Tuesday, October 27, 2009


We like to write poems about loss, being the universal experience.

I have written lines of prose, or romantic rumblings

about loss marked out in decay and gravestones.

These quantifiable losses that break our hearts

but briefly, until the wounds scab over and we continue.


Only occasionally, rocked by drink or loneliness,

picking at the scabs and taking perverse pleasure in briefly revisiting our grief.


This losing unites us; we sing with it and embrace each other

with understanding, there are many people we would like to hold again.

But our lost dreams are silent, witnesses to weakness,

these I wish moments, these growing up forgets

disguised as responsibility and circumstance.


Once upon a once upon a time, when we believed in magic

we could be anything but what we became.




Friday, October 23, 2009

Political Correctness gone mad? Or taking responsibility for what you say?

When I was a little we used to say a rhyme ‘ineey, meeny, miney, mo, catch a ni***r by the toe’, you will notice in typing it I couldn’t bring myself to type the actual N-Word, because now I know better. At that time I had no understanding of the word, it was a meaningless as the Ineey Meenies and so I can perhaps be excused for using it then, where I never would now. (for those interested, it has been replaced in the rhyme now with the word Tiger)

Jan Moir wrote an article today trying to explain and excuse the words she recently wrote regarding Stephen Gately, but she failed miserably. She attempted to convince us that the intent behind her words was not what we believed it to be – well I’m sorry Jan but that excuse might work for a child saying a word they don’t understand but when you put something into print surely you have a responsibility to ensure that you carefully check your words so such a ‘misunderstanding’ cannot occur?

Moir states ‘Certainly, something terrible went wrong as my column ricocheted through cyberspace, unread by many who complained, yet somehow generally and gleefully accepted into folklore as a homophobic rant’, well I read it and I complained – the article linked Stephen Gately’s death inextricably with his sexuality, and made gross assumptions about his life and death. Moir now claims that she would have written the same article had Gately been heterosexual, I find this unlikely- but if she had it would still have been an appalling article. Statements like, ‘Healthy and fit 33-year-old men do not just climb into their pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again’ are undeniably ill-informed – so at the very least Moir is guilty of bad journalism.

Moir’s article today http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1222246/The-truth-views-tragic-death-Stephen-Gately.html , lacks understanding and integrity. A few half hearted apologies for offence caused are followed by a litany of excuses and the reiteration of her misinformed belief that ‘clearly much of it was an orchestrated campaign by pressure groups and those with agendas of their own’. She seems to be trying to convince us that she did nothing wrong, and has been misunderstood, and that she attempted only to question and seek the truth (which would have been an admirable pursuit had this been the case).

It seems to me that a little contrition and an admission that, whatever her intent may have been, she made a mistake in writing what she did, would go further then apportioning blame for the reaction her words caused.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Perhaps she is the blue eyed girl still
Under years and yards of something else the heart still beats.
She sometimes wonders if the moments of manic possibility
Are worth the absolute lows that follow
Where the entire world is dark and the walls close in around her.

The pills she takes leave her dulled and sluggish
Unable to create, like her mind is wrapped in cotton wool,
But without them she tracks bloody marks in her arms
And covers her mirrors so she does not see her face,
So perhaps this numbed lethargy is the trade off for some kind of life.

Perhaps she is the blue eyed girl still
The child she was sleeping somewhere beneath the dark.
They have caught her fast, bound her in ribbons and bows
And expectations that choke the hope from her,
And numb her heart, so she can no longer weep.

Monday, October 19, 2009


We were all born once, under the light of a lucky star,
these rays are only shadows now, memories
from a light whose source has long since died.
A moments sparkle lost in time.

We are brought up on fairy tales, dreams and nightmares
and cheerfully write ourselves into magic and stories
steadfastly ignoring sticky reality, so that we can be comfortable
And live in sensible fantasy.

This has connected us all with cobweb threads of deceit, silences
and uncertainties that we share and hide beneath our hurts and hopes,
successfully, we remain complicit in the stories,
Playing peek-a-boo with reality and memory.

We ignore and forget just enough to be called too much, apathetic
this whitewashed search for reason through soul leaves us tangled,
trapped, we would rather pretend that we cannot see the spiders,
Misimagining the dangers, we are also guilty.

I have so many stories of abuse and neglect and hurt stacked
in my chest and mind that I can hardly breath or think, outside of whispers,
these compartmentalised real world moments we smother,
Is everyone ready for the happy ever after?

We could end this, in theory, cut one thread and collapse the web.
If we would sweep the monsters from under the bed they would be burned
in the sun, and we would be free of them, we could begin again
write ourselves a different beginning, change to story’s end.

These heroes and victims are the shadowy parts of ourselves given names
so that we can understand, we are hiding from half remembered horrors and hurts
that History and the world has branded on our bodies,
bandaged by nonsense, magic and our myths.

We can reach back beyond the lies into the darks of time
and write the world as it should have been written
but together we gratefully drank from the Lethe,
And so we forget that we are imprisoned.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Stephen Gately's Funeral

This morning in Dublin Stephen Gately's funeral was held, there is a palpable saddness in the city because we are laying to rest one of our own.

