Celebrations two years ago as Galway was declared European Capital of Culture 2020.
His off-white trilby is a confidence trick
to fool the undergarments off
High Court judges’
though of late it’s stopped conning
anyone except himself.
The glassless brass monocle
he carries about
an opposite eye each day
is as unpretentious
as the collected abstract nouns
of Michael D. Higgins.
His latest round of Irish coffees
is an advance to himself
from the year after next,
which the Arts Council have decided
to know nothing about.
His management skills
are a chair that collapsed
under one of the Sawdoctors,
or was it Mary Coughlan,
being laughed off in a pub
that wouldn’t survive
without its annual subvention
from the Deportment of Kulture.
His eye for publicity
is Kanye West in conversation
with Cathal O’Sharkey.
His sense of himself
is a pair of black shoes,
and three sizes too big for him.
His man parts are
three historic buildings
next door to each other,
which the City Council
have agreed to pay to have restored
to something like their alleged former glory,
though the start date for this much needed
work has already been put back
several times, and insiders predict
the cost will soar
far above even
the increased budget agreed
at last night’s gathering of the glad hands
What Put The Diamonds In Your Owner’s Wife’s Ears?
after Bertolt Brecht
You clean collared columnists
should first help us fix the basic roof-over-head
dilemma, before penning your next sermon.
You shower, who preach careful now
and always know your own exact bank balance,
what is this mature democracy towards which you sweat?
Without a door I can safely lock behind me
to keep your pity at bay, civilisation
doesn’t even begin.
First bring those of us who get by on Supermac’s
each our own mahogany table and a big, silver knife
with which to cut the turkey and ham into manageable slices
(with a vegetarian option for those so afflicted)
and answer us this:
What put the diamonds in your owner’s wife’s ears?
Or the Prince Albert ring in her boyfriend’s willy?
The fact you’re in there polishing phrases
and we’re out here in the undemocratic rain
which everyone – from the Primate of the Church of Ireland
to the Council for the Women of Consequence – agrees
must never be allowed land on you,
this is what keeps pinning diamonds
to your owner’s wife’s sad little lobes,
and puts the ring that winks up at her
in her boyfriend’s knob.
Pope Francis (left) will visit Knock Shrine (right) during the Papal visit
What The Virgin At Knock Would Say If She Could Speak
We need to get back
to when confirmed bachelors
found their own kind through holes in cubicles
during untelevised All Ireland Finals.
To when there were no government funded
lesbians on display in public parks,
or self-confessed sodomites in the Senate.
To when there was no obscene use for
Vaseline, or sexual intercourse in Headford.
To when no one put Coke bottles
where they weren’t supposed to go.
And there were no automatic
washing machines for women to sit on
when Rock Hudson was unavailable.
To when the Irish people stood
at the end of lanes waiting
for nothing to happen,
which it mostly did.
To when young ones who forgot to cross
their legs at the crucial moment could be put
steam ironing curtains for the golf club, sheets
and pillowcases for your mother’s B&B;
still be safely there eight o’clock
in the evening having hot flushes
the hottest day of that century
to which we must get back.
Jeremy Corbyn (right) ally Peter Willsman (right) reportedly says UK Labour’s anti-Semitism scandal is invented.
What I Told the Psychiatrist
for Pete Willsman
The cat pads downstairs and its claws
take their hate out on me because
he’s been up there re-reading his copy
of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,
which, one of these days, I’ll find
if it kills me, which I expect it will.
Then the wife joins in with an unprovoked
“Are you really wearing that?”
against one of my more
avant-garde jumpers, and I realise
it’s a symptom of her
longstanding admiration for
the architecture of Albert Speer.
And there’s the shop assistant who
by her very body language accuses
me of being a veteran
of Yom Kippur and member
of Israel Military Intelligence,
each time she rings up my
Vichy bottled water.
And those who’ve previously
marched and written against
anti-Semitism but now give
tacit endorsement to the policies
of the General Government of Poland
(nineteen thirty nine to forty five)
by disagreeing with me
about the price of parsnips,
or deciding to support
Leicester City. Worst of all is when
Bank Holiday weekend traffic
gets suddenly constipated, and some
random driver takes his pain out on me
by mouthing horrible words
through his windscreen
because he knows I’m Jewish
even though no one in my family
ever previously was.
Composite via The Sun
America’s largest immigration processing centre in McAllen, Texas
The Truth Behind The Wire
Kindly disregard the attention seeking cries of the few.
They are child actors being given scripts by liberals.
Most of the young people there are delighted with
what we’re doing. There is no policy
of separation from parents. It’s just
if you’re going to process the mamas
and papas, you’ve gotta take
the bambinos away.
The wire we put around them,
for their own safety, isn’t even barbed.
In there, we help kids go to school;
even give them haircuts
with our giant – and deadly
accurate – Immigration
and Customs Enforcement scissors.
This is the exact opposite of cages.
Despite the headlines,
no one has been gassed.
There are, and never have been,
any concentration camps.
These children are in temporary custody;
playing video games
and soccer; getting two snacks
a day and lots of sleep
under their resplendent thermal blankets.
The chain-link fencing
we’ve used to divide into bedrooms
the building we’re warehousing them in
is entirely incidental.
Almost none of the adolescents in our possession
have, as of yet, been turned
into bespoke hat-stands
and raffled off to the dissatisfied wives
of Texan cattle-hands.
And we have, as of today, no plans
to use the hindquarters of the small ones
to fashion a new face for
Pic: US Customs and Border Protection
Don’t Stop Repealing
In the interests of the coming equality,
of which everyone is now theoretically
in favour, the mahogany dining tables of Taylors’ Hill
must be immediately confiscated; the wood used
to fashion a makeshift grand piano
for every asylum seeker child in the city.
