All posts filed under: Poets

Poems from “Barefoot Souls” by Maram al-Masri

Sara Daughter of Sana Age 9   Why does my father beat my mother ?   She does not know how to iron his shirts properly.   Me, when I am grown up I will iron the shirts very well.   FAÂdi Son of Sonia Age: 7   You know, Mother if the giant comes during the night to beat you, You can come sleep in my bed.   I ate up all my soup and all my spinach so that I can grow up quickly and protect you.   Salma Son of Leila Age: 12   Why don’t you go to the doctor and have him give back your smile, Mother, your lovely smile?   Samir Son of Magda Age: 13   I do not remember her face, I was very small when my father carried me off to my grandmother’s house far, far away.   My grandmother did not like the one who had brought me into the world, with every prayer she would demand that God would punish her.   She would …

“Treatise on Uselessness” by Kevin Higgins

Treatise on Uselessness after Rosita Boland Throughout my truly enormous life, I’ve never found a use for gypsies. When one decides to spend the night searching online for a worse deal on one’s house insurance, there’s never a gypsy about to help. Or when one advertises a vacancy for Associate Professor of English at Trinity there’s hardly ever a gypsy around to fill it. Or when the wedding of an Eritrean goatherd and his beloved is in crying need of a cruise missile, there’s never a gypsy available to press the required buttons and later tell the inquiry it was all a terrible misunderstanding. Despite millions ingested by social programmes, we’ve mostly failed to submerge gypsies in the internationally agreed system of an indecent day’s pay for a decent week’s work. Yet the state insists on making gypsies compulsory for those who’d rather never have to speak to one. What practical purpose does it serve for us to continue to try to absorb gypsies into what my late Popsicle -a one time Viceroy of Upper …

“Pair Bond” and other poems by Barbara Smith

Gwion’s Birthday   Today I bought your birthday presents: what you wanted and what I wanted for you: new clothes and an Xbox game. Back across the stretch of thirteen years I reach for the time you nearly didn’t make it past your first: listless, sleeping on the sofa, an infection deep within your bronchioles, a third visit to the doctor for a letter to admit you, a sweating wait outside the room while they tried to insert a cannulae – twice – and put in a drip before your isolation on the fifth floor with a window-whistling view of the graveyard and our home beyond. It was two days before your hands reached up to mine.   The Angels’ Share (Doghouse Books, 2012) Achieving the Lotus Gait   In winter, the uphill path to Madame Xing’s is treacherous. I watch for loose stones among the grey brown gravel   and the birds are almost silent as each step quarries me, wincing on wooden pattens.   Madame unravels yards of stinking cotton from my feet …

from “breath(en) flux ” by Michael McAloran

I # .…silence yes/ silenced yes/ as if to ever having done with it/ stripped solace no/   vital lapse in all depth of becoming-un/ as if because it were unto/ ash unto/   no/ pure as never was/ ever was/ given to yet it cannot/ asks of dust what climb or other than /   dry reach in catascopic/ hence shadow never vital/   all traces then forgotten/ yet given to un- forgot/ blind edge laughter/ afar/ no/ # clamours afar/ yet nothing to it/ in banquet of nothing no not a/ hence shadow’s dissolve in bit night balm/ well-spoken silenced/ of ghost-limbed rapture no/ call cards as if to/ dissolve yet surface of what to it/ spit in eye of eye of it/ no/ traipse till yet un-afar a-light unlit light of silhouette dark what dark/ yet for as if to/ not a sense of all’s retrace/ of fading nullity/ ever only of it/ spliced no not ever… # …further echo further no/ as if to say that no/ non further yes/ silenced …

“The Aunties” and other poems by Josephine Corcoran

Honeymoon   I wouldn’t call it a honeymoon, those muffled nights in mothballed rooms. With cake in the boot we pilgrimmed north, taking a young marriage to old widows,   my father’s brothers dead, their crucifixes still hanging. In each house we were given the double bed, my aunties inviting us to fornicate   on concave mattresses holding dead men’s seed. Had we come one week before, you would have been given nothing but dusty blankets on a downstairs floor,   and I would have sunk, alone and deep, into the mildewed sponge of a cousin’s bed. My aunties would have spread as wide as angels in their marital sheets,   their doors ajar, the solemn whispers of their night-time prayers beating as sweet as deathbed love-making. But our wedding vows were said,   so we sipped tea on upright chairs still dimpled from Brylcreemed heads, and rolled like screws in sideways jars on shelves in locked-up sheds.      Seven years, one son, one daughter later, Jesus has been sent to us. (The aunts …