Stephen Gately grew up around Sheriff street, an area not know for its affluence, and we like to see other Dubliners succeed from the areas that are largely forgotten and ignored by Celtic tigers and increasing wealth.

I remember being an over excited teenager and meeting Stephen Gately by chance on O'Connell street, and his taking the time to talk to a group of us with great humour and patience - his being funny and kind. It is sad to think that such a young man has died.

It is a shame that tragic death of a young man has been ued by some to air their own ignorance and predjudice - and it should not be forgotten that whatever claim we feel we have on celebrity at the present time Stephen belongs primarily to his friends and family, to the people who knew him as a person and not as a popstar. They should not have been intruded upon in the grief to have to respond in any form to the stupidity of a journalist whose words should not have been printed.

Above all else today we have buried a young man, whos life should be celebrated and passing mourned. Today the people of Dublin reclaimed one of their own, we should not forget, in the midst of the intrusive commentary that always surrounds celebrity, that Stephen Gately was a Dublin Lad, that he was far too young to die and that today is a very sad day.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Writers Block

How has it happened that I do not have the right words
all that I have ever had,
silver tongued and sad.

I want to write you a happy ending,
or a fitting epitaph.

I want to find the scripted beats to make sense of this senselessness,
wiping away this hurt with couplets and carefully crafted pose.

I would mend broken dreams with a poem.

Perhaps now is the time, after so long.

Can this be our beginning then?
Shall we create a Limerick, or a sonnet,
Like greater poets before make timelessness
From your decay?

I still have dreams where I wrap my arms around you
And I can hear you breathing through the silence
Of these endless nights in my bed.

This is not enough,
I need to write away the loss and hurt.
Maybe now is the time for the words we dread,
But I must find another rhyme instead.

I cannot write you lost with the dead.

Forget the rules and rhymes of poetry,
comma here, emphasis.
There are no rules for all encompassing grief
No matter what the rulebook said.

You used to ask for bedtime stories, that I was too tired to read.
You used to talk in your sleep.

To make this feeling go through the motions
cannot ever be achieved, everything should crumble and fall apart
there can be no beauty buried in this need,
there should never be cause for poems like these.

You were here once, a promise, a hope

But nothing matters.

I have carried you for longer than you should be carried
You have been, as you are, you remain unchanging,

a trick or treat, like a fairytale.

To fit you to form and prescribe you to tone,
To contain you in painfully scripted verse,

Will not be done.

It is enough that you are dead.

No rhyme, no rhythm, no lyrical beat,
For a poem, once begun, must then be complete.

I do not want to say goodbye.

Perhaps now is the time, after so long.
Some hurts do not fit a poem.

I cannot believe that you are gone.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A poem that took far too long to write, for what it is.

I wanted to write something beautiful about love
From some misguided notion that this is what a poem should be
But words escape me, trite and terrible.

I do not believe in this all consuming passion,
We like to tell ourselves lies to make purpose from nothing
And these old stories are stacked up in our heads are hearts
Making fantasists of the best of us, and lovers of the weak.

My heart does not shrivel and break from loneliness
And I am hungry for touch but briefly, fleetingly wanting
Until fortitude and that perfected control of mind and body reclaims me.

I would like very much to abandon need permanently
And retreat in safety from the promise of hurt
To my own numbed contentment
And to the safety of my words.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fish Joke (abridged version)

Far away in the tropical waters of the Caribbean, two prawns were swimming around in the sea — one called Justin and the other called Christian.

The poor prawns were constantly being threatened by vicious sharks.

Finally one day Justin said to Christian, “I’m fed up with being a prawn; I wish I was a shark, and then I wouldn’t have any worries about being eaten.”

A large mysterious cod appeared and said, “Your wish is granted”, and lo and behold, Justin turned into a shark. Horrified, Christian immediately swam away, afraid of being eaten by his old mate.

Time passed and Justin found life as a shark boring and lonely. All his old mates simply swam away whenever he came close to them.

While swimming alone one day he saw the cod again and he thought that perhaps the fish could change him back into a prawn. He approached the cod and begged to be changed back, and, lo and behold, he found himself turned back into a prawn.

With tears of joy in his tiny little eyes Justin swam back to his friends and bought them all a cocktail. Looking around the gathering at the reef he realised he couldn’t see his old pal.

“Where’s Christian?” he asked.

“He’s at home, still distraught that his best friend changed sides to the enemy and became a shark”, came the reply.

Eager to put things right again and end the mutual pain and torture, he set off to Christian’s abode. As he opened the coral gate memories came flooding back. He banged on the door and
shouted, “It’s me, Justin, your old friend, come out and see me again.”

Christian replied, “No way man, you’ll eat me. you’re now a shark, the enemy and I’ll not be tricked into being your dinner.”

Justin cried back, “No, I’m not. That was the old me. I’ve changed.”

“I’ve found Cod. I’m a prawn again Christian”.