Friday, December 30, 2011

Poem: New Years Eve, 2010

Counting down, three, two, one
And cheering, strangers dancing in the street,
Party hats and singing songs, drunken merriment,
This saying goodbye to the year.
I wonder now if you were listening to it,
We're there fireworks outside your window
And did all the world seem happy?
Bright snow lit Dublin, drowning in joviality
And you bowing out, did you wait for that moment,
Three, two, one, and it's over, new years day,
And you, no longer afraid of the dying.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011, and Christmas wishes.

2011 is nearly over, and it seemed like a good time to do a sort of personal 'review' of the year. It's been an eventful one, both brilliant and terrible. I left the job I'd been in for five years to start something new- a move totally out of character from my usual 'play it safe' approach to things. I decided I'd had enough of living on my own and moved house, with my sister as a room mate. I started to focus more on writing, on trying to create something. After always being very vocally happy about being single I started to think it would be nice to find someone to share things with. I made attempts to be more involved with the real people in my life, putting more effort into the friendships I have, and developing new ones. I got tired of being on my own, the comfort I had always felt in relying only on myself had been diminished. 

There was a moment that started all of this need for change, the terrible part of the year. An awful thing that happened that shifted the way I interacted with the world.  On New Years Eve, 2010 my friend took her own life, alone in her apartment, about 15 minutes away from me. She didn't call me to talk, but I'd never been that type of friend. A casual friendship, meeting in the pub or exchanging superficial chat. If she had called me I would have gone to her, and though I realize it is a normal reaction to a suicide I felt dreadfully guilty that she did not feel she could reach out to me. 

It has taken me these months to get to a point where I was not entirely sad and unspeakably angry. An absolute sense of loss and an inability to understand what the reason for her decision was drove away the ability to think about her clearly, to put together memories of her not tainted by the way she died. I will never know what was in her mind, what pushed her to that point, I will probably never totally forgive myself for not seeing any signs of what she was going to do.

She was a woman that I was in awe of, so very full of life. She was the only person I have ever met who always made me smile, just by walking into a room. She was fiercely clever and impossibly glamourous, always pristine, always full of ideas and excitement. She engaged completely with the world, with honesty but never cynicism. It is inexplicable that, in the end, the world defeated her. 

When I think about how she died I get a horrible sinking feeling in my gut, like being dropped from the top of a rollercoster. I have a memory of the last time I saw her playing over and over in a loop in my mind, I have examined it from ever angle, trying to find anything that might have been a plea for help. She seemed happy, excited by her new marriage, looking forward to Christmas and alive, in love with life. 

I miss her very much. I think about her often. I wish she was still here.

Not being able to understand has made things very difficult, and the one thing we will never have is closure, we will never know why. 

We cannot change what has happened, I will never see her again and can never ask her. I have gone through torturing myself, looking for the thing I missed, the hint that indicated she needed help. I have been so sad, thinking about the small things she will never do again. Simple things like having a cup of coffee, washing her hair, telling a joke. And the big things, finishing her PhD, having a family, living a life that had so much promise. I've missed her and I have been angry with her. I would give pretty much anything to have had the opportunity to try to help her, and to still have her with us. 

This time of year can be difficult for a lot of people, Christmas bringing with it it's own particular pressures and difficulties. This season, amid the fun and festivities, I will be thinking of the friend I lost, and the friends I have who might need to reach out. 

Now, I think about her and all of the things she will not do and am determined that I will not waste opportunities.  The simple things I have been so cynical about are important, other people and their messy, fascinating lives are the reason to be here. We only get one chance at this living, and to refuse to allow ourselves to be happy, out of some misguided idea that we are somehow too clever to appreciate the tiny reasons to be so, is a special kind of stupidity. 

For those I do not know who are in difficulty, there are supports available. If I can be so presumptuous I will say to you what I wish I had had the opportunity to say to her. There are people who love you, you probably do not even realize how many lives you touch, how heartbroken those people will be if you are not there, and how willing they will be to talk to you and support you. You are not as alone as you may feel.

