Saturday, 16 January 2016

More Sinner Than Sinned Against

The world is more similar than different,
and I am more sinner than sinned against.
Trains criss-cross nations,
and even the poorest get loans
and have phones and buy clothes
to look fancy in. But my hair is lank,
and I've got much too fat
and I'm not sure I'll ever travel again.
I won't sleep on railway station floors
with a book for a pillow, or in train corridors,
with men in old suits standing smoking over me,
leaning out of the window and
flicking their ash down on my head,
I won't dive off cliffs, steal bread rolls from cafe's,
or ask for food off someone's plate.
No, I'm all grown up now,
and more sinner than sinned against,
and the tracks by the railway in Nepal
look as familiar as the track down at the Murrough,
that follows the railway towards Dublin.
And these villagers talking of sons having to leave,to work abroad,
could be the people of Ireland,
waving their children off on Ryanair flights,
to white collar jobs in Europe.
More similar than I knew before,
and every new place is the same.
Language is one thing. Living another.
And all of us inclining towards death.
More sinner than sinned against, and still
I jump up on my high horse,
and seize upon slights,
and that's how it is.
But the house in Nepal is not dissimilar to mine,
with its pictures on the walls
and its hopes and dreams.
Do I dream at night still?
Ever more, and more bizzare.
And I wonder if dreams rise in steam
from trains criss-crossing the lands,
and planes criss-crossing the seas,
as the boy phones his father in tears,
as the girl walks away from her house,
as we sleep and we wake and we dream,
more sinners than sinned against.





Sunday, 3 January 2016

Everything to lose.

Everything to lose.
Years to lose
in time and space,
time unwilling to open.
To fit everything in.
Running through the years,
more to waste
more to lose,
more to want.
Try rain.
Try tired.
Try unwilling.
Years of waste.
Try lose everything.
Try less.
Try time and space.
Try me.
Try me first.
Open rain.
Swim ahead.


Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, 20 December 2015

No bombs will fall here tonight

As I sit here, in this comfortable house,
and I know that no bombs will fall here tonight,
it's hard to imagine, but I know that it's true
that a mother is grieving, a child screaming too,
and I don't want to think about how it might be,
to have my child in pieces in front of me,
and I don't want to think about doctors in tears,
as they try to fix babies and children.

And the babies are screaming,
and the infants are screaming,
and a young boy is screaming,
and your taxes, my taxes,
pay for these bombs,
and someone gets richer,
here in the west,
and news stations speak of precision strikes,
and the papers talk of collateral damage,
still the children keep screaming.

And I sit here safe.
No bombs will fall here tonight.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Open your eyes.

Open your eyes.
Too many children lying
broken on the ground.
Too many children are
Floating, sinking,
Washing up like driftwood on beaches.
Open your eyes.
Too many children are
Walking vast distances,
Crossing closed borders and
Sleeping in tents in the mud.
And parents mourn and move on.
And the media mourns and moves on.
And the ghosts of the children
Float in the air, float in the water,
Small fingers reaching out uselessly now.


Sent from my iPhone

Monday, 30 November 2015

Death of a chicken,

(killed by the dog next door).

And flesh is vulnerable.
So easily torn.
What was whole and alive
becomes still; the eye
turns white and cold.
We dig a hole,
just deep enough,
and lay her in.
"She looks so pathetic",
you say, with a sob.
I agree.
"Why?" you ask.
I can't answer.
We fill the hole with soil,
leaving the head till last.
We search around
and find an Iris in a pot,
and plant it over you.
"Now we'll remember her
every year, when it flowers",

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Sad boys

Cruel dad.
Sending them
overland to Nepal
to escape him.
Cruel mom.
Sand boys.
Taking the bathtub
out to the garden.
Sad boys.
Caught out.
Not Nepal,
just two up
two down.
Torn newspaper on a nail,
and two sad boys,
blowing smoke in the air.
Church on sunday.
Tablets on time.
Remembering
far away Nepal,
and before that
the beatings.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Seagulls circle the boat

I can barely breathe, I'm packed in so tight in the centre of the deck. The people around me are much taller than me. I can't see anything, only the funnels of the ship, high in the air, the blue sky, and the seagulls wheeling overhead. I can't see the shoreline we're leaving behind. I can see my sister and my brother. We're packed chest to chest. I'll never see the twins again. They're buried back there, somewhere in Uzbekistan. These adults packed tightly around me are not my adults, not my parents. My parents are back there somewhere on that disappearing shoreline which I can't see, getting further and further away; lost, buried, who knows where. The ship's hooter sounds, one long mournful note. One note, for all that is lost, all that is gone for ever. I can barely move, barely breathe, we're packed in si tight. "Heniek" I say "I need the toilet". "You'll just have to go where you are" he says, and I realise the deck beneath me is already wet and slick with urine. We'll stand like this for hours, days, as we cross the Caspian Sea. Leaving behind all that has been. Leaving behind the child, who's innocence was lost two years ago, when they piled us onto cattle trains, and took us to Siberia. Now leaving the Soviet Union for ever, as the boat sounds a second mournful note, and the seagulls circle the boat, and steam rises into the air from the rusting funnels.