Author Archives: Kevin Higgins

Minister for Foreign Affirs Simon Coveney and then UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Boris Johnson in Dublin, November 2017

Waiting for Boris
(after Constantine Cavafy)

What are they waiting for,
the archbishops and casino owners
clutching their bags of cocaine,
the barman at Wetherspoons eyeing the clock,
and the little people who live
in Jacob Rees Mogg’s top hat
who’ve been watching things
go slowly downhill
since thirteen eighty one?

Boris is to arrive today
in a chariot driven
by a man with syphilis.

Why so few new laws
up for debate in the House?
Why do the Lords seem happy
to lie about the place waiting
for aneurysms to take them,
without even the energy
to pay their assistants
to give them one last beating
with Daddy’s bloodstained walking stick?

Because Boris arrives today
wearing an eye-patch he borrowed
from Madonna.

Why should the Honourable Member
for Cambridgeshire South bother
crying her usual tears?
Boris, when he gets here,
will have everyone except himself in tears.

Why do the Chairs of Select Committees
race up and down Whitehall
wearing only ceremonial dicky-bows
quoting passages from the Magna Carta
and the new Ann Widdecombe cookbook
into the surprised faces of tourists?

Why have the Speaker of the House
and Lord Privy Seal exhumed
from Westminster Abbey the bones
of Alfred Lord Tennyson
and dragged them to a cheap hotel near Waterloo
to engage in a rattly threesome?

Because Boris arrives today
and approves of such things.

And why doesn’t the Office for National Statistics
give us the latest disastrous news?
Because Boris arrives today
and is bored by people who can add and subtract.

What does this sudden outbreak
of accountants and High Court Judges
vomiting on each other mean?
How grey their jowls have grown.
Why have all the escalators stopped moving?
Why all the red buses crashing into the Thames?

Because the clock has rung
and Boris is not coming.
Some journalists formerly resident in Hell
but now working for the Telegraph
have been sent from the frontline to confirm
there is no Boris.

And now what will we become
without Boris?
We must urgently set about inventing
some other catastrophe
to rescue us from ourselves.

Kevin Higgins

Sam Boal/Rollingnews

The Restoration

(A poem inspired/provoked by the image (above) photo of the five Fianna Faílers elected to Galway City Council last week)

Election results tumble in,
like pinstriped clumps of hairy bacon
being lowered via giant mechanical arm
into a fizzing Jacuzzi
to be congratulated by the media
who have long since discarded their g-strings.

Things as they used to be
have been pasted back together,
or almost, like a vase broken during an argument
or a marriage in which both parties
have agreed to pretend.

Right thinking people will have restored to them
the right to their old wrongs
and for the first time be permitted by law
to order children’s teeth on Amazon,
to do with as they wish in the privacy
of their vastly worthwhile lives:

for example
fashion them into impromptu dentures
for their Julian Assange effigies,
or offer as mints to those who got unlucky
and now mess up the pavement
by living on it.

Kevin Higgins

Pic Mike Shaughnessy

The Politics of Abstinence

Today begins the great cross and clench
for the Guardian columnist
as her area shuts up shop in solidarity
with people who don’t want to be but are
pregnant in Georgia, Alabama
and places even further from Islington than that.

Tiny flying pickets circle
the entrance to the promised land
with signs that shout:
They Shall Not Pass!
or Dispute On Here.
Though you’d need
a magnifying glass to read them.

So far today, they’ve turned back
the former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan,
who, on inspection, was found to be
naked beneath his gleaming white sheet;
a guy called Doug wearing nothing
but a Make America Great Again cap
imported from El Salvador;
some dude she met in college
who used to like to
have his bum lightly chastised
with briars; the professor she once,
at his own request,
fastened to the bedroom door
with strategically placed
black leather belts; and the late
Anita Bryant carrying
what looks suspiciously like
an excessively sized strap-on.

For none shall break this strike
until it’s achieved
the far better ecstasy
of enough people in the internet
exclaiming our heroine’s name.

