I’m like an aging prince who is out of touch with fun
in a land so wet the people subsist on suction.
No longer amused by two-faced regents in cahoots
with duping him, or his pack of hounds for beastly shoots.
Nothing cheers him up, neither falcons savaging doves,
or hopeless supplicants starving within his alcoves.
His favourite jester with idiot jingles can’t bring
a sickly smile to smooth the brow of a would-be king.
His chaise longue is bedecked like a tomb in fleur-de-lis.
And ladies-in-waiting, who’re always ready to please
a lordling, can’t tempt this miserable specimen
to even a twinkle with the raising of a hem.
The goldsmiths forging his money have not alchemised
a coin to enrich his spirits, for base corruption lies
in the mint since the blood baths by Roman ancestors.
Memories of gory glory days cannot bestir
this living corpse to nostalgia. All vital fluids gone,
what flows in the veins is the waters of oblivion.
I’m the ageing Prince of an unkillable Queen.
I’m bored to tears with being a king-in-waiting.
My butler tells tales, and hunting days are threatened.
I’m good for nothing, and am not even hell bent.
The Goons on CD-ROMs are just quack-quacks.
Bright youngsters who buoyed my spirits with their nick-nacks
should get a job. No more Mister Nice Guy robbing
rich for poor. Since my wife died of excess shopping,
the fleurs du mal strewn on my bed do naught for me.
Nor ripe gals called Camilla with lingerie
at half mast. Nor the lure of a Lady Gaga.
Though the Royal Seal warrants me free Viagra.
In this rain-sodden isle my gold reserves are blood-
money. Still the sins of my father should be a good
laugh in a Roman bathhouse. But who anymore
cares a toss about glorying in gore of yore,
or hygiene? Pour yourself the absinthe of this green
and pleasant land, a double Pims. God Save the Queen.
the Rival’s Light
light’s on in my rival’s house.
He must be having a guest.
Could it be that know-all Claus,
or Chipie ‘Plouc’ Rull, the pest?
a meal he makes it himself,
pis-vinaigrette, that he is.
Aperos are from LidL’s shelf.
And the wine he likes is fizz.
been honoured, only once
for I didn’t invite him back.
Why should I cook or shop for a ponce?
And I hate the idle chat.
light makes me feel alone,
a thoughtful place for older men.
Sick and tired of being at home,
I want to be up there with them.
your back on friends, it’s said,
is bad for the heart, and of late
I read of recluses found in bed,
bodies in a decomposed state.
The wash of the sea
on the rockbed moss.
Like wind in the hair
the tendrils stand up.
As the wave withdraws
they shrink back to make
a carpet to walk
on and springboard in.
A Recycling of Lorine Niedecker
What horror to wake at night
and in the darkness see the light
time is white
i've spent my life on nothing.
delight to steal out at night
and in the darkness ride my bike
time is flight
I'm out of sight
and I can hear my spokes sing.
nights are growing longer
and I’m going nowhere. Sleep
is a stranger I met once
upon a time. I was young
and curious. Now I’ve seen
it all, I cease to wonder
if I really belong here.
My bed is a chair, upright
like a Chinese emperor
in his tomb. Still I can hear
my own breath, and the creaking
of a door I must lock, but
I don’t want to move. There’s a
certain peace in staying put.
You can’t go out.
It’s my childhood
back in Cork
all over again.
No. Grown up
you have your own
But it’s still rain.
of the left hand has star quality.
Though it isn’t much good anymore to me,
having lost the use of my little finger.
I can’t cup a bird in it, let alone linger
over the strings of a violin. But it’s fine
for high fives, and the labyrinthine life-line,
when the thumb is twiddled, with the years has grown
new wrinkles, and I think I’m holding my own.
Bernard begs on the steps of the balustrade. He’s tiny and toothless, and chirps incomprehensible pleasantries. The mégot on his lower lip is kept alight by a miracle of breath control. He hasn’t aged in the seven years I’ve been giving him the smallest coin in my pocket.
is bath day. As the week progresses the slops on his pullover
accumulate, and a
musty smell imposes itself over the tobacco and rosé wine.
By evening his state
of mind and body is a slow wobble. But he’s back on the steps
week I spotted him in a taxi ambulance. Though it was Friday he was
clean clothes. Sitting in the back he looked like a rich man or someone
won the lottery. I thought to myself we won’t be seeing