Author Archives: Kevin Higgins

RTÉ’s Miriam O’Callaghan

The Forgetting

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
Miriam O’Callaghan.
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
by care-in-the-community
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.

Kevin Higgins

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
whimpering out
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.

Kevin Higgins

Minister Jim Daly has suggested social media users hand over passport or public service card details to sign up to Facebook

Internet Safety For Adults

When Her Majesty squiggles my law into effect,
it will be compulsory that every computer come
with a paedophile pre-installed.
Section four of the proposed legislation
will make it mandatory that said individual
only be activated when your child types
in his or her date of birth and a verifiable
I.D. card number which I, as Minister
for Children, will provide for each of them
free of charge. From this day forth your sons and daughters
will no longer have to haunt
local playgrounds in the hope of being accosted
by men enthusiastic to open
the all-encompassing grey coats
their type travel the land in.

Worry not, the frothing men (and occasional women)
the tech giants will, from now on, be compelled
to put inside every computer in the country
will be tested to ensure they have no interest in adults.
Obese chain-smoking blokes from near Stoke
and the sort of women whose implausibly
distended chests one notices
at post-night club bus-stops in Bishop’s Stortford
will be in no danger whatsoever.

The people to whom we plan to introduce your children
have no appetite for mutton, or dry aged sirloin;
only eat choice cut spring lamb
done exquisitely rare.

Kevin Higgins


Enda Kenny and Leo Varadkar at a Fine Gael Think-In, 2014.


The Great Trade-Up

It is written that the traditional,
wind-blown, mongrel
who herded us of old
would be traded in
for the one who calls himself
Lion; is in the gym
every a.m. by six, furiously
admiring his pelt
of pure gold.

That a man whose political base
was two elderly brothers who both ate
their excessively buttered spuds
off the same cracked plate
to save on the washing up;
would make way for a guy
who eats his artisanal
cauliflower and pickles
off a bespoke slate
his assistant happily carries
everywhere on his behalf.

And when the word was made reality
the people and their gods
saw it was progress to be rid
of a rural accent best suited
to pub chat about the match
between Galway and Mayo
and before this progress
we bowed and gave thanks.

Far better that next time the person in charge
is forced to broadcast from his (or her) life boat
to tell us that, sadly, we’re all dead,
it be done by one who in the womb
was already solving complex accountancy conundrums;
whose first words were “team of management consultants”
when, about half an hour ago,
he emerged to general applause.

Kevin Higgins


‘Labour Against the Witch-hunt Group’ calls for kevin’s reinstatement

Poet Kevin Higgins continues his fight against suspension from the UK Labour Party.

London-born, Galway-based and Corbyn-supporting, Kevin was suspended for penning inflammatory verse against Tony Blair among others.

Kevin writes:

This (above) is a letter that’s been sent (by the UK based ‘Labour Against the Witch-hunt Group’) to the newly elected National Executive Committee of British Labour Party.

When was the last time the ruling body of a major political party discussed poetry?

The objectionable poem (or at least one of them) can be read here

Kevin Higgins

Ghost of Health Service Future

Back when we had only
the occasional old five pound note
invested under our long suffering mattresses,
in the golden age of scurvy, typhus, plague
there was always something fatal
to take the frail off our hands
at hardly any expense to anyone,
bar the price of digging the grave.

Now, some scientist comes flapping daily
from the laboratory to declare another bastard
disease sadly no longer incurable.
The long term cost of all this
getting better will be our ruin.

The future we offer you will be short
and affordable.

For starters, every cup of tea will be tested
to ensure it contains appropriate levels
of the deadlier strains of E-Coli.
Those suffering from cardiac
arrhythmia or elevated blood pressure
will be taken off all expensive medication,
and shouted at three hours a day
by unemployable sociopaths,
so happy at the hint of a job,
they’ll work for nothing.

From his or her fortieth birthday onwards
asthmatics, and those with chronic
bronchitis, sarcoidosis, and cystic fibrosis
will receive no treatment at all,
unless they agree to immediately
take up smoking.

Those with Crohn’s disease, IBS,
or colitis will be force fed three loaves
of slightly stale bread
until they stop complaining.

Everyone availing of our public health system
will be subject to random spot checks
on their way to work, to make sure
they’ve gobbled their daily ration
of fat only yoghurt.

Schoolteachers will be empowered
to wire children judged too thin
up to the school sugar pump,
until they have expanded sufficiently.

Those who, despite all this,
insist on turning seventy five
will be tickled to death with feather dusters,
they will be expected to supply themselves;
their laughing corpses dumped
in the nearest river to further
infect the water supply.

Over the next five years,
we will replace the costly chaos
of our hospital system with the eternal calm
of the graveyard.

