Page 1

1

24 September

Heroes Congress [1.0] City/Freedom


INTRODUCTION Strumpet city in the sunset Suckling the bastard brat of Scot, of Englishry, of Huguenot Brave sons breaking from the womb, wild sons fleeing from their Mother. Wilful city of savage dreamers, So old, so sick with memories! Old Mother Some they say are damned, But you, I know, will walk the streets of Paradise Head high, and unashamed . . . from The Old Lady Says ‗No!‘, Denis Johnston Globally, we all co-exist in the tenderness, safety and shade of one another‘s palms. Or should. For the reality is far different. Major recurring disasters across the world, whether natural or man-made, remind us constantly of our unpreparedness for such and the tardiness of our response. And the shame that goes with this. The fact that so many peoples remain violently unhappy with their present lot is further proof, if such were needed. Modern technology means that we, say, here in Dublin can interface with anyone in Melbourne, Vancouver, New York, Delhi, Lagos or Buenos Aires faster than we can step outside to talk to the person next door. Each of us is peripheral to the other, each is central to the other. I remember some months ago, when I awoke from a desired rest. Night and 1.30 am. Sleepy, I rushed down the stairs to the desk, stoked by an idea. In a blitz, I wrote a line of a long poem, I will continue the next day. At daybreak, I entered the line I‘d written on my favourite search engine. There it was. Someone has said it already. Such an instance is not new, it even permeates our everyday conversation, revealing to us that all individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings. It is an aspect of our freedom. The world is a mesh of our circlings, for good or bad, whether we like it or not. Eriugena, the Irish Philosopher, taught that as human beings we are constantly circling our inner selves till we reach the core. The world village draws closer together daily. Competing ideologies, whether political, social or economic or religious, or combinations of any such, need to show greater cognisance of this. Maybe, one day, across the world our customs posts will be but welcoming stations at airport and sea ports. Poetry lives and moves in this context and must be increasingly sensitive to the possibilities offered. Often, though, we find a log-jam for poets who have something to say. In any one edition, for instance, Poetry Ireland Review can only take some 1

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


three to five percent of the work of contributors. Ditto worldwide. Traditional printed reviews for many poets may become as rare and relevant as the dinosaurs. Which is why more and more poets are using personal blogs to record and communicate at the deepest level. Recently, in Spain, one entire contemporary anthology La manera de Recogerse el Pelo Generación Blogger (Bartleby Poesía 2010) was compiled from the personal blogs of young female poets. And this is where this review comes in: one further outlet where poets, from wherever, can save on postage, conserve paper, and communicate with a wider readership. Using the word Dublin in its title, it draws on a vast literary tradition exemplified by, among so many others, Joyce and O‘Casey, where any unknown, indomitable and hopeless Robert Emmet (as spoken by playwright Denis Johnston above) can still speak up even if his words fall on hapless ears. And we celebrate the city, as one of only four cities in the world to achieve the status of UNESCO City of Literature, a city that has been defined by its writers, and continues to be revealed, re-imagined, and reshaped through their words. This is the reason we choose to publish our most important yearly Heroes Congress, on Ireland Culture Day, as a construct to celebrate the day Dublin was named a city of literature. And most importantly we choose this day because of the significance it plays in encouraging diversity, including poetry which itself is a form of dialogue. For poet Kenneth White in his book The Bird Path, we are all but birds of the air weaving our varied trajectories. Ultimately, we leave no tracks, not even the most famous. But in our living is our doing, each one as poet Hopkins says Crying / What I do is me, for that I came. Our job is to record the quotidian without flinching or what Kavanagh called ―claptrap‖, of whatever variety. And if this means just taking time to praise the rain, always approaching in Ireland, to hope to be able to do so like a Kenneth White in Brittany: ―The rain is falling on the Arrée hills the rain is falling on the shores and fells The rain is falling on Cape Fréhel the rain is falling on the woods of Huel The rain is falling on the Isle of Ouessant the rain is falling on the roofs of Port-Blanc The rain is falling‖ Emmanuel Jakpa, 24 September, 2010

2

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


Editor‘s Note The editor wishes to thank the very many people and patrons who have helped to make this review a reality, especially the many contributors who contributed work, and the many more whose works could not go into this inaugural issue. It would be invidious to name names. But an especial Thank You to Gerard Griffin and the estate of Éilis Elliott for reproducing the draft poem recently found in Éilis‘s possessions, which commences the review. Éilis, with her sister Emily, was an activist during Easter Week 1916 in Dublin. The editor wishes to apologise in advance for any textual errors or omissions; any such notified to him will be acknowledged in a future issue. Editorial Appreciation All the poets here have generously offered DP Review their new poems at no cost, despite the incalculable artistic energy that was spent in creating the works you are about to read. Copyright Please note licence: Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (cc by-nc-nd).

3

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


Contents ÉILIS ELLIOTT SAGICHO AIBARA LAUREN K. ALLEYNE RAE ARMANTROUT JOANNE ARNOTT ELIZABETH BACHINSKY MARY JO BANG SUJATA BHATT JENNY BORNHOLDT EVA BOURKE DAVID BROOKS KEVIN BROPHY ROB BUDDE MAIRÉAD BYRNE FRANCIS CATALANO JULIUS CHINGONO FRED D'AGUIAR RITA DAHL MARY DALTON LYNN DAVIDSON TOM DAWE KWAME DAWES REGINA DERIEVA RITA DOVE JOHN ENNIS BORBÁLA FARAGÓ ANNIE FINCH LEONTIA FLYNN GERARDO GAMBOLINI FORREST GANDER LORNA GOODISON LAVINIA GREENLAW EAMON GRENNAN KIMIKO HAHN MICHAEL S. HARPER PAUL HETHERINGTON BIDDY JENKINSON JILL JONES YUSEF KOMUNYAKAA DAVE LORDAN EHAB LOTAYEF MAHA ELAMIN A MAHMOUD JENNIFER MAIDEN BILL MANHIRE CHRIS MANSELL ROB MCLENNAN ANDREW MOTION PAUL MULDOON

8 9 10 11 12 13 14 18 20 21 23 24 25 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 38 40 41 43 44 45 47 49 50 51 52 54 57 59 60 61 62 64 65 66 67 68 70 71 72 74

4

IE JP TT US CA CA US IN NZ IE AUST AUST CA IE FR/CA ZW UK FI CA NZ CA GH RU US IE IE US IE AR US JM UK IE JP US AUST IE AUST US IE EG/CA SD AUST NZ AUST CA UK IE

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


EMMA NEALE NUALA NÍ CHONCHÚIR GRÉAGÓIR Ó DÚILL TANURE OJAIDE NIYI OSUNDARE WANDA PHIPPS ROBERT PINSKY CHRIS PRICE MUHAMMAD HAJI SALLEH EILEEN SHEEHAN RON SILLIMAN JANICE FITZPATRICK SIMMONS RICHARD TILLINGHAST ANA VEGA GRACE WELLS RON WINKLER DÉBORAH VUKUŠIĆ C.D.WRIGHT DAVID YEZZI

76 77 78 79 82 84 85 86 87 88 89 91 92 93 94 96 97 98 99

NZ IE IE NG NG US US NZ MY IE US US US ES UK DE ES US US

PENCIL ART SANDYMOUNT STRAND DUBLIN CITY DARGAN BRIDGE

6 100 7

COUNTRY ABBREVIATIONS AR AUST CA EG DE IE IN ES FI FR GH JM JP MY NG NZ PL RU SD TT US ZW

ARGENTINA REPUBLIC AUSTRALIA CANADA EGYPT GERMANY IRELAND INDIA SPAIN FINLAND FRANCE GHANA JAMAICA JAPAN MALAYSIA NIGERIA NEW ZEALAND POLAND RUSSIAN FEDERATION SUDAN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO UNITED STATES ZIMBABWE

5

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


Sandymount Strand Where Joyce walks into infinity

6

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


Dargan Bridge

7

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


ÉILIS ELLIOTT

IE

8

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


SAGICHO AIBARA

JP

(Original)

Hiroshima at nineteen: his gaze has never left it. (Translated by Ken'ichi Matsumura) Sagicho Aibara (1926– ) is a well-known haiku poet. On 6 August, 1945, he was on his way to the Flying Corps base at Iwakumi on a special military mission when he witnessed the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

9

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


LAUREN K. ALLEYNE

TT

Grief etches its silver into our days, singing

What do the living owe the dead? What tribute, what memory, what kingdom, What time, what flesh, what fiction, what will, What mourning, what missiles, what flag, What dust, what patriotism, what purging, What tears, what wick and wax and wavering Light, what vigils, what sirens, what capital, What codes, what questions, what mercy, What protest, what burning, what god, What terror, what blood, what wrath, what drafts, what suicide, what occupation, What pipelines, what desert, what hate, What brotherhood, what target, what bomb, What dignity, what sacrifices to their lingering Ghosts, what stakes to scorch the guilty, What guilt, what pleading, what prisoners, What speeches, what revolution, what marches, What jury, what freedom, what is left for us To give them, what constitution, what tower Do you wait in, O nation of martyrs, what anthem To salute you, what convoy, what genocide, What soldier, what search, what hidden silver, What hostage, what amber alert, what bare feet, What debt, what deliverance, what promises To be kept, which to be broken, what purpose, What redemption, what history, what ritual, What bridges, what answer, what love, what Love, what, living, do we owe our dead?

10

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


RAE ARMANTROUT

US

Holding pen

Wall-mounted sconces hold thought bubbles up on either side of a bed, mirror, television. * You laugh when the man mentions something you recognize. * Wavy brown lines forming squares on a carpet; some squashed, some bloated! * Hold that thought for what remains of time

11

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


JOANNE ARNOTT

CA

my regular spot

At this time of year when voles, moles and mice and shrews make their way indoors the black water backs into the basement surprising us with all that was withheld, for years just on the brink of us just out of sight the vice of autumn, the views too veer from clay earth, root cellars antiquated aqueducts and sewage pipes on mountainsides to the clean wet world without a long look and a longer breath, north from the high southern porch a lingering walk in the garden soaked in memories and lightly scented with contentment a warm and central person free of the radiant lines of relatedness and all of the consequences of relatedness for one moment, catching sight of crow and cloud and poetry amidst a new season of damp and colourful leaves for Jamie with thanks to Sandra

12

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


ELIZABETH BACHINSKY

CA

Anna‘s Interrogation

Anna, did you make a lengthy list when it was time to leave your Karenin? What was on it, Anna? What was missed? Did you count your mouth, the mouth your lover kissed? Did you count his hands, his teeth pressed to your skin? Anna, did you make a lengthy list? Did he take you by the throat or by the wrist? Could you see the room around you, or just him? What was in it, Anna? What was missed? In your fervour, did you feel your insides twist? Did you catalogue your life or did you skim? Anna, did you make a lengthy list— or did you stop just short? Did he insist? Did your mind feel full or dangerously thin? What was on it, Anna? What was missed? Who brought the laudanum? Who bore the cost? The night you left, what life did you begin? Anna, did you make a lengthy list? What was on it, Anna? What was missed?

13

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


MARY JO BANG

US

Canto VI

When I come to, after fainting From the intense distress of hearing the story Of two I now felt I knew and cared about, I look around and see more torments And more tormented, on all sides, Everywhere I turn, my eyes see nothing but. I‘m in the third circle of hell and under assault By rain—cold, heavy, odious, and always. The continual downpour never varies. Enormous hailstones, sewer water, and snow, Mix with the soaking rain and add more weight to it. The ground reeks. Savage and bestial Cerberus, three-headed freak, barks Like a Doberman—through each of his three throats— Over those who are forced to wallow in the slop.

