Tag Archives: poet

The Town of High Dudgeon (redux)

IMG_0129 (3)

The Town of High Dudgeon

In the town of High Dudgeon
at the corner of Grump Street and Curmudgeon
people talk about the old ways
about young people these days
with their smart phones, their social media
their Facebook, their Wikipedia
hell, in our day we had to know stuff.
Harrumph! They shout in unison.
Harrumph! They shout harrumphantly.

Outside the town limits
the future raises a middle finger
and data accumulates
about this moment
and the moment before
in cabinets that hum
a one note tune.

Indignatron B (as seen on TV…again)

looking at me

Indignatron B (as seen on TV)

Are you feeling indignant?
Do you feel the urge to rant?
Are you sick of the city, the government
sycophants, dilettantes, the cant;
are you bitter about the glitterati
the literati, the witeratti, the getfiteratti
that tosser on your street
with the Maserati or is it a Bugatti
always wittering on about his colonoscopy
his digestive tract?
Relax, help is on the way,
take one Indignatron B tablet daily
and you won’t give a shit about all that.

Some users of Indignatron B have become so unbearably pleasant, that their friends can’t stand them anymore.
Do not mix Indignatron B with alcohol, some users, who have, experienced such a feeling of intense happiness that all they could think about was doing it again.

Naming Things

Naming Things

The Neander Valley
outside of Dusseldorf
is named after
Joachim Neander
a German poet
who liked to wander
lonely as a German poet
through this now eponymous valley
unaware that beneath his feet
lay the numb skull and bones
of a species whose name
would become synonymous
with brute stupidity:
named after the valley
which was named after
Joachim Neander.
That’s what we get to do,
name things
and judge their worth
we even got to name ourselves:
Homo Sapiens
Wise Man
and if that’s not hubris….

This poem first appeared in The Galway Review.

It also appeared a while back in Open Link weekend over at earthweal

My Poem “Irish History” is live at rattle.com

Check it out here https://www.rattle.com/ , it will be top of the scroll for two days and then make its way down. It’s accompanied by a recording, so you get to hear my nasal Dublin accent.

Thanks again to Timothy Green for publishing the poem. The print version of Issue 79 of Rattle literary Magazine is also available from the same website.

Donald The Toddler King Part 5

The Toddler King Part 5

5 a.m.
the toddler king
checks his twitter feed
access denied

it’s quiet now
but all last night
all he could hear
was the squeak and rustle
of rats leaving the ship

he stares out into the murky depths
Mitch McConnell swims by
an oxygen tank strapped to his back,
his lugubrious visage
fills the porthole
he removes his oxygen mask
a bubble escapes from his mouth
and floats upwards
his wattles sway like kelp
in the shifting currents
he has the detached look
of a man examining a museum exhibit
another bubble escapes upwards
he turns and kicks for the surface
his sagging buttocks
pale but somehow luminous

Am I dead?
The toddler king wonders
I can’t be dead
I’m absolutely not dead
If I say I’m not dead
I’m not dead.
Hey, what’s Ted Cruz doing out there
I thought this was a Cruz ship!
See, I made a joke
I can’t be dead!

Poem in Rattle Magazine Issue 79

A big thank you to Timothy Green for including my poem “Irish History” as part of their Tribute to Irish Poets in issue 79 of Rattle Magazine.

Read about the issue here: https://www.rattle.com/product/i79/

I encourage you all to pick up a copy, there’s some excellent poetry in there from a variety of poets, not just Irish poets.

Jim Feeney

Forest Fire (tanka)

Forest Fire

smoke obscures the dawn

there is no…no early light

oh say, can you see

the root cause, the root causes

and does it, does it give pause.

Another one for Brendan’s ekphrastic challenge over at Earthweal. Taking part in open link weekend over at earthwealhttps://earthweal.com/, since I’m late for the original prompt,

Angel on the Move (haiku)

Angel on the Move.

always, yes, always
take your pedestal with you
with you when you go

Brendan’s challenge over at earthweal is to write an ekphrastic poem inspired by the images he provides or one of your own. This is one of my own but check out Brendan’s images, you will be inspired!

