The Day They Decided To Start A War
Wednesday. Deadlines passed.
Rouged and powdered faces fill the windows,
drinking beer and wine from spotless glasses,
laughing without conviction.
It is quiet on the sidewalk.
Cement blocks blush with rain,
cars splatter in apathy,
and the street lamps dont blink.
The plaza, lost in shadow,
seems menacing but is merely
No skeletons of sky scrapers bare their teeth,
No flags burn or otherwise demand attention.
Only the liquor store offers a half-hearted
to complete darkness,
sending out a weak fluorescence
from the weary mouth of a door propped open,
drunkard's eyes shut
on the front step.
All through the town, tongues roll over,
salivating with assumption,
and say nothing on Wednesday.
the diary of my daughter's birth
and early days.
Reluctant at first even to make an appearance;
a ploy to keep me in suspense,
or hone my joy at her arrival?
This tiny thespian was soon to put on
her first one-woman show;
hold centre stage.
Glazed, bruised and purple, the anguished mite,
convulsed and yowling shamelessly,
is then quieted suddenly and strangely silent,
weaving a skein of blatant magic
before my astonished eyes.
Today I watch enthralled
as from behind the footlights off Broadway,
she stages yet another one-woman show.
Words spill from her lips,
she gestures, moves, is still;
the audience in her thrall.
Whatever makes me think
that she was born to this?
I Wear My Wristwatch In Bed
In dream, time slips moorings,
drifts on another tide.
All of a sudden what would be
bobs in its wake; this child
on the pitching slope of my knee
has his Grandad's grizzled chin.
Sea-sickened, without purchase,
desolate for the rhythms of memory,
place, distance, unwavering
pulse of a life lived in sequence,
I loose the kite string of a poem,
chancing my arm in the rare,
lolling at ease until air's
edged with fire, what's next
aeons more than allowed for,
and I eddy, dip, touch down
in the hour I started from. Here's
urgency of seasons, node
and leaf, bud and bloom,
wave on wave, and warranty
of delivered milk, dustmen,
Eilis' kids on Tuesdays,
bi-monthly cuts and colours,
soap opera's half-hour comforts
big time. Awake, I circle
the rim of the safest sea,
held on course for home,
a coastal city, children
waiting, Shandon's clock face
twitching lifetimes by,
chimes that needs-must couple
with my heart-blood's rhyme,
holding lines to the earthly.
But dream's the great two-timer
letting in the infinite.
Uneasy in unmeasured flow
I strain my ears, desperate
for the sound of a ticking watch.
Five moves in three months,
then I found my little garage flat.
It's gold dust.
Crossing to the far edges
of this madly stretched city,
I still can't buy a tin opener
in Galway .
God knows if I'll ever cook again
on a cast iron frying pan.
I forgot the old one
But Des Kavanagh's of Market Street
still have heaters
rather than computers
and I hope to purchase
the last mattress in town
from Tom Dempsey's of Westside
At last I've got a floor cloth
from John O'Carroll's in Salthill
and a precious packet
of cornflower seeds.
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