15

Red eyes, filthy bilious whiskers, swollen belly; With his claws, he excoriates the ghosts, then Scrapes their skin off, and tears them to pieces. The rain makes the poor unfortunates howl like dogs; They continually turn from side to side, Uselessly trying to protect themselves from the onslaught. When Cerberus, that vile creature, caught sight of us, He opened his mouths, retracted his lips, And showed us his fangs; every muscle in his body Trembled. My teacher reached down several times And grabbed huge fistfuls of mud and threw them Into the creature‘s three greedy gorges. Just as any ravenous dog sets up a racket Until it gets its bone, then snaps it up and, Totally absorbed, settles down to gnaw it clean,

30

So Cerberus, his demonic faces contorted with chewing, Quieted, which gave a few seconds of relief To the ghosts who were so undone by his barking They wished they were deaf. We were walking

14

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


Directly on the ghosts who were lying beneath our feet, Stunned by the deadening rain. They were bodiless, And yet they seemed to have dimension and substance. All of them were lying flat in the muck except for one Who sat up as soon as he saw us pass in front of him. ―Excuse me,‖ he said, ―You, the one being led through This hellhole, do you recognize this face? You were built Before I was dismantled, you might have seen me.‖ I said, ―No, but maybe your face in pain Has replaced any face I might have remembered. I don‘t recognize the face I see right now.

45

But tell me, who are you that you‘ve been sent here To this pathetic place where you suffer this punishment; If there‘s more difficult than this, it can‘t be more disgusting.‖ He said, ―The city where you now live and I once did— In sunnier times—is so full of envy and petty resentment That every pocket and purse overflows with it. I used to be called Cartman, sometimes Little Piggy; The fault that did me in was greed. As you can see, Because of that, I‘ve been ground down By this defeating rain. And I‘m not alone in my misery, All the others here are under the same sentence, For the same offense.‖ Then he went quiet. I said, ―Cartman, I sympathize so much With your suffering, it makes me want to cry, But tell me, if you know, what‘s going to happen

60

To the people of that divided city? Are there any there above corruption? How did this rabid fractiousness ever come to be?‖ He said, ―After years of contentious arguing There will be a savage battle. The party aligned With the people will drive out the others for a term. Then through the power of one who refuses To make his motives clear, the first will fall And the other will install itself. The winners will smugly act as if they own the world And put a heavy burden on the people of the city. The losers will mope and hang their heads in shame

15

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


And wonder how it came to be this way. There are two honest men, but they‘re not listened to. Arrogance, avarice, and envy, are the three sparks That ignite these people‘s hearts.‖ Then He fell silent. I said, ―You‘d be doing me a favor If you‘d talk longer so I can make sense of this.

75

What about Farinata and Tegghiaio? They were once Honorable. And Jacopo Rusticucci? And Arrigo? And Mosca? All of them I know intended to do good. Do you know where, and how they are? Can you say? I‘d love to know whether they‘re suffering In hell or being comforted in heaven.‖ He said, ―Their souls are among the worst. For each, A different fault dragged him down, each to his own level. Go down far enough, and you might find them. Listen, when you go back up to the wonderful world, Will you remember me to those I left behind? But that‘s enough now with the talk, no more questions.‖

90

Like some exhausted someone trying hard to see, he squinted, But no use. His eyes rolled back, his head drooped, Then he slid down into the muck with the blind others. Virgil said, ―He won‘t wake again Until an angel‘s trumpet signals the adversarial judge Has arrived and the tribunal is ready to begin. At that point, each will find him or herself in a dismal cell In human form and human flesh, Ears tuned to a decree that will last for eternity.‖ So, we picked our way—slow step by step— Through that filthy mixture of ghosts and gunk, And while we did, we touched a little on the second coming. Regarding that subject, I asked, ―Will the torture increase After the great sentencing, become somewhat less, Or remain the same intensity?‖

105

He said, ―Go back to your science. Remember Aristotle and Aquinas. The closer a creature is To perfection the more it feels, both pleasure and pain. This ruined crowd can‘t achieve authentic perfection But they can expect to get closer to it than they are. Which means more pain for the truly damned,

16

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


Less for the others.‖ We followed the circular road, Talking of much more than I‘m repeating here. Then, There, where the road slopes down: We met Plutus, symbol of humanity‘s worst enemy.

NOTES TO CANTO VI Lines 13-14: Savage and bestial Cerberus, three-headed freak, barks/Like a Doberman: Cerberus, from Greek mythology, is a hound who is usually depicted with multiple heads (most often, three), a mane of snakes and a snake‘s tail; he guards the gates of Hades and keeps the dead souls from leaving. Line 52-57: I used to be called Cartman, sometimes Little Piggy: In Dante‘s original, he assigns this character the name of Ciacco, an abbreviation for the name Giacomo—which, when used as a nickname, means ―hog‖ or ―glutton.‖ Eric Theodore Cartman is a fictional character on the animated television show, South Park, created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who is greedy and selfish. In the ―The Succubus‖ episode (1999), the optometrist, Dr. Lott, refers to Cartman as ―Little Piggy‖; in the ―Scott Tenorman Must Die‖ episode (2001), Cartman is forced to sing a song, I‘m a little piggy, here‘s my snout; Oink oink oink, oink oink oink. Line 67-69: Then through the power of one who refuses/To make his motives clear, the first will fall/And the other will install itself: The ―one who refuses to make his motives clear‖ refers to Pope Boniface VIII about whom Boccaccio, in his commentary, writes: ―The Florentines use the word piaggiare for someone who pretends to desire something which he really does not desire at all, or which he does not want to see happen. Some people claim Pope Boniface did this in the conflict between the Whites and the Black of Florence; that is to say, that he deceptively displayed equal concern for both sides.‖ (Singleton page 102) The reader will hear more about Boniface later (Canto XV, lines 112-113 and Canto XIX, lines Line 52-54). Line 115: We met Plutus, symbol of humanity‘s worst enemy: Plutus is the Greek word for wealth, and grain. Plutus (Ploutus), in Greek mythology, was the god of a bountiful harvest. Pluto was the god of the underworld. In time, these two divinities both came to represent all types of wealth. Benvenuto wrote that ―quia ex terra nascitur omnis opulentia divitiarum ex quibus nascitur avaricia, ideo autor per Plutonem regem terrenarum et mundanarum diviciarum repraesentat in generali universale vicium avaritiae.‖ (―Because the earth gives birth to all the opulence of wealth, from which is born avarice, the author represents the universal vice of avarice in general through Pluto, the king of earthly and worldly riches.‖ In the hierarchy of hell, Plutus answers to Satan.

17

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


SUJATA BHATT

IN

Crear 1

I‘ve come all the way to Crear to think about Robert Burns and Revolution and Mahatma Gandhi and the Berlin Wall. All afternoon, I‘ve been watching the wind awaken the grass, watching how every blade rustles—a rapid trembling, as if the grass wants to move like the wings of a hummingbird— And as I listen to the wind, I think of Gandhiji serving his first prison sentence in 1908, in South Africa. I imagine him sitting in the prison library— which he did. I imagine him reading Carlyle‘s biography of Robert Burns— which he did. That Gandhiji of lemon juice and salt, once wrote that he was afraid— That Gandhiji who walked through fields with my grandfather, preferred the wind as his witness. At Crear I watch rainbows melt back into the sky. I walk over stones and clumps of grass, circle around the soggy wet ground. At Crear I can understand more Scots. 2 And what shall I say about 1989? It was the year my daughter was born. Her eyes, now green, now gold, depending on the light. When I see her again, her eyes will remind me of Crear—although she‘s never been here. And what shall I say about the Berlin Wall? In West Berlin they thought I was a gypsy, a refugee – in East Berlin I was

18

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


only my passport, completely untouchable. I had a bag of Rajasthani red cotton embroidered with mirrors and mirrors and blue and yellow flowers. Did the mirrors help me through those streets? One day everything fitted into the bag: Gorbachev‘s book, The Guardian and a bottle of West German Sekt— Glasnost itself taken into East Berlin on a summer day in 1987. All this I brood over at Crear. All this feels unreal today, and yet, it comes back to life, sharper in this salty air—where the songs we wish to hear are full of praise.

19

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


JENNY BORNHOLDT

NZ

May

Outside the cold is startling, visible. One tree broadcasts red among its neighbours – not lovely, exactly, just not green. A gecko in the washing, crumpled like a glimpse of slate sky through a cloud of sheets – perfect piece of winter. Despite all night in the machine, not dead, just shocked and clean. And us, our limbs in bed like those of startled horses – skittish, mad for warmth. And even though there‘s no snow this far north, I like to think of Rabelais who wrote in his ‗Pantagruel‘ of battle sounds trapped in the ice. When spring came around and thaw set in they once again were heard. Us, what would we preserve?

20

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


EVA BOURKE

IE

A view of Berlin

A Turner sunset. Descent of late-May night, wispy grey fabrics are lowered over rooftops, dreary post-war tower blocks. Slow and fluid, darkness embraces the lindens, their diadems splendid and intricate as Gothic spires, flows sleek as an otter through arches, leans in doorways, open windows, encircles all. The past seems never to come to an end here. A coal barge chugging upstream drags a long memorandum in its wake, Cyrillic lettering crinkle the slick surface. Boats moored to the Spree banks rock on the backwash and the small waves slap and buffet the hulls. Seated on deck where a confluence of tributaries cause the sluggish river to widen and slip through a series of locks, all sparkle and obsidian lustre, we watch tourist boats being lifted to the next level, strings of light bulbs looped around the prow. People in summer clothes stride across bridges and the swift bright trains stream past along tall, spindly elevations. Dressed up in flimsy stuffs, diaphanous and dusky, the new-fangled city drowses on the opposite bank, a Fata Morgana, where Mosquitos, Halifaxes had once swooped across dropping their deadly cargos. Traffic sounds are muted, discreet as the sound of the night humming softly to itself. On the squat complacent turret of the Palace of Justice a corona of warning lights signal stern sentences to all, and the bulky star-tipped domes go off and on disputing eternally. War hides nearby in a basement room, busy drafting a memoir, a work in progress, fragmentary, bending low over the latest murderous chapters. The night now releases its spillage of black oil and the gas lamps lining the long streets spread the dim glow of bad memories. Again the rough drafts of yet another beginning – but how could one on such nights, you asked, imagine the perfect machinery of control that severed the river once, barbed wire, watch towers guards and guns spelling death to anyone brave or foolish enough to attempt swimming across. It became a graveyard. How many made it?

21

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


It‘s hard to say. So many tragedies, so many lost. The lists state: drowned, shot, or both. Between high-rises on the island near us where a fire-storm blazed devouring house by house, an unseen bird enshrined in the lindens' tabernacle suddenly begins its midnight recital, hidden, we think, among the topmost branches or in a tangle of willows on the far bank, singing at the behest of a forgotten minor godhead passing through the city en route somewhere: the god of reed pipes, cat calls, piccolo flutes, the god of street-gang whistles, radio Warsaw signature tunes, the god of trills and grace notes, in the guise of a Venetian youth, descant or altus: the dulcet staves of a wordless Erbarme dich that echo in the lofts of the night clouds, an oboe d'amore at odds with the times, with the percussive bass notes of the traffic, calling across distances as the world went round on tiptoe forgetting all about its business, the handsome woman at the table near us who's been relating a litany of loss to her friend raises her head and falls silent to hear the bird's silvery affirmations, a noisy group of Russian tourists in the prow put down their drinks, all of us listening to the summons of a child outside the window, insistent, melodious, to come to a place on a river bank of leaf shadow and secrets among willows, nettles and buttercups even the no-nonsense waitress busy clearing away the glasses now stands still beneath a halo of night moths that circle the deck lamp, talking to herself as though trying to solve a mystery, a question not even the merciful night can answer.