Also taking part in Open Link over at dverse.

Limbo Blues/ Existential Boogie

Limbo Blues

today I remembered limbo
you can’t stand too far from the tracks

today I remembered limbo
you can’t stand too far from the tracks

some days you’re moving forward
some days you’re hanging back

Bob Dylan mentions Rimbaud
Van Morrison does too

Bob Dylan, mentions Rimbaud
Van Morrison does too

today I remembered limbo
Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus

existential boogie
do that existential thing

existential boogie
do that existential thing

you can do it in your armchair
summer, autumn, winter, spring

and if you’re looking for an answer
don’t ask Albert Camus

if you’re looking for an answer
don’t ask Albert Camus

that dude’s been dead a long time
he can’t tell you what to do

existential boogie
do that existential thing

existential boogie
do that existential thing

well, you can do it in your armchair
summer, autumn, winter, spring.

I was at a concert last night at the York Theatre on Commercial Drive in Vancouver . Walter Trout and his band were playing with David Gogo opening. Walter is a virtuoso electric blues guitarist, he’s played with pretty much everyone starting with Canned Heat and on through John Mayall. One of the best shows I’ve been to in a while, electric blues at its best. But not just blues, Walter is an excellent songwriter and his insights between songs into his professional and personal life were fascinating. Rock solid band too. Made me revisit the above effort at writing a blues song! If Walter is in your area , be sure to check him out!

For John D. (a Poem and a Deconstruction) …again.

For John D.

fecund, moribund, quincunx

fecund moribundity

moribund fecundity

rhizome, rissole, piss-hole in the snow

phenom, pheromone, genome

lissom, blossom, possum.

This poem is all about sound, association and perhaps, memory. The first three lines are an homage to the sound of ‘un’. The phrase -“fecund moribundity, moribund fecundity” –  was uttered by my friend, John Damery (John D.) during a discussion about the music of Neil Diamond – his oeuvre, his place in the pantheon. This was some time ago but it has always stuck in my head, it has a brevity and clarity  that could only have been brought on by the consumption of 5 or 6 pints and the ingestion of greasy chicken. After a long legal battle (not really) he has recently granted me permission to use  it in a poem.

The fourth line is the workhorse of the poem, the engine, the poem’s midfield general. It inverts the ‘mo’ from the first 3 lines to create the ‘om’ that dominates the last two lines. it also introduces ‘iss’ which makes an appearance in the last line. As for “piss-hole in the snow”, I defy anyone to find a finer example of bathos . The fifth line is all about ‘om” but note the clever inversion back to ‘mo’ in ‘pheromone’.

The sixth and last line has a slick softness to it like blancmange. As promised the ‘iss’ from ‘rissole’ and ‘piss-hole’ makes an appearance  before morphing into ‘oss’ and in a final stroke of nothing that remotely approaches genius, the transformation of ‘om’ into ‘um’.


quincunx (a word that flirts with obscenity):

an arrangement of five objects with four at the corners of a square or rectangle and the fifth at its centre, used for the five on dice or playing cards, and in planting trees.


a continuously growing horizontal underground stem that puts out lateral shoots and adventitious roots at intervals.

Both words were used in an article in the Irish Times on the poetry of Seamus Heaney, sent to me by John D; ‘Cartesian dualism’ and ‘Binarism’ were also mentioned (and Jesus wept).


a compressed mixture of meat and spices, coated in breadcrumbs and fried.

My mom used to make them, although I remember them as being more like a hamburger patty without the bun…thanks, mom!

Photo: English Bay, Vancouver, A-MAZE-ING LAUGHTER, by Yue Minjun.

Taking part in Open Link over at dverse.

This is also for Glenn Buttkus who passed away recently. Glenn was a regular contributor to dverse. He was an excellent poet and a man who liked edge.



