Saturday, June 20, 2015

This poem was published in The SHOp (RIP) issue 13 Autumn/Winter 2003. I loved The SHOp more than any other magazine, I'm bereft now that it has closed its doors. Nothing gave me more of a deep gutted buzz than getting poems in that wonderful magazine. Your first time is always special, this was my first time in The SHOp and it is the only time I've ever written a poem with a mag in mind.
They put it on the last page, I always think (wrongly perhaps) that the best poem goes first and then a good one last in a mag to finish off, so I was extra pleased. I really wanted the first page in The SHOp but never reached that dizzying height, but I did have the front cover of issue 30 which was a dream come true.

The poem is inspired by my mother's father Francis Timoney who was born in Sligo and was wilder than a bush. He joined the British Army at 15 years of age for adventure, for something to do, he fought through the first world war and survived the battle of the Somme, he cooked and ate dog in the trenches and was deafened in one ear by a shell burst. Back home in Ireland he fought for Ireland against his old British comrades in the war of independence, again without a scratch. Finally,fighting on De Velera's side in the subsequent civil war he got shot in both legs on a raid on a barracks in Manorhamilton. One leg was amputated and the other kept a bullet lodged til the day he died . While convalescing from his operation he fell in love with a young nurse, Philomena Hayes and they got married soon after.

They had 'the two days of it' good times and bad times. Francis (Frank), once a fine athlete (winning many running and triple jump medals in the army) now flew around on crutches, lord alone knows what flew around in his head. A lot of horrific things. He drank. They moved from country to town and back again looking for the thing that would find him (an ufindable) peace.

Frank and Philomena had two children, my mother Carmel Imelda and her brother ,Alphonsus Cyril, who quickly changed his name to Timmy, well you would wouldn't you? Carmel and Timmy attended 12 different schools and lived at approximately 20 different addresses around Dublin and half the country. When there was no money,which was most of the time, they were happy, when there was money there was drink, serious drink. Always loving, always kind, but drunk, very, very drunk and all the mad episodes and adventures that go along with it.

He died at 87 years of age alone and unmanageable (but not mad) in a fairly Dickensian mental hospital in Mullingar. We used to visit him, when I was a small child he was old,in a wheelchair and in constant pain from his wounds which never really healed. I've never encountered such incredible toughness and sadness in a human, he had the most beautiful kind blue eyes.I'll never forget.

The Timoneys lived in Capel street for a while, the nearest bar was Slattery's, Frank drank there a lot, so whenever I was in Dublin I always headed to Slattery's in Granddad's honour. It was an interesting, old school pub, no frills, I liked it, then they did it up. It felt like a link was broken. So I wrote this poem for me, for Frank, for The SHOp. It became the title poem of my first collection from Salmon Poetry. It means a lot to me.


Along Capel Street I stagger into Slattery’s
and stagger out again to be sure I have my wits.
What the hell have they done?
Is nothing sacred?
Is anything safe from their blandiose renaissance?
A curse on them whoever they are.
I barrel on to the Quays singing or talking to myself,
corpulent with drink and struggling
to re-inflate between bursts of song.
Filled with stupid elation
and fuelled on pints of stout,
I gaze wide-eyed and blowing,
at the new found beauty of herself,
Anna Liffey.
Spanned by an arch the whiter shade of pale,
her waters are expressive fecund and inviting.
With undulating, warm, open arms of green
she calls to me in clamshells of desire.
Wanting to be smothered within
and bursting for a leak,
I express myself,
let fly the floodgates,
a stream of pee to the pea green below,
relief and satisfaction in equal measure.
They’ll never take the piss out of Dublin
                As Beckett said, I can't go on, fuck it, I'll go on. Or something like that.