22

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


DAVID BROOKS

AUST

The River

Rare days the river is almost palpable, high over us, the strength of its current pulling the clouds, stiffening the flags on their moorings, the summer bells, the smoke from winter fires, herons and moor-hens wading in its reedy shallows up amongst the clock-towers and cathedral spires invisible to the humans far below to whom most other days it's no more than the shrunken Ljubljanka crawling where the city channels it, algaethickened and sluggish between the stone banks and the seven bridges though it's said they also find it in cellars all the way to Ig, creeping up walls, rotting woodwork, halffilling glasses and coffee cups left out while Ljubljana is sleeping: pause at the right point above the Triple-bridge and you can catch, on the up-draft the deep, musty smell of a world that has just left the room. There are rumours of a swan on Trubarjeva and in the cobbled lanes off Mestni Square though whether escaped from a butchers' somewhere or fallen into dank reason from the high, marshy spaces above the archbishopric isn't exactly clear – and who, th 30 June, 2010, could want to butcher a swan (seeing her on the clearest nights gliding there beyond the constellation of the Bear)?

23

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


KEVIN BROPHY

AUST

Day Light

It‘s open for business and it wants to be everywhere at once and on everything like a new advertising campaign. A man in white shoes, red pants, with bright yellow backpack over a blue hooded jacket takes his paintbox self through this new daylight as though still walking himself to pre-school. Pink roses, falling apart, watch him from across the street; and my darkness now is small enough to keep in a pocket like a set of keys that promise a place to unlock later. Sunlight curls its tail through the day and flicks itself into millions of skulls. If it isn‘t a miracle it is at least an accident to watch and watch. Daylight finds the rose and drenches it, rushes into it. I have all the time in the world now to plan what I will say to you. The tree‘s long syllable stirs this light, loosens the air around it. A woman in a brown jacket and grey cap answers her small child‘s question as they walk towards the train station. I do not know what the question is. Your blue eyes will close tonight beside me your arm like an answer will be across my ribs. This daylight will be blown away we will be under sea again. It is always something about love. Our dark skulls will fill with imagined daylight.

24

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


ROB BUDDE

CA

Poem‘s Poem of Love

Not saying the word reliably, historically like weather or the knots in thinking around emotional language, tangled in this bright mid-day moment (of reading) and the medium and a pronoun . . . And ―you‖ is never easy— a striated sign of things to come and counter to the sense of sentence, its ease and assurance—so the word ―with‖ becomes still uneasier and I walk into the sunlit room, poem in hand, a proximity, molecular and climatic, twined and tugging tight half listening to the news of storms forming over the warming oceans . . . A deligitimized ground, standing there, as if through a semblance of scientific instrumentation, who is who‘s target is the question and the water line wavers in the refracted calculations--you look up your altitude in an archaic book of symbols, you look up and tell me we need to flee . . . Love is resistant to antibiotics, bodies react to themselves and become something else; later we hear 21st century love retreated from the coasts, subsided in the mountains, subsisted on salmon and berries . . . We read ―red‖ in the remaining records, and ―faith‖—but these codes fail, these letters fall still, cars by the side of the highway house sparrows and squirrels, a reorganized polis . . .

25

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


And I‘d like to think of us, by the side of the derelict highway, bereft and happy, a fistful of yarrow and a wooden cup of tea but the future tense may not be love‘s love sprung from the old language

26

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


MAIRÉAD BYRNE

IE

The Men

The men stand outside the Dunkin Donuts Center on a cold sunny November morning. They stand in their shirt sleeves, skirted by wall, at the top of a broad sweep of steps. They are smoking and talking. Like men in church porches. Men in dark suits of indiscriminate fit. The pungent smell of damp and rain. Their loose knot slips further to let me pass. The church by the sea in Kincasslagh. Holding its secret of ordinariness etched in the astringent sublime.

27

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


FRANCIS CATALANO

FR/CA

LES QUATRE DEMI-VÉRITÉS Première demi-vérité : le printemps I.

Longtemps il se posa sur une branche et n‘y élut point domicile pour nidifier sa verdeur le cri ravalé des sèves l‘étoilement des trilles sous un ciel voûté Longtemps le printemps fut et s‘en est mordu les lèvres d‘ainsi crisper les doigts dans les écarts de la nuit longtemps le printemps interposé entre deux saisons déraisonnables Nuage où roule un éclair refoulé dans l‘attente d‘une bruine sans doute rhabillée de neige le temps d‘un fulminant instant voilà le printemps sorti pour viser la forme d‘une insonore cloche en fonte II. Draps d‘hiver chrysalide vide jetée en boule au pied de l‘avenue maintenant les pigeons sur les bandes blanches et jaunes des piétons perdent la carte picorent le vide ne pigent plus rien Ce matin ma rétine est reine des flocons attardés flottent insolents au-dessus de ma langue des épanchements de sève le printemps sert le thé dans un service déjà vu suranné Réincarnations de corbeaux en vents aux pointes indéchiffrables et qui vont avec les crêtes et les creux de la nuit la lune fait miroiter des sections d‘hiver encore le soleil à peine assèche

28

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


JULIUS CHINGONO

ZW

Grapes

Today I was fortunate To stumble upon a vendor Sorting out grapes for sale. He separated The good from the bad On a plastic sheet Spread on a pavement. He gave me all He thought were foul.

29

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


FRED D'AGUIAR

UK

Rigged

Here comes a fisherman with a lead-fringed net That he gathers like an accordion, swings and throws In a circle above water and the circle falls, Breaks and enters water, joins its reflection. If this could be oil dispersed with such ease, This could be music for a recovered species, BP spill folding back into itself in reverse, To click shut, please, like a click-shut purse.

30

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


RITA DAHL

FI

San Felipe del Aguan ilta

Illassa pärisevät kaukaiset rummut. Raketit paukkuvat kuin jokainen yö olisi juhla, ovi jonnekin. Yksinäiset aasit vailla omistajaa kapuavat tietä ylös, vaikka koipi paketissa sitkeästi jolkottaen. Nuoret pojat juoksevat samaa tietä alas kenties kohti kaupunkia, juhlamenoja, rumpujen pärinää. Lavastus vaihtuu nopeasti ja yllättäen; puiden silhuetit katoavat tummaan kitaan, joka ympäröi rumpuja. Itsepintainen koira haukkuu kai jollekin toiselle tai jotakin toista odottaen. Naamiot putoavat vihdoin lattialle. Yhden sävelen maratonsirkka vetää koko yön kestävän serenadin melkein yhdellä hengityksellä. Viimeisenkin valon sammuttua seinän takana tai katolla alkaa anonyymin hyönteisen yövuoro, joka kestää aamukahteen. Autot sammuvat vasta kolmelta, kun kenenkään ei tee enää mieli päästä kaupunkiin tai kotiin. Puhe ei lopu koskaan, se on säksättävää yritystä yhteisyyteen kielillä, jotka eivät tunne kantajaansa, tai kantajilla, jotka eivät vielä tunne kieltään tai sen kaikkia ulottuvuuksia. Monotonisirkka jatkaa silloinkin kun kaikki muut ovat luovuttaneet itsensä ties minkä huomaan. Night of San Felipe del Agua

In the evening buzz far away drums. Rockets bang like every night were a celebration, a door to somewhere. Lonely donkeys without proprietor climb up the street, even if leg bound resiliently jogging. Young boys run down the same street perhaps to the town, the ceremonies, the buzz of the drums. Scenery changes all of sudden and without notice; silhouettes of the trees vanish into dark mouth surrounding the drums. An obstinate dog barks probably at someone else or waiting for someone else. Masks fall finally down. Grasshopper of one note draws all night long serenade in almost one breath. After the last light has gone out, behind the wall or at the floor begins the night shift of an anonymous insect, which lasts until two o´clock. Cars fade away only at three, when no one has no more lust to reach the town or at home. Talking never ends, it is a zigzagging endeavour into community with the languages which do not know its bearer, or bearers, who do not know their language or all the dimensions of it. Grasshopper of monotone continues even when all the others have given up themselves into a lap of whatever.

31

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


MARY DALTON

NZ

from In the Cracks of the City ****** 3

Freedom; Merrymeeting Road On the old St. Pat‘s ground the big Sobey‘s sits. Its slogan: New Food Ideas. Piled in a barrel, the pitahayas, just down from the persimmons and ugli fruit. Six ninety-nine and you can bring home the tropics, home to your table. In Sobey‘s today it‘s colder than cold, a refrigerator zone. Outside it‘s the same. No possible adjustment: the air-system‘s run from Halifax. They turn the lights on and off, too, says the clerk who has to think twice about buying bananas, even in season, on her non-unionized wage. The pitahaya has a pale beet skin with flanges like an armadillo. A shape like a big pear. When you cut into the gorgeous pink-red skin: watery white flesh, pitted with small black seeds. The flesh tastes like nothing, but for some reason you feel an unease, the way you did when once you ate shark meat. Maybe it will taste better chilled. ***

32

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


LYNN DAVIDSON

NZ

Along river road (i)

The cows are all pregnant or oozing at the rear. The milk truck is low-bellied. My unborn son kicks my ribcage like it was swinging cowboy doors. We can hardly contain everything. One stormy night the meat safe door flings open with a hoarse shout then sucks back impatiently through metal teeth. When the sun comes it laps against the hills – it fills the valley. My mother visits and kneels at all these places: where ferns grow in a circle of pongas by the irises on the rise at the cornflowers along the palings at the fence where trembly calves patrol. She brings me blackberries in a cup. Lifts such sweet things for me to smell, to taste, until I want to say I know nature is lovely I know I know but also strange and relentless and I long for the settled grain of a page for that big, still country with its stable population.

33

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


TOM DAWE

CA

In Picasso‘s ―Madman‖

Somehow, in Picasso‘s ―Madman‖, I can see the four of them: Uncle Henry Gaunt just back from the Labrador, bent over Aunt Carrie‘s grave, crying in his big, cupped hands, then stopping suddenly to peer through knotty fingers at aspen leaves trembling on a white sky. And my tired grandfather, daydreaming in the landwash, gazing through a web of caplin mesh strung on his splayed fingers in a moment when he did not see me watching him. And poor Jenny Drake, the war-bride knitting by a kitchen window, ignoring her baby‘s crying, staring through the yarn-lines in her thin fingers, talking again of cowslip fields and heather-slopes across the sea. And the retarded boy who lived one time in Rampike Arm, lying hidden under cherry-limbs, talking to his contorted hands, laughing excitedly to himself each time mosquitoes clustered for his blood… …Something of four people I knew one time, now glimmering in Picasso‘s tattered ―Madman‖ forever fascinated with those invisible skeins all tangled in his scrawny hands.