My friend, Slim Volume,
had a girlfriend once.
called Delilah.
The relationship did not last long
and it wasn’t exactly a passionate affair,
mostly they just liked to watch television together.

I’d say hey Slim, what are you up to this weekend?
and he’d reply with an I’m glad you asked grin
Samsung and Delilah, he’d say
Samsung and Delilah.


Prompts sometimes send me in a completely different direction than the prompter intended. For example, this week Brendan over at Earthweal came up with the following prompt/challenge
Honor an element and invite it to our poetry commons

and although I knew he actually meant sun, wind, rain etc, I immediately thought of The Periodic Table of Elements , yes Brendan’s prompt got me into an elemental mood


When I think of Antimony
I think of acrimony
and Scott McTominay
who plays for Manchester United
and Scotland
then I think of carbon and oxygen
and their troublesome offspring
carbon dioxide
and I think it’s hard to write about chemistry
and not sound like a geek
then I think of copper and lithium
and how we need these elements
to make the batteries to power our electric cars
and how we will have to drag these elements from the earth
by means both fair and foul,
but mostly foul.
Then I think of the time I spent
in a copper smelter in southern Peru
trying to start a system for extracting sulfur dioxide
from the smelter off gas
ahh sulfur dioxide the product of a back alley encounter
between sulfur and oxygen
what is it about oxygen
it just won’t leave those other elements alone
geek on, geek on.

The operators of the smelter
were the descendants of the Incas and the conquistadores
and sometimes both
one night I spent a whole shift
with an operator who had the features
and head of an Easter Island statue
he spoke no English
my Spanish was poor
it was a long night
I wasn’t in my element.
In the mornings
after these night shifts
I would drive back to the fishing village
where we were staying
in a house the locals called Casa Gringo
I would drive past the huge pipe
discharging effluent into the blue ocean
and always there were vultures circling the outflow
and perched on the pipe.
I would drive past a patch of waste ground
the size of two football fields
covered in waste metal and other debris from the smelter,
(hello, arsenic, my old friend)
and always there were scavengers
combing through this mess
and what did I learn from all this
I learnt that the devil is always in the details
the devil is always in the details
and the footprint must be managed.

Poem for Jordan Peterson with apologies to John Lennon


I am he

as you are he

as they are they

and we are all together.

(Jordan Peterson is an alt right lite, self styled intellectual, described by Maclean’s magazine as the “the stupid man’s smart person”. Naturally he has thing about pronouns)


Spare Me

it came as a gift
now it sits in the corner
like a sulky child
demanding attention


you learn that
on a trip to the Arctic
frost bit the tip
of Harry’s todger
making him a
not so jolly Roger
a less than artful dodger
when he’s an old codger
he will remember
the day he froze
his dingus, his dong
his John Thomas
his todger
but for now his royal cannon
is just, well,
tabloid fodder.

Watching Prince Harry on Colbert I’m Reminded of a Previous Post involving Oprah and Chickens

Oprah among the Chickens

As I watched Oprah, Harry and Meghen
standing among the chickens
standing at the epicenter of an event
that sent shock waves
throughout the free world
I asked myself this question:

Is a rescue chicken
a chicken that has been rescued by people
or is it a chicken that rescues people?

I then asked myself another question:

How many Royals does it take to change a light bulb?

and a voice answered:

It’s a journey.
They must first acknowledge
that the light bulb
was the source of the light
that previously flooded the room
then and only then
is change possible.

Porcelain, Puppy Chow and Prince Harry (or The Ginger Vision)

Porcelain, Puppy Chow and Prince Harry (or The Ginger Vision)

You’re walking through your kitchen
looking for some granol’
when you do a Prince Harry
and land on your dog’s feeding bowl.

You’re lying there in the porcelain and the Puppy Chow
bruised, confused and cursing your luck
when Prince Harry appears and says:
Hey, you could put this in a book.