The thing with , oh Jaysis, the awful thing and then sometimes the good thing is that I can't always differentiate, between them, whatever they are..  The trouble with not drinking is that you are sober. Who the hell wants to be sober? Sober as a judge, is that irony, satire, or an oxymoron? What terrible decisions might you make with all your faculties intact? Sober is only an M short of sombre. I don't want sombre, I want sombrero, I want Tequila, I want dancing girls and ready salted Hoola Hoops, I want the future to be an unpredictable present, in both senses.Gift/cadeaux and 'present' moment, the now.Life is a gift a present, but there's only a future that becomes a past. The now is the only future we have.'Now', as soon as we say 'now' it is the past, but it's the creation of the future, there is no now in the present moment, the present moment is only ever the future just about to happen and as soon as it happens it bypasses the now into the past. Live long , prosper and never trust a hippie, a politician, or a poet.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

'Now the winter comes down
                                                              I can't stand the chill
                                           that comes to the streets around Christmas time'
                                                             (Shane MacGowan.)

Feel it closing in , down, the night,
                                                      the words backwards, time wrong,
                                                               Pressure on ,brakes off,
                                                         this last is, could be, now,
                                                  the last dregs, the feeling, the base line,
three times fallen,
                                                      pleasure from the fun-lit days,
                                                                   not a drop left,
I found a fourth salvation,
cold setting in, snow on the way,
the Northern Hills
                                                                  the high ground,
typically atypical
                                                                 perished in a doorway
yards from the power.
                                            We talk, we walk , we sleep, we die, in silence.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Why do I write. 'Oh, you may as well ask me why I breathe' (My Arse!) Get a grip!

Anyways, listen, come here to me my little cogito ergo sums, there is nothing to be sure of, but that shouldn't stop you trying. I write things that aren't poetic yet masquerade as pottery. Probably.

And there they are. So what do you do with them? Nothing? Sit back and luxuriate in the soapy waters of your self-contained majestic masturbatory achievement, or send them off in the hope that they will be published, rubber-stamped?

Well, I send them off, not often but now and again. I used to send them in hope bordering on expectation. Now I send them with (almost) certain knowledge that they will be rejected. So why bother? Is it because they will be read, that they will be a straw added to the camels back?
A straw saying something different, a straw showing that there is other writing out there other than beauty and bougainvillea and little known/well known to those in the know, exotic foreign places?
A straw to show that non university non middle-class people have thoughts, something to say, and say it differently? And maybe something will change a little, but hopefully it will stay just as it is. What else would keep me going?!

I live in an art house town

Seven bijou bars
serve cactus canapes on a bed of regret.
We are a lot less racist than we used to be
and the passages at night are quite delightful,
uber moderne graffitti gurus
and a harmless rapper
work on a mission
and a handsome grant.
The river still bleeds to the sea
naked excrement
but the Andy Warhol themed
hole-in-the-wall serves cash
on a bed of no regrets.
This is an arthouse town
the French films
are all un-dubbed into the latest
east coat west speak,
pointy shoes point the way,
the little dogs no longer weep in the street.
Building blocks rock by the docks
with a marine theme,
shipwrecks and redundancies.

Monday, November 17, 2014



An old man was viciously assaulted and mauled and stuff over a period of several hours, possibly weeks, or days or whatever is the longest and most shocking ,by a rabid anarchist fox. George Niceman (86) is recovering at home with a cup of tea after his ordeal. His condition is reported to be 'stable' and his wounds 'not life threatening' despite the vicious nature of the attack. George who was nearly licked to death by the rampant vulpine sounded 'visibly upset' and eyewitnesses could hear his false teeth rattling during the hostage like situation even though they were miles away at the time. 'At one point' said Toby McNobody, 'I thought the fox was going to rip the man's head off and widdle in it.' It was clearly trying to turn the old fucker over on his roof, I mean head.'
Fortunately for George (93) A nice man was in the vicinity of the area and saved George by whirling a rubber chicken and exposing his backside to distract the beast. The lovely Enda Kenny (Taoiseach) said the Fox's behaviour was indicative of something really awful and terrible and we should not tolerate awful terrible behaviour from anyone, specially things in fur coats.
This incredible footage was captured by a passing lion tamer who is used to terrifying animals.