Kevin Higgins


Of Course They Know It’s Christmas
(after Midge Ure & Bob Geldof)

It’s Christmastime; and there’s every reason to be afraid
At Christmastime, we let the light love us and we banish shame
Down our streets of plenty we can spread the smirk of money
Throw your arms around a former bass guitarist
Whose name you think is Chris at Christmastime

But ping your pennies at the other ones
In the long line outside the foodbank
As you drive loudly past
In your silver BMW
Because it’s better than paying tax

At Christmastime
It gets hard, though not as hard as it used to, when you’re having fun
With a reupholstered former model who claims to be a cousin
Of General Pinochet’s personal physician
There’s a world outside your triple-gazed PVC window
And it’s a world of fear and hate
Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting
Of an accountant from Penge
Peeing on rough sleepers
Because his train is late again

We could’ve kept our enormous
Mouths shut, or had the good taste
To be found dead in suspicious
Circumstances at least a decade ago
Instead we offer
A bunch of rock stars who’d be forgotten
If it wasn’t for this old song

And the alarms that go off there
Are the clanging chimes of private property
Well tonight thank Lucifer it’s them instead of Bono
And there will be ice in sleeping bags this Christmastime
The greatest gift they’ll get this year is death
Remind them that it’s Christmastime
In case they missed the ads

Kevin Higgins


Pro Choice Protest in Merrion Square, Dublin 2 during the Global Day of Action for Safe and Legal Abortion last September

Irish Government Minister Unveils Monument
to Victims of Pro-Life Amendment

On a date to be confirmed,
when those who remember 1983
will sleep safely in their graves,
or be anxiously telling nurse
about the auld ones with crucifixes
they think are coming to get them

a girl, today
on holidays from primary school,
by then grown into
a Maggie Thatcher suit, will thank
the Chamber of Commerce
for use of their microphone
as a pulled chord unwraps a figure
chipped from stone

in memory
of those forced
to change trains at Crewe clutching
solitary suitcases that screamed
one night only,

those that bled out in the backs
of London taxis after journeys
made possible by post office accounts
and extra hours at the newsagent’s;

all because of a stick
which, for them, turned
the wrong colour
the wrong year
in the wrong country.

And as the Minister continues,
across the road a little girl will grab
her mother’s arm and ask:
what’s that lady saying?

Kevin Higgins

Taken from Kevin’s most recent book Song of Songs 2.0: New & Selected Poems (Salmon).

Yesterday: REPEALING


All I Want
after M. Carey & V. Salt

All I want for Christmas is a bio
of Bertolt Brecht, and to see
a neo-classical economist
lowered into the nearest available
septic tank.

All I want for Hanukkah is Engels’
Condition of the Working Class in England,
and legislation to allow the landlord
be restrained with bailing twine
in his own garden shed
‘til he agrees to reduce the rent.

All I want for Eid is a performance
of The Three Penny Opera in our living room,
and a world in which every child is given,
free of charge, a hot water bottle fashioned
from a former Minister for Housing’s bladder.

All I want for Diwali is Hugh MacDiarmid’s skull
so I can share a whiskey with it of an evening, and Sophie
Scholl’s, or failing that, Arthur Scargill’s backbone
so I can use it to publicly disembowel those
who come out on Facetwit for repealing
the Eighth Amendment the day after
we vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

All I want for the Tool Box Killer’s birthday
is to personally fix a scold’s bridle between
the Editor of the Daily Mail’s clacking jaws
(and up any other part of him in danger of talking)
and to live to see the Crime Correspondent
of the Sunday World finally sent
to landfill for journalistically pleasuring
one Chief Superintendant too many.

Kevin Higgins


Tommy Tiernan

Tommy Tells His Dream

(after Martin Luther King and T. Tiernan)

But, I say to you tonight, my fellow silver chins of every imaginable orientation, let us not dribble too long down the gully of despond.

Though we now face the catastrophes of others with equanimity, I once had a dream. A dream whose roots stood frailly, but proudly, in the droplets of Royal County cow dung sent by God the Mother, Auntie & Uncle as a sign to confirm how impressed the average orthodontist in the greater Navan area is with how far I as a country have come.

When I was growing up you weren’t allowed to be cross-eyed. Now I can look at you whatever way I want, and I’m a country at ease with having as its temporary head god a homosexual of Indian extraction who secretly thinks all the screaming injustices in this amazing country I have become could be sorted by allowing a free market in the fingernails of the indigent so we can develop an environmentally friendly alternative to ivory.

I had a dream, dear investors in this frantic little country I have become, that one day homeless thirteen year olds would sit trying to understand the practical application of Pythagoras’s Theorem and who was who in the War of The Roses while younger siblings shrieked their times tables on temporary mattresses whose stains have paid for themselves many times over.

I had a dream that one day, in the amazing country I always planned to grow up to be, little black boys and girls would spend years at the breakfast table with a peculiar bloke from Azerbaijan and in the process fatten the owner of the draughtiest hotel in town before eventually being allowed to pass go.

I had a dream that one day Californian Turkey Vultures, with offices in the Virgin Islands, would be invited in by the Department of Finance to usefully pick clean unnecessary flesh from the skeletons of rough sleepers and be able to claim tax relief for the upkeep of their beaks.

I had a dream that one day every pit would open its jaws wider, and quietly clear its throat before swallowing many of you, that every mountain would be made more exalted and that on each peak, from Mount Errigal to the McGillycuddy Reeks, there’d sit a guy like me telling Ryan Tubridy how he (or she) once had a dream.

Kevin Higgins