34

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


KWAME DAWES

GH

Mama 1

Before the squat bungalows of rough hewn timber felled with two-manned scars at the edge of the river, everything is new, the silence of the sky the soft caw of crows; and we are landed on pebbles, strangers a long way from home, the sound of a language climbing in terrible error through our heads, spinning around, searching for an echo or a familiar tongue to speak it. I came before these cluttered huts where a village, before the relief of arrival, was the only cure for the fear; before they saw us niggers as anything but company, as fellow travelers. 2 First thing you do is walk out in the bush before dawn; stand in the deep and breathe, you have to smell to know, how to crush leaf after leaf to smell out grief and joy, healing and curses. Everything is strange, and yet, it out tastes the air everything becomes familiar as breathing, familiar as the taste of river water, and you wait for the spirits to talk, and if they talk funny, they will teach you their language—show you where to walk, what twigs to pick up, what leaves to soak; they know your anointing and this is why they keep on giving. 3 News comes in whispers, an exchange of tales between a simple valet and a field hand, just where the sweating horses sip from a pail of cool water, it carries over roads; angry bands of slaves returning to their dark cottages. It can take weeks, months sometimes, but it comes—so many dead, so many savaged

35

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


by white folks, so scared of how close the rot of brutality came to destroying them. ―Stono‖, they whisper, Angolan slaves rising up, and they shed blood, watched its slow spill into the earth; they burnt down crops, these, our sustenance, now our ancestors flying East, far east sailing homeward. 4 For every elegant face molded into peace, every stiff eye kneaded shut, for every bath in mint, cinnamon, ginger and warmed aloes, you understand the languages spoken on this path through thickening bush; for each body laid out on wood, orifices washed, fingers cleaned, you fear nothing of their secret mysteries of flesh and blood, broken bread and wine. We plant broken bottles and shells in the ground then wait for the returning sun to promise a safe passage; and you swell with song, full of the holy food that nourishes you—you grow fat after each burial, as silent as history, stoic, regal. 5 All around the trees‘ leaves are black with burn and dry blood. The stench of flesh will continue to attack our dreams. I learn to know pink skin, though black with rot, from the pulping of my brothers‘ bodies. My job if to search out from the worms something to keep, to undo the mystery of the dead, nothing new in this. We must haul the tender limbs onto wagons, then bury them. Ah, hubris; look art what our arrogance brings! This war, too, will pass, but I will will not forget the fresh scent of a kill. 6 Deep in August, news comes in starts, six hundred souls perished in Mobile; a wicked wind turned its eye to blast into the soft belly of the first hills 36

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


rising out of the gulf, and negroes have been walking aimlessly for weeks. The heat is cooking everything; mosquitoes taking the babies home. It‘s bleak, the future—I will leave these dried out fields for the dip and rise of green valleys. Pittsburg with its tug boats, plying the criss crossing of rivers, the scream of steel factory whistles, the stroke of hope in the sky: soon we‘ll all learn to cope.

37

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


REGINA DERIEVA

RU

from images in black, continuous Black Monday

The big city bangs its heads on the heavens. It will, I think, drag on impoverished till doomsday, afflicted upstairs. What? -Loony, incoherent, spasms in extremities, incontinent, asthmatic fits – the shining example of the incorrigible. A Black Wednesday Before the accident and afterwards the black day remains – black. This day will not be cleansed of ashes and dust, nor could the day be reconstructed on film, because not only Electra but everyone and everything else has the lawful right of mourning. And other rights just do not exist. So now your world is blowing up, strewing ashes over heads, as a Swedish pastor from Gävle did from a helicopter – the black fireworks of a black holiday. Black News Before falling unconscious the herald gasped, ―Fuit Ilium.‖* But with the passage of time such news has ceased to excite, and now bystanders only shrug,

38

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


―A worthy man, surely, poisoned by the bitter honey of his message.‖ *Latin. ―Troy has been‖ (i.e., is no more) The Black Abyss of Kropotkin Beneath the cultured layer – a hellhole, a black abyss impossible to plumb or measure. And even the anarchists of Göteborg run the other way behind white flags. Error The Chairman of the Globe* wrote a long time ago: ―Freedom comes nude.‖ He did not want to know that the authorities dress her in order to execute her publicly. *So the Russian poet Velimir Khlebnikov named himself. Inconveniences Where is the pleasure in being a hero? From the pedestal, where you now stand, very little is visible, and the whole time birds defecate and defecate on your head. Translated from the Russian by Frederick Smock

39

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


RITA DOVE

US

Serenade

Look for me Under the rose Look for me Wherever love grows There you'll find A drop of dew It is the tear I've left for you Look for me Beyond the skies Look for me Wherever love flies Surely you know Don't act surprised Heartbreak lives on When memory's died Look for me Behind your eyes Listen for me When someone sighs Go to sleep You'll dream of me Wake to eat I'm in your tea If you take her there Where lovers go I'll be waiting Under the rose

40

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


JOHN ENNIS

IE

Darfur

The beating and questions went on for days. I was blindfolded most of the time, so I couldn‘t see what they were using to beat me. Once when the blindfold was off though I saw a piece of electric cable. My whole body was numb so I couldn‘t feel anything any more. I was bleeding everywhere, I was soaked in blood. They never let me use a toilet. The room was covered with my faeces and urine. At times I lost consciousness. I was expecting to die. A deportee in H-block Khartoum,

No refuge in these islands.

Neeson torturing in Taken, for the noblest of intentions, He played Collins, remember? Maybe bono will speak up for me, or ex-Jimmy Carter, I might make one of the three that make the US. Or Syria, the leper, that takes in over a million Iraqi refugees? No Promised Land here for African refugees, Olmert. If I need asylum, like Fashir, Does my story conflict with wikipedia.org.? They took me to see my killer When I just asked for aid. * Darfur is dying, a video game for the young in out of the rain, Nero is fiddling by the Tiber again. Darfurians, you‘re falling down the totem pole of CNN What with the freedom agendas of Iraq, Afghanistan. Or, Damocles can cut your food aid anytime, checks it monthly. The 4 million depending on food aid to survive. Those who reach out to you like Chad have little to give.

41

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


Better be beaten to death by Egyptian border squads. . . Earlier the 100,000 dead by famine. Entirely preventable. The hand of Khartoum. Merchants steal our land for Chevron For Chevron has found oil on our land Children never see again, pound the brains of those too young to walk. I sold my kid (child) for a dollar for food … and Intervention? Missile the hospital for fear Aidid hides there. What‘s another family blown to bits of bone as we chase the Taliban? Cheney on his Rangers overtrained pit bulls. No one controls them The only good Somali (sic.) is a dead Somali. Checkpoints useful junctures for elimination. Facilitation? The 800,000 Rwandians dead. Who in turn come to help. The Un blockaded from entry. Then, no fuel for patrols. Buy your own paint to paint your helmets blue Let the IMF and the World bank dole out bribes But vote against ME and I‘ll slash your aid. Boutros-Ghali the Roman Empire had no need for diplomacy Nor does the United States * Meanwhile Sudan‘s macroeconomy‘s in boomtime Thanks to the unison of chessboard warlords and the IMF. In the world village without borders, hippocrates still lives. Doctors without borders remember their oath to him Their candles lighting amid the huts of darkness.

42

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


BORBÁLA FARAGÓ

IE

The Lacuna ―Mother is a museum of bad words‖ – Barbara Kingsolver

My house was like a half-empty cigarette packet most of the time, where I opened my skin to pour myself into every argument that coloured my breakfast violet. She had a feral vocabulary that told me to dissolve myself from her sight, one particle at a time. I obliged, and like a harbour porpoise at docking-hour, dived into murkier seas. She kept her phone off the hook and I didn‘t even have one, but I knew she took to long walks with little resentments dripping from her shoes, her face gathering telegraph lines. When years later I walked across the nightingale floor and the house clanged with birdsong, my mother let go of her lipstick and planted flowers on my skin her echo growing louder in the dark.

43

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


ANNIE FINCH

US

Me and planted trees

If some truck is passing, leaving us—and if we're seen or not—why should it matter, since it's she these trees will take for spirit, leaving me turned inside out. She helping us. Help me, I could ask the wind that hits my hollow leaves, or the young roots made companions by strong men who pass with cars each time I forget them. But I ask, take me, trees, just to grow on; take me; hollow your hearts from my need, your rage leaf fingers, and your spirits' need. Take me to be your spirit. You can see only this plain material in me. It is mud with its simple, lightened tree, and in the country you'll acknowledge me and feast your leaves with my hard wind. See me. But from the city, I expect a sound that will embody anarchy, unbound.

44

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


LEONTIA FLYNN

IE

The Floppy Disc

Prince among misnomers, the floppy disc lies stranded, in drifts of dust, in the top desk drawer. A castaway on shingly paper clips. Or under and old bank statement, the small withdrawals dwindling to little, then less, then nothing at all. How young it is to be so obselete? The stainless-steel clip shines. The neat black case still sleek as a woman‘s suit, or evening purse. I will take it between my finger and my thumb And post it with a click through the square-ish slot Of the oh-so-recent, stunningly useless past. The moment before the moment before now Whose code is lost. Where are they now those words That tapped and shone – so earnest – on the screen Like an urgent bird against the window pane. Like an urgent bird against the window pane. Like the knocks and muffled groaning from the mine after the props have snapped – the floppy disc is the marker – blank – on its own unknown‘s grave. Like the love note still sealed in its envelope.

45

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


GERARDO GAMBOLINI

AR

Buenos Aires, 1970 ―We are stardust, we are golden‖ —Joni Mitchell

El cine entero extasiado por el volumen sonriendo por el barro los bañistas, la ilusión del exceso Luego fue el sordo oleaje del tiempo — Lo que queda por delante es el número de Hendrix el mundo más vacío los cuerpos deambulando por el campo las sobras esparcidas de la fiesta lo terriblemente breve de la música. ―We are stardust, we are golden‖ —Joni Mitchell

The whole cinema raptured by the volume smiling at the mud, the bathers, the illusion of excess Then it was the silent tides of time — What is still ahead is Hendrix‘s act the emptier world the bodies walking about the field the scattered leftovers of the party the terrible brief of music.

46

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


FORREST GANDER

US

from Redstart ***

Where cocked ear to river registers silt and leachate scouring boulders, water‘s oracular interior, quartz clatter at edge and break brecciated cataracts of whirled sound, gusting rain, ripple-drifts across swirl over swallet hole where plastic bottles trail the skiff all current and sun, thrush, retina. Kingfisher swoop, an inseminating gesture as we ―in our porous skins‖ continuous with, indistinguishable from— *** --- escarpment, micro-plutonic, and early a.m. Glacial in its nakedness. Stop. The red zones on the climate map proliferating. Cockroaches coast the restaurant wall. Stop. A woman at the next table lifts her hair to the other shoulder. Stop. 86 on walrus-heart soup. Restroom closed, sewage pipe clogged by a glove. You need to go outside. Stop. There, where a flock of herring gulls walks from the stormy beach across the country club golf course— as though the performance they attended had just ended. Dimension, presence, glowering responsive light. Stop. 47

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


Porphyry cobbles in the driveway. Pink going red. *** At the edge of a benevolence by means of affiliation. And held up there, in an experience given multiple entries like hatches of periwinkles. Or given a ―moment‘s pause with the color of it,‖ but still insensible to the signature changes that fling us into an assertion of ourselves in a garden lettered with birds. The yellow-shouldered grosbeak pishes-in real well. A flicker in its starring role as flicker hiccups over the continuous world— As the waiter places a dish of garlic olive oil on the white tablecloth, we return to ourselves, fog ladled into a pasture. On the plate, black Bolivian potato cakes. And we were arguing about what? with warm plantains at arm‘s reach.

48

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


LORNA GOODISON

JM

You Should Go To Toledo

Was it because I‘d spent the best part of Tuesday astonished by El Greco; that he stepped from out the shadows and delivered that oracular message? I‘d stared hard at the tongues of flame over the heads of the disciples till I felt a dry heat catch a fire in my fontanelle. ‗El Grec‘, the docent in the Prado called him; a stranger in Spain all his days. What do you like about him? asks the one who came out of the night, and I say this: It‘s how his figures just keep going up past the mandatory seven heads. It's all about grasp exceeding reach. It's the insistent knocking at my temples making me anxious to enter in when I approach his door-sized canvases. And his storm at sea all dolorous blue and his stain of dried oxblood and I cling to the hem of the garment of that broad beam shoeless angel who looks as if singlehanded she could lift our Lord from the cross before she binds up everyone‘s wounds. And the one who separated from the shades and sat at table with us in a late night place all redolent with olive oil and baccalau says: ―Then you should go to Toledo‖.