My life is a work in progress, as all of our lives are. For christmas this year I will offer you all a simple wish that I would always have considered a trite cliché before, but which sums up what i would like for myself and for the people I love. A wish for a very merry Christmas, and a happy new year. Xx

National office for suicide prevention (Ireland):


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Poem: December, 2011

We have forgotten the things we promised not to forget 
And an old poem is rattling around inside my head 
About a lost idea of Ireland, and the wishes of long gone hero's, 
Over and over, 'was it for this?', 'was it for this?'. 
On the evening news I watch the stupid bobbing heads lying 
Through their soulless fixed grins, bloated uselessness 
Squeezed into a nice suit. It's almost enough to make you wish 
Bertie would come back, and at least make the situation amusing. 
Misplaced, clichéd pride in a pint of the black stuff 
Or stupid green hats and the cheapest of our fairytales 
Serve as an excellent distraction while we surreptitiously take down the 
Cead míle fáilte signs, not that anyone is coming.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Poem: The worst moment was...

I thought the worst moment was January third
Two thousand and eleven, four thirty four pm,
When I heard about you. Then it was 
January forth, all day, when I made phone calls
To make everyone else know it too.
It was March second, when we found out
What they actually meant about what you did
When they said accident. It was March twenty third,
Hating sitting in a bloody church, listening
To all the reasons you should still be alive.
It was the end of July when I realized
That I had forgotten to count the days
Since you died, and it was months now.
It was September eighteenth when I had to
Go looking for a photograph, because I had forgotten
Some aspect of your face. It was yesterday,
When I found myself crying in the middle of the day,
Because, out of nowhere, I thought about you.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Poem: Far from ideal

Sheep do not look at eagles and wish that they could fly,
That would be stupid. 
What I am is a real construct,
made up of memory and influence. Dreams are different.
I can no more take the things I want and live them
then the sheep can, it is not a question of determination,
I am no more capable then them. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Poem: Broken

There were pieces of me left 
Scattered around your apartment
Which you kindly packed up
And left in a box at my front door
So I could take them inside
And begin the tedious process
Of trying to reassemble myself. 

Poem: Winter

Winter is coming again, crisp clean cold and Christmas lights.
The plants have died, the trees naked and stark against autumnal skies,
This is my season. Briefly I pretended to be a Summer flower, for you
But of all the fairytale characters I most wanted to be the Snow Queen,
The White Witch. I was never a Disney princess.

When the sun was shining I played at make believe, pretend warmth.
I do not feel it, they tore it out of me with good intentions,
I am safe. For awhile you made me wish that I was better, able,
Somewhere deep down I think it would have be something to love you,
But it’s a relief that it is over. I am glad that it is Winter.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


For a while we worked, the things I gave you were enough,
I think we were mostly happy, but you became greedy,
decided that you wanted posturing, and stupid pointless words,
Like we were living in an American sitcom.
Gradually you felt something was missing, me just being me,
You wanted to hold my hand walking down the street, and constant hugs,
wanted to sacrifice everything for brainless make-believe,
Until we meant nothing worth having.
I was never going to give in, and I was so angry
You fighting every day, so determined to make us ordinary,
And constantly saying it, buzzing in my ear like an idiot.
I wanted to throttle you.
Until you ruined it, you for me were my reason,
My every moment, my waking in the morning,
Bigger than platitudes, and better then needing them,
You were my everything.
It didn’t need saying, there was nobody else so trusted,
So treasured, until you needed me to change,
I hope you find some lovely imbecile to parrot sweet trivialities
And that she makes you happy.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Poem: Different Lives

We used to sit in a group up in the park
drinking revolting mixtures of spirits
robbed from gullible parents liquor cabinets
and smoking cigarettes we bought two for ten pence
from the irresponsible shop keeper who also sold us our penny jellies.