All marble staircases will be yanked out,
like massive teeth, and delivered
to the nearest band of traveller children
to do with as they wish.
Former Senators, with fully paid-up
Galway Golf Club memberships,
must be auctioned off to buy
T-bone steaks for seasonally unemployed
fish factory hands.
To further redress the class balance,
it will be compulsory
for the Armed Response Unit to legally remove
by shooting as many times as necessary
any auctioneers or Papal Nuncios
seen acting suspiciously outside
the kebab shop.
Property developers of all genders,
races, and sexual orientations who purchase
half finished apartment blocks
for the very heaven of just watching
the price rise, will be taken forcibly
in the back of an obliging HiAce
to the nearest available handball alley,
where they’ll be given fifty strokes
across each cheek
by some mad eejit with a grudge.
Palestinians run for cover during clashes with Israeli security forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip on May 14
Let Me Tell You About Them
The teenagers we shot yesterday
were shot responsibly through the eye
with plain-speaking dum-dum bullets,
manufactured in Fife, or taken down
with SR 25 sniper rifles flown
heroically in from Orange County.
Many of these so-called protestors
specifically arranged to be shot in the back,
just to make us look bad.
The gas canisters our people threw
were entirely rational, and legal,
like the Boer firestorm the kaffirs
brought down on themselves at Sharpeville,
or the best-of-British ambush
that rubbish walked into at Derry.
The one rogue canister which lost
its mind and finished up in a tent
beside an eight month old baby,
who, sadly, also expired, is currently under investigation
and expects to be cleared of all wrong doing,
unlike the baby who we’ve already found guilty.
There is no such thing as Palestinians.
Just some Arabs who used to live here
and think they still do.
The keys they wave in the air
no longer open any doors.
They are a rumour you foolishly believed,
now we’ve moved our eternal capital
to what used to be
their front room.
Yesterday: Dan Boyle: When Calling Out Murder is Anti Semitic
Renewable Energy: Cora Sherlock’s Excellent Suggestion
We must stop giving it away for nothing
– our greatest natural resource –
the Department of Finance estimates
Tallaght Hospital could heat itself
entirely on foetuses properly burnt
in one of those state of the art
energy efficient furnaces that are
all the rage in Sweden.
Within the lifetime of this government
every hospital in the country could be fuelled
by the unwanted contents of visiting wombs.
The minority of cranks aside,
the average foetus would be delighted
to make this small contribution towards
society’s continued warmth.
And when the ban on contraceptive devices
is re-introduced; every last diaphragm,
IUD, cock-ring, and bit of rubber
ribbed for your pleasure incinerated
in a field outside Ballinspittle,
after a blessing by Mother Teresa,
(specially flown in from
the black beyond)
and the conception rate soars
the traditional twelve
pregnancies per lifetime, two thirds,
we estimate, resulting in terminations,
we can start talking
about the export market.
Economists say the uteruses
of the greater Dublin area alone
could light the living rooms
of a medium sized British city,
such as Bradford.
Education is key.
To get the lady parts of the country
conceiving as they’ll have to,
every pubescent girl,
on her fifteenth birthday,
will be shown her way around
the first twenty pages of the Kama Sutra
by a fully qualified curate
under the age of seventy.
This policy’s success
will abolish talk of deficits
and oil prices. Instead,
we’ll debate furiously
whether to blow our vast surplus
on a few thousand more
unemployed tin whistle players
with the hint of an English accent,
or free nose jobs and tummy tucks
for the wives of the wealthy—the biggest
plastic surgery project in world history
since NASA’s unsuccessful attempt
to build another Joan Rivers.
RTÉ’s Miriam O’Callaghan
The minute I’m appointed Minister
for Justice, Broadcasting, and Espionage,
I’ll send forth a decree
making it criminal, and punishable
by being made sit forever
on a bus that never leaves
Kinnegad, to make any further mention of
It will be an offence
to download any part of Miriam O’Callaghan
from the internet.
Furthermore, any computers or
smart-phones found to contain pictures
of Miriam O’Callaghan
will be broken up
lunatics with specially made
hammers my Department will
provide them with.
The Armed Response Unit will begin
raiding houses known to contain back issues
of the RTÉ Guide disfigured
with her image.
It will be a crime even
for you to read this poem,
or, technically, for me to have written it.
If reading this poem in the printed version
be sure and eat the paper it’s written on
and that all of it has passed successfully
through your digestive system
before you’re arrested.
Previously: Kevin Higgins on Broadsheet
The Captive Butt
after Czeslaw Milosz
When an approved committee of three PhDs in
Creative Writing, English and Political Science
have spent the required laboratory weeks
ensconced with your every thought, word, deed –
and found nothing of consequence –
your buttocks will be authorised
for a Literature Foundation supported
tour of the bigger bits of the United States.
Sometimes both cheeks together,
on discussion panels:
Can Poets Be Bought?
And who’d want one anyway?
co-Chaired by the cadavers
of five Professors of Comparative Literature
at Johns Hopkins or Stanford.
Other times each going their separate way –
gluteus maximus number one
its latest free verse tribute to itself
to rapt dozens
up and down the eastern seaboard –
part town crier, part infant in need of winding –
while its equal and opposite,
if slightly more pimpled, twin
talks its way in and out of the Celtic
Studies Departments of every University
from Vancouver to Caltech
on the topic How contemporary Irish
literature is putting the I back into Irish,
to the orgasmic applause of students
named Erin and Megan
forced to attend for credit.