A Landscape For Yourself (release date August 2018)

landscape for self cover #3

An Impermanent Path


A place of enforced solitude

a temporary surface

a washboard for a man’s fortitude

a horizontal horizon drawn neatly

between the curve of the sea and the sky

two halves of a broken eggshell

brought together

to form a vista

to compel those eyes

toward a flat

featureless void

a place where footfalls are silent


quenched by inevitabilities


where priests and pagans

and poets


in-between the flow and ebb

of a pitiless tide


A Human Veneer

Poetry on Youtube – playlist


A Human Veneer cover

Road to Tara

I met a nineteen year old boy on the road to Tara
walking from Drogheda with a friend
on a tar-boiling August day
for no other reason but to walk
and talk
and be somewhere they had never been
what could I say to this young man
what mistakes could I tell him not to make
what hearts would I advise him not to break
opportunities he would regret passing unquestioned
by the immortality and stupidity of youth
should I let him know the depths of darkness
he will have to traverse
or the beauty of the minds with whom
he will converse
will I spell out the sentence of years
before he finds his way
or philosophise about losing god
growing old before his time
and walking through Rome at midday
I met a nineteen year old boy on the road to Tara
he didn’t know me
although my face was familiar
I waved to him but did not speak
there was nothing to say
as I let him walk and talk on his way



The Ghost of Saint Anthony

Once I was a man like you
strong in the heart and mind
Now my spectre drifts the sands of Egypt these sixteen
across the tombs of Pharaohs
from Alexandria and the sea into the desert mountains
where only insects live and hermits come to die

No longer do I feel the burning Sun of Purgatory on my bare back
no longer does the word of God wet my dry lips
no more do I hope for resurrection
I only pray for eternal sleep to end my torment

My shade counts the sands of time
moving as parches water
through its fleshless fingers
the carrion have abandoned my bleached bones
a scorpion has nested in my eye socket
no answer echoes in my skull to the
frozen scream of my broken jaw

I am alone
the only ghost in a godless land
I pass through a stone crucifix and Sun Gods
on ancient plaster
neither have redeemed my soul
so I will walk the breadth of Egypt
until the end of the world


Gossip Street

A telephone eats itself in anticipation
Jane sits
in her hungry chair
in her hungry room
of her famished house
in the centre of Gossip Street

Everyone speaks
but no one calls here anymore
an oven watches meals for one
the television serves portions of viewing
for the daytime eyeball
on Jane’s sunken shoulders

A wall clock shaves seconds
then days
finally years from her face
pouring her fluid soul into empty teacups
across unwashed plates
and down the plughole with a sigh

The telephone passes itself into a toilet bowl of quiet
Jane stands at her narrow window
staring-down her narrow world
from her thinning home
in the centre of Gossip Street


from THE PAGAN FIELD 1996/2013

The Pagan Field cover resized 600x400

Tube People

Plastic ears beating out rave or rock
or something I can’t quiet catch
It’s music for the isolated
A city of single units jammed together
in a tin suppository sucked through
the concrete and cables of London
“Knightsbridge” she announces
Close your eyes for another seven stops
try not to catch a glimpse of someone else’s world
faces face the floor
feign sleep behind shades of black or trendy rose-pink
Don’t talk
don’t think too loud
They’re looking at you through artificial eyes
Are you gay? Are you drunk? Are you Mad?
Are you rich? Are you poor?
Are you getting off at the next stop
So I can have your fucking seat


Destined to Follow Him Down

Two sit on a stone door step
slow motion movement
buildings are trees creeping upwards around them
darkening the sky until it is only a grey rectangle
his eyes are nightlights
dim reflections
just about keeping the worst of the world out
ticking over
burning out

He’s got a sausage for a nose
broken with punches and kicks
his face is coal-mined as if bled of colours
by some medieval cure for social dis-ease
his arms are blue on bone
all these wounds mark him out
“Junkie Scum”

Get in your pigeonhole
rats of the sky with clipped wings
now We pavement-judges can cope with you
feel assured
look away
walk on by
let someone else
something else deal with It

She’s almost invisible
a nestling hiding behind a parent
untidy – pretty once
dare a stare closer and there
bright blue eyes
she is still alive

