Author Archives: Kevin Higgins

The aftermath on the morning of October 10, 2015 at a halting site on Glenamuck Road in Carrickmines, Dublin 18 where a fire broke out killing Thomas Connors, 27, his wife Sylvia, 30, and their children Jim, five, Christy, three, and six-month-old Mary; Willie Lynch, 25, his partner 27-year-old Tara Gilbert, who was pregnant, and their daughters Jodie, aged nine, and Kelsey, four; and 39-year-old Jimmy Lynch, a brother of Willy.

Kevin Higgins writes:

Below is a poem I wrote at the time of the Carrickmines fire (and the resident’s protest against the surviving traveller’s being temporarily relocated) and published in 2016.  I thought, given the 5th anniversary, it might be suitable.

After the Barbecue

People like us,
always been here
and always will,
until we bequeath this land
to the bacteria.
We were fine with
the War of the Spanish Succession,
only thought it not quite long enough.
When the day gets here we’ll happily
bless our great-grand-children as they go guffawing
off to the next officially sanctioned
bloodbath of the nations. But have agreed,
by unanimous vote at tonight’s meeting,
we must
build a barricade against this.

Those people’s demise –
Thomas and Sylvia, their children Jim, aged 5;
Christy, aged 2 and Mary, five-months-old.
Willie Lynch and his partner Tara,
their Kelsey aged 4, Jodie aged 9.
And Jimmy Lynch, 39 –
in the Carrickmines
barbecue is a tragedy

made all the worse by how
it contented itself
with half-measures.
We won’t have the gypsy leftovers put
in the field across from us,
to mar our hard earned view
of the surrounding countryside.

We are not the Ku Klux Klan,
in fact are profoundly jealous
of their much better outfits
and all the great movies
they, without fail, get to turn up in.
We but dream of riding horses
sharp as theirs, as we make our stand
in defence of what we see out the window
when we alight of a morning
on our genetically superior
polished, wooden floors.

These people’s Kentucky Fried
relatives are not our issue to solve.
We have scribbled our names
in their book of condolences.
but you, me, and The Evening Herald know
we are what most of the country thinks
when it draws its floral curtains,
shuts its eyelids and tells itself
truths it will never utter in polite company,
or in front of nuns who do great work
in the third world and other parts
of Africa. We realise
we’ll be vilified by people
the majority of whom wouldn’t have them either.

We just don’t want them here,
or, if possible, anywhere else.

Kevin Higgins

Previously: Carrickmines Fire on Broadsheet


Kevin Higgins writes:

Below is my tribute to what is, hopefully, the worst public toilet in Irish history. It was perched by O’Brien’s Bridge in Galway City, immediately above the River Corrib, beside the Bridge Mills. It is now boarded up because it cannot be demolished because it is part of the structure of the bridge.

In Memoriam: the worst public toilet in Galway

Hidden like a pimple on the City’s most intimate bit.
We went down your steps to tiles
that were never white and had seen things
no lavatory attendant should have to look at.

You hung above the river
as it went viciously about its business.
Whatever the temperature
you were ten degrees less.
No one visited you except out of desperation
or via the sort of mistake American tourists make.

You belonged to gents in questionable coats
with even more questionable things
hanging hopefully beneath them
like ukuleles.

Though you’ve been boarded up
since what’s now the last century; it’s said
each Halloween and Macnas parade,
in your far dark, their coats come alive
to again disgrace your tiles.

Kevin Higgins

The Oireachtas Golf Society’s dinner, which took place last Wednesday at the Station House Hotel (above) in Clifden, County Galway, was attended by a host of senior politicians and notable public figures.

Who Runs Ireland?

Not the Deliveroo riders named Tariq and Omar
who Gemma O’Doherty is terrified will try to marry her.
Nor the taxi drivers from Togo John Waters fears will
make him go around the place wearing a veil.
Not the Hutch Kinehan wet squad The Sunday World keeps
telling you are coming to ruffle your dahlias.
Nor the puppets of George Soros
Jim Corr knows, from his research, are trying to put
a brown paper bag over his head.

But the Supreme Court Justices,
the Banking Federation chief executive,
the Ministers past and present,
the journalists who are meant to ask them questions.
These are the people who sign off on your life.
They go by the secret name ‘Oireachtas Golf Society’.

And for the sake of what Saturday’s Irish Times calls stability,
you must allow such people eat in peace:
the French onion soup, the seared king scallops,
and a selection of ice creams,
all from the one big bowl.

And if they wish to have a sex party afterwards,
to slither across each other, pink as piglets;
such eventualities are covered
in the terms and conditions
of the Oireachtas Golf Society.

For the sake of what The Sunday Independent calls
the national interest, such people must be let gobble
who and what they will.

