Wednesday, October 18, 2017

There we are walking along the post-storm streets of Dublin,the streets my mother walked years before, I light a candle with thought, without belief, in St Theresa's, Clarendon Street. A candle for her and all those gone before us marked (some would say scarred) with the sign of faith.Our loved ones. Out again, there's a coolness in the air, a calmness, a warmth in the sky and I think out of that/the blue, 'Lapus Lazuli.' I say it out loud, Lapis Lazuli, It feels like two nice marbles rolling an alliterating joy in my mouth up to my brain. I'm not 100% sure what exactly it is, a precious/semi precious gemstone? A title for a new poetry magazine? I know nothing of the double L. We wander in to The National Library, I like the carved wooden breasts on the fireplace, perhaps you are not supposed to touch, but I do, then we wander down to the Yeats exhibition and there out of another blue, a lump, a block, a real piece of 'Lapus Lazuli' in all it's glory. New to me, spookily co-incidental in a darkened room touching on Yeats' fascination with the occult. Then I learn something. A tour guide explains that the Yeats family wanted a quiet funeral for Willy, but his fame would not allow it, so they packed his body off to a rented tomb in France but forgot/omitted to pay the rent and his coffin was turfed out amongst the hoi polloi francaise.
Then war broke out and WB's coffin could not be returned to be buried in Drumcliffe 'til hostilities had ended. By then who knew which coffin was which? There are major doubts that Yeats is buried under bare Ben Bulben's head at all! If not him then qui? And if qui is not il then ou est William? Mon Dieu, quelle question!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Being good enough, is rarely the criterion.

Oh, Jesus, what can I say. It's been so long. I'm used to FB, or worse, twitter, the Haiku of social media. Here (Blogland) you can breathe, luxuriate in space and freedom. So much water under the bridge. You can never step into the same river twice. I think you can but you won't be the same person. What has there been since I last stepped into this river? Death, my mum and my mother in law, my nephew, and ridiculously amongst such gravity, but yet perhaps not quite so ridiculous, my dog. Ostricisation by virtually every poet and poetry outlet in the whole of Ireland. Hell hath no fury like the fury held for a whistleblower. Ill health, depression, drink, writing, surviving, living, yearning,hoping, enduring, fading if not quite yet failing. I should post a pic of my dinner,or a cat wearing a hat, this is no place for hurt. The mag I co-edit is possibly/probably the best in Ireland, the most neglected, reviled.How dare a non-university (un)educated prole try to enter our hallowed hall? Where will it end, if we let them in? Poetry may be (should be) truth, but truth stands no chance against lies and deception. I think we'll call PB 'The Mag they Couldn't Hang'. If we survive. PB7 is due soon. It's wonderful. Not that anyone will admit it. My second collection, 'The Death of Poetry' is , somewhat ironically, a lifeline. It won't be liked, no doubt it will be shot down like REd Kite in the wrong place, or worse, totally ignored, because it won't be their story, it may contradict their lies, but it will be my truth. Somebody recently mentioned (and like all (occasional) ego maniacs I thought it pertained to me and even if it didn't I could see how it (mistakenly could), 'blank white flags' Well TDOP will be (please God, it will 'be') many things, but white flags, it won't. I'm envisaging poems more along the lines of Red rags to bulls(hit).Watch out for it! We are all dying, we are dying from the day we are born, it is not the result that matters, but how we played the game. Except it isn't a game, that's where the elite go wrong. This is it, this is serious, this is real.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

There's a moth on a thistle! In broad daylight, between the showers and the rain and the sun. It's a bit muddy like, after all the rain, in the field at the gable end of Seanie McHaughey's house, over the five bar gate, tricky now in wellos after 10 pints, the slip and the slide of it all, among the crowds, the throngs, the hordes, descending there like it's Glastonbury. The moth, still there, but not on the thistle, on a Dandelion, a dent de Lion, a Piss the bed, a clock head, blow to tell the time. We need a shrine, a shroud, a commemoration, an adoration, a plenerary divulgence among all the effluence and the cows. I Know, we know, the hanging gardens of Babylon, The Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, We know men on the moon and heading to mars, and the Holocaust, and children blown to bits on Palestinian beaches, we know the clock counting down in times square, the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima, the Sistine Chapel, the sunflowers by the one eared madman, we know,we've heard Gershwin, Beethoven,The Sex Pistols, but this is a moth upon a Dandelion, upon a thistle, like, well like in a Heaney poem, we need to bolt the doors lock the gates, erect a grandstand, build an airport, we have it, we have it, we have it, the moth, the dandelion, the thistle.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

So there it is. So there we are. Trump, Cameron, Kenny. The thing is, I know, politics, fairness,cruelty, left wing, right wing. I know.And it matters, and I will vote, and I will protest. But now. Here and now. there is something. Not a poem, not a, what? Grand statement? Policy? Confession? No. This is an expression, a conveying of feeling, something that could be a poem, but clearly isn't. I feel smiley face, I feel hope, I feel feathers. They are the things right? I don't know what I'm saying, but I'm saying what I'm knowing. This is more than the main thing, but less than the major theme, the final thing. Or is it? There is the self, the self is the centre, there are so many selves.So many us to make we. We the people. The people as individuals of collective solipsism. Empirical beings of personal history. Personal landscape, personal genetic nature, personal nurture. All, well most, needing escape (hope , forgiveness, chance, enlightenment, answers). The less we travel the more we need flights of fancy, especially if what we seek to escape is ourselves. To not be me, ah that must be glorious, but not death, not yet. This is it, this is me right now in the moment, a record of now, because none of us can take then back. Words. Too many words. But then the song. Talk. Too much talk. Sometimes. Then we float, float on the dreams of ourselves, against the odds: still, though, despite, because, well, because we can, and because we won't give in, give up. What else can we do but re-bound? Our heads in our hands lets us see nothing, but inside. Something, something is the beat, something is so much better, better than nothing. Something, something, something.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Teardrops unfallen. Something, a bit like nothing, remains within. Best not speak out, or feel-out-loud. Keep the mask dry, your un-wet face, have another kiss, another chocolate, another beer. There,there, my dear, cup of tea? That's better.

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.)