Tag Archives: Poetry

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


Eamon De Valera campaigning on January 1, 1948


Now is the time for complacency
Let us take our shoulders from the wheel
The road ahead is easy
The distant sunlit uplands real

Tús maith, leath na hoibre

And we have started very well
So now relax each muscle fibre
Await the peal of Victory’s bell.

John Moynes

Pic: getty

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



A free to download poetry journal from Poetry Northern Ireland.

Featuring three long-form works from A Limerick A Day’s John Moynes, including ‘The Waste Years’ (above), John’s meditation on pretentiousness in poetry.

In fairness.

Download here


Kevin Barrington – Love You Long Time

An Irish poet Live and UNLEASHED in Paris.

Kevin writes:

The last number in a set I did last week in Paris supporting Lydia Lunch. Realised the hip Parisian crowd was not picking on fast paced subtle humour.

So I thought I had better do some pure intensity (@2.13) – transpired it was laced with irritation at the people talking down the back.

But it worked. Thankfully. Exhausting though.

Caution: Some very saucy language.

Kevin Barrington

Free Sunday?

Joe writes:

Manchester poet Mike Garry returns to the Workmans Club [Wellington Quay, Dublin 2] this Sunday [August 13]. His last show in the same venue in January was nothing short of mesmerising.

Support comes from Dublin poet Lewis Kenny. Admission is €7.

Mike Garry

Previously: 24 Hour Poetry People

To A Troll Who Loves Me

More than the hard luck stories
you hold dearer than the mildewed pillow
you’ve clutched at every night since your teddy bear
escaped on a train bound for Luton or Mallow;

more than your favourite team
hitting first the post, then the bar
in the F.A. Cup final which defined
your shit childhood, you love me more even

than the no one who pays attention to your
poems; more than the land your father
didn’t leave you in his will; more

than the mediocre grades you got despite
having been sufficiently flexible
to sleep with your teacher;

more than all the little people
who, despite your fat
advantages, turned out far better
than you, more than all of these
rolled into one, you want me.

So tonight
you’re a giant sexless toddler throwing
dead animals out of its play pen
in the hope someone
will throw one back;

your mind a no bedroom basement flat
(with kitchenette) which you fill with manic ferrets
and badgers with psychiatric issues
to make the place smell better.

Each time you message me
I kill you by never
having heard of you,
or anyone who’s ever
heard of you

Kevin Higgins

Previously: Kevin Higgins on broadsheet

Former Tanaiste Joan Burton during the Jobstown protest

Irish Liberal Foresees Own Enduring Relevance

My words are smoother than the essential oils
the Taoiseach last week
had his parliamentary assistant rub
into his badly traumatised buttocks.
My psychotherapist insists
half the people who’ve taken
shotguns to their own heads,
during this recession, would’ve reconsidered,
if only they’d heard me talk for an hour
each week about the dangers of Sinn Féin,
or how I live in the hope of a woman Pope.

I’m all for the good people of middle Ireland
making their point in a dignified manner
with china cups of nothing stronger than tea in their hands.
But when thugs from the far parts start burning vans
and generally acting as if they owned the place;
and gurriers from the depths begin picking up bricks
and tossing words so terrible,
they’re not even in the dictionary,
at the Minister for Poverty’s hair-style.
(How would you like your wife,
sister, great grandmother,
kidnapped in her car
for two and a half hours?)

The world will not be changed by fools
banging on the bonnet of a BMW.
But by the likes of me talking
against social exclusion in TV studios.
And fundraising concerts organised
by former pop-stars.
And the well-meaning priest
with whom I regularly have dinner;
between the two us we’ve enough
concern for the poor to construct a second
Fergal Keane of the BBC,
as a back-up in case
the existing one breaks.

Trust in us. Pay no heed
to the sweary-mouthed crowd,
who if they’re not put back where they belong
will soon be eating pot noodle from scooped out skulls
confiscated from their betters
in defiance of international law.
By the likes of them,
the world must not be changed.

Kevin Higgins

Yesterday: Meanwhile, At Court 13