By the time religion got to me all the joy had been filtered out too many censorious priests, too many soporific sermons too many cavernous churches with names like St. Michael’s, St. Theresa’s, St Ann’s, too many saints. Why, even my white Y front underwear had a saint’s name on the tag, St. Bernard. His name was also on my vests, my shirts, my pajamas; I just couldn’t get St. Bernard off my back. Where I found my true congregation was on Sunday afternoons with my dad, my uncle, my brother, my older sister on the terraces at Milltown watching Shamrock Rovers play. There were binaries there too heaven was a victory and while defeat wasn’t exactly hell it cast a pall over Sunday tea, a pall that was quickly relieved by the sugar high from the flotilla of cakes my mother had been baking since Saturday afternoon. Now St. Bernard has been replaced by someone called Denver Hayes. I doubt if Denver is a saint and I’m fine with that underwear should be secular joy, unconfined.
The prompt from Brendan over at earthweal is to write a Michealmas Festival poem. This poemreally doesn’t do the prompt justice, but it’s the poem that the prompt prompted.
Also taking part in Open Link Night over at dverse
The signs along the highway
are leaking semiotic fluid
psychotic cacti strike a calculated pose
linguistic lizards parse the parched desert floor
Slim’s feeling demotic,
neurotic, anecdotal, over-used
he’s looking for a sanctuary
the fisherman and the shoes
he’s got those
needle in a haystack
This is a response to Brendan’s challenge over at earthweal ……..The Perilous Chapel
“This week’s challenge is about finding that Chapel and a way through it. Where have you found it, what perils did you endure, how is it linked to the Grail you seek? What is that poetry? And what initiation is required to transform modernity into Earthdom?”
The poem above is an edit of a previous post, it’s more about the journey than the arrival…..here’s another take
The Road (re-mix)
the sun beats down like judgement
on the armor-plated road
you just called out God and the Devil
and neither of them showed
there’s a sour smell of whiskey sweat
on the air-conditioned air
sometimes you think you care too much
and sometimes you just don’t care
in a dream you see an angel
an angel with a gun
you’re five miles outside of nowhere
and you’re stuck inside a song.
If it’s getting stormier
and it surely is
then we have to put a bit more work
into naming those storms
I mean to say, c’mon now,
Dennis is a guy who wears cardigans
and washes his car every Sunday.
Margaret Thatcher’s husband
was called Dennis –
now there’s a storm,
a storm full of righteous certainty
levelling working class towns
circumnavigating domiciles of the rich.
How about Storm Boris
a tropical storm perhaps
full of hot air and bluster
a flatulent tail wind
or to switch professions and countries
now there’s a storm to rip the roofs of houses
flatten whole trailer parks
transport cows to far off fields
or Storm Aretha
a storm that demands respect
sock it to me
anything but Dennis
side-parted, brilliantined, undershot Dennis.
How Myron found himself in the parking lot
of the Holiday Inn in Idabel, Oklahoma
looking out at the road
on a Saturday morning in April
– after a breakfast of brittle bacon,
sausages slick with grease,
dry fluorescent scrambled eggs –
is not important.
The road pauses, a skittish dog roams.
Myron’s eyes are drawn to a dead armadillo
upside down on the hard shoulder
an empty beer can in its claws:
Old Milwaukee, prehistoric drunk,
A pick up truck passes
a pick up truck passes
a pick up truck passes
over the fence a cow chews grass
and makes a meal of it.
The cow moos like a reluctant foghorn.
Myron’s mood turns
he thinks about the cow,
the plight of the bison
our lust for red meat
while greenhouse gas
ice caps melt
and looking down
the road to Shreveport
buoyed by the prospect
of seeing Idabel
in his rear-view mirror
he quietly resolves
to recover what he was
before sadness lodged
like a wet sack
in the back
of his head.
This poem originally appeared in issue 38 of The SHOp poetry magazine (print) which was a fine magazine, unfortunately they closed up shop a few years ago.
What’s that?…….no, no, it’s all rubbish,
climate change is a Deep State hoax.
By the way, forgot to mention
I have some ocean front for sale in Florida,
are you interested?
I hear you’re a good swimmer.
Ha, that’s just a joke,
God controls the climate
the rivers, lakes and seas.
Look what he did for Moses.
Our local preacher has a direct line,
just send a donation
before he gets arrested.
Joking again! Those rumours
are just not true.
Besides, our supreme leader, Donald, says
we are going to have a great climate
the best climate ever.
Do you know any Dutch people?
They’re good at handling all this water stuff.
Another thing, does anyone else
really miss the dinosaurs?
I had this rubber brontosaurus
when I was kid, I kind of liked it,
a velociraptor too…where was I?
Yes, this oceanfront property in Florida
it comes with a row boat.
The word of the week over at earthweal is water. Got the idea for this poem while reading Sarahsouthwest’s poem “Water Again”.
Also participating in open link night over at dverse.