Cycles

I called you Peter

And you rocked the earth

My church is full of stones

I called you Fire

And you consumed me

My mouth is choked with ashes

I called you Truth

And handed you a sword

How often I am pierced

And pierced again

Old scars produce new blood

The letting leaves me

Desolate and grieving

The cycles of my life

Revolving endlessly.

SORROW – from “The Red Petticoat”

So now I know and

Must accept my fate

The sear of ice is

Burning in my breast

I have tried to quench it

With the gasping taste

Of whiskey

With new distractions

I have tried to warm

My blood

Suicide wouldn’t suit me

I fear the gaping hole

Of hell

But ah, to be old and

Mindless

My wretched mouth

All gums and grins

The ice dissolved at last

In drools and dribbles.

Cold Turkey

I wear your absence

Like a heavy coat

How pale the day

I never thought

That it would be so hard

To root you out

But I will not regret

The desolation

Of these desert days

The shock of separation

From where my spirit

Lay so easy

Life’s a bugger

But I will grab

it by the ears

And shake it till it screams

Ecstatic.

Jeremiah

Grey church humped in dusk

We huddle, linked

Wispy rain-curled fringes

Cold fingers

Avoid the avid glances

Of the neighbours

Here is the hearse

The priest in white, hand aloft

Accustomed to the rites

Calls him Gerard – but

His name was Jeremiah

Strange cousins

Twice and thrice removed

Clamour to shake hands

And kiss

Anticipating whiskey

He’d have hated this.

Cycles

I called you Peter

And you rocked the earth

My church is full of stones

I called you Fire

And you consumed me

My mouth is choked with ashes

I called you Truth

And handed you a sword

How often I am pierced

And pierced again

Old scars produce new blood

The letting leaves me

Desolate and grieving

The cycles of my life

Revolving endlessly.

The Small Dark Man – a poem

A rattle of keys at the back door

We waited – wary

His face shut tight against us

Like a fist

Toed-in, he crouched over furtive whiskeys

Fingers curled

Over chin and cigarette

And we ghosted from the room

With nervous grins

But once he showed me Dickens

And Maurice Walsh

And he was The Small Dark Man

Alone in a house of women

Cut off by his country voice

From the town

Squeezing memories

From an old melodeon

Sometimes – surprised

His face would lift with love

And fall again

Now I surprise myself

Toed-in, crouched over flagrant whiskeys

Fingers curled over chin and cigarette

And I have to leave the room.

Minus One

My magic circle broken

Minus one

The first one

To close his eyes

At first I hardly noticed

You were gone, but now

Your absence grips my throat

Chokes my breath

How much of you is me?

I have your hands

Your hazel eyes

Your quick dismissive shrug

I have your taste

In books and booze

I hear my voice

Confirm your old convictions

How much of you is me

Stretching to close the circle?

“SISTER”

Here I will rest

My ashes falling

Into swirls of bog-brown water

In Spring perhaps

The river quiet and the birds gone mad

My ghost will hover –

A shape in powdered white

Casting chills on my attendants

Willows hang their leaves

Across the rush of water

Such an airy, fragile green

And I think of you –

Your airy, fragile spirit

Gone out of turn before me

Our childhood memories

All lop-sided now

A pulse of anger yet –

Why aren’t you here!

You should be here!

The mystery of your absence

Plagues me

I kneel beside your grave

Bend low to sense your soul

Breathe in the smell of earth.

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