Kevin Higgins

Pic via Twitter

Former US president George W Bush (left)  and daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres at an American football game last year

Poet Kevin Higgins writes:

it seems time I shared this which was provoked by Ellen’s friendship with George W. Bush…

The Continuing Confessions of A Daytime Talk Show Host

My catalogue of pals stretches beyond Bush,
Trump, and the Emperor Bokassa’s personal crocodile.
For I am everywhere, and always have been:
helped Claus Von Bulow rewrite his Tinder profile
the day they switched his wife off;
had the Cleveland Torso Murderer judge
my show’s inaugural belly dancing competition
which, it being 1938,
was only available on radio, but, hey,
I’m always up for a challenge;
celebrated John Gotti’s twenty fifth
successive acquittal by gifting him
a diamond crusted
knuckle-duster, and paying
Annie Leibovitz
to photograph him wearing it;
and, yes, tried to hire
the Zodiac Killer as my show’s
resident astrologer
but Letterman got there first.
People misunderstand.
It’s my job to talk
to the guy who tied
Sacco and Venzetti to the chair,
like two sad salamis,
so I can ask him which
has been his favourite
fry up so far.

The fact I shared a table
and chicken skewers
with Vlad the Impaler
at a mutual friend’s wedding
and found him
a delightful conversationalist
is no criticism on my part
of those he had boiled
in his giant copper cauldron,
or hammered giant
wooden spikes

I’ll be friends with anybody
as long as they’re somebody.

Kevin Higgins

Ellen DeGeneres’ show ratings plummet amid explosive claims of ‘toxic’ workplace (irish Mirror)

Peter Tatchell (second left) with Green Party members at the Dublin Pride 2018, including new Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration. Roderic O’Gorman (left)

Poet Kevin Higgins writes:

I am dedicating to all those on the far Catholic right in Ireland who are currently busy smearing Peter Tatchell. In this poem the statue of the Virgin Mary at Knock speaks their darkest fantasies.

What The Virgin At Knock Would Say If She Could Speak

We need to get back
to when confirmed bachelors
found their own kind through holes in cubicles
during untelevised All Ireland Finals.
To when there were no government funded
lesbians on display in public parks,
or self-confessed sodomites in the Senate.
To when there was no obscene use for
Vaseline, or sexual intercourse in Headford.

To when no one put Coke bottles
where they weren’t supposed to go.
And there were no automatic
washing machines for women to sit on
when Rock Hudson was unavailable.
To when the Irish people stood
at the end of lanes waiting
for nothing to happen,
which it mostly did.

To when young ones who forgot to cross
their legs at the crucial moment could be put
steam ironing curtains for the golf club, sheets
and pillowcases for your mother’s B&B;
still be safely there eight o’clock
in the evening having hot flushes
the hottest day of that century
to which we must get back.

Kevin Higgins

Yesterday: ‘A Small Group Of People With A Very Clear Agenda’

Galway’s Christopher Columbus monument in Spanish Arch was recently vandalised (top). Gifted by the Italian city of Genoa, People Before Profit said it ‘glorified slavery and racism’ and have demanded its removal

How to Get Rid of Christopher Columbus

Don’t get photographed presenting your
two thousand names to the Mayor,
looking as if you’re graduating
with a qualification you’ll never use.
Don’t ask the Church of Ireland or National Council
for the Advancement of Concerned People
to intervene.

Do it yourself.
But not explosives, no.
There’s always a mostly innocent
retired car park attendant with a limp
(or some such) passing at the exact moment.
He retired five years ago
but because of the limp
was still on his way home.
And now he’s in small pieces
or, even worse,
one piece;
and you’re the reason
he has that stutter
when the journalist talks to him
on the every o’clock news.

Nothing like a spot of terrorism
gone amiss
to make all that racism, pillage, and slicing
off most of a native’s thigh
just to test your blades
or a child’s hand
because their parents wouldn’t cooperate
with what was
an honest attempt to improve them
seem civilised in comparison.

Arm yourself with
no mere plinkety chisel
but mallet, kango hammer,
a couple of the like-minded,
and high vis jackets marked
‘City Council’ or ‘Irish Water’
and present the slow citizenry
with the fact
of his stone tribute
in the sea

Kevin Higgins

Previously: Glorifying Slavery And Racism

Pic 2: Kevin Higgins

Stephen’s Green Luas,, Dublin 1 yesterday

Poet Kevin Higgins writes:

I am one of what the government and health experts call the “specially vulnerable”, in the sense that I have sarcoidosis in my lungs and am on strong immunosuppresant drugs for the condition. Below is a new poem inspired by the feeling of being left behind, because of my status, as the rest of society gets ready to get going again.

The Vulnerable

I dream I’m watching the morning train
rattle down the platform without me.
Pale and panting from the chase, I sit
steaming on the floor which smells
of Euston, Liverpool Street, Waterloo;

realise that like
an ultra Orthodox Rabbi,
a Miners’ Union shop steward,
or a veteran of the Franco-Prussian War,
I’m what will be swept away;
my ticket sweating unredeemed
in a back pocket;

as the world rushes on to get
wherever it next must.

