Saturday 18 May 2024

Two Poems by John Doyle


Ronnie James Dio

Some kids in school hated 

Ronnie James Dio -

not me.

Ronnie James Dio 

called it straight-up 

with the wisdom

of men with long-white beards 

and stooping shoulders. 

Girls with tacky perfume called Sonia

slipped their way round carnivals in 1989

in white pumps and stonewash jeans

turning into demons like Medusa

at sundown.

Kids in school hated Ronnie,

just because he called out broads like Sonia and boys in envelope lips of uselessness

needing girls like Sonia to

keep their bedtimes

half-alive -

girls like Sonia who sailed across silver bubbling seas with the carnies

every summer, to clutch a few puritans on the way. 

We played football in the park

when the carnies arrived,

set-up their tents and dodgem grids.

We'd sneak back, watch them drinking;

how they'd kick their animals for fun, laughing, 

starting fires where we played; so we

cursed them like lyrics straight from 

The Last In Line.

Ronnie James Dio called it out -

exactly as it was,

carnies those demons hanging on shards of pentagram pendants, 

girls called Sonia 

in white pumps and stonewash jeans 

taking teenage boys' souls 

at sundown. 

Not me, 

with Ronnie shoulder high

on a snow-white dragon

breathing fire beside me,

warding off loveless nerds

and warlocks’ molls

named Sonia

Maxell Blank Cassette Mix Tape of Power Ballads Done to Impress Gretta the Kitchen Attendant in Work, 1995

A war is coming, a plague will foresee its demise,

I can't find a few of my shoes,

a friend from the Crimean front arrives today,

we should've had a kettle on,

I ignored everything .

I listened to Alfred's nephew Robin 

try his hand at Bob Dylan songs.

Stop digging John; sat myself and the rest of me

beside some lost cat

and someone else's kitten,

told them about Meath St. and the Liberties in April 2018.

A tower-block stood where Tom's grocery-yard was,

a memorial to turpentine, 

Fred Astaire, and Communist party newspapers

blowing, blowing...

landing outside the munitions factory.

Five score and fifty-seven tons clay are shovelled away in the Garden of Eden, 

I know momma, I know poppa,

I'll write a letter to the secretary general, I will, honest,

I'll write a letter to the rhythm and blues singer,

to the people who stole my shoes,

to the kids in old newspapers looking for penpals

to write them in Washington D.C. 

tell me how they love their dogs and cats, their gramps,

David Cassidy and Shirley Jones. I'm nearing Australia now

as I look up, my adjutant hands me down a mug of Joe 

I've had a Jones for, since David Windsor withered and died.

I climb out, still no shoes, 

a friend from the Crimean front gone again. I sigh, clasp my mug,

ready for alchemist deeds 

like conjuring Maxell blank cassette mix tapes 

of power ballads, done to impress Gretta the kitchen attendant in work -

honestly, Gretta’s such a drag, 

laughing, playing with her hair,

her husband saying nothing about precious little

gives Detective Sturgess enough rope to go hang someone else;

sure won’t be me I scream to myself,

lipstick saying INRI on my sunken chest - 1995 so horribly passe

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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