49

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


LAVINIA GREENLAW

UK

Water for Tea

The question must be travelled fully like the missing storeys of the Unfinished Palace, a century of incompletion and its reputation made. The air above its low roof scintillates like empty paper or glass. How to wait with good heart? No one can speak of it. Tonight, all talk is of the moon, so proximate, so described, shadows foliate its surface. It is a press of leaves, an unearthed green to be reconstituted as light is from destination. The question must be travelled fully. It is ten years since, on the Tokyo metro, my train stopped for a minute at Water for Tea Station. A warrior rested at the spring. I remember only the bowl – geranium - and the moon, a disc of satsuma powder paint. As to the water, the weather or what he said, I am certain of nothing. To this day, I drink tea with him.

50

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


EAMON GRENNAN

IE/US

Elemental

The dream all water, a voyage to God knows where, a setting off through bars of this bright-mullioned window beyond which twinkles a mix of rush-hour traffic, yapping geese, tattered sky. This morning after, then, you catch sight of— rising out of muddy water— a mud-colored heron lifting itself out of two elements and vaulting broad-winged into a third, leaving a little sign of the fire that feeds it in the gleam of steam its breath had been. What you wish for, watching, is a life so right among the elements: to be there in that perfect present absolute, be a self flung headlong into the future, past looking back— simply becoming the world as it becomes you, becomes whatever has been brought to this moment as it is on extended wing: a balance happening.

51

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


KIMIKO HAHN

JP

Home

When a rehabilitated pelican stressed from sludge and human contact is released miles from spewed oil, fish full of petroleum, and tidal pools of tar balls-she returns to Queen Bess Island. Who can blame the instinct that lures her back to that toxic nest. The Minute Who cares about a hermit crab, smaller than a baby‘s fist? Who cares that it‘s wrapped in oil so dense it cannot crawl an inch? Who cares that there‘s nowhere to give it proper burial? Who dares to call its borrowed shell foreclosure?

Evidence found lines from the newspaper The oil pours out nearly every week, and some swamps are long since lifeless. Perhaps no place on earth has been as battered by oil … nothing living moves in a black-and-brown world once teeming with shrimp and crab. Small children swim in the polluted estuary here, fishermen take their skiffs out ever farther…. The oil pours out nearly every week, and some swamps are long since lifeless. [T]he fishermen curse their oil-blackened nets … ―We can‘t see where to fish: oil is in the sea.‖ [N]othing living moves in a black-and-brown world once teeming with shrimp and crab. The swamp was deserted and quiet, without even bird song … ―Whatever cry we cry is not heard outside of here.‖ The oil pours out nearly every week, and some swamps are long since lifeless.

52

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


―There is Shell oil on my body,‖ said Hannah Baage, emerging from Gio Creek…. ―Nobody is worried about this one.‖ [N]othing living moves in a black-and-brown world once teeming with shrimp and crab. The oil spews from rusted and aging pipes, unchecked … As many as 546 million gallons of oil spilled into the Niger Delta over the past five decades The oil pours out nearly every week, and some swamps are long since lifeless. [B]efore the spills women from Bodo earned a living gathering shellfish among the mangroves. Lines from NYT 6/17/2010, A1, ―Half a World from the Gulf…‖ by Adam Nossiter

53

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


MICHAEL S. HARPER

US

Three gentlemen from Verona

In the prose poems of James Arlington Wright He visited Verona with his second wife, Annie; Intimates who loved his poems called him JAW. He sent me a letter about my “Nightmare Begins Responsibility,“ unsolicited;I invited him to Brown campus: He was on the wagon and on leave from Hunter College. I recorded his reading at Pembroke campus: Windows open, frolicking children, a Yiddish joke; His commentaries were about his brother[“To a Defeated Savior”] And his Grandmother, „semi-literate,‟ who wrote letters to school When he played hooky. Then he wrote “Hook” About a Sioux brave in the Minneapolis bus station; He was kin to “Little Crow;” they ate gar together at New Ulm, MN And JAW‟s best translations were from the “Spanish.” His PhD dissertation Was on Charles Dickens.In the military he was in Japan after Hiroshima & Nagasaki: no poems on that period of his life. You should know he was a brilliant teacher: He taught no poetry writing but literature classes As he learned from his Latin teacher In Martins Ferry, Ohio; Somehow he went to Kenyon on the G.I. Bill. He married his girlfriend from his hometown Had two sons and studied Ransom, Tate, Lowell, the ancients, Horace in particular: He called himself a „Horatian.‟ II The best teacher I ever knew was Sterling Allen Brown. He was a 4-H-Man:Homer, Heine, Harding, Housman. He studied with Kittredge at Harvard on Shakespeare; He told stories of “Kitty,” who had no PhD: “who would Examine him,” Sterling said. Sterling called himself “Falstaff;”he loved Prince Hal who needed protection To rule. Sterling called himself a „red-ink-man;‟ His comments were longer than his students. The first blues record he knew was by Mamie Smith. He had the best ear at Williams and ran the Howard Players in D.C. In the nation‟s capitol:wrote Southern Road, ed. The Negro Caravan. He was our Library Of Congress, where he could not eat while doing Research, in his hometown: his comments on Lincoln 54

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


Dante, Proust, Melville, Douglass, were In the American Grain. He was no fugitive poet, but a believer in „An Integer Is a Whole Number.‟ His book on prosody was a companion To James Weldon Johnson‟s American Negro Poetry. Sterling‟s father was preacher who graduated from Fisk And Oberlin; his mother was valedictorian of her class at Fisk. III Both JAW and Sterling were believers in the text: Literature, for them, was a study in comparative Humanity. Both loved Keats: Odes & Letters: „negative capability‟ and “vale of soulmaking” their special tropes & archival landmarks. IV Gwendolyn Brooks[“We Real Cool”] gave me my career: She took my first book out of a slush pile And saw it was published; she was one Of three judges; the other two Denise Levertov & Robert Penn Warren. I did not win the United States Poetry Award from Pittsburgh but I was in Time Magazine with Jesse Jackson on the cover and Ralph Ellison‟s seminal essay in its center: ‘What Would America Be Without Blacks’ V We are in a period of expansion from Lincoln‟s “Second Inaugural:” literacy and citizenship Are the next vistas to that expansion. “Let the doing be the exercise, not the exhibition”— read Jean Toomer‟s Essentials & his Cane. VI Meet life‟s terms but never accept them: “I been down so long that down don‟t worry me” „I don‟t know why my mother wants to stay here fuh this old worl‟ aint been no friend to huh.‟ VII I once took Linguistics from Mrs. Robinson; her class met at 9 a.m. Three days a week. One morning she came to class only To read “After Long Silence” by William Butler Yeats, And eight line poem of epiphany. Then she dismissed us. 55

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


When I asked an English secretary why Mrs. Elizabeth Robinson Behaved in such a manner, the secretary at L.A.S.C. said: “Mrs. Robinson‟s husband died last evening.” VIII ‚It is late at night and still I am losing But Still I am steady and unaccusing. As long as the Declaration guards My right to be equal in number of cards It is nothing to me who runs the dive Let’s have a look at another five.‛ —Robert Frost “In Dives‟ Dive” from A FURTHER RANGE, 1936 Frost believed in Sound & Sense To me his word has no recompense. @Michael S. Harper, 2010 Note: this ditty is dedicated to Kyle Glasper/ Jon Henricks/& Jacob Henry. 4 19 10, Patriots Day & Day of the Boston Marathon.

56

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


PAUL HETHERINGTON

AUST

Linguist 1.

When ten years old you read of the East in books from the shelves of a neighbour‘s house, her daughter feeding you Dutch liquorice and rucking up her skirt, enjoying your entranced, embarrassed gaze. You kissed her salty lips and the world opened out. You‘ve written since of language—how meaning is everywhere differently made. Last year, leaving again, you said you were going to chase your old impulse and, months later, wrote of drinking yak-butter tea that slowly you learned to like; of throwing rice ―to appease ancestral spirits‖; of seeing goats on slopes that dropped five thousand feet; of a woman in blue, traditional dress dancing as if she conjured a languor out of the depths of the earth. And of sitting on a donkey among mountain crags above a valley where herdsmen and their flock followed a white track, slowly rehearsing new words you had garnered, ways of saying ―tradition‖, ―hearth‖, ―to travel‖ and ―at home‖. 2. At the edge of what you know there are raucous bird calls scraping the sides of a valley, swift and scissoring flashes of light, the rustle of silk on hurrying women whose dark faces glance up before they turn into a gated laneway, a spidery cascade of herbs near a colonnade broken centuries ago, crowds shouting in narrow streets. Also, some seemingly impossible thing— perhaps a figure of light, perhaps an old carpet that floats away of its own volition, or a voice speaking in a vanished language— you turn to the sound and see five women in scarlet silk busy at haggling over the price of aubergine. A smiling vendor holds out his arm, balancing dark fruit on a scale.

57

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


3. Even the way the name sings in your mouth excites you, fantastical and joyous, and though others debunk the idea of Shangri-La as preposterous, your thoughts won‘t let it go, travelling past mysterious peaks and over long plateaux made when the earth was new. You began with trepidation in lower grasslands, having boarded a groaning train in an ancient city, where women with red and orange shawls around their faces were—strangely—talking in English, bending to pick up baskets of washed linen and three rectangular parcels wrapped in cloth of gold. You were conspicuous because of your pale skin and overly nonchalant posture, still getting used to the feel of your travelling body. Beggars demanded money; someone grabbed at the ring on your hand. Much later, in a town cut out of stone, you followed scrawled directions down an alley, past shadows that seemed alive, and suddenly knew that looking for Shangri-La might be your death despite a café‘s flicker of candlelight. You sat with food that smelt of cinnamon and something unrecognisable, a sour, heady flavour that seemed to adhere to the dress of the silent waitress who bowed when greeting you. Tomorrow a man is due to bring supplies so you can hunker down on a camel trek for another thousand kilometres towards the globular, sacred mountain which you believe will be luminous and white like a monstrous pearl; towards that lovely, seductive sound in your mouth, the indomitable, rising inflection of your dream.

58

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


BIDDY JENKINSON

IE

Ar an sceilg dom

Is Sceilg gach sceilg nó ní Sceilg sceilg ar bith. Tá an fheithid seo ar a suaimhneas i gcailís an choireáin mara, ar maos san solas glasbhuí, díonta, ar gach siolla gaoithe. Os a cionn na piotail bhána, chomh niamhrach leis an bhfáinne geal thart ar an Sceilg. Há! Bá! Bá! Leagas méar ar an deargadaol faoi thrí ag cur d'iallach air a eireaball a chrochadh faoi thrí, chun an diabhal a shéanadh faoi thrí; ón uair go rabhas féin lán de ghrásta ag filleadh dom ó na háiteanna arda. Ar chéim trí chruinnchomhartha: scraith chloch, cac faoileáin, guma cogainte. Biddy Jenkinson writes her poetry in Irish

59

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


JILL JONES

AUST

Good Vibrations

There's nothing so natural as a Sydney train give into it, call now, way out over footbridge accelerations and deliveries in pigeon alley fiji product corned beef and cassava rusted girder and a slight limp in the special needs nightsafe area onwards raking sun and backpackers suburbs the colour of brick, sandstone and jacaranda, yellow doors network fines apply, keep our trains report unclean stand clear through Central nervous on the get out The bus shakes and is less natural like a heritage office or some other brand approved cafe route map aerial light open/close trivia and outwit/outplay cup the spiky dome, Pat White's old house in there somewhere going for a song patches of green congratulate themselves smooth suburbs sailing and tacking into afternoon, the excess of a come-on poster flashing bare shoulders and piano boutiques until there's the sea and time for some hula dreaming with the mambo kids and cold ones flashing steel ukeleles on the aloha

60

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


YUSEF KOMUNYAKAA

US

Night-Blooming Cereus & Faรงade

I can't take my eyes off the nude in a third-floor window at 3 a.m. Where she is it is already day in Copenhagen & Atlantis, & I'd bet mystery against my life she's listening to Bouncing with Bud. Swaying to fingers up & down the keys, she's at the edge of something grand now fallen into decay & shambles. I don't think she's an ad seen through the window of a faรงade, but she could be a painter' s model taking a break from sitting in a single pose for hours, in dialogue with shades of red begging Bud's shadow not to limp away wounded by nightsticks. I wonder if she knows blooming has filled up the room & left her lonely as I am tonight beneath a handful of cosmic dust, a boarded-up front door still guarded by two lions.