Kevin Higgins


Poet Kevin Higgins

Against Correctness

(A topical satire on the popular notion that, in the good old days, no one got offended by anything)

In the old days, if a woman casually
suggested of a morning on BBC Radio Four
that the old Queen Mum – Gawd
bless her and all who sailed in her – be taken
to a location on the Scottish Highlands,
and made lie back in a bath of sulphuric acid,
no one was in the least bit offended.

Back then, flaming transsexuals
in rocket fuelled hot pants
could flamenco dance
what they claimed were the bones
of Sir Edward Carson up and down
the Newtownards Road,
and receive only
wild applause.

Pranking students could happily
interrupt the Angelus on
Raidió Teilifís Éireann
to tell the nation
the Pope should be dragged
to the top of Carrantuohill
so the crows could peck
the flies from his balls, and even
the Bishop of Raphoe
would allow himself
to get the joke.

These days, if anyone so much as dares
bring in a law forcing mosques
to replace the call to prayer
with the music of Kate Bush,
or failing that, Ted Nugent,
the politically correct crowd
start making their fuss.

You can’t make a harmless
passing remark:
what a nice gesture it was
for the EU Commission to give
every homeless shelter in Greece
one of those Syrian boat children,
all chubby cheeked and oven ready,
so their drowning wouldn’t be
in vain; without someone
somewhere making a big
thing of it on the internet.
And a man can’t safely admit
in mixed company
that his favourite hobby, of a night,
is following random women
around dark car parks
to see how they react,
without some feminist calling him
sexist or worse. It has come to that.

Kevin Higgins

Yesterday: There’s Nothing For You Here

Protesters gathered in Dublin city centre yesterday to protest against the death of George Floyd in the United States before marching to the US Embassy in Ballsbridge

When Those Who Know What’s Necessary Get Here

“We’ve tried black faces in high places…the Black Lives Matter
movement emerged under a black president, a black attorney general,
and a black Homeland Security [Secretary]” Cornel West.

Fifty percent of meth stuffed
in the trunks of cars driven by people of colour,
who’ll plead guilty if they know what’s good for them,
will be planted by women of colour
promoted to Police Superintendant
or District Attorney.

Fifty per cent of CO2 emissions
will be emitted by women of colour
who dare dream of a world in which
fifty percent of children of colour
shot in the guts for throwing stones
at tanks will be shot on the orders
of women of colour of whom
you’re just jealous.

Fifty percent of weed-killer
dropped on women of colour with a disability
will be dropped by women of colour with a disability
told to do so by women of colour with a disability
who know what’s necessary.

Fifty percent of insecticide
used to abolish bees
will be manufactured by companies
in which women of colour have shares.

Fifty percent of police truncheons
put up prisoners of colour
will be put up there under the blind eyes
of women of colour who know what’s necessary
if you want that promotion.

Fifty per cent of jaws
punched in custody
will be punched by those answerable
to women of colour
who dabbled in Malcolm X at college
and are the change they want to see in America
and wherever America decides to go next.

Fifty per cent of evictions
of women of colour (and their children)
will be deemed legal by courts presided over
by men and women of colour in robes
for the benefit of the men and women of colour
who own fifty percent of the building
and the City Council.

Fifty per cent of missiles
seeking women of colour
who haven’t yet had the common sense
to move to Connecticut
will be fired by women of colour
and made by companies whose boardrooms
are at least fifty percent people of colour
(with or without disabilities)
who know what’s necessary
and are prepared to be it.

Kevin Higgins

Yesterday: Meanwhile, In Dublin



Green Party leader Eamon Ryan

A poem ‘dedicated is to all those in the Irish Green Party who think coalition with Micheál Martin might be just the thing to ward off the global apocalypse’.

Common Sense Climbed Out of the TV the Other Night

And sat beside me on the settee,
its shirt white, its manner mild
as an unsugared cornflake.

Confident as a New York Times Op-Ed
written by God.

Thought provoking in conversation
as a dinner party at which
the main course always tastes
suspiciously like Melvyn Bragg.

I could see from its resumé
it was well thought of by those that matter
like a Hampstead charity shop
in which Joan Bakewell
is now available free of charge.

Though it kept trying
to avoid catching my eye,
when it did, the shiver I got
told me it would be supportive,
when the going got hot,
as a crutch made of butter.

Later, it climbed into my computer
where its tweets against the turning world
looked like they’d been typed in the day room
of a care home for former provosts
of Queen’s College Oxford.

It expressed itself with such authority
I had to test its advice by taking it.
And it turned out to be as sensible
as running through a forest fire
in a grass skirt.

Kevin Higgins