Author Archives: Kevin Higgins

Newly-elected UK Labour Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer

The Advent of Mr Nothing

All the messiahs safely crucified;
the choice again, as it should be,
between the Imp of All Lies
and Mr Nothing.

We’re again outside the padlocked gate.
Should anyone think of scaling the wall,
the garden is now patrolled
by wolves with orders to dine first,
be exonerated in the inquiry later.

Those who shouldn’t be in jail
are that bit more securely there.

Those who sleep in doorways
that bit more completely know their place;

those who own islands
are that bit more secure in theirs.

Celebrity paedophiles chuckle
to themselves in their graves.

And the Brigadier General
can unclench in the knowledge
his plans for the war after next –
nowhere you’ve heard of yet –
will be given a white-toothed
statesman-like Yes.

Kevin Higgins


Howth Harbour Howth, County Dublin looking toward Ireland’s Eye yesterday

The Survivor

When the last weather forecaster has died
spluttering live on air
and the TV’s just ads on a loop for things
there’s no longer anyone around to make;
I’ll appoint myself chief pathologist
for there’ll be no one else to do the job;

start slicing each of you open,
squash your lungs into a jar
intended for mayonnaise,
plop your eyeballs into one labelled
pickled onions, cut your livers out
like the butcher used to
when there were still butchers
and the liver wasn’t yours;
write down for my own benefit
my findings:
where you all went wrong.

Kevin Higgins

Sam Boal/Rollingnews

You not here
to not know what
key goes in what lock;
to tell not exactly the truth
about who said what to whom;
to spend the whole first day
of the January sales
examining tea towels
you end up not buying; to notice
I’ve not yet mowed the lawn,
to not know when
the oil will run out, or have
a plan B, or a good word
for your enemies; to send me out
at four in the morning in search of
cigarettes; to stand smoking
by the kitchen window and say
this didn’t happen; to smirk
and tell the world
moving furniture was never his thing
the day I do my shoulder in
carrying your coffin.

Kevin Higgins

From ‘The Ghost in the Lobby’ (Salmon Poetry, 2014).

Of The Coming Plague

I ask nothing
but that I be allowed go out and get it.
Better death than suffer
the interminable sobbing of newscasters,
the grimaces of sweating experts,
and politicians’ elongated
gobs, which keep moving
in the hope the blame
will be stapled elsewhere.

I’ll tour the town’s mortuaries
and kiss on the mouth all the corpses
that died of it. Before you ask: yes,
there will be tongues
which I’m told will feel
like cold, stiff slugs.

And if that doesn’t finish me,
I’ll start breaking into hospitals,
quarantined night club toilets,
the offices of eminent plastic surgeons
to lick clean the soap dispensers
which, by then, will be all out of soap
but alive with the world’s germs.

For, Death, what do I know of you,
never having died before?
You’ve had a terrible press,
but could be victim
of the smear campaign.

Perhaps you’re the best thing ever.
Like the first gulp of Champagne;
or all the orgasms I’ve ever had,
and a few I never managed.

Kevin Higgins


US Democrat Presidential candidate hopefuls Bernie Sanders (left) and Joe Biden. Voters go to the polls tomorrow to decide 14 ‘Super Tuesday’ states

Confession of a Realist

A realist about other people’s lack
of toasty winter coats,
I expect them
to be realistic about my 401k;

in the context of which
I’m realistic about Lockheed Martin’s
need to add to their stockpile of
Dollars by finding more
brown people to liberate
by setting their countries
on fire.

I expect the brown community
both internally and out foreign –
with the absolute exception of those
on the Democratic National Committee –
to be realistic about the limits of
my love for them.

Realistic about low-end people
with terrible teeth
and the need for political candidates
with impossibly white smiles;

like everyone else here
I’m wildly for, in theory,
hospital beds for everyone
but realistic about a certain per cent of relatives
going to DNA stained motel rooms to end things,
when the chemotherapy bills come in.

I beg of you, put Bernie Sanders aside
or, if necessary, to death
and be realistic about the need
for a certain per cent starvation
to oil loose the markets.

When I think of all I sacrificed to sit
behind quadruple glazed windows
trying to watch a film:
‘Mephisto’ or ‘The Discreet
Charm of the Bourgeoisie’,
my phone being pinged all evening
by messages from work;

I grow more and more realistic
about how difficult it is
for the electricity company
to have to switch
other people’s lights off;

but know some people are
just better off in the dark.

Kevin Higgins



In fairness.