61

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


DAVE LORDAN

IE

Tiger Donnelly‘s Last Stand

The movement was crushed, The leaders, my comrades and friends, all dead or in prison, Our fellow travellers no longer travelling, The weaker ranks and half of section B recanting, Most people recalling how to shut their mouths and bend their backs and make themselves small to get by. My lover turned out to be a mole for the branch And going by what she‘d told them They found me in a bedsit down in Greystones And put me under house arrest. By flesh they made my manic, paranoiac egomania work for them; Front page of all the tabloids: TIGER CAGED TIGER TURNS INTO A PUPPY TIGER HAS HIS CLAWS PARED And there was nothing my father could do With all his bloody money and connections. No wonder I was back on the booze and the fags Coughing up blood And blind drunk most nights on the whiskey that They kept passing through the hole in the window to tempt me. It was time, I knew, to play and show my strength. It was time for the last stand So I let my hair grow for a couple of months. The day it finally brushed my shoulders I stood well-on in candlelight In front of the bathroom mirror And thought I saw the young and fearless warrior that I once wasfelt again that limitless imprisoning commitment. It‘s amazing how simple and meagre to turn yourself into a walking apocalypse; Just mess around a bit with what you‘d Find in any garden shedA couple of phials from your little brother‘s chemistry set, A quick ska through a few dodgy sites on the internet. I announced by handwritten note to the Garda on duty My desire to officially disown

62

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


My past adherences and activities And if it could be suitably arranged To purge myself in the presence of the greatest of my former enemies. They really went to town on the arrangements, Hired out the National Concert Hall, Drew up the hottest guest list since Live AidThe taoiseach, his ministers, the captains of Industry And their wives, the captainesses, Every kind of high society sycophant and fame-licking toady. And for last two seats they ran a postal competition On the Late Late Show with Ryan Tubridy. I requested they build only the barest of sets Just an imitation marble archway Centre foreground of the stage Which passing through would signify I said My passage from rebellion to acceptance of their right to rule over me. A champagne reception in Kildare Street Meant all the worthies were more than half-cut By showtime And when I walked out onto the stage Dressed in nothing but sandals and a loincloth I was squirted with caviar and the mank from canapes , And called all sorts of names With all their rugby-style whooping I don‘t think a single one of those fake-tanned orang-utans heard what I had decided to call The Final Manifesto, ten words long: Fire I was Fire I am Fire I shall be Then I blew myself to Kingdom come And they all came fucking with me.

63

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


EHAB LOTAYEF

EG/CA

Native

Half Arab half Jewish Half English half Irish Half Han half Tibetan Half Western half Eastern Half Shiite half Sunni Half Hutu half Tutsi All human (not that I‘m terribly proud of it) I‘m a hundred percent native born and raised on this planet

64

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


MAHA ELAMIN A MAHMOUD

SD

Village Children

Boys looking after uncles‘ camels Pouring water into barrels While girls chattering loitered free Their roaming goats to oversee Lots of games they used to play Of Robin Hood, a Sudanese way They rounded cattle still playing in jest Their bodies refrained to rest They fed on warm milk They fed on raw onions They ate wild rabbits They ate the wild hen When it was midday Boys rested on the hay Camels crouched drowsy under shady trees Their nostrils swelling trying to catch the breeze But come after midday They gathered under the Baobab/Tabaldi tree Herd fed, felt happy they were free Children appeared from among dry trees Some by the hand swung a pair of geese Some swung a bunch That was supposed to be their lunch Moaning hungry With zest and haste The meal was prepared Thanking Allah facing east They started their feast They ate with appetite Over a tray they fight Into the ‗Gurasa‘ they bite

Tabaldi/‗Baobab‘ a common tree that grows in many regions of the Sudan, esp. the West, the sour-sweet fruits of which are favoured by children ‗Gurasa‘ a traditional flat bread made of flour, backed over traditional ovens,; similar to pancakes but larger and thicker

65

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


JENNIFER MAIDEN

AUST

Positional Asphyxia

Watching the second but not last massacre by the Israelis in Qana, my daughter hopes that the scores of dead children died in their sleep, and I reassure her hollowly, ‗Perhaps‘, but I remember Thredbo, where the Coroner said some victims were alive at first, died later of ‗Positional Asphyxia‘. Families cradling limp, lovely, livid Qana children say after the bombing at first they heard them crying under the concrete. Their asphyxia in a tight compartment there perhaps is over, while need to breathe safe air in a sealed nation traps their enemy, trauma-rigid and forever. for Katharine Margot

66

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


BILL MANHIRE

NZ

After Class

It was time kept me in after class so that when the teacher said, Go! I ran real fast – under the wheels of the car, under the hoofs of the horse, under the high-rise‘s about-to-be-rubble. They were dropping those flares overhead so we could watch ourselves in serious trouble, afloat on the last sheet of ice, swimming to rafts beyond the reef, applauding the walls of flame. And nothing could turn this back, not time nor death nor walks across a field – though time itself found out the hedge in which I slept, where I believe I first went missing. He was always lost in a book, is what my father said, my mother, too; and what the doctor affirmed, towering above my twiggy bed. But I was in some other place, like an explorer or a kidnapped child – famous because I was gone, because I finally seemed to vanish.

67

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


CHRIS MANSELL

AUST

Poem Written in the Key of MotherTongue

There are things too big to stutter the poet's tongue there is the drip of a silence mimetic and sharp as a blade to the tongue slippery image the budding world there the cunning lingua franca of desire there the paralanguage grunt the para shoot of fear there the dark split open with a tongue-denying shrug there the tongue solo the harp tone harpy tongue the spiney I kid you tachyglossia the quick tongued spiny pants eater now you watch here comes the tongue's flippy flirt the tongue to the lippy the raspberry lipped tongue kissy kissy then the meanings slip off the tongue like a boy off a motor bike see those slim hips see those bone sharp eyes see the hidden tongues he speaks hip this is a tongue you can taste it's thigh and rattle bone and then and then you hold your tongue and things go mute in the night and suddenly he and I and you and us are tongue tired weary boned the talk muscle the kiss limb limps along there is no tongue how to gloss this lipless strangle tongue this tangle tongue but to say when tongue is gone

68

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


when tongue is muter mutter songs are not enough no tongue no longer no longer lip-longing no tip no tongue then other tongue is mother tongue.

69

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


ROB MCLENNAN

CA

from avalanche *

Dear long distance when I am sufficiently spent, away a bathurst phone booth not the space to house this oversized heart ; the point last seen ; night terrors spent would also weather hazards

;

known not lower angled

; the stops enlarge the air & mark ice further fate , sealed (is) * to fold her garden ly ;

slow meaning you

the delicate erase & ease of comes out swinging heart schemata , lost for good or would you gleaming, out or virginal mad w/ grief renewed, at times a star-fish coin if substance could not but sing * dear frank slide for all that you held, nether stone one hundred later years ; bodies buried by rock & remain the worst natural disaster in then-country the town of frank buried & its offspring, frank slide a mile more down road , continued leaning out a storm or story

70

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


ANDREW MOTION

UK

The otter

We stopped for no good reason I could see beyond the bridge across a burn that hurtled off the tops and into Harries Loch. Doubling back and down into the twilight of the arch where grass had made a secret lip to catch the water's breath, you found the spraint and lifted on your finger a whiff of silage, a smear of gentleman's relish, a feast between one disappearance and the next.

71

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


PAUL MULDOON

IE

YOU SAY YOU‘RE JUST HANGING OUT (BUT I KNOW YOU‘RE JUST HANGING IN)

I WISH YOU‘D LEAVE YOUR ONE BEDROOM FLY BACK TO ME DIRECTLY EVEN A CROW WILL NOT PRESUME TO STICK TO THE SCRIPT EXACTLY YOU LIKE TO SHOOT STRAIGHT FROM THE HIP WHEN YOU‘RE POURING A DRINK AND TENDING BAR BRINGS YOU THE TIPS THAT PAY FOR TIME TO THINK YOUR ONE BEDROOM ON BLEECKER STREET ITS BATHTUB‘S FULL OF GIN YOU SAY YOU‘RE JUST HANGING OUT BUT I KNOW YOU‘RE JUST HANGING IN

I WISH YOU‘D LOSE AT LEAST ONE LAYER OF YOUR OBSTINANCY EVEN A MULE‘S A TEAM PLAYER THOUGH ITS DESK‘S A LOT LESS FANCY TONIGHT DEATH VALLEY SEEMS TO RUN FROM BLEECKER TO BROADWAY

72

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


YOU‘RE HAULING BORAX BY THE TON WHILE I PAY AND DISPLAY YOU LOOK LIKE YOUR OWN WINDING SHEET HELD UP BY TWO CLOTHESPINS YOU SAY YOU‘RE JUST HANGING OUT BUT I KNOW YOU‘RE JUST HANGING IN

I WISH YOU‘D FIND A WAY TO CHILL STOP YOUR EXAGGERATIONS EVEN A MOLE MAKES A MOLEHILL OUT OF THE NEAREST MOUNTAIN YOUR FANCY DESK IS BARBED WIRE FENCED IT‘S YOU AGAINST THE WORD BUT THAT‘S NOT ALL YOU‘RE UP AGAINST FROM EVERYTHING I‘VE HEARD YOUR ONE BEDROOM ON BLEECKER STREET ITS WALLS ARE PAPER THIN YOU SAY YOU‘RE JUST HANGING OUT BUT I KNOW YOU‘RE JUST HANGING IN

73

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


PAWEŁ MARCINKIEWICZ

PL

Days 2001

Ołowiana tęcza z odpryskami południa i tylko raz, tuż po „Wiadomościach‖, wysokie niebo, uciekające jak lato. I kiedy błyszczą landrynkowe chmury, pamięci robi się tak słod ko, że dostaje mdłości. Lgnie do policzka cukrowa wata, dymią garnki malinowego soku, pieni się kogiel-mogiel. Lecz każdy z tych cudów bez smaku, dla niewzroku i niedotyku. Ja tkwić po uszy w języku. Z ciemnej jaskini ciała wyć do przymiotnika w pełni. Ja kochać mokro, bez parasola, w deszczu atramentu. Ja przepłynąć z konwojem morze i utonąć w kieliszku. Koniec tego dobrego, wszystkiego, bardzo dziwnego. Zdyszany popiół nadciąga z południa i przykrywa ostatnie czerwienie w złotej ramce opisu. I na samo dobranoc ślina przynosi ciszę. Słowo – no wiesz: takie światło.

74

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


A leaden rainbow with flakes of the south and just once, right after the TV news, a high sky, running away like summer. And when the acid-drop clouds gleam, memories become so sweet, they nauseate. Candy-floss sticks to the cheek, pots of rasp juice steam, meringue mix foams. But each of these miracles no taste for unsight and untouch. Me up to my ears in tongues. From the dark cave of the body me howl to the full adjective. Me love wet, no umbrella, in a rain of ink. Me sail the sea in convoy and drown in a shot glass. Enough of this good, this everything, this very strange. Breathless ash comes up from the south and covers the last reddening in the gold frame of a description. And for all our goodnights spittle brings silence. The word – well, OK: that kind of light. for Ryszard

Krynicki

Translated from the Polish by Agata Miksa and David Malcolm

75

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


EMMA NEALE

NZ

Engulfed

Cycling after sundown under sky the colour of oil-slicked water fear and doubt crystallizing on the horizon like the scent of winter he tackles a hill, reaches the summit, catches full sweep of the port city's lights: a myriad minds work away at their own urgent errands of living; Rome fiddles and burns, fiddles and burns. As he swoops home the darkness detaches a leaf of itself: some fleet nocturnal creature draws ahead then slips back under the night's cold surface and with dream-logic there's some deeper release a poor and hampering, sorrowful piece set free as if all the heart's pathlessness, the hurt world's wider harms, could be eased as readily as breath mists on stillness and some time soon every patch of sadness, fret and harry will just drift away their long, strange work done for the world will no more need us, homo nocens, than the animal who spoons itself from shadow to shadow as stealthily, we imagine, as a single life vanishes: intangible honey trickled from the body's deep comb into the past's hard mouth.

