Author Archives: sdtp33

The English Goalkeeper Reflects (2 World Cup haiku’s)

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(in the England-Tunisia World Cup game which England won 2-1, the Tunisians had one shot on the English goal, 4 attempts.)

The English Goal Keeper Reflects…..

It’s lonely back here
hoping nothing will happen
that fear when it does

(how does my hair look?
are these gloves too big?)

 

The Story So Far

Messi’s misery
the agony of Neymar
Christiano’s joy.

Landline (for Dad)

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Landline (for Dad)

Sometimes, I think
I should text my dad
give him an update
tell him where I’m at.
Not that he would answer
he’s been gone a few years now
and even if he were alive
texting would hardly be his thing;
at the turn of the century
he was still approaching
what we now call a ‘landline’
with some trepidation.

Landline: a rope
uncoiling towards the shore.

He once told me
that when we have children
of our own
we begin to understand
our own parents better
so I think my text
would be an attempt
to let him know
that, yes, dad
I have found this
to be true.

 

Samantha Bee (a delayed reaction)

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A flashback to pre-history when I first started drinking in pubs………

It’s closing time, Saturday night, Dublin, the rest of the evening is stirring like a patient emerging from a coma (sorry, T.S) . I’ve had a few pints and got a nice buzz going but now I’m standing in the men’s washroom (toilet, bog, jacks) staring at the white tiled wall trying hard not to make eye contact with the guy beside me whose eyes are drilling into the side of my head. I eventually cave in, turn and look into his bloodshot eyes….”what are you looking at, cunt?” ….he slurs. He’s pissed, langered, hammered, plastered, three sheets to the wind and he’s angry. Why is he angry? Could be he doesn’t like the length of my hair, could be he recognises that I’m a student and considers me a member of the elite whereas he is a member of the noble working class who earn their daily bread with their hands (although, back then, the word “elite” was not typically used to describe educated people with liberal views, it was more likely to be a found on a box of chocolates – Cadbury’s Elite, save the soft centers for your mom) but mostly he’s angry because he’s a miserable cunt and the ten pints he’s consumed over the course of the evening hasn’t made him any less miserable.

So when I hear Samantha Bee call Ivanka Trump a “feckless cunt”, I think of closing time, urinals, drunks and I wonder, how in Trump’s name, did the level of discourse get this low.

 

Dog in a Tartan Skirt (Edit)

 

Dog in a Tartan Skirt 

There’s a dog wearing a tartan skirt
outside the window of Starbuck’s;
a tartan skirt, a belt, and a knitted white sweater.
Its little dog legs are moving frantically
on the wet pavement,
while across the slick road
and the sodden green park
the ocean sits
like a slab of lead
having clearly decided
to take some time off,
no crashing on the shore today.
South of the border
America blunders around
trying to remember
where it parked
that big ass car
that everyone admired
and envied.
The people look to God
but God, once again,
is moving in mysterious ways
and I, for one, wish He would knock it off,
enough already with the mystery
could He not for once in His eternal life,
clarify something?
I mean, for fuck sake,
there’s a dog wearing a tartan skirt
outside the window of Starbuck’s.

Two Poems (Machu Picchu, The Sun God) up at The Galway Review

The nice people at The Galway Review have published two poems of mine (Machu Picchu, The Sun God) . You can check them out here 

(I’m not sure about the photo, one of my daughters tells me that I’m out of focus like “that guy in ‘Deconstructing Harry'” and I should get rid of that “serious poet face”).

 

Weekly Photo Challenge (Sunrise on Planet Cistern)

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Sunrise on Planet Cistern

The weekly photo challenge is closing down for some reason, so the final theme is “all time favourite photos”. I am not a photographer by any means, I just take photos to decorate my poetry blog, but this one amuses me no end. I have sliced and diced it and used in a number of posts.

Now for the first time I will reveal its secret. The windows in our upstairs bathroom face south and in the late evening the sun shines through the  side windows and the glass shower doors and creates rainbow patterns on the walls. This particular pattern turned up behind the toilet cistern in the angle between the walls. I zoomed in as close as I could with my iPhone, took the photo then rotated it. The curved surface at the bottom is actually the shadow of the cistern.