As time passed we introduced the softest of illegal substances
and availed of the dark winter evenings to gently molest one another.
With nothing to do and nowhere to be we unintentionally
spent our days dissecting modern philosophy
and running from the Garda when they showed up unexpectedly.

Later on, through fortunate chance and happenstance
I stumbled my way into a University and blagged myself a degree.
Learning to roll my r’s and sandpaper the rougher edge of Dublin from my tongue,
While you staggered from expulsion to Dole queue to probation
And erased the sparkle from your eyes with alcohol and heroin.

I got myself an office job and a pretty apartment
And became adept at hiding the places I grew up in,
While you robbed a post office and got locked up
And died bleeding in a dark cell of an overcrowded prison.
They didn’t believe when I said, I used to be friends with him.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Poem: Apology

It is not an easy thing, to say you are sorry,
I know you wanted so much more for me
And are disappointed that I could be so ordinary
As to let myself be trapped by something so stupid.

I have tried for explanations, unfair to expect you to understand
How loud it can get inside my head, just excuses
But I was searching for some kind of respite
From always having to be myself.

I wanted to see what would happen if I took myself apart
I didn't consider that you would be the one 
Left to pick up all of the pieces and try
To fashion me back out of them.

It must have hurt, it must have made you angry
That I hid them from you, gave you promises
And presumed you were so stupid that you would miss
The best part of a bottle of whiskey on my breath.

The person that I am, that's all that there is
And no amount of tears can change it, not now
I know that it is entirely selfish of me,
But letting everything disintegrate felt extraordinary.

You need to stop trying to save me now,
The girl you want back is a lost, I barely remember her
I think it would be easier if you just hated me,
And for what it's worth, I am sorry.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


This is bravery, 
Being in this moment
and the next
and all of the moments to follow
when everything is full of hurt 
and fear, wolves at the door,
bottles of whiskey,
and regrets and regrets and regrets.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Poem: Deinon

These wishes,
they are such things,
beyond precious,
priceless and pointless
they breath for us,
pulse beneath the skin, alive,
fantastical and desperate,
the very essence of being, the reason.

These wishes,
they are such things,
wonderful and terrible
they sustain us, eat away at us,
unattainable in reality
they flirt with us, taunt us,
they are too loud voices
in silent churches,
they are incongruous.

These wishes,
they are such things.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Poem: Time heals

Enough time has passed now for us to talk about other things and smile.
Every word no longer weighted with your absence, every meal not tasteless.
We have stopped expecting that you will walk in the door,
And there are moments when our thoughts are of something else.
Yesterday I did not cry for you, the first time since.
And it seems that I was wrong, the world kept turning.
I am surprised that the sinking feeling in my stomach has gone,
And my heart still beats, miraculously unbroken.
Having offered up limbs, heart and soul for one moment with you
I have stopped trying to barter in vain with hearing-impaired Gods.
Slowly things are getting better, perhaps we will survive this after all,
And time will turn you into nothing more than reminiscence.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Poem: This Girl

She is the bravest person that I have ever met,
Despite the constant quiet fear
That makes her appear wholly unremarkable.

She has a small scar on the side of her wrist
That she finds herself rubbing in times of stress,
A tiny raised knot of flesh that you would not notice.

She has an almost imperceptible dip in her skull
Just beneath the line of her hair,
That she imagines aches constantly.

She has thin silver marks on her forearms
Indirect reference to old hurts
That well up unexpectedly to choke her.

She has astonishing reserves of bravery
That she uses to wake up every morning
And live as a part of the world.

She has a bitter understanding of cruelty
That she cannot help but replay
In the faces of prospective friendships.

