth within,
I lost my voice long ago,
on a train in a town

my tongue tied around a station's
railroad sleepers,
soon gone like stars chipped into livid stings of bone -
livid hour softened now

by my way of making darkness know -
I'm here, I'm cold,
do your worst,
soggy white light

telegraph poles
ran out of time



Gethsemane Cemetery, Kentucky

A thinned-out earth
is a small sacrifice
for a sky so large these days,
an electric crucifix is a cruel cruel whip
for my beautiful brother
whom they say the feds actually murdered -
no autopsy,
the fighter jet any poor boy turned assassin could've been pilot of
taking him home; Beautiful Fr. Louis,
twelve months shielded from Altamont's electric chair;
yet the bodies pile up
seven stories higher,
the will to please the almighty
drowned and burned on the whips of blue-blood scorn




crack scurvy gaps in morning's yawning jaws,
years kick the Book of Job from my grasp.

A can rattles from a quartet of feet,
a laugh unwinding curtains
where old men's widowy fingers needle a police station number.

I yawn, sip my coffee, gather papers of the world for reason,
papers of my tribe for destruction. Airplanes avoid me,
the window soon shuts its mouth. Actions of all lives beneath is smaller than spiders



The Girl from College Who Wasn’t Half as Kooky as She Wanted Us to Think

Remember Laura from college who got us kicked out from our local bar
ripping up beer mats in a conscious fugue state because she didn't trust us
or like our non-intentions?
Laura from college has ended up getting nearly all her hair cut
because she doesn't like hair
because hair is something that exists in a world where oxygen exists too
leaving our lungs that touch our ribs that touch our skin and Adam and Eve
had some shit going down concerning ribs. Or was that an apple?
I can't remember,
I wasn't there,
that one place I wasn't that one time.
Laura's never there, never here,
never anywhere,
except ripping up beer mats in some state of something
that sounds good these days
when she sees how hip she becomes on Facebook
telling someone somewhere what way she voted today.
Laura from college has found meaning, found self.

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 7 poetry collections published. His 7th collection, "Isolated Incidents" was published by Pski's Porch in Summer 2021.


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