Earlier: A Limerick A Day

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris (left) has agreed with the assessment of Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan that the IRA never disbanded and Sinn Féin is run by the ‘army council’.


The Continuing Story of Óglaigh na hÉireann

All around the snot-nosed parishes of Ireland
small people of both genders, and neither,
are flapping open
copies of The Sunday O’Duffy
getting worried
about the continued existence
of the Citizen Army, Fenian Brotherhood,
Official IRA.

We can’t have
parties who perspire to government
secretly controlled by cabals
of men (and ladies) whose faces
we never see; apart from those
faces prescribed by prevailing winds
and the agreed rules
of the European Union,
which we need never see
but rest eternally assured
are there. Or thereabouts.

The only weaponry allowed
those seeking elected office
are five piece suits to help little
men appear substantial,
and no more than six
plastic chairs on which the faithful can
every other month gather
to recite the Our Father,
or discuss the rising
price of sewage. Even

the Social Democrats must come clean
about the continued non-existence
of their army council, and what role precisely
Fintan O’Toole plays in its
military high command.

A mature democracy like ours
needs parties whose manifestos
political correspondents
with excellent haircuts (and none) can safely
spread across their living room floors
and roll around naked on
without fear of being interrupted
by men and women wearing
illegally held

Kevin Higgins

Previously: Drew The Same Conclusion


Sinn Fein’s newly-elected TDs on the plinth at Leinster House yesterday

The New Rising Will Not Be Available Later On The RTE iPlayer

(after Gil Scott Heron)

There will be no avoiding it, gobshite.
You will not be able to log on, click like and see both sides.
It will interrupt your plans for a gap year in Thailand,
or to skip out for a wank during the new Guinness ad.
The new rising will not be available later on the RTE iPlayer.

Because it will not be suitable for children
or county councillors of diminutive stature who might find it
by accident on the internet while trying to hire
a hitwoman or a dominatrix in the greater Ballyseedy area,
or open an offshore account on the Aran Islands.

The new rising will not be available later on the RTE iPlayer.
Will not be presented by Joe Duffy
in four parts with every possible intrusion
from people trying to sell you bits of Allied Irish Bank
or butter that’s more spreadable than Ebola.
The new rising will not show you pornographic clips
of Micheál Martin blowing the biggest tin whistle
in recent Irish history and leading a charge by Eamon
Dunphy, and all the assembled wise men of Aosdána
on the kitchens of the Shelbourne Hotel.

It will not be available later on the RTE iPlayer
or be brought to you by the Abbey Theatre
not Waking The Nation. It will not feature
guest appearances from Princess Grace of Monaco,
Graham Norton, and Bono’s old sunglasses.
The new rising will not give your Danny Healy Rae
blow up doll sex appeal. It will have no advice
on how to reduce the size of your moobs
overnight in the greater Cootehill
area by just dialling this number.
It will not try to sell you
travel insurance every time you buy
a bus ticket to anywhere in Sligo.

There will be no pictures of you, Mary Kennedy, and Daithi
Ó Sé pushing shopping trolleys around Supervalu
in aid of Children In Need, or trying to smuggle the body
of Ann Lovett onto a flight to Medjugorje
in aid of CURA. The new rising
will not be available later on the RTE iPlayer.
Harry McGee’s haircut will not be able
to predict the result by midday the following day

based on reports in now from 43 constituencies.
And it will not be available later on the RTE iPlayer.
There will be no pictures of well ironed Garda uniforms
dangling known subversives out high windows
in strict accordance with the law.
There will be no pictures of Joan
Burton and Katherine Zappone being run out of Jobstown
in the extreme discomfort of cars paid for by you.

Whether or not Louis Walsh dyes his
pubes will no longer be relevant. Nobody
will care if Paul finally gets to screw
everyone on Fair City, including
himself, because the small people
will be in the street turning on the sunshine.
And this will not be available later on the RTE iPlayer.

To assist the re-education of those
who insist on just watching it on TV,
the Angelus immediately before the Six One News
will be replaced with smoking videos
of outgoing cabinet ministers
at length (and with great enthusiasm)
feasting on the more excitable parts
of Apple CEO Tim Cook.
For in the new jurisdiction
the powers that were will be made admit
their true religion, and then set free.

There will be no lowlights on the nine o’clock
news claiming there was hardly anyone there.
The theme song will not be written by Phil Coulter
or Dustin, nor be sung by Linda Martin, Westlife,
or Foster and Allen. And it will not be available later
on the RTE iPlayer.

