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Liberty Walks Naked
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GRAHAM ALLEN

 

 

 

Graham Allen is Professor of English in University College Cork. He has published poetry in numerous journals, was the winner of the 2010 Listowel Single Poem Prize, and has been shortlisted for a number of prizes including The Crashaw Prize and The Strong/Shine Poetry Prize. His collections The One That Got Away (2014) and The Madhouse System (2016) were published by New Binary Press.  The first decade of his epoem HolesbyGrahamAllen is due for print publication in summer 2017.

 

 

 

 

At the Dump

 

 

That ring you lost and could not say

you ever wanted. The passport

that caused you such unholy trouble.

A letter that still could, if read

by certain eyes, lead you

and those associated with you

into all sorts of twisted litigation.

A broken computer screen.

A shattered ornamental hand glass.

Razor-mouthed tin cans scattered

like poorly concealed landmines.

Golgotha mounds of flesh and rubber.

That burnt purple plastic beaker

from which each of your siblings drank.

Soleless shoes, bloated paperbacks.

Dolls without eyes or arms or faces

slowly sinking into fiery Gehenna.

A yellowing rug like a giant's toupee.

A pair of multifocals through which

a woman, once much loved,

saw her only grandson dead. The last

fag packet that he ever bought.

Inexpensive silks, fallen masonry,

exploding drums of acidic resin,

a rough draft of a suicide note.

The unnatural insistence of insect life.

Courageous, isolated crimson flowers.

Odd socks, pieces of a broken table,

a teacup with two stubs for a handle. 

Rainbow waves of rotting bin bags

guarded by a million squawking drones.

Towers of sodden cardboard, broken glass,

shapeless steel curling like folds

of tissue paper, untended ivy.

Forlorn, abandoned, limbless trenches.

All the constructed colours of the world

bleeding into a pixelated mire,

demonstrable ceremony of dreck,

imageless, livid, irredeemable rubble.

 

This is what our gods will have to sift.

 

 

The Shaking Palsy

 

 

Jumbled up rag doll pinned to the city wind,

what are you going to do when winter comes?

You cannot be calm, or cool, or still.

You cannot sit in prayer or meditation.

Nothing is rooted or fixed in you,

your hand is twisting an insane music

scattering words to the ground like salt,

sudden gusts of accidental meaning,

dehiscence of the swollen summer bud.

You are tumbling over yourself again,

spilling yourself out of your own imagining.

Unhinged cabin in need of exorcism.

There is a movement nobody can claim.

An Angel guards you from all quietude.

Over-heated, over-zealous, star-struck fanatic.

Somebody is cutting at the strings.

Somebody is tugging at your sleeves.

Somebody is tapping you at the ankles,

unfolding you into the mysteries of space,

hammering you like a lonely church bell.

The stars are dancing between your eyes,

plunging into a sea of countless stones,

peeling off into the ice prone valleys

and the lesser known haunted spaces of the Earth.

There is no silence or serenity in you,

pitched into a violent re-entry path

which never resolves itself into a landing

and never quite eventuates in flight.

Permanent totter of a tight-rope walker,

perpetual earthquake, constant tsunami,

anti-foundational prophet of disease.

You are in denial but your body is speaking,

you are in denial but your arms make waves,

jumbled up rag doll pinned to the city wind,

what are you going to do when winter comes?

 

 

©2017 Graham Allen

 

 

Author Links

 

Holes by Graham Allen

New Binary Press

Poetry in The Weary Blues

More work by Graham in Southword

 

 

 

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