Some sense of hope
not yet numbed by the needles of the street
destined to follow him down
she needs someone to hold on to
never learned to fly solo

Not yet gone
but not far to slip into the waking death
someone could still save her
a Jesus freak or social worker too new – still cares
another boy
who wasn’t a coward and spoke up
instead of moving on like I did
1st July Dublin 2004

I wonder if she made it out?

from CITYSCAPES 2005/13


Something Wonderful

Amid the madness of eyes on stalks
wagging tongues drying out in the bluster of their own chatter
hip-shake walks of boys stepping out as girls
and girls tough as boys
a tattoo parlour of colour needles the scene against
a Soho coffee shop backdrop
the good
and the bad
and those of us who are both
perhaps all of us are paradoxes

we move as birds flock
to and from the drudgeries and pleasures
one to the other
back and forth
anticipating or dreading the alternations
they tell me
the coffee is good
but irrelevant to the location
certainly irrelevant to me
Something Wonderful has come
come to pass
or come to realisation
perhaps the sipper doesn’t know the difference
and couldn’t really care
Something Good
is an addiction
not administered but absorbed through the senses
as magnificent as the microcosms of creatures passing by
too long can be spent here and roots may grow down
finish the cup and leave
A little brown circle on the heavy china saucer
beside it a little too much change
and a flyer
for some destination of moral question
to the arms of Something Wonderful
forget the oscillations of the flock
for a few smitten moments


No One and the Sky

It’s raining mercury teardrops
No One looks up
heads are heavy on necks
as bowling balls held up with straw
eyes are fixed down
pinned to the cigarette-butt floor
lids form clouds
covering any possible elevation
No One looks up
Streets of these stooped steppers
stepping stone lined rat maze
glass square eyes flashing epileptic adverts
double burgers with extra cheese
cheese with extra double burger
cheap holiday
cheap shoes
cheap coffee
cheap cheap cheap
sings out a little bird on a wilted treetop
no faces are craned up
no ears are bent above the horn and engine
or other stooped steppers
No One’s
carrying his bowling ball home
a trudge in the silver mercury downpour
heavier the head
bringing his toes closer into view
“emmmm need new shoes”
But – Suddenly – And then
all the literary no-no’s in one random moment
a spear of fire thrown through the gloom
work its way through the grim grey sky
and strikes the eye
No One looks up
his weighted head creaking the vertebrate
click click click
some great rusted tower complaining from disuse
his iris exploding expanding experiencing
the light the colour the vast atmosphere
It sits on the city
dwarfs it to a blacked thumbprint
a smudge on the green paper of land
No One sees the scrapers taper to the blue wet abyss
he bends his ear and understands the birdsong
it’s not cheap
beauty is always expensive
No One will pay the price
stood still among the stooped steppers
head light with wonder and dreams
Up is so difficult
as compared to down
the slumped direction of easily self-repression
No One can go back to inclination
Stood alone as beacon a target a fool
among fools
Perhaps the others
bowling balls pulling their toes up from the dirty ground
will comprehend compromise or show compassion
to the One who would dare to look up from the grind
stone is the only expression
in another poetic defiance
they do not stand on but bump against No One’s shoulders
they speak
in muttered sullen tones
against No One’s views Any One’s views Every One’s views
yet No One moves from looking up
once they have begun
the sky moving across the earth is too great a force
One among the no ones is looking up forever
into the heavens the cosmos
to One
to Someone
to Himself

from Urbania 2010/13

Urbania Cover 4x6


Little Soldiers


What have you done?


You frightened thing

cowering in the corner

the reek of blood in your nostrils

smoke of a ruined city reddening your eyes

cries of dehumanised women and girls




in your ears


what have you done!


You frightening little thing

sitting sentry in an over-sized coat

where the bombs have opened up

the hospital like a broken birthday cake

next to the rape house

close to the bodies

in the playground

no more playing

no more innocence

no more children

no more a child


what have you done?

little soldier

Little soldier poem cover #2


Dawn at Midnight is available on all Amazon Book stores

A Human Veneer is available on all Amazon Book stores 


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