Poetry is the art of the in-between, that space between places and identities. A poem about emigration captures this essence.
For me, that place is that pocket of knowing between Ireland and Spain, of home and home.
What does one do when the rigours of structure and timetable relax? Our clothes sit differently, and our hands must learn to reach instinctively for other things. The language of every day stutters and the tongue must find repose and recompose itself.
A traveller from an antique land, indeed. And weary.
And when we travel, it’s not just from terminal to terminal; economy class tickets must also be booked for the past.
A Poem – Turn
My pockets are full with being empty
the golden key sits atop a row of books
while the keyrings compete with jacket-sleeves
My wallet reposes with papery skin
creaking like that of a lizard
carved by the elements, ridges, edges
folds of a life
divested of its contents
pools of coins and notes clinging like ties
pouring forth across credit card holders
over the thin lips and tongues, dry fifties, sombre tens
to the hanger on *llaveros*, the shelved ideas
My legs take more than a minute to adjust
to the redefinition posed by my trousers
Two weeks a year
I am the nowhere man
The town hasn’t changed in 200 years
pictures from this book
local history – like the parish priest
or that one neighbour that was old when you were young
and is still old, with purple hair, boiled sweets
her kitchen is where you learnt the word ‘linoleum’ –
is nice, full of the kindest phrases
Big Tom is looking well
and the shop has been in the family for years
Tinkers vomiting and shouting
there was a green bottle on Hartnett’s statue
49 of imported piss airbrushed from the pages
picked up by high-vis men on their rounds
Two weeks a year I do my own rounds
and I reacquaint myself with hazy figures
and all the best ones with backs covered
by luminous jackets, shovels at hand
sorting the past
And here are some more poems that follow a similar theme: