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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
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COLM KEEGAN

 

 

 

Colm Keegan poetry in Southword JournalColm Keegan lives in Clondalkin, Dublin. He writes poetry, short stories and screenplays. Since 2005 he has three times been shortlisted for the Hennessy new Irish Writing Award, for both poetry and fiction. In 2008 he was shortlisted for the Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Competition. He is currently working on his first novel and a collection of poems, due out next year. He co-runs Nighthawks at the Cobalt, a monthly arts night in Dublin, and occasionally reviews poetry for RTE radio 1.

 

 

 

 

Ode to the Coleman

 

From the black and holy heart of Dublin city

Your legend was born in whispers

Flickering into life around the flames

That fired our knacker drinking

Taking flight in drug brightened

Raver’s eyes on dawn strolls home

 

Tales told of the alarming way youd frighten

Huddled jack-the-lads, appearing

Like ol’ Nick himself or the Candyman,

Taking their two litres of cider from

Their shivering all-cops-are-bastard hands

 

We heard stories of explosive power

You throwing a swarm of culchie Garda

Off your leather-coated back

With a swing of one ape-like arm

 

You escaping as they chased

In a fleet of marauding shitvans

By leaping the too-high pointed fence

Of Sundrive Park in a single bound

 

The size of him! we heard,

The sound of him landing

Would make your ears bleed.

 

You smashed into our lives

Like superhuman feet on concrete

 

I saw you myself in the monsterflesh

One rainy morning on Wood Quay

Towering like a berserker, screaming

At the paperman and me, waving

Your caber-like staff at the diamond kissed cars

A wild black dog on a rope beside you barking

  

You could be the stuff of Black Pitts

Legend, like Bang Bang with his key

And Johnny Fortycoats

From Clanbrassil street

Characters as big and bohemian

As the Liberties themselves

 

But no. How could you be?

Yourre more like the city than they

For beneath the myth and the lie

Hides the darker truth.

 

From the torment of your seventies youth

You lashed out and blinded a friend

The spikes of your shattered pint glass

Ate his face and tore out his left eye

Why? The why is lost to time.

 

But not your return

Not content with damage done

Too insane, too dangerous to let a dead eye die

You traced your way back

To the townlands of that slaughtered friendship

Two decades on when the blinded man

Was dead in the ground from drink and loneliness.

 

With him only a few days gone 

You planted your heavy booted feet

Outside the twouptwodown that mourned him

And with a cackling roar, you hurled

flaming bottle though his front door

And left his Guineys curtains,

His vinyl records, his everything to burn.

 

Your legend lives on.

 

 

©2010 Colm Keegan

 

 

Author Links

 

Keegan poem in the Sunday Tribune: 'Cheek Cheek Chin and Nose'

Uiscebots: Keegan's blog

'All for Emily': Keegan story in Horizon Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

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