She has nothing untainted by bad black memories
That she does not allow herself to think about
But which have distorted everything.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Poem: Now and Then

What are we now, after all of this is put to bed, wrapped up neatly, blonde curls in pink bows.
Look at us, we are a picture in a storybook.
I still mean all of my smiles but when I am sad, oh it hurts. 
How it still hurts.
I’ve counted them, one to ten, we do not talk about six, the worst time, the deepest one
Not that I am blaming, those were difficult times for all of us, it’s just the age thing separates me.
Mostly it is a thing that happened, a once upon a time  that spills out of me when I’ve been drinking,
Mostly it is nothing worth relating.
I can’t do that kind of closeness but who needs it anyway, most people are pointlessly ordinary,
I do not answer when you ask me about relationships bar an aside, something trite and glib that makes me seem
selfish instead of broken, just these little things,
What might have been, a sometimes lonely, an impossible longing
And no tears left for anything,
Which is sad in itself, I suppose.
It faded like you promised me, but still just numbed, just numb. 
Still waiting.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Poem: Another Love Story

This was to be the great adventure,
we were to pack up our pasts and explore the unknown, hand in hand
we would break down barriers, create new histories and legends
to replace so many broken glass moments and twisted grey myths.

We began so full of hope,
but despite our open minded wonder at the majesty of the world
childhood serpents were still hissing in our ears.
We could not escape the stains of black nonsense corrupting our hearts.

It did not take long,
the shame they had taught tracked us down and pulled us apart,
the purest expression of us debased by these pious protestors,
dirtied and distorted until we were justified in our shame.

By the time the end came
we were bodies purpled in a latticework of anger, afraid
we took refuge in the simple destructiveness of hateful humiliation,
all was lost in absolutism. They owe us a myriad of possible tomorrows.

We were to be such a love story,
this would have been the great adventure
but for half remembered lies neatly wrapped in doxology,
abhorrent as it always was, is now and ever shall be.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Seven Months

It took seven months
for it to be said aloud.

I still miss her,
this wonderful, impossible woman.

It’s been seven months
since one dark evening,
one senseless moment
that changed everything.
Seven months of angry mourning,
shocked bewilderment
and one word we were not saying.

Seven months since all the little things
were too much
and in inexplicable despair
she abandoned us.
It has been seven months
without knowing all the whys.

Seven months since she died.

Seven months for someone to say suicide.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Poem: Written

A favourite author talked about the world,
written on our bodies,
marked out in our silhouette
the small lines that tell our stories.
You are a tension in my shoulders,
a slight shrug,
an awareness of myself,
a tremor in my hands
and awkwardness in my carriage.
You are written somewhere in me,
perhaps hinted at by the grey hairs
that have started to grace my temples,
or an occasional distance,
an expression that crosses my face
when I think about you accidentally.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Poem: Regret

There is no reason I would have called you that night.

I wish I had.

I wish that I had thought to do it,
I wish I had done something differently,
But as it happened
I was at home, tweeting 'happy new year' 
to people I do not know
While you, in some kind of despair
Were dying. 
On your own. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Poem: Dublin

In the morning it will be raining, or the sun will shine
And the river will flow through the centre of the city regardless.
There will be a crowd, or one or two, depending on beds and funding
It will be one short no matter the weather and circumstance.

My city is bleeding loss and hurt from the cracks in the street
At 6am they sneak in, stepping over the sleeping, to drag protestors away.
On occasion you see the missing, lost amongst the invisible
Conspicuous at last, if only by their absence.

‘We neither know nor care to look for anything but reasons’
An explanation for the state of things as they are,
But we do not want to dirty our hands
With the excrement created by our lust for progress.

You were stained with the hurt and sickness of neglect
And for weeks I watched you dying.

There is very little for which we should feel proud.

Poem: Love Stories

This is the oldest story ever to be told,
the very first tale that came with shedding gills, taking to land.
We like our words, to say forever and love
and lie with a casual banality that mocks us.
Nobody before us, or nobody yet to come, is different
and when the stars burn their last there will be lovers
who weep their soft lies together at the ends of everything.
and pretend that theirs is the first story to have anything other
than a happy ever after.

Poem: After the End

She felt she was alone – mostly this empty house,
This constant aching from nothing, nothing again.
She did not get the happy ever after that the stories promised her
The let this be the happy last page now.