It will not be right back
after a message from an actor in Killinaskully
you can’t quite name promising to kill
99% of known bacteria, including those
that’ll make Michael O’Leary’s ass eventually decompose.
The new rising will hand the Lewis sub-machine gun
to you, your increasingly discontented cat,
and your most eccentric auntie.

This rising will not be available later on the RTE iPlayer.
This rising will be live,
gobshite, live.

Kevin Higgins


Galway City Council has deferred a decision on whether to allocate an additional €2.5 million to the European Capital of Culture project.

City of Kultur, 2020

Welcomes you!
On our brochure’s colour cover,
a sheep with horns on it
stood in the middle of a small road
through the sort of no place –
all rushes and miserable little mountains –
people used to leap
on coffin ships to escape.

And for those with no interest in
locally sourced mutton,
the private sector will provide
ladies from Czech Republic
and sometimes Dubrovnik
who guarantee
happy conclusion
and for a little extra
will visit your vastly
priced Airbnb walk-in closet.

Our programme is loaded
with renowned sculptors,
parade makers, former lead-singers,
and tellers of old jokes
currently going
through their Feargal Sharkey
‘A Good Heart’ phase.

We signal our commitment
to emerging artists.
Our line-up features several
who are Bono in his
embarrassing English accent phase
and grateful to be anywhere
we care to put them.

Among our major sponsors:
no one we know of who made
their early millions from slavery
of the old fashioned sort;
though a few whose ancestors
made their seed capital loading
chattering skeletons aboard
the aforementioned coffin ships.

To those visiting our city
to partake in the coming jamboree
we say: enjoy!
Take up space. And have
what these days pass for
orgasms. Take care
when stepping over
that cardboard box
as there’s probably
someone living in it.

And if you think
you’ve been overcharged
for your cocaine, remember,
you, the consumer, have rights,
if no longer much in the way of
a nose, and can take a case
against your dealer
in the small claims court,
citing European law.

Kevin Higgins


Top pic:

Monday: City Council defers decision on €2.5m proposal for Galway 2020

Seven Point Manifesto for Irish General Election 2020

(after André Breton & Sean Canney)

We, as a party, cater for both
those who get it up
early every morning and those
who couldn’t be bothered.

Children under the age of eight
whose parents insist
on smoking in bed
will all be given fire extinguishers
so they can personally
put their parents out.

Your psychosexual malfunctions
are my policies.
We will make sure
there is sufficient
discreet parking
by Merlin Woods and at
Silver Strand
so you can do
what you want,
when you want,
to whom you want
for as long as it takes to reach
your version of mais oui!

The Angelus will no longer be broadcast,
replaced by one minute videos
of Shane Ross being tickled to death
by a variety of giant feathers.

Under our National Broadband
Peripheral Areas Plan
young black men will be piped
into the writhing minds
of mountain women
and elderly farmers
in the west Kerry Gaeltacht.

We will keep the pokey nose of government
out of people’s private business,
make it legal for tenants in arrears
under the age of twenty five
to pay their landlords quid pro quo,
as long as they use a recycled
plastic cup as protection.

The long term unemployed
and homeless people
who make themselves too fucking obvious
will be chased around
Malahide Cricket Ground
by seething greyhounds
who’ll be rewarded
with free Bloody Marys
and wild applause
at the club house

Kevin Higgins


Derry, Northern Ireland in October 2019

Tiocfaidh Do Lá

Dear great-uncle-in-law in Larne,
who secretly thinks people should cease picking on the poor
Duke of York. You punched the air so vigorously
the night Doris Johnson won his victory and proper
order was temporarily restored that your wife was about to
speed-dial the cardiologist when you finally drifted
on your latest new sofa to your recurring night fret: how will
the united Ireland the papers say all this
makes more or less inevitable
pay for my pension?

Short answer: it won’t. Though worry not,
there’ll be plenty of gainful work
for buck-eejits like you: painting road-signs in Irish
in the likes of the Shankill and Ballymoney with the giant
can of extreme green spray paint
that will be provided.

Your induction day task,
that first Monday morning, to daub
Liam of Oráiste* on the statue
of King Billy at Carrickfergus
under the bespectacled eye
of a trained Gaelgeoir, there to ensure
you restore – though a few centuries late – the fada
they stole off the ‘a’ in ‘orange’.

Kevin Higgins


* Gaelic translation of William of orange

Pic: Getty