76

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


NUALA NÍ CHONCHÚIR

IE

La Reine

The smells are all drain and hot scalp; my stylist installs me in front of a mirror, combs in silence with lunatic ferocity; for others her mouth is as big as Galway Bay, we, it seems, don‘t share a language. My hair falls to the floor in wet apostrophes, the stylist pushes me under the hood, part crown, part throne, it is called La Reine. I sit, Marie Antoinette, head burning, my plan, however, is to get out alive.

77

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


GRÉAGÓIR Ó DÚILL

IE

Talamh an Éisc

Cha raibh mé ariamh in áit mar seo: taobh thall den chaolas, soilsíonn eireaball na gréine ar choillte crochta Gros Morne. Gearrann faoileán geal trasna na coille glaise mar a bheadh claíomh mór. Ní neamhchosúil le hEilean Iarmain Sgiathanaich. Monamar ciúin mara, sneachta ar shléibhte samhraidh agus an chiall go tiubh láidir díomasach go raibh impireacht againn, Gaela, gan fhios dúinn féin, Leithead Alban, na Garbhchríocha agus Inse Gall, Éire mhór agus Talamh seo an Éisc. Fir chlaímh níor choinnigh, ná cailíní na scadán, lucht déanta amhrán ná fir cheoil. Canann na badhbha dúinn, Fiodh na gCaor, Cúil Íodair Agus an French Shore anseo. Tá gearrtha ar leac thuama in aice láimhe anseo i reilig an chladaigh faoi fhear óg ―Died of exhaustion after the great storm of 1846‖. B‘shin ar tharla, cruinn díreach goirt.

Newfoundland

Never before in such a place as this: on the channel‘s far side, the sun‘s tail flicks the hung forests of Gros Morne. A seagull slashes the deepgreen forest like a claymore. Not unlike the Isle of Ornsay in Skye, with a murmur of seawater, snow on high summer mountains and some sense rising inchoate, strong, arrogant that we had an empire, we the Gael, though unaware, the breadth of Scotland, the Highlands and the Hebrides, broad Ireland and this New found land. Swordsmen failed to keep it, as did herring girls, song-makers, poets. The raven croaks for us, Vinegar Hill, Culloden, and the French Shore here. Incised in a headstone beside me, in the shoreline cemetery, a young man ―died of exhaustion after the great storm of 1846‖ Aye, that‘s what happened, that‘s the bitter truth.

78

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


TANURE OJAIDE

NG

Warrior Songs I

If those called militants had The New York Times or The Times of London they would call their detractors unprintable names if the laboring poor had the power to overturn their suffering they would make servants of their lords if animals in the bush had firepower of their own they would teach hunters a mortal lesson if free-ranging chickens had steel claws in their armory they would impale every hawk that swoops down if the homeland warriors called militants had their own CNN and Aljazeera they would call their robbers monsters they would ask nations why they fought for independence from occupiers of their land they would ask peoples why they fought against enslavement to enjoy their self-raised crops they would ask them all enough questions to embarrass them and to prick their benumbed conscience into waking from villainy into the realization that what‘s good for them is also good for others!

79

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


2 If they had their gods here if they buried their ancestors here if their totem pet roamed here if their muse drank from here if their arts were inspired by this landscape if they raised their children in this neighborhood if they made their living from this soil and water if they exercised their leisure here if this land affirmed their humanity they would use the most offensive weapons in their secret arsenal they would employ the meanest tactics that defy the Geneva Convention and care less for whatever obscenities the rest of the world hurled at them they would battle even harder to victory if the abused bounty was theirs and their violators insulted them as militants. 3 Only in his memory thrive the affluent residents of the wetlands the black anthill that wears a conical helmet the oko bird escorting the current after first rains to the sea the flutter of butterflies that fills the farm with pageantry the armada of newly hatched fish in sailing formations the sleek creeks in flowing sheets cutting across the forest the forest of mangroves providing honor guard to boaters only in his memory the exuberance of his irrecoverable youth where he still hugs green-garmented herbs kisses the beauties that converge on the rain-flushed land waves tall grasses dancing to the wind‘s polyrhythm swoons before the full moon and attendant stars immerses in the divine bath of thundering storms and walks the soil murmuring soothing chants to his soles now he carries scars of burns watches his companions afflicted with toxic fumes hears no more the multiethnic orchestra of the wilds witnesses the vast grove stripped of its divine garment and the rest no mirror of his youth only in memory brought alive in dreams does he recover and walk a stranger to himself and the homeland warrior recognizes his lost land. 4 For the wind that still blows 80

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


and the eyareya grass that dances for the day that still dawns and light that covers from horizon to horizon for the night that still falls and the respite from its refuge for the voices of day and night that still ring and the music to the ears for the rain that still pours and the green it engenders for the seasons that still follow one another and the regularity they provide for the water that still flows and the promise of entering the sea for the sun that still rises and the brilliance that sets in for the soil we still walk and work and the firmness of our gait for the acres on which we still build and the increase we accommodate for the flowers that still flourish and the crops to be harvested for the bounty that still remains and the famine kept at bay we smile and laugh we sing and dance we play hide and seek we love and make love we dream and hope. . .

81

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


NIYI OSUNDARE

NG

Oruku tindi tindi (1) (To be performed with full musical accompaniment with emphasis on the drum)

Oruku tindi tindi Oruku tindi tindi* Give me a poet without a song And I will show you a mouth without a tongue Yes, show me a poet without a song Let me show you a mouth without a tongue What do we say about the hive Which forgot its honey? Oruku tinditindi Oruku tindi tindi The moon dropped like a fruit From the tree of the sky The moon dropped like a fruit From the tree of the sky Yellow all night Delicious beyond recounting Oruku tindi tindi Oruku tindi tindi The stars kept wondering What happened to the matron of the night Oh how the stars have been wondering What happened to the matron of the night Her pitcher of milk sat half-empty In the kitchen behind the clouds Oruku tindi tindi Oruku tindi tindi An evil rain fell the other day And the hen pecked its drops like magic grains When an evil rain fell the other day Hens pecked its drops like magic grains Crimson rivulets have usurped the streets Wayfarers have nowhere to plant their feet

82

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


Oruku tindi tindi Oruku tindi tindi Think, think, and think again Before you throw a stone into a crowded market Think, think, and think again Before you throw a stone into a crowded market The missile may choose your mother‘s head As an unintended target Oruku tindi tindi Oruku tindi tindi My skin is my sin My colour is my crime Hear? My skin is my sin My colour is my crime Sometimes when I am The world says I am not The sword of Truth struck the earth And quivered like supple iron The sword of Truth struck the earth It quivered like supple iron When Falsehood landed its own sword It snapped like a harmattan twig Oruku tindi tindi tindi tindi tindi Oruke tindi tindi tindi tindi tindi No translatable meaning; used here for its sound and performance effect.

83

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


WANDA PHIPPS

US

excerpt from Silent Pictures Recognize the World II 18

Almost sepia toned edges fading into brown/black white and black tiles spread below dying spider plant centered on a table the color of straw matching thatched seat chair leaning on white half wall angled up to hide stair rail nesting on the other side cool bright rectangle of sun across white wall dark figures in a painting everything else shadow Lorca passes conjuring duende moving through the spirit of a dead painter whose wife made this home for writers, artists, musicians as his legacy at the foot of MojacĂĄr an old Spanish Moorish village of white washed houses and British retirees this strange sadness circles through and won‘t let go a displaced bass note humming

84

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


ROBERT PINSKY

US

House hour

Now the pale honey of a kitchen light Burns at an upstairs window, the sash a cross. Milky daylight moon, Sky scored by phone lines. Houses in rows Patient as cows. Dormers and gables of an immigrant street In a small city, the wind-worn afternoon Shading into night. Hundreds of times before I have felt it in some district Of shingle and downspout at just this hour. The renter walking home from the bus Carrying a crisp bag. Maybe a store Visible at the corner, neon at dusk. Macaroni mist on the glass. Unwilled, seductive as music, brief As dusk itself, the forgotten mirror Brushed for dozens of years By the same gray light, the same shadows Of soffit and beam end, a reef Of old snow glowing along the walk. If I am hollow, or if I am heavy with longing, the same: The ponderous houses of siding, Fir framing, horsehair plaster, fired bricks In a certain light, changing nothing, but touching Those separate hours of the past And now at this one time Of day touching this one, last spokes Of light silvering the attic dust.

85

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


CHRIS PRICE

NZ

My friend Flicka

What was it with the horse books we all read? That the horse stood for the man, or the romance that would, in time, reduce to him? Was it that simple, the golden palomino giving ground to Robert Redford then the nearest neck we could get a lariat round? Lying in bed last night you asked me what the word trope meant. I, reading Cormac McCarthy, said shorthand for tripwire and rope, turned the light out, turned over in the double bed. No animals harmed in the making. Sleep well, you said.

86

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


MUHAMMAD HAJI SALLEH

MY

dalam

Di mana pun aku kembali air mengalir di antara batu dan memberi tangga kepada padi ke mana pun aku berangkat aku membawa harum padi dalam kantung kesedaranku. dalam padi ada beras dalam beras ada waktu dalam waktu ada diri dalam diri ada alir sejarah. within wherever i journey water flows between the rocks and paves terraces for the padi to each place i depart i carry the fragrance of rice in the pocket of my memory. in the padi there‘s rice in the rice there‘s time in time there‘s the self in the self history flows. Translated from the Malay by the poet.

87

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


EILEEN SHEEHAN

IE

Calling his bluff

On a Monday he met A redheaded woman walking on the road, Her skin saturated from the falling rain; So he offered her the shelter of his coat. On the Wednesday he met A fair-haired woman, her skin flayed raw By the sun‘s extending rays; He offered her his coat to mind her from the heat. On the Sunday he met A black-haired woman, right In his path. There was no rain And the air was neither cold nor hot; But he offered her his coat In case of a sudden rip In the clouds, or an unforeseen rush Of rising heat. But she said, this garment Reeks of rain and a redhead‘s recent Gratitude; this cloth is rife With sweat and the skin cells From a blonde. Don‘t Dare to offer me this ragged coat, But meet me under moonlight, Be naked on the road.