Life keeps on writing the story, the parts that we do not tell.
This is murky, dirty; let us illiterate, after the ‘I do’.
A simple thing, a lying down and not waking up.
A no explanation, these things just happen, no reason.

Crumble, pour salt, waste away and ruin the dreaming,

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Poem: Anonymous

In having something to say, saying it, but hiding
There is a certain kind of crawling cowardice,
In little insipid negative comments, remaining nameless
There is a nothing to respect or deign to discuss,
In being too afraid to be identified, even virtually
There is a pitiable pathetic pointlessness,
In having convictions, but no courage in them
There is no merit to the things that you are saying.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Poem: Campfire

Speaking of the past,
a crackling memory in glowing embers.
How I will remember that time
after white ash has blown away
and all that is left is scorched earth
and bitter cold. Once we ate melted mallows
and huddled together in the warmth
of living stories.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Poem: Love Story

In the morning light you said no more,
A ring on her finger, a promise in her womb
Every lie you told me proved to be true
And despite it all I’m losing you.

Built on a promise of yesterday, this is us
Shattered glass slippers slick with blood
Once upon a time we were in love.
We are mostly broken; we see the truth in hurt.

Love based on broken glass and fists,
Mouth my neck and weep with it
Slam this girl against a wall and thrust
Want, a bloody lipped parody of lust.

Then home to the woman you would never hurt,
Back to sweet nothings and safer love.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Poem: I thought

I thought, in getting older I would understand things more clearly, 
I do not understand.
I want to stamp my feet and scream at the unfairness 
That is in this.

I thought that, in getter older I would lose naivety
You have left me confused.
I want to turn back time and say the right lines
To change your mind.

I thought, in getting older I would learn acceptance 
It is beyond me.
I want to change what happened magically
Do something differently.

I thought, in getting older I would see the world differently
It would make sense.
I want to make agreements with a deity
And rewrite history.

I thought, in getting older nothing would hurt me
It would be impossible.
I want to bring you back to the living
And change everything.

I want this not to be happening. 


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Poem: Love Hurts

There is no rhyme for this, the grubby business of dying
cannot be romanticised on this occasion, while we are watching it.
Running to the pharmacy for stronger drugs to stop you weeping
while we watch in horror as the pain tears through you
and yet, selfish as we are, we prolong your suffering,
fighting against you for every minute and calling it the love
that means we cannot bear to lose you. So we continue
this terrible torture, beyond the bounds of common cruelty.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Poem: Valentine

Briefly it made me a little sad
the lack of roses arriving, or chocolates in heart shaped boxes,
until lucky remembrance would have it recollected
how once everything was about you,
leaving me exhausted with the impossibility of making
someone else’s happiness my goal,
trapped in the misery of lost dreams,
the focus of your disappointed anger,
worn out by trying and failing, and failing again
to infuse some joy into our joyless wretched life
and calling this love despite all evidence to the contrary,
bar once a year when we pretended with flowers
that this is the life we wanted to be living.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Poem: Reactionary

I have built myself from the wasted scraps of my once upon a times,
we are fools when we believe in old magics and mages
and hide from the monsters underneath the bed,
praying to stories while we bleed and beg.

It is dangerous and stupid to wrap ourselves in wishes,
when the alarms sound we play with limited time
and lift our hems away from the filth
blinded to everything through choice.

We parade wilful ignorance as blessed virtue
but the children are still crying between the pages
of some great liars book of shadows
and blood stained words of gospel.

If I was another type of person I would arm myself with them
these shameful hurts and horrors,
but still, for all of our never again promises
we cheerfully hand over our children.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Poem: Intervention

I thought that I would do anything for you
for whom I feel the closest approximation of love
that I can manage. It is not true,
I had imagined epic bloody sacrifice
but not this quiet intervention,
the desperate plea in your eyes
that says you love me more than I do.

