The Palace

The cobblestones have been cleaned of blood.

With the sun they almost shine in the morning.

Three young women walk in Pushkin’s steps.
Mapping their way around the palace.
Shouts from on top of frozen water.
The others are running in the wrong direction.
Where are we going through the deep snow?
Deep through the snow where everyone goes.

I have seen these faces in silent movies,
brushing against a Cossack’s blade.

I have listened for horses coming up the street
and the tiny knocks on apartment doors.

I have run my fingers along the window-ledge,
looked for heads split open like water melons.
Where are we going deep through the snow?
Through the deep snow where everyone goes.

Past the girls out walking towards the port,
pulled my collar tight when I heard the bullets.

I have held my breath against the frozen wind,
waiting for the air to be light and clean.

I have left my initials on the frosted glass
of galleries and stations from here to Siberia.

The cobblestones have been cleaned of blood.
With the sun they almost shine in the morning.

from Lost Republics (Salmon Poetry, 2008)


Mr. Monck

16 Earlsfort Terrace,
Dublin 2

Here Mr.Monck first made
electrical measurement of starlight,
around the corner from the synagogue
and all the ancient gauging of God.

So we carry on:
to measure the pressure
of effervescence,
the weight of joy
on some,
the length of sadness,
the depth of sin,
the carbons and proteins that hold us together.

Down long dark lines
of cobble and leaves,
it finally arrived; on Adelaide Road
I hear the hoofing

of ladies and gentlemen
who still have miles to go.

from Strasbourg (Salmon Poetry, 2010) / also published in MARKS (The Stinging Fly & Circa Magazine)


Ship Street

the castle sits on top
of streams and remains
buried deep in the solid
tracts of all that time
passed since founding

since walls formed
over forgotten gold and silver
running beneath us
in underground seams
another thing undiscovered

like the bore holes
and well shafts silted over
half driven into the world
our small communications
measured in torsion

our paw prints marked
on iron railings and steps
straightened up on exit
tunnels left to fold themselves
back into the earth

from Strasbourg (Salmon Poetry, 2010)


I am waiting here for the running of the bulls
by the broken chassis and humming bird voices
the tears of candles melting from the balcony
and the perfume of burning funeral flowers

I am waiting here for the turning of the tides
by the foundation walls and cracked Grecian tiles
the fundamental noises deep beneath the oceans
dead gulls pulled down strangled shores

I am waiting here for trumpet players
to go passing by in golden caskets
for the flaming wheels and dancing girls
feathers waving in concentric circles

I am waiting here for the revolution
from deep in the mud of our hearts' surrounds
the pulses and shudders of the final moments
the new edge of love the razor waves

I am waiting here for Venetian vases
expectant ashes and the last exploration
the citizens and me go dragging our heels
laying down our markers on sinking ground

from Strasbourg, (Salmon Poetry 2010) / published in The Stinging Fly Winter 2009 / 2010


Dark Green Water

this dark green water
dulled by rain clouds
hung over rusted
barn buildings and outhouses

corrugated shelters
barely standing
by rested rolling stock
and motorway plumage


pieces of tile and porcelain
scattered on the tarmac

in heaps behind the depot
will be washed away

into effluent and leaves
become ancient someday
buried in the groundswell
fingerprints erased

          through units of foliage
flow slightly towards the road
between cattle batches
and cellular masts

deep behind the fields
bells ring     hopefuls
hobble up and down
stone streets and the small
city walls

seeds to be sown

tired pools of nightmare
reflect the spectrum
caught on spare branches
air and space fought for

every evening


substation warning lights
dip in the distance
vast all our carbon remains
breathing in time

with the carriage sway

track clicks our measure
light flickers in darkness
final actions boxed objects
dissolve in due course



but we
do not own this
we are not planters

we are transit
from one place to the next

aiming our greetings
and appointments

at satellites
and outposts

at the end of imagination

from Strasbourg, (Salmon Poetry 2010) / published in The American Poetry Journal #10