Kevin Higgins

 

 

Fine Gael European Election candidate Frances Fitzgerald (right) and Senator Michael McDowell’s dog (left) that she claimed to have found last Saturday in Ranelagh, Dublin 6

Look What I Found at the Triangle in Ranelagh
after Frances Fitzgerald

One of Shergar’s blinkers,
what looks like John Wayne Bobbit’s willy –
though it could be an orphaned cocktail sausage,
I plan to warm it up later and find out –
the missing postman from Stradbally
a lock of Madeleine McCann’s hair
all Noirin O’Sullivan’s phones
the bones of Amelia Earhart
one of Dr Josef Mengele’s fingernails
what I’m pretty sure was the Loch Ness Monster –
though it may have been a member of People Before Profit –
Ailbhe Smyth’s political integrity
the black box of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370
the crew of the Marie Celeste
and the lost city of Atlantis;

phoned the number and returned
them sound and safe to their new owner
Vulture Investments Incorporated of Delaware;
apart from the jokers off the Marie Celeste
who I plan to lock up in Direct Provision
for the next seven years,

and Ms O’Sullivan’s phones
which Garda Special Branch are, as I type,
frantically skipping red light after red light
to deposit permanently at the sweet smelling
end of a vacant slurry tank
somewhere in Tipperary.

Kevin Higgins

 

Saturday: She Doesn’t Normally Do This

Julian Assange following his arrest this morning at London’s Ecuador Embassy

My Wishes For You

(Dedicated to those who are celebrating the arrest today of Julian Assange, and also to those on the Left who are too cowardly or stupid to speak out in his support)

That your son at Trinity College
may graduate
to become a rogue gynaecologist.
That his brother, the paediatrician,
be suspended without pay.
That your husband be caught
selling wheelchairs that don’t work
live on national radio. And the day

you discover all of the above, may
the traffic wardens, every one of them,
be East Galway Gestapo. May you lose
your winning ticket,
and the gun not go off
when it’s supposed to.

May your reflux be acid
and your bowel be cranky.
May your water forever be cloudy
and the pharmacy be shut.
May the funeral parlour
refuse you,

and the lies you told haunt you
long after the cat
has made a litter tray of your ashes.

Kevin Higgins

Pic: Sky

Earlier: Arrested

How to Rid Yourself of Election Canvassers

Ask them where they stand on the urgent
need for a Greater Serbia.

Tell them nothing has been right
since the Treaty of Versailles,
for which you hold each
and every one of their kind
personally responsible.

Tell them the council’s been promising
to chop down that tree for the past
twenty five years, six months and two days;
that you’re certain
your next door neighbour is a Satanist,
with dead animals buried under his patio.

Start throwing down chicken feed
to apparently non-existent hens,
and wander about your front garden, chanting
their preferred candidate’s name,
as if in some sort of trance.

If a lady over the age of eighty,
or a child less than twelve,
tell them: no thank you,
you’ve given up sex for lent.
If a middle aged male,
come to the door panting
and red faced, with a semi-clad
woman strategically placed
behind you, and say you have
more urgent business
to which you really must attend.

Tell them you’re pretty sure
your most intimate bits
are an unusual shape,
that you’d like them
to take a look and tell you
what their policy is
in cases like this.

Kevin Higgins

Rollingnews

Ardent Russia/Trump collusion proponent Rachel Maddow, of MSNBC

Heroic Ode for The American Resistance

(for CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times & all those
who hoped the Mueller report would be the thing)

Rather than fight the man-child from Orange
on the metres deep concrete of his actual crimes,
you did battle with your size twelve dress shoes
gallantly planted in quicksand – just now grown suddenly
ravenous – or failing that in the largest serving
of Jell-O and ice cream since Christopher Columbus
showed up to tell America he’d discovered it.

Given the chance you’d have stood pluckily before the jury
and – neglecting to mention the shortcomings
in his approach to childcare – accused
Josef Fritzel of bad carpentry; courageously focused
on Elizabeth the First’s bald patch and not her public
disembowelling of her critics; fearlessly
taken issue with Peter Sutcliffe’s driving
and not what he did to those women
with his menu of hammers and screwdrivers;
dared take to a radio talk show to criticise the late Adolf Hitler
for his side parting and inability to gather a crowd,
and told the plebs it’s time Franz von Papen rode to their rescue.

You who heroically blew the bags of Dollars mom and dad invested
putting big ideas into your little skull by trying to convict this wolf
temporarily taken human form of eating the one sheep he didn’t.

Kevin Higgins

Previously: I’m Gonna Set It Straight, This Watergate

But…But…

‘Closing In’

Meanwhile…

Escalating.

UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove (above) has been touted to replace Theresa May as a possible ‘caretaker PM’

The Thing from Planet Gove

Its handshake is that of a slightly disreputable funeral director.
Its eyes those of an opinionated alligator
that sometimes reviews opera for the London Times.
Its mind is a free trade slaughterhouse, busy
making mincemeat, as cleanly as possible,
of other people’s children, bony old parents
and the occasional small business person
who was just wrong place, wrong century.