88

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


RON SILLIMAN

US

from Revelator Universe

I can taste that I grew up near, that train‘s whistle in the distance unmistakable – in the fireplace a basket of dried flowers, green rug echoes couch & chair, remotes scattered about, even my eyes adjust gradually to the light well before dawn, my lens instead of an onion, unions dwindled now to eight percent in the commercial sector, stairs, doors groan, the slightest touch if at night, I wake by Eastern time, street lamp just visible thru the web of the plum tree‘s branches casting shadow more than light – okay, what‘s next? – small plane audible in the night sky even before first trucks, first train, but if you listen here now is a second, ceramic frog atop silent piano not frog but a turtle describe how shoes scatter, pattern from happenstance, the way books stack toward a pyramid always or else topple (game: Jenga), crickets for the gecko, biscuits for the dog, page skipped is discovered blank, then filled each word after the other asserts connection, ―conniption‖ my grandma loved to say was something one has not does, already the fourth train shushes past

89

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


Universe ***

pen‘s cap placed aloft at the far end of the shaft, black ink bleeds into yellowing paper deep in the fiber, lines spreading as they dry, hours harbor us, hold the body still awhile, eyes, ears, all fading, as if to withdraw old ivy hides the fountain mountain half-peeking thru cedars green against the morning‘s pale blue sky, my fingernail now etched with a permanent ridge – lavender as a crop smells sweet but I‘m staring West – Southwest as the sun behind me rises, cloud catches red pink then brightens into white – clock bangs ten at six A.M. its bell flat – quail still at the garden‘s rim, ignores buzz of red-green hummingbird overhead – then, minutes later, cloud‘s dissolved the near sky bare – boys by the trampoline in the dark discuss religion, say belief Here the park faces west making that Mount Baker, girls run naked through the sprinkler neo-retro-pseudo hippies mimic the Amish sans modesty, boys in tie-dye skip stones into the bay

90

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


JANICE FITZPATRICK SIMMONS

US/IE

Beau Soleil

This evening there is not a southern sun in my window. I am home from the Cote dAzure from blazing October heat, from a wall of unbearable humidity and no air. I was caught in an ampi-theatre where an American Princess played out her days in the old world , where her husband dictated her terms of survival. I did not stay in Monaco but in Beau Soleil; the beautiful sun on the messy market below my window in France, where the revolution did change things (make certain of what you see): the rich would still have us on our hands and knees to serve and scrape and do as they willed. And now Americans at the palace of Monaco. The Belle Epoch statue of Grimaldi as liberator turns meaning upside down-King and view over the by are symbols of victory in repose, as a train from Disneyland toots its way to the palace where I sit at a cafĂŠ sipping espresso. We are not so different Grace, nearly identical background, but you born in that crucial two decades before me -so you bowed to your father‘s command and came home a redeemed actress, to raise children to royalty-to bring hadsome Irish American looks to the future prince still unmarried.

91

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


RICHARD TILLINGHAST

US

The Rat Under the Roses In memoriam James Simmons 1933-2001

His watercolour blue eyes would squint above the cigarette burning in the corner of his mouth, then focus within on those places the chord changes were taking him— a tune of his own, or something from the repertoire: ―These Foolish Things‖, ―The Rat Under the Roses‖, ―It Never Entered My Mind‖, or my request, ―A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square‖. The room in Clonbarra with the blue chair made an oratory for his guitar, his Ulster voice singing Yeats, Cole Porter, the Gerschwins, Johnny Mercer, or his own wicked parody of ―Carrickfergus‖. ―I know you all‖, he would declaim to the straggle of late-night boozers around his kitchen table crowded with bottles and glasses, ―and will awhile uphold the unyoked humor of your idleness‖. Often a guest in that house where one night an artery failed in Jimmy‘s brain, I lie in the dark with my own iffy heartbeat and living breath coming and going, hearing Jimmy‘s burly, companionable voice.

92

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


ANA VEGA

ES

El topo

Todavía estaba aturdida por el golpe. Giró la cabeza y vio que su hermano no se movía. Llamó a su madre. Ella no respondió. Mami, mami…Gemía, le dolía todo el cuerpo. Intentó desabrocharse el cinturón. Una vez libre, se acercó al asiento delantero. Mamá…Pero aquella no era su madre, apenas podía distinguir su cara entre el amasijo de hierros. Buscó su mano y la acercó a su rostro. Estaba fría, helada. Volvió a mirar a su hermano. Yacía en la sillita sin moverse, como dormido. Tenía la camiseta manchada de sangre. La niña volvió hacia atrás, empujó la puerta una y otra vez. No podía, no tenía fuerzas. La empujó con las piernas y la cabeza. Cayó en el asfalto. De repente se sintió mayor. La carretera estaba vacía. El coche ya no parecía azul. Su color preferido siempre había sido el azul. Comenzó a caminar. Cojeaba y sentía un dolor punzante en la cabeza. Hacía mucho calor. Siguió caminando durante un rato. Se paró en seco, algo se movía en el borde de la carretera. Fue hacia allí. Parecía una rata. Le dolía cada vez más la cabeza. El sol le impedía ver bien aquello que se retorcía. Una rata, pensó. Se acercó. De pronto recordó el bicho aquel que habían encontrado en el jardín la semana pasada. Su padre había dicho que eso no era una rata, eso era un topo. Aquella palabra le sonó rara, como inventada. Pero ahora sabía que era real: aquello que se retorcía en la cuneta era un topo. The Mole (Translation by Peter Imoro)

He was still stunned by the blow. He turned his head and saw that his brother wasn‘t moving. He called his mother. She did not respond. Mom, mom… He groaned because his whole body hurt. He tried to unbuckle his belt. Once he was free, he approached the seat in the front row. Mom… but that wasn‘t his mother; he could hardly make out her face in between the hodgepodge of metal. He searched for her hand and brought it to his face. It was cold, frozen. He looked at his brother again. He was lying on the small chair motionless as if he was asleep. His shirt was stained with blood. The girl moved backwards, pushed the door again and again. She couldn‘t; she did not have the strength. She pushed with her legs and her head. She fell on the asphalt and, suddenly, she felt like an adult. The highway was empty. The car no longer looked blue. Her preferred color had always been blue. She began to walk. She limped and felt a sharp pain in the head. The weather was very hot. She continued walking for a while. Suddenly, she stopped. Something was moving on the edge of the highway. He went towards there. It looked like a rat. Each time his head hurt even more. The sun prevented him from seeing what it was that was moving. A rat, he thought. He went closer. Suddenly, he remembered that animal they had found in the garden the previous week. His father had said that that wasn‘t a rat but a mole. That word sounded weird to him, more like a made up word. But now he knew that that was real; that thing which was twisting around on the curb was a mole

93

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


GRACE WELLS

UK

Vixen i.

Christmas night you conjured her turkey leavings left in a bowl by the door. Then mornings of bones strewn like the i-ching. Whatever you left was taken. Out of winter‘s blue-black ink she came. Always at night. Withheld. It was weeks before we saw her, a sleekness hugging shadow, wildness, taken on form, to step into our yard. ii. She became our shy presence. We‘d drive home to startle her in headlights. We raided the fridge for her, invented scraps, only for her to retreat and return. She brought us the part of our selves that wasn‘t fully human. Sometimes, beyond reach of the yard lamp, she curled by the gate, waiting. And I longed to go with her. iii. Spring screams set our nights on fire, woken by yearning tearing our paper walls, siren cries, something like torture; night glutted with her sounds, we hugged for comfort, scourged by howl and answering bite— by whatever it is that longing does when it meets itself in the woods. Islanded on the territory of her rut, we were solidities her cries bounced off.

94

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


Receptacles, she took us into her mating, included us, as surely other nights we had included her. iv. Then silence. Our lives drawn back into civilised concerns— you abroad for weeks, so I was alone, when out from her dark gestation, she came. She spurned me: a slink, back and forth over the field like something pursued. Only following her tracks I saw them, one after another, lift their heads. Four cubs. Her path through the grass, her hungry return; instincts of threat and nurture threaded through reed and seed head. I felt she sewed those scriptures there just for me. I read them with a passion, I devoured them whole. iv. We fed her as though she were tame. The cubs grew bold, followed her as far as the stream, then age or curiosity got the better of them and they came, little ink-tipped marvels, out of meadow grass, onto our lawn. I tried to keep quiet, to protect them, but there was nothing secret about their circus; they drew the crowd, friends flocked eager for the pleasure and wonder. Our summer commune. Columbine then roses, and foxes like a blessing. We were rich with them until the unmarked day when the wild caught up with us— without warning, they disappeared.

95

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


RON WINKLER

DE

der Sachverhalt Regen

Wir betrachteten das fragmentierte Gewässer als Erscheinung zwischen den Adjektiven leicht und stürmisch. es regnete nie nur einmal pro Regen. manchmal empfanden wir, Hormone steuerten auf uns zu. manchmal: handfeste Antonyme von Wüste. wir empfanden den Regen als das trinkbarste Wetter. als Hydrogenität. es regnete meistens vom Universum weg. und auf das Universum zu. Ozeane glitten über unsere Köpfe hinweg. Kapseln, mit sich selbst gefüllt. und den Daten der ersten Stunde. case study: rain

We considered the fragmented waters a phenomenon between the adjectives light and tempestuous. it never rained only once per rain. sometimes we felt hormones steering towards us. sometimes palpable antonyms for desert. we felt that the rain was the most drinkable weather. was hydrogenity. it rained mostly away from the universe. and towards the universe. oceans slid over our heads, on past. time capsules filled with themselves. dating back to the first hour. Translated by Jake D. Schneider

96

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


DÉBORAH VUKUŠIĆ

ES

Confesiones de bar

Su padre fue héroe de guerra / y ahora es repartidor de [ pizzas su madre era puta cuando la guerra / y ahora miembro [de la high class ―recuerdo hombres entrando en mi casa intentando levantarme el vestido por mi madre / recuerdo / pistolas hombres intentando entrar en mí por mi padre / recuerdo que ella sólo bebía y yo sólo lloraba recuerdo que él sólo bebía y yo sólo lloraba‖ lleva encima dos mitades / que no se le olvidan y bebía mientras me lo contaba recuerdo que / ella / sólo bebía y yo / yo / sólo lloraba Confession with Refreshment

Her father was a hero of the war today he is a pizza distributor her mother was a prostitute today a well-to-do socialite i remember men coming into the house lifting my dress for my mother / i remember / handguns men attempting to go into me for my father / i remember she drank alone and i cried alone i remember he drank alone and i cried alone she carries in her stars the two that will never let her go free she drank and drank as she told me i remember / she / drank alone and i / i / cried alone Translated by John Ennis

97

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


C.D.WRIGHT

US

Obscurity and Shelter

It‘s the moon

that is incommunicado it looks so natural I see a woman reading a book it‘s early yet we could walk to the water it‘s at the brink of a memory she doesn‘t want to call up it‘s still light trailing scarves of fog it‘s not too late blow between my eyes it‘s growing more insistent the face is always there it‘s the same house skeletal but secure where he grew up a one-story clapboard with stuff crammed into drawers waiting for the adults to go out never enough closets so he could roll a smoke or call her pull the door to and start sprouting a mustache who ate to the tail straight from the fridge trout skin flesh cartilage always against everything on multiple channels as one‘s intentions are so often obscured to oneself wanting what one wants the closeness, the warmth that takes place before fire a world before his candle it‘s the ria that‘s heard beyond the treeline the water folding back a blanket that waits for the body halflistening overflowing its archipelagos ria in Galician drowned valley

98

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


DAVID YEZZI

US

Competing Music

Our friend is halfway through a Beethoven sonata on the first springlike day of the year. Outside, my daughter, below an open window, bounces a playground ball to a red-haired boy her age. At the first ping of rubber on concrete, a guest at our party jerks his head. And I wince because I feel for him. (We‘d all been so transported.) A shame to have the ferocity and amabilità broken briefly. But perhaps it‘s something said for Beethoven, deaf and sick, that his strong music can admit her childish shocks, mingle with her sounds and make them even more alive and irrepressibly dear. My daughter doesn‘t know what harmonies we all heard or how they mixed with hers, as she played out her game and the last notes sailed off like sprinkler-mist in the long, dry afternoon. We applauded the union between the piano‘s tree-leaning ladders of melody—rooted earthward, narrowing skyward— and, through dark doors left open to catch the sun, the peals of her high laughter. For Phi Beta Kappa Poem, Eta Chapter, Ohio Wesleyan University , 8 May 2010

99

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW


Dublin City

100

DUBLIN POETRY REVIEW

Dublin Poetry Review  

revista literaria

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you