Saturday, March 31, 2012

Poem: Uncanny Valley

Ticking clockwork roll of time, you unchanging 
You and not you, little boy laugh
Replaced by this. Hallow eyed, 
All darker now. I have found the right shape 
Your exact size, built a tangle of turning cogs
That work, powered by missing you.
If I can perfect it, can find the right construction
You will rise from your seat, you will be here again. 
I will take whatever version of you returns.
I want you back, for the death mask to light up,
Animate, your smile on that face will be the moment.
For now this mimesis must be enough. 
In the ring of a bell, movement
I can see shades of you still living.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Poem: School Reunion

I am not as foolish as I once was, as is necessary,
We arrange everything cheerfully – same old pubs
So we can be back again. One day you wake up
And find that you are jealous of the young, terrible.

We tell dirty jokes and drink cider from litre bottles
And reminisce about long hot Summers we made up –
Must have, all it does now is rain. Bills marked in red
Stacking up in the hall, ignored and mounting.

Sometimes one of us will go home with the other
And have fast sad sex to break the boredom –
Once or twice leading to trips across the Irish sea,
Both chipping in for terminations, shared Catholic guilt.

We never talk about the things we thought we would be
All remembering the time when we had dreams –
And how that turned out. We are poets and actors
Working in offices, weighed down with disappointment.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


As small children we were taught about it in baggy school uniforms and knee socks
and never wearing patent shoes lest the boys saw our underpants reflected in them.
We were taught about it at rare school dances,
where the nuns pushed us apart telling us, ‘leave room for the holy ghost’.

Later on we were taught about it in class with talk of a man and a woman,
being married and doing your duty, bearing children.
In not speaking about pleasure and desire they taught us about it,
leaving us confused, betrayed and alarmed at our own bodies.

We were taught it in girls disappearing from school once bumps began to show
and in scandal when one teacher was asked not to return.
In not talking about the diversity of sexuality they taught us about it
telling us lies about punishment and consequence.

In teaching us about it they took what was good and pure
and twisted and corrupted it until every longing was a perversity.
On our knees and confessing our impure thoughts in dark rooms
we were taught it, without their ever needing to say the word.

Later on, in trying to rebel against it we rediscovered it, deepened it
in the bottom of a bottle, a handful of pills or powder and bad decisions.
In being determined not to feel it we bargained our happiness against it,
driven by it we sacrificed ourselves to dirty dark rooms and misery.