face

She awoke
to find her fishtail
clean gone
but in the bed with her
were two long, cold thingammies.
You’d have thought they were tangles of kelp
or collops of ham.

“They’re no doubt
taking the piss,
it being New Year’s Eve.
Half the staff legless
with drink
and the other half
playing pranks.
Still, this is taking it
a bit far.”
And with that she hurled
the two thingammies out of the room.

But here’s the thing
she still doesn’t get—
why she tumbled out after them
arse-over-tip…
How she was connected
to those two thingammies
and how they were connected
to her.

It was the sister who gave her the wink
and let her know what was what.
“You have one leg attached to you there
and another one underneath that.
One leg, two legs…
A-one and a-two…
Now you have to learn
what they can do.”

In the long months
that followed,
I wonder if her heart fell
the way her arches fell,
her instep arches.

Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill
Trans. Paul Muldoon

(Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill is one of the most prominent poets writing in the Irish Gaelic language today. Her poetry has been translated into English by a number of well-known Irish poets, including Seamus Heaney, Medbh McGuckian, and Paul Muldoon.)

Philomena’s Revenge

May 11, 2016

Patrice Murciano Rocks - “My cry, my pain”
As a teenager
she was like any other,
boys, the craic,
smoking down the backs.

Later there was talk
she broke things,
furniture and glass,
her mother’s heart.

‘Mad at the world,’
the old women nod,
round each other’s faces.

But it was more
than that
and for less
she was punished.

That weekend
she didn’t leave a cup alone
every chair hit the wall,
Philomena’s revenge.

Soon after
she was shifted
and given the shocks.

Round each other’s faces
the old women nod
‘Treatment, treatment
they’ve given her the treatment.’

These days
she gets on with the furniture,
wears someone else’s walk,
sees visions in glass.

She’s good too
for getting the messages;
small things, bread and milk
sometimes the paper,

and closing the gate
after her father drives out,
she waits for his signal
he always shouts twice,

‘Get the gate Philo,
get the gate, girl.’

RITA ANN HIGGINS

A Misremembered Lyric

May 11, 2016

crying

A misremembered lyric: a soft catch of its song
whirrs in my throat. ‘Something’s gotta hold of my heart
tearing my’ soul and my conscience apart, long after
presence is clean gone and leaves unfurnished no
shadow. Rain lyrics. Yes, then the rain lyrics fall.
I don’t want absence to be this beautiful.
It shouldn’t be; in fact I know it wasn’t, while
‘everything that consoles is false’ is off the point –
you get no consolation anyway until your memory’s
dead; or something never had gotten hold of
your heart in the first place, and that’s the fear thought.
Do shrimps make good mothers? Yes they do.
There is no beauty out of loss; can’t do it –
and once the falling rain starts on the upturned
leaves, and I listen to the rhythm of unhappy pleasure
what I hear is bossy death telling me which way to
go, what I see is a pool with an eye in it. Still let
me know. Looking for a brand-new start. Oh and never
notice yourself ever. As in life you don’t.

Denise Riley

(Denise Riley is a poet who has also written extensively on philosophy, history and feminist theory. “ A Part Song” , a set of twenty linked short poems, won the 2012 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem.)

walking home

If a young person is surviving by trading sex for the thing they need, what useful purpose is served by criminalizing that activity? Doesn’t everybody have the right to try and survive? it might cost more to create shelters or group homes, drug treatment programs, schools for emancipated minors, counseling services, medical care and job training. But such programs can salvage human lives that are otherwise going to be cut short or wasted. If we can afford massive kiddy porn stings, why can’t we afford to do this? Is it because, as a society,we obtain more pleasure out of trying to control young people, and punishing the minors who escape our control, than we would out of taking good care of kids who are in trouble?

Patrick Califia-Rice
Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex

Salvador Dali -“Archeological Reminiscence of Millet's 'Angelus.'

But there is a negative work to be carried out first: we must rid ourselves of a whole mass of notions, each of which, in its own way, diversifies the theme of continuity. They may not have a very rigorous conceptual structure, but they have a very precise function. Take the notion of tradition: it is intended to give a special temporal status to a group of phenomena that are both successive and identical (or at least similar); it makes it possible to rethink the dispersion of history in the form of the same; it allows a reduction of the difference proper to every beginning, in order to pursue without discontinuity the endless search for origin…

Michel Foucault
The Archaeology of Knowledge
(Doggy translation by Anon)

Oaktree

Diary 11th May

Rain yesterday afternoon. Heavy showers. Muggy and wet…much too warm for a coat, so out in the rain in a white tee and cut-off denims, looking like the proverbial drowned rat.

#

Sin pricks me like a convict’s suit of arrows
For here my evil, blue, and moody youth
Has found its old lair…

Watching rooks scrambling under the eaves of the house across the lane. People are living there, so they must be able to hear those big birds pacing across their ceilings…that noise at night will pull the clothes off their souls.

Oh, well. Place looks very run-down. The people there must only be renting. The rooks don’t seem to care about that, though. Better to nest in an attic than the top of a swaying tree…

Time now for breakfast and a large glass of gin…

#

By the way, talking of darkness, last night I had a dream of electrical failure in the house. I was alone in the dark, which was as black as the cover of a black-magician’s grimoire. Only something was wrong…it was this house, and yet not quite this house. It was a clever copy, I felt, constructed to confuse me. But, obviously, I couldn’t see the differences – so I can’t describe them here…

Then I woke for real and my bedside light worked. Which was a great relief, of course, but my mind started racing, as it’s prone to do in the early hours: looking from the window at the night sky, I was struck by the implacability of the universe and the smallness of humanity. Existence is, ultimately, totally pitiless…

Sweet cheesus. Being awake is more feckin’ frightening than my nightmares!

#

Today the buzzards shrill cries overhead: three of them flying to kill on the moor; talon and beak, to tear fresh meat…their cries a summoning, one to the others…Over the hedgerows below Crows Nest, blood drops speckling the flowering gorse like a fall of fine rain.

And then the rooks nesting in the trees surrounding the churchyard rise up and attack these three interlopers. They do all they can to drive them off from their nests and their young…who are simply fast food for a hungry buzzard.