Equipment used : iPhone, Kohler 6 litre (per flush) cistern.

 

 

 

Poem (Stiltwalker) in Cyphers Magazine

Issue 85

 

Cyphers magazine has published one of my poems – “Stiltwalker” – in their Summer 2018 issue (issue#85).  I am really pleased as always to be published in Cyphers.

Cyphers is a Dublin based print only magazine which has been in existence since 1975. They publish poets from all over the world, both new and established. The current issue includes an appreciation of the Irish poet and novelist, Philip Casey. In the piece, there is a quote from the poet,  Michael Hartnett, which I think is not a bad guideline for writing poetry: “things that please me in poetry are precision, compassion and images that surpass the common run of language: also that the poet must have an ear for language as the musician has an ear for music….”

Cyphers can be found at http://www.cyphers.ie

If you want to subscribe to Cyphers magazine, you can do so by writing to the following address:

Cyphers Magazine, 3 Selskar Terrace, Ranelagh, Dublin 6, Ireland.

Subscription rate is €21.00 for three issues including postage

In Britain £20.00 for three issues including postage

US $36.00 for three issues including postage

Drain The Swamp Rag

A version of this poem appeared with 4 other poems, a little while back in the online magazine Anti-Heroin Chic

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Drain The Swamp Rag

(Walk that back
walk that back
I know I said it
but I walked that back.)

Attack dog surrogates
inveterate invertebrates
re-stock the swamp
with old white males.

Post logic, post truth,
snake oil and kool-aid
re-stock the swamp
with old white males.

Mike Pence, John Bolton
Rudy Giuliani
re-stock the swamp
with old white males

Inveterate surrogates
attack dog invertebrates
re-mail the stock
to the old white swamp

re-stock the swamp
with old white males.

Five Miles Outside of Austin (Rhymes and Tropes)

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Listening to alt country on Spotify I begin to wonder….

who are all these country boys
with their cowboy hats, pickup trucks and beards
staring clint-eyed into the mythical distance
listening for the call of who knows what
a phantom cattle drive, perhaps,
anything at all to git them
back on the road again;
and who are all these country girls
left behind or waiting
and why the hell do they care
about these feckless drifters
who love their whiskey
as much as they dread commitment
and why does all this happen in Texas?

rhymes and tropes, folks
rhymes and tropes

and slowly through
a Spotify fog
a Spotify trance
in the distance
a song emerges…..

Five Miles Outside of Austin

I’m five miles outside of Austin
with a pounding in my head
full of yesterday’s whiskey
and wishing I was dead

I left a girl back there sleeping
as dawn began to break
I gave her all that I could give
and I took all I could take

and I wish I had done better
that I hadn’t stayed so long
now I’m five miles outside of Austin
and I’m stuck inside this song.

Five miles outside of Austin
and I’m stuck inside this song.

II
Down the road, a girl is waiting,
drinking beer and playing pool
waiting for deliverance
waiting for another fool

and I’ll dust the road off of my coat
and walk through that door
she’ll say “howdy stranger,
I ain’t seen you before”

but now my head is beating like a bass drum
there’s stubble on my tongue
I’m five miles outside of Austin
and I’m stuck inside this song

Five miles outside of Austin
and I’m stuck inside this song.

 

Photo (by Marie Feeney) of Lukas Nelson and Neil Young at Desert Trip

 

Of Statues and Limitations

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Of Statues and Limitations

As we round Lee’s Circle in New Orleans
talk turns to statues
and the topless monument;
the shuttle bus driver tells us
that Robert E. Lee’s statue was removed
under the cover of darkness
by a crew dressed like ninjas,
to avoid recognition.
People woke up the next day
to find the statue had disappeared.
A photograph on Wikipedia
shows the statue being removed
in broad daylight by a crane;
reality is nearly always more prosaic.
She also tells us that she grew up in the neighbourhood;
as kids, they just called the monument,
“The Statue”, they did not know or care
who Robert E. Lee was.