(Warning, film is of a graphic nature and may not be suitable for anyone who isn't suitable.)
What does that even mean? No, I won't think this video is incredible, no, I don't care about the cat and the elephant that are inseparable, even when they are having driving lessons. No, this petition won't change the world, nor will the next link change the way I think/eat/live/die. I've seen it all before and what I haven't seen won't be any different to what I've already seen. There is no magic, no lightning bolt, no answer, no quick fix, no life changing moment unless you survive a heart attack or are pulled from the wreckage
I'm sick of it all, I'm tired of everything, but I still want to live, how fucking bad must death be? For these are all detours distractions to fill the mind until we die and then it is too late to do anything like think for yourself.And even thinking for yourself is probably a worse waste of time. We had time and we wasted it and if we didn't then we should have,and even not wasting it is a waste of time.Life, even when it is, is not worth a butterfly.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

'Our Lords and Knights, and Gentry too, doe mean old fashions to forgoe:
They set a porter at the gate, that none must enter in thereat.
They count it a sin, when poor people come in.
Hospitality it selfe is drown'd.
Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down.'

I read the news today, Oh Boy!
The first are complaining of being last,
the ins are wailing 'out!'
The dead are alive
and the living dead,
and the world turn'd upside down.
The man with three houses
complains about the man with four
as if he hadn't two sticks to rub together.
If Concorde were alive,(still self-adored)
he'd be a bored, abhorred, aboard.
Pass the champagne,comrade.
So long one foot in the grave,
so long forging the nails of the coffin,
it now MUST be said,
it is time to call it,' tis time to pronounce,
poetry is , dead, dead , dead.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


I look up the high rise see nothing but blue skies, two in the morning, the tin man running, James Joyce on the desk, his palatable Dubliners eaten by Ulysses, some Shakespearean malady cross infected by Brian Rix and Marty Mulligan.
Take to the bed then? Take vitamin C , take omega oil to be alpha male, feed yourself to the lions, the paeans of retrospective inordinate taste and standards, the censorship bored, the gang of four or five or six, and the cronies stirring the stirabout.
What can we do but nothing. Or something. Live before die. Take a trip around the English countryside, ride a shopping trolley up the Falls Road, paint banners of discontent over railway bridges to be ignored by the commuter belt commuters. We can always wish for more, we can always hope for more , but can we make it happen? This could be the last dance, this could be the answer, let's hope for the right question. A safety net, a Lamborghini Aventador, Cristal, Crystal Meth, Benzedrine, sodium lit , halogen bright, xenons blaze down the dark highway, snatch third, peddle down, bright lights are missing the two lane black top, the high regard, the selfish resemblance of rising tides the few, the many, being good enough, the last, the forgotten.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I'm on the wind-down. And poetry has to be truth.It rarely is. Life is the distraction that we deceive ourselves with and death is the ultimate truth.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Phaedrus, Brother.

Well I can't think, is the noise an echo or a reminder?
when the only way is forward?
You were with me brother,
though I held the knife,
you were with me brother,
the best friend of my life,
you saw them on their knees,
you heard their puking beggng pleas,
standards and heads were held high.
You and me against the world, kid.
Took the jibes with me
felt the blows, held the spite,
held them tight,
grist to the gin mill
the bitter pill,
swallowed, swift.
Life is a subtlety, like a sledgehammer.
What doesn't kill you,
makes you.
And me.
I loved you brother,
we were united,
we were never alone,
you were never heavy,
you could never die,
you could not live,
because you were never born at all.

Dear Diary,
Things were achieved little was lost, much was maintained, and oh, and oh dear, and Jaysis, I wrote a poem. Besides, or maybe because, it's the three R's that I could never master,

Rue, Regret, Remorse.

Why go back?
It was that kind of a day, the usual kind. The best of times the worst of times. Sure we got petrol, we ate baked potatoes, there was sufficient for drunkenness , darkness ,light, halogen, almost lightening the weigh. Things done, so many things to do. A search for truth, a will to embrace it, reflect it. A desire to do good, be good. I met a good person and I met . We all meet. We all lie to some degree, for gain, or for kindness. But we've got to stop meeting like this. Words flow from my fingers (that's a search for truth, a search for self), a gloriously tragic waste of time? No. Time can be misspent, but it can never be wasted, time is its own reward, its own downfall.