Saturday, 25 July 2009

more gigs

Well, I've got a couple of gigs coming up, Make Yourself Heard on 14th August, where I'm hoping we can choose a winner for the All-Ireland Slam in Galway in October, I'm not going for this myself, as I'm organising part of it and have the Radio 4 slam coming up, and also a gig on the 16th August at the Pavilion. This will let me work on my set for the Radio 4, where I need up to six 2m15sec poems, which is hard cos most are longer than that. Still, it makes me write more.

Sunday, 5 July 2009


Well welcome to my new blog, and as is obvious, I'm distressingly inefficient at it. However, having fought with the program all weekend, I actually have some poems up. Mostly I hope to put up stuff about the poetry and literature scene here in Belfast and the stuff I do. I gigged in Dublin recently, which you can get a review of at
I've also just qualified for the Radio 4 Poetry Slam semi-finals in Liverpool on September 12th. I was in the UK Slam Championship final a couple of years ago. I also organise quite a few events and slams as I go on, and I'll try to keep these noted here. Currently I'm getting my head down to edit Issue 8 of the quarterly magazine I edit, Ulla's Nib, older issues of which can be downloaded at

Fat Arsed Richard Gere

Fat Arsed Richard Gere

Fat arsed Richard Gere
Eats noodles
Strictly buddhist
And strictly ballroom
In penguin suit tails
Expensively flailing
To hide his nether expanse
It’s a bottom heavy profession
And the trouble with
The modern film genre
Is that I can’t bring myself
To identify with american people
Or care much what might
Happen to them in fictional situations
But fat arsed Richard Gere
Desperately running through
His asanas
While a thousand disembodied voices
Yell Bimbo!
So out he flees
In a small green Italian car
California’s a hot, bright country
Full of mallquakes
And sudden portents
The highways are made
Of concrete slabs
And on hot concrete tyres
Rumble with wee squealy noises
Like pigs
Accepting a bribe
Which in Richard’s case
Constitutes heavy irony
Pulling his way
Into the Zellers carpark
For half a dozen guilty doughnuts
And a little light shopping
And back in the bourgemobile
Fat arsed Richard Gere
Unwrapping dozens of Cindy dolls
One by one
And lining up their little blouses
All along the walnut dashboard
While considering liposuction
Another dark and compulsive
Little cat-and-mouse game
With the paparazzi
And on to the studio
A giant shiny perspex cube
In which California abounds
Adolescent in the daylight
Striding through the foyer
A man with no name-tag
In an empirical universe
Herded by smart and skinny assistants
Into the Eco-studio
Fat arsed Richard Gere
Lectures about rainforests
While Sting and Peter Gabriel
Beckon from beyond the grave
Earnest and blinking
Under the arc lights
Sincere and toothy
While behind him
His fat arse
Has its own agenda
Hidden from public view
And growing inexorably
Will the real Richard please stand up
Or is it Dick
Let us not confuse the icon
With the hominid behind it
The tanned and shallow face
With the arse in the shadows
But what of the roles between roles
When Richard leaves the studio
Or when we are alone and only
What lies between the gaps
Of our private roles
Some quintessential being?
Or as the buddhists say
Just the wind whistling
Between the trees
Sounding like the plaintive calls
Of living things
And fat arsed Richard Gere
Strives for non-being.

The Spirit Glass

The Spirit Glass

We join our hands
Around the spirit glass
The sloshing winedark nectar
Warming our palettes in sunset
Amber textures of tavern night
Encroaching our horizons
The ancient liquid of our company
This sea that passes between us
The highlands and the islands
And the people of the coasts
Conjoined and divided
By ribbons of grey tumbling water
Seafarms and headlands
Chiselled once into a cup
That drank a single draught
Of Dalriada mead
Still entranced by the ghost of lights
Beckoning across the sound
And the spray of history rising
Like a Moyola gale of bitter salt
Blowing in from the north
To sober us
And cleanse our wounds
Tales of once bright champions
Calling to us beyond the land
In the screaming wheel
Of an arctic tern
Ten thousand years of kith and kine
An old, old people forgiving
As the cold waves that forged them
Fomorian and proud of it
Keepers of the elder mysteries
Peatsmoke rising over island distilleries
The oak spirit we gave the world
With his twin mistresses
Woman and song
This spirit glass
We raise in honour
Reflecting our upturned faces
In its depths
The great leveller
The warp and weft that weaves
The threads of an evening
Into the slow maturing garment of tale
Passing between us
In our common pleasure.



