Author Archives: Kevin Higgins

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

Along the Grand Canal, Dublin 2 during the 2014 Local & European Election

The Little Elections
after The League of Gentlemen and ahead of May’s local contests

Unlike all other candidates,
I’m very much in favour of dog shit;
have it with everything;
am especially fond of the sort produced by
frightened Rottweilers.
I have the energy, enthusiasm and necessary
sexual appetite to properly
service the people behind doors
I’m knocking on locally.
I’m for more traffic jams
and overweight policemen called
Frank.
I won’t be diverted into talking
about abortion or world war four.
This is a little election for little people.
I’m against nasal congestion
and political reform; have lived locally
for the past half hour.

Our eight year old, Cian,
will support whatever football team
you want him to. I’m against
adverse weather conditions in Salthill;
okay, in theory, with the continued
existence of black people.
I’ve studied transport systems
at Mauthausen, Belzec, Vorkuta; think I know
how to ensure two Ballybane buses
never again come along at once.

Kevin Higgins

Pic by Keith

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Leader of Irish Government Speaks Against Hyperbole
after William Shakespeare

There has been much hyperbolic comment of late
about the admittedly rather sad case of a man
who had his new corneas removed
by two blokes from Lithuania
or Neilstown (somewhere like that)
because he fell behind with the payments.

I had one of my interns watch
the video of the action those men took
to recover that part of his eyes a judge
ruled belonged to the company
on whose behalf they were acting,
and though the defaulter – I mean man – in question
has my sympathy, particularly regarding
the apparent lack of anaesthetic,
think about it this way:

every time you see one of those
click bait headlines about a tragic
granny who had her new heart ripped
back out and the papery old one reinstalled
by a team of cut-price cardiologists
appointed by an esteemed
judge whose daddy bought him a law degree,
because she spent all her pension on scratch cards,
it’s an example of the market
and rule of law weaving their magic,
as Adam Smith intended.

To let old ladies we all know, and sympathise with,
off paying for their new tickers
when they have insufficient funds to meet
the direct debit would be the ruin
of our financial institutions
and put us as a country in breach
of the rules of both the World Trade Organisation
and European Court of Justice.

So, next time you read about a child
with profligate parents who this Christmas was made hand
a transplanted kidney back
to its rightful owners, the bank of wherever;
remember, it’s just
our free economy doing shit it must.

Kevin Higgins

Rollingnews

Michael D Higgins giving his acceptance speech following the Presidential elections

Kevin writes:

A new poem partly inspired/provoked by Michael D. Higgins’ victory speech in which he spent a lot of time talking about how we talk, but more generally also by those who appear to think that words are more politically important than actions….

Fixing The National Discourse
for an Doctúir Mary McAuliffe

When each adjective, noun, verb,
and swear word
has been put through the purifying machine
we’re perfecting,
those found wanting
abolished by our all conquering delete button;
to safeguard our newfound purity
it will be compulsory for
urban district councils, kindergartens, universities
and non-gubernatorial organisations in receipt
of morbidly obese
public largesse to employ
a pair of performing jaws
from the better bit of town
as Language Ombudsperson
and General Controller of Talk,
to inform you when you’re saying it wrong
and send the offending ex-words
down the U-bend
where they belong.

It will be an offence,
prosecutable under law,
to us the ‘k’ word, the ‘d’ word,
or the ‘r’ word,
even in the privacy of one’s own
mind, except for purposes of historical
study of the political and linguistic
degeneracy of the recent past.

Civil servants will be made read
enough Foucault so they never
inadvertently commit a hate crime
while typing the now traditional
letter of refusal in response to
applications for housing, health care,
welfare…

Furthermore, mention of Led Zeppelin
will heretofore be prefaced
with the health-warning:
quartet of toxic masculinity,
and use of the phrase beautiful blue eyes
accepted as proof of
closet membership of the Ku Klux Klan
by our new non-jury online courts.

As well as having
no effect whatsoever on actual
living, breathing inequality and hatred
for which it’ll be business as usual;
these measures will help us attract
increased foreign direct investment into
our seething little country.

In five years,
ninety percent of you will be working
twelve jobs and paying twice
your monthly income to rent a shed
with a tin roof from the love-child
of Google and the ThyssenKrupp corporation
and be so grateful
you won’t dare spit a nasty word
against anyone.

Kevin Higgins

Rollingnews

Celebrations two years ago as Galway was declared European Capital of Culture 2020.

The Impresario

His off-white trilby is a confidence trick
to fool the undergarments off
High Court judges’
problem daughters,
though of late it’s stopped conning
anyone except himself.

The glassless brass monocle
he carries about
an opposite eye each day
is as unpretentious
as the collected abstract nouns
of Michael D. Higgins.

His latest round of Irish coffees
is an advance to himself
from the year after next,
which the Arts Council have decided
to know nothing about.

His management skills
are a chair that collapsed
under one of the Sawdoctors,
or was it Mary Coughlan,
being laughed off in a pub
that wouldn’t survive
without its annual subvention
from the Deportment of Kulture.

His eye for publicity
is Kanye West in conversation
with Cathal O’Sharkey.

His sense of himself
is a pair of black shoes,
exquisitely scuffed
and three sizes too big for him.

His man parts are
three historic buildings
next door to each other,
which the City Council
have agreed to pay to have restored
to something like their alleged former glory,
though the start date for this much needed
work has already been put back
several times, and insiders predict
the cost will soar
far above even
the increased budget agreed
at last night’s gathering of the glad hands

Kevin Higgins

Rollingnews