Lines On The Lockdown


Dublin city centre yesterday

a kind of ballet

the aisles are wide
we slide and turn
scanning the empty places
all the new and sudden spaces

with our trolleys and our paper faces
moving fluid
gaps between
we enter and leave
a kind of ballet

this is how it has to be
no muzak; silent ticking
we flow
in and out
a choreography
of survival

Spaces on the shelves
spaces between us
a dance no-one rehearsed for;
we orbit, lonely planets

the coffee and the bread
and the instant noodles
and the cereals
and kitchen towel
and petfood
are still here

but everything else has changed

Stephen Brady


After You’ve Wiped Your Arse But Before You’ve Washed Your Hands 

After you’ve wiped your arse but before
you’ve washed your hands,
you’re putting your life on the line.
You’re practically committing hara-kiri.
You could give yourself a very nasty
infection at the very least.

Because after you’ve wiped your arse
but before you’ve washed your hands
you have to stand up and pull up your trousers.
i.e. You have to touch your underpants and
your trousers with the four fingers and thumb
of the hand that has just wiped your arse.
(Unless you hop over to the sink
with your trousers and underpants
around your ankles, that is. Unlikely).

It’s not a healthy situation whichever
way you look at it. And please,
don’t look at it for too long.

No matter how many times you wash
and disinfect your hand in the sink
when you get over to it,
the danger will still be lurking
all over your trousers
and later in the evening
you’ll touch your trousers unconsciously
and perhaps then touch your face.

That’s the moment at which you are unwittingly
putting yourself in mortal danger.
Dicing with death. Screaming at Satan to
come and have a go if he thinks
he’s hard enough.

So I beseech you.
The solution is simple.
I suggest that after you’ve wiped your arse
but before you’ve washed your hands
you put a plastic glove on your wiping hand.
As a precaution.
And pull up your trousers
-wearing it. Then bin it immediately
when you get over to the sink.

Now please,
wash your hands

Camillus John



We shall live in squalor
No visitors expected
No one rings the doorbell
No need to disinfect it

I’ll wear pyjamas if I want
Let my hair dry naturally
No point in ironing anymore
For nobody will see me

The stack of books beside the couch
Rises higher day by day
Dust gathers on the shelves
I want to blow it all away

I can’t be bothered anymore
Ain’t no one calling at my door
Dirty laundry hides the floor
A knob hangs off a wonky drawer

Who would I be tidying for?
Only thieves and robbers
I’d welcome them inside y’know
To beg, steal or borrow

No appetite for housework
It’s time I’d rather squander
I’m resigned to live in squalor
For just a little longer

Eimear Grace

Yesterday: Lines on the Lockdown

Lines on the lockdown to


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7 thoughts on “Lines On The Lockdown

  1. Paulus

    The “no muzak” line drew my attention to the fact that this was indeed absent in my local Tesco:
    Interesting decision to make.

    1. Stephen Brady

      It was a visit to my local Tesco 2 weeks ago that inspired the poem! The near-silence, and the spaces between people, were probably what set me thinking in a poetic mood

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