I was not angry with your pleading,
but numbed, numbed, hands beginning to shake
with waiting. Run away from the situation
the noise of my thoughts,
the remnants of who I was
before all of this happened, too fast.

I forgot that the me hurting, hurts you too,
the watching me disintegrate has broken your heart.
I am emptily sorry and brokenly guilty
that in the end I will lose you for this,
the only thing that you could ask for
that I cannot give to you.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Poem: Thank you

Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy day
To stop me in the street and let me know smoking is bad for me.
I won’t keep you talking, I know you must be busy,
Perhaps on your way to McDonalds to give warnings about obesity
Or to stand in the confectionary isle at Tesco’s to tut at people buying chocolate.

Then it will be off around the many Dublin pubs with dire warnings
About the negative effects of alcohol and increases in binge drinking
And all the while everyone will be indebted to you and thinking
How lucky they are that you happened to come along
And scold them into health and harmony.

Then you can take yourself into the beauty shops
And, not allowing yourself to be distracted by the flesh on show,
Explain how sun beds encourage malignant growths,
you will be forever the hero who saved their lives
and from now on they will be happy with pasty white.

Perhaps drop into some restaurants and express
your concern that table salt will lead to early death,
I guarantee that they will all throw away their chips
And not think you intrusive in the slightest
But will see your intervention as a precious gift
And not for one moment assume you’re a Git.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Poem: Ireland

The world is a shit place, lets not play pretend.
Everything is a bloody mess.
I can write you a lyric poem, if you want me to,
I can talk about the sun reflecting on glass for forty lines,
And we can all sing about beauty and sigh,
And bury ourselves in the comforting lie.

These Dublin boys are bleeding out neglect in broken needles,
Pissing outside the Blooms hotel, long since lost.
Ah sure, God is watching over us, ah sure,
Some old Irish bucket of crap, we disappear
Into apathy, disappear and never come back.

We need something outside of that.

Poem: Inspiration

It moved from the sublime
breath of Mneme and her sisters
to be diluted. Trite and useless
corporate slogans to mimic
the Muses. Lost is it now
in contentiousness, a demand to be
aroused by this. Inadvertent imitation
of Pierus, or the foolish pride
of the Sirens. Wrathful must
lost Goddesses be, with inspiration
lost in phraseology.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Poem: Mistaken Identity

Yesterday I saw you in the street
And went up to you to say hello
Of course it was someone else
Because you are gone
Lost to the confusion of myth 
And the make believe of eternity.
I had forgotten already,
Just for a moment. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011


It is strange to think that when you came into my office with Christmas wishes,
that would be the last time I spoke with you.
That you could be a bride in September and gone before the year ended
and that when I sent you a stupid new years message you had already died,
the fates ignoring that you were so full of life.

When we went home for Christmas we did not expect that the next time we met
would be in shocked silence around a table, or talking about practicalities
while we tried to make sense of senselessness, not knowing what to say
because it felt like some kind of a terrible sick joke
that you would not be coming back to us.

I never imagined that I would spend a morning making phone calls
to tell your friends and colleagues that you were dead,
because you were young and beautiful and making beginnings.
Nothing about this is even close to being right,
I cannot believe that you have died.

With the stupidity of senseless morbid thoughts I keep thinking of
how you made me laugh, complaining about the cold Irish weather,
I told you to just wait until January, that it would get worse before it got better,
how stupid a thing to say, with the benefit of hindsight, all things considered
and how now you will be so cold forever.

I am waiting, like a child, for someone to come and tell me there was a mistake
for you to arrive, laughing, and say that they got it wrong.
You cannot be forever lost to us, to be forgotten, dead and gone.
It is it not fair, that you could be ended so bluntly, inconsiderately,
when you were so vibrant, so alive, so young.

I will miss you joking with me, you smiling and loud and demanding,
you vibrant, you living and talking in giddy accented rapidity.
I wish, for what wishing is worth, that you were not lost and us bereft,
but still dreaming your dreams, still loving your loves,
with a young woman’s ignorance of the time she has left.