They said he lived on the beach
He lived somewhere anyway
But they said it was the beach
The nightclub as opposed to the tree
Draped decorously over the bar
Leering sideways at the crowd
Favouring individuals with glances
Suggesting sardonic wisdom
Or twisted underpants
Late at night he would go for a dip
Jostling his way into a corner
Flailing flaky chlorinated hands
Choosing a table with disgraceful care
Perching on a round side-stool
Beaming at bland student faces
Sidling into conversation
In deprecated hushed pronouncements
We never knew the next bit
But within twenty minutes
An awful fight would break out
While he padded away forgotten
Sadly shaking his bemused smile
As a counterpoint to breaking furniture
The bar received him warily
Served his next jack with cold eye
Week after week the anger built
Also the pile of broken swedish pine
Afterwards he was warm and forgiving
And that’s what really rankled
Put his forgiveness somewhere dark and private
Where he won’t like it the consensus ran
But though observed far and beadily
He never went into the toilets
Though he was often spotted leaving them
Such was his sly delinquency
Detractors met and swore oaths
Fanning ire into blossomed wrath
A bad tipper to boot and foreign
After his last night they came after
A crowd followed him home
But the beach was wild and empty
Only a tidemark on a boat
Salt scuffed with cuban heels
Gave sign to futile assailants
As they gazed out needled at the stars
While the waves turned their backs
They returned to town and tarmac
Beat a tramp on the way back
As these people will
And never spoke of him again
Though the damp patch on the wall
At the end of the formica bar
Would never go away as he had
They kept his shadow to the last though
Until the spring of ’93
When it was hidden behind
A new fruit machine
Which provided some diversion
Od und leer das meer.

Gilgamesh enters the Zellers Mall

Gilgamesh enters the zeller’s mall

Alliterative, alacritive
Gilgamesh enters the zeller’s mall
Shaggy Enki follows in behind
Proud at shopping chariot helm
All the cashgirls eyes are sated
As they milk the teats of commerce
Stretch their painted scarlet lips
Sticky with Dumuzi’s blood
The straw god
And the cow priestesses
Mulching Sumer’s sacrifice
The triumph of bovine consumerism
Grasping their paddles
The milkmaids begin their song
Their churning song
Enflaming Gilgamesh
In the belly of Inanna
The manmilk is churned
Into what golden butter
Man, keep the paddle straight
Man, see the heat is gradual
See the golden globes appear
In the heat of the crucible
In the heart of consummation
In the garden at midday
Make yellow the milk my bridegroom
Gilgamesh blushes
Turns his sunface from the cashgirls
Astride dark Enki’s chariot
He braves the aisles of merchandise
Eternal, diurnal
Through forests of garish underwear
Peeled empty playsuits
Mocking as the milkmaids’ laughter
Pursue him through soft furnishings
To the mall concourse
Oblivious to the throng of pilgrims
Eyed by the temple rent-a-cops
Along the royal precinct
And into Books-R-Us
Enki curses and spits
On a life-sized stand-up Mailer
Retroglamour and confinement
Pierce his desert soul
Like the vulture’s shadow
Gilgamesh leaps from his chariot
Under the sign of the goddess
Sitting on her very couch
Sits Lilith in her glory
Signing copies of Ishtar’s Girdle
A wow with the critics
See the goddess naked
Her inner secrets exposed
Lilith bares little pointed teeth
In a carnivorous grin
Gilgamesh casts a spear at her
Despite the erection
But the rent-a-cops have followed
And restrain him
Dress him in purple robes
Force him to lie upon the couch
He pleads for his long preserved virginity
But the damned erection betrays him
And she has him
Look around she says afterwards
As he weeps for what he has lost
How could we profane this place
This fable of a failed race
Culture, honour, dignity, love
Everything’s for sale
With low budget financing
The human heart is tamed
And passion is a perfume
Yelling that we need no gods
We cry our pain in the wilderness
Get thee hence Gilgamesh
Far from the haunts of man
For I have seen the future
And find it narcissistic and provincial
With no call for heroes
So take your hairy little friend
And fuck off.

The Founder and the Dandy

I slipped into the masons’ barn
To spit on the Founder’s tomb
Not for sweet Katleen
But for darling Oscar
Childhood chums
They went up to Trinity together
The Founder and the Dandy
Often at odds in class
And later at the bar
Oscar’s flights of delighted wit
And gold chains of pleasure
Floundering against the probity
Of strong, deaf ears
The founder dapper even then
In pencil sharp overcoats
Of grey, Wesleyan broadcloth.
And later a close friend
Would say in his defence:
The best you can say
Is he was really no zealot
Just a shady lawyer
On the make.
He who loathed this town
And its scaly protectors
Though they claimed his flesh
When it finally eluded him
To his sure eternal irritation
While Oscar sleeps in gay Paree
With Jim Morrison
Guileless a chickenhawk
As ever wept crocodile tears
Tended by the pure of heart
Pressing roses into the gravel
And here; provincial burghers
Garland the Founder’s tomb
With narcotic wreaths of poppies
And Oscar would be amused.