‘The Somnambulist Who Stood Still’ by Kate O’Shea

The Somnambulist Who Stood Still

 

1.

Odorous

 
Don’t warble.
She smells you for her own.
His scarf is a garrotte, her on all fours.
Hors d’oeuvre. Opens no doors.
Whores. Don’t warble.
She is not what she seems.
She is real, mean; eats dwarves,
oscillates on fat fingers,
odorous dreamer,
osseous tail – a small pencil from
a bookie shop that wriggled down
the back of the couch –
that is how he wrote poetry,
that is how he got in trouble,
we say they are witches,
no one believes, no one believes, no one believes.
She tells him he smells like cabbage.
He smells like her Daddy.
 

2.

Lady Gaga

 
She is twisting hay,
going on about the caul, her helmeted head,
preternatural, making up stories.
An heirloom on paper. Making out with sailors,
but she is drowning in wine and brine.
Pretty unnatural if you axe me.
Goodluck to her. Sleeveen.
We ain’t too chummy with batshit crazy.
Amen to that. Cross yerself.
Her eyes are stains, the dark bitumen
of Asia Minor.
Bich-oo, bich-oo.
Pitchfork men with scabby eyeholes
hurl themselves like golliers
for a peck on the cheek.
But we know she is pure evil.
We know she ain’t meek,
yielding as seasons.
She is a long dark winter.
A blizzard.
A fruitcake with marzipan.
Her landscape the birth membrane
of strangeness. Weird.
Geared for a fight.
It ain’t right for a woman to attack.
All life collapses in her, stretched
taut like wires between pylons,
a zigging and a zagging some catchy
acoustic, a voice like no voice
I remember, percolating like cha
left on too long. Wired.
A spasmodic eruption of history
and hormones. She is stubborn
as an ass; fast on her feet.
Self-taught in a hedge school
that went on too long in her twisted
dimension of our country.
She is bitchin’ the bitumen out of roads,
and maps, her face the texture
of chopped liver. What lies underneath?
Internal organs hanging from her sleeves.
 

3.

Death by delirium

 
Stand and deliver! Lily girls a favourite of Sir Galahad.
Galahad a hard on for the Holy Grail
made old ladies, and trolls, spin in revolving doors.
I will die disinhibited and incontinent, he said,
after three bottles of Malbec chugged by the neck.
Find a cure for the bore, fighting bad benzos
to the death, replacing the letters in alphabet soup
with antipsychotics. Galahad thought.
Who are these immobilized men who appear to be dead?
The monitors tell me otherwise. Yet nought to be got
from one French kiss – the stiffs – the tongue is taken,
if I am not mistaken; the tongue is lolling;
over the fire, on the sofa. I will have to take a leak,
fill my belly with bubble and squeak,
as I hurtle towards death – dash; collide; clatter.
The flat affect cannot knock a man in 3D,
armed with Haloperidol and intestinal prosody.
 

4.

The num num num num num num num poem.

 
Ooooooooh I so pretty; clitty, titties all for you,
again & again, now the scented scimitar snoozes
in basin hands, a schooner: scissors-legs scoff
the bedrock. Protruding outcrop, again & again.
Scherzo, no scherzo; my highbrow, highlight,
highland fling; knees, knees, yes please,
feet and ears, hears, and here, full of the seed,
the seed, the seed, the seed, the seed:
num, num, num, num, num, num, num.
The glories of the world stuck in me.
 
first published in Outburst Magazine, 2013.
 

5.

Bubble Butt Jew

 
Write me a storytelling, drop me in the action,
contrary rag and bone does a me-and-Mrs-Jones
but it’s tantrums all the way.
No heartbeat, sweets on Bleaker St.,
sanitised, pink and fluffy,
blue stocking to the cleft of her nether chin.
Not by the airs of her chinny-chin-chin.
Where to begin when the game is up and over?
A mechanical hare on a dog track,
now where’s the fun in that?
The bloodthirsty, bloodcurdling scream
like a child’s night terrors.
Amazed the narrator survived thus far:
Let the wind and the rain bring your father back again,
stay away from the window bogey man.
A man groans in a ditch, it was she.
Witch.
Greyhounds tuck into stale bread and cold tea.
Goodie.
The ignominy; when we must rebut our nature –
to tear the hare limb from limb
is not a whimsy; to do what comes natural,
to do, to be, that is the story.
The tension between desire and action,
blood sports and p.c.
Contrary rag and bones is one-eighth Polack Jew,
a survivor of pogroms, before the great famine
made ye all hungrier in mood, and food.
Fat-arsed, thick, lumbering Irish,
dragging that repressed burden
of starvation and privates, making furrows,
verse and ploughing, meowing.
Much like the Negro slaves sang spirituals,
the Irish sang ballads, and danced roughly
into a mass grave, blind drunk and calculated.
Would you like to be buried with my people?
The world’s worst chat-up line,
me-and-Mrs-Jones-we-got-a-thing-going-on.
Contrary rag and bones the hero of this after world.
Holy Toledo, and Knock, Jerusalem.
All these things mattered like primitive magic.
These things unsaid.
 
The Somnambulist Who Stood Still is © Kate O’Shea

Kate O’Shea lives in Dublin. Her chapbook Crackpoet is available on Amazon. She was short listed for the Cork Literary Review Poetry Manuscript Competition and the Patrick Kavanagh Award twice. She is widely published in journals abroad. Her latest publications were in The Seranac Review, Orbis, Cyphers, Outburst, and Prole. Most recently she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in America.

Eight new poems will be published later this year in three anthologies.

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