In 1966, the IRA blew the statue of Horatio Nelson
off its pedestal on top of Nelson’s Pillar
in the middle of O’Connell Street, Dublin.
To my parents’ generation
Nelson’s Pillar was known simply as “The Pillar”.
(Dubliners are very fond of the definite article:
“How’s the head?”
“Are you still playing the soccer?”)
To them, The Pillar was a landmark
a place to meet your date
en route to one of the cinemas
on O’Connell Street to catch a film (2 syllables)
and perhaps a humid snog
in the back seat when the lights went out.
To the IRA it was a symbol of British Imperialism
of British oppression,
an insult to our patriot dead;
blah, blah, blah, boom!
The IRA was a particularly unsubtle organization.

Is all this just facile juxtaposition,
chopped up prose
masquerading as a poem,
or is there a point?
Yes, yes and yes:
see what I think is
there are people who look up at statues
there are people who believe
statues are looking down on them
and there are people
who look straight ahead
and keep moving forward
into the future,
leaving the past
to its state of disrepair.

 

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Top photo taken at the Takashi Murakami exhibition (The octopus eats its own leg) at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Bottom Photo taken in Medellin, Colombia, statues by Fernando Botero.

Free Associating in New Orleans

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Free Associating in New Orleans

The waitress in the restaurant on Frenchmen Street
tells us that the rack of lamb changed her life;
that the flank steak with an ocean sauce of baby shrimps and clams
is to die for.

Surf and turf.

America continues its love affair with protein.

General Bonespur pulls out of the Iran deal.

The first cab driver is from Saudi
his mother is from Pakistan
he tells us that Pakistan
is a better place to party.
No surprises there.

The second cab driver is Egyptian.
We talk a little about Trump’s America
but mostly we talk about Mohammed Salah,
the Egyptian Messi
Egypt’s pride and joy
who is also a good person
gives back to his community
has sponsored seven weddings
in the village he comes from.
Now all of Egypt supports
Liverpool Football Club.

The third cab driver is Jordanian
The fourth cab driver is Algerian
we commiserate, our national teams
did not qualify for the World Cup;
we talk about lack of money
pampered players, poor coaching.
We couldn’t be happier.

Immigrants in cars talking soccer.

 

Don’t Play in the Traffic

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Don’t Play in the Traffic

they met on a zebra crossing
it was a pedestrian affair
she had an air of competence
he…just had an air
they went downhill from there
to her house
in the middle of a roundabout
near the station
one morning they looked out
and the cars had changed rotation
the clouds were tinged
with a tawdry shade of orange
the sky was diffident
the sun judgmental
things would not be the same
would not be the same again.

 

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Tender is the Night

In New Orleans at the moment, I hadn’t realized that there was actually a streetcar named Desire, on Royal Street. So I decided to re- post this one. 

Tender is the Night 

tender is the night
long is the day’s journey into night
it’s easier to name a street car
than it is to name one’s desire
managing a glass menagerie
is hard, harder than one imagines.

 

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Short Unsolicited Advice on Writing Poetry

via Daily Prompt: Observe 

Short Unsolicited Advice on Writing Poetry

write long poems on short days
short poems on long days
you don’t need a drummer
but you do need rhythm
avoid melodrama
your head cannot explode all the time,
there is uncharted territory
between ecstasy and despair
look after your images
they should splash like cold water
on the reader’s face
observe, always observe.

 

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If a Relationship is a Bus

Folf Fest (2)

if a relationship is a bus
why then sometimes
does the bus leave the paved road,
the beaten track,
the path most trodden,
and bump off across
a corrugated desert
complete with tumble weeds
and plural cacti
(the wind is howling
at least, it sounds like the wind)
and that bus keeps bumping along
until it coughs, sputters to a stop,
and the occupants reluctantly step out
onto the desert floor
which is really an ancient ocean bed
strewn with the fossils
of forgotten fish
like the backlot
of some prehistoric sushi bar
they step out
breathe the bone dry air
and ask themselves how,
how the hell
did we end up
in this fucking bus metaphor?