How To Say What Can't Be Said
A collection of poems and a few thoughts on making things
I have somewhat of a love-hate relationship with poetry. Sometimes it’s pretentious, empty and forced, analysed to death by nob-ends on the telly who obviously think too much. Other times it catches hold of me, mirrors my lived experience and says what I couldn’t. It seems to talk around the point, deliberately avoiding explicitness. All good stories are like that—they say it without saying it. But we want answers, don’t we? We look everywhere for answers to the myriad of problems that seem to occupy our lives. Life, in that way, is one endless problem to be solved. But poems don’t offer answers, at least not like that. Instead, they point the way and maybe make things alright.
I dabble a bit from time to time. A lot of it is shit I’ve no doubt, but I try. Trying is the wrong word for it though because it’s in the act of trying that things become difficult or maybe even impossible. Trying is necessary for a while no matter what work we decide to do, but in order to say it without saying it, to really hit on something profound, we’ve got to get beyond trying. Paint a picture, pen a song, write a poem, create a sculpture, design a building; whatever it is, it’s got to come easier than that if it’s going to be real. What I mean is, we’ve got to find a way to do it without pretence and premeditation. It is thoughtlessness, a peak experience, the product of a flow state, to use contemporary terms.
Mick Mulvihill’s English classes would have been an interminable bore if it wasn’t for his outrageous character and, it must be said, the constant piss-take from a certain young Donnelly sitting across from me. Mick’s classes were pure entertainment. That’s where it started—my interest in words and what they meant when strung together in certain ways. I’ve no idea if anything I’ve ever written is any good, but I give it a lash all the same. Anyway, what does “any good” even mean?
Some day I’ll put these inside a cover and give it a title.
See you next week.
Cold Is The City
Cold is the city.
Unnamed, disappeared am I in its midst.
In the face of everpresent isolation,
Only found a sunset where you do not exist.
Light and noise surround me,
Stabbed, sickly fire rushes through my veins.
One thousand feet pound the concrete,
Malevolence can’t see me just the same.
Darkness descends on me at every corner.
Cold penetrates my skin right through to bone.
No choice, I must embrace the devil.
No choice, for his is all I own.
Distant is the place for me wherein,
Held by you in your still and warm embrace.
A time where you and I were unified,
Little memory now, only vacant stares, a trace.
Cold in the city I lurk below the line of sight.
I wonder if you are just like me.
Despair be my constant companion,
Underneath the busy layer my silent decree.
Cold city you are all that’s left to me,
As blue lights flash the early mourning call.
Life leaves the eyes of perhaps a friend, another exit,
Another one from disgrace alone does fall.
Sadness, yet a somewhat morbid beauty in his passing.
Little option but to see out the road I chose.
Jouissance in every hour of my existence,
Jouissance, in fact, there’s nothing left to lose.
Am I a blessed generate of the city?
Am I a blessed member of this cold-hearted place?
A blessed cornerstone of the inner city?
A blessed member of an unhuman race?
Darkened hearts take up your corners of the city,
Celebrate the life and death of those lost, forlorn.
For nothing grants you elevation from the city,
Accept this now, I must, for the sake of Gods unborn.
It’s Autumn, Thank God
This is my favourite time of year,
The time I was born.
All of a sudden it seems,
The leaves that don the mature Silver Birch on our road have turned brown,
And the wind is up to bring them to ground.
Extra layers are pulled from wardrobes the length and breadth of the country,
As Summer takes a back seat.
It’s Autumn, thank god.
And all that was bright and shiny is dulled,
And things that were made come to nought.
There Is No Time
There is no time, things just is you see,
In the house of my mind where the child I did be.
Seconds, minutes, hours, days, structured things,
Are merely of my mind, man’s creation brings.
Tempus fugit! my old man used to say.
Nothing left to the world but my thoughts this day.
Flower rock beast and tree, they have no time for me,
For they just are.
They exist in my mind you see.
Much like my whole earth, mountain sky and sea.
None mark this friendless face and wish,
They were somewhere else, where they’d be happier…ish.
No, it’s not for me to want for time to pass,
for there is no better place for my spirit to last,
Than this universe, the one mind has gifted,
To one part of the whole,
Let my heart be lifted,
To the heights of the sky,
And to the heavens and say,
There is no time, just my thoughts this day.
When I Was Alive
Furrowed brow, vacant stare.
Mind focused, yet unaware.
Knuckles tight as I make my way.
Here we go, another day.
Immersed I am in things to do.
My job is important, without it who,
am I do you think?
Drink, it’s Friday night,
A chance to escape the fight.
The endless toil given to me
Le grand Autre
I have succumbed to you.
I can hear it,
It carries me along
Making my way every single day.
40 years now, wasted away,
Doing things you know I’d rather not.
Before, I almost forgot,
For the sake of bright shiny things.
You know, I’d trade it all in,
For that feeling, I had when I was a child
It was easy then… when I was alive
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