But its regular appearances on TV impress
the sort of people who have sexual relations
with their cars. Or their neighbours
cars. The female it dreams of is
Rupert Murdoch’s more withered sister
who lets it stand on its tippy-toes in a tutu
inherited from a former grandmother
who was briefly a dowager Duchess
until the unfortunate headlines
made her true position undeniable.

And it is written in Scripture
that at a time such as this
a thing such as this
would ascend to Earth and give us –
leaving god aside for the minute –
proof of Satan’s existence.

Kevin Higgins

Michael Gove’s allies scheme to parachute their man into No 10 (The Times)

Pic: Getty

From top: Poet Kevin Higgins; The Morning Star

Listening Exercise
after John McDonnell

When you paint hatred on my garden wall
and front door, I will read your words
with great interest.

When you try to burn my house down
I will listen to what the flames are saying.

Every lie you tell against me
I’ll help you spread
by earnestly, and in detail, answering your questions
about it over and over again.

When you burst through my living room door
with a chainsaw intended for me,
I’ll pour you a nice cup of tea
and say: let’s talk about this.

When the tumours come for me
I’ll know their opinion must be taken
absolutely on board.

And when the beetles and bacilli
begin to consume me,
I’ll realise I’ve long seen
their point of view.

Kevin Higgins

On Thursday, Kevin Higgins’ poem ‘Listening Exercise’ (above) – concerning the ‘massive listening exercise’ called for by UK Shadow chancellor John McDonnell amid accusations of antisemitism against the British Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn – was published on Broadsheet, on the UK based site Culture Matters, and online in The Morning Star newspaper.

It was also to appear in the Morning Star‘s print edition last Saturday.

Before some high level politics intervened.

1) E-mail received from Cliff Cocker (Arts Editor of the Morning Star) Thursday, February 28.

Hi Kevin

Timely and spot-on. Will try and get online asap and in paper on Sat.

Cheers

Cliff

2) E-mail received from Cliff Cocker (Arts Editor of the Morning Star) Friday, March 1st, 9.17am

Hi Kevin

Here it is, in print tomorrow. Cheers C

3) Email received from Ben Chacko (editor of the Morning Star) March 1, 1:04pm

Dear Kevin,

I’m afraid I’ve pulled this poem because things are on a knife-edge in the shadow cabinet and at the moment our friends there advise exacerbating divisions would make things worse.

I do appreciate the poem and the many biting poems that you have written for us, but the sensitivities right now mean publishing it in the Morning Star would in our view feed the divisions that the right are trying to exploit.

That doesn’t mean we will stop fighting back against bogus accusations and we will be continuing a robust defence of Chris Williamson and attacks on the so-called Independent Group, but we just feel targeting John in this way now is not the right approach for us.

I hope you aren’t too angry that this time I want to hold back and that you are OK with continuing to publish poetry in the paper.

Solidarity and all the best,

Ben Chacko

Kevin says:

“It is great to know that my poems are being read by member’s of Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet. This poem was intended as friendly advice for Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, albeit that it is satirically delivered, as is my way.

I understand the pressures people are under at the moment, and am in no way angry at the editors of The Morning Star for the action they felt they had to take here. I plan to continue published poems in The Morning Star, as I have since they asked me for my satire on Tony Blair in 2015.

I do stand over the poem which I wrote while eating lunch last Friday week in the Arabica Coffee Shop on Dominick Street, immediately before one of my poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre…”

Kevin Higgins

Previously: All Ears

UK Shadow chancellor John McDonnell (right) has called for a ‘massive listening exercise’ amid accusations of antisemitism against the British Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn (left)

Listening Exercise
after John McDonnell

When you paint hatred on my garden wall
and front door, I will read your words
with great interest.

When you try to burn my house down
I will listen to what the flames are saying.

Every lie you tell against me
I’ll help you spread
by earnestly, and in detail, answering your questions
about it over and over again.

When you burst through my living room door
with a chainsaw intended for me,
I’ll pour you a nice cup of tea
and say: let’s talk about this.

When the tumours come for me
I’ll know their opinion must be taken
absolutely on board.

And when the beetles and bacilli
begin to consume me,
I’ll realise I’ve long seen
their point of view.

Kevin Higgins

 

Pic: Getty