Thursday, March 15, 2007

Selections from Gerry Murphy's "End of Part One"

'Reductionist Love Poem'

Never again
your lovely face in mine
as I wake blah, blah, bah.
Never again
my arms around you
as I sleep etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Never again
those long involved conversations
after midnight
but then, never before.

'Water Myth'

"Whatever inspires,"
you call from the shower
the water stunned into droplets
on your suddenly delicious skin
"Well," I reply,
from the airport
twenty-seven years later
"even with arms,
in your presence
the Venus de Milo
would be queuing
to be kissed."

'Further Out'

I can't tell you
where this is happening
I know it's a dream
becuse the left bank of the Siene
has just appeared directly opposite
the right bank of the Lee.
I know it's daylight
that silver-grey, residual glow
from some imploding star
shining in your glossy black hair.
I know it's you
because there is not one
even remotely as beautiful
on the stony inner planets
as I know you have been kissing me
for over a minute
because I have just woken up
gasping for breath.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ode to Tea

Clink. Clink. Clink.
the teacup is crying in protest
against the caresses of the spoon
that makes her insides all a swirl
because the cream has clouded her thoughts
and not enough sugar hasn't made her sweet on him

In hopes to cool her temper, I cup
my hands around her frail body
and whisper sweet nothings into her ear
words blowing softly across her mind
(where I can see myself reflected)
while I slowly retract her intrusive friend
and lay him to rest on my napkin

my lady warms to me
and softly I raise her face to my lips
and we share the tasty kiss of morning

Thursday, March 08, 2007


the greatest single factor in meeting
is proximity
the space between you and me
measured in heartbeats, chipped coffee cups, kilometres
asking for a pen, a dance
remarking on the weather - cold, grey, what I call Irish sunshine

communication being the shortest line between 2 people
with the distance over time
dividing into smaller and more manageable signs

excuse me, do you know where the library is?

Minding my Ps and waiting in queues, ears attuned
to the conversation I wish I was having
he asks her whether Barcelona is nice this time of year
she laughs and replies
behind my eyes I picture them without turning
her faded blue camisole
his dirty backpack with threadbare socks

Space is not a void. Or a vacuum.
It's a place where we move
coins jingling in our pockets, a tune on our lips
wiggle in our hips
a languid afternoon tea

How you keeping?

Cascading causes like run on clauses
crash us into each other
stepping on toes or cobblestones
stringing sentences together
and trying to say what we mean
but somehow losing the translation
from synapse to syntax

and trust me, alcohol only makes it worse.

Proximity requires prescence
being with someone, being with everyone,
just being
is a picture of the effects of proximity
that these words articulate some part of me
and now echo in you

the desire to communicate, the hope you resonate
in the space between sounds
because silence is not the absence of noise
but the potential for creation

Friday, March 02, 2007

In Praise of My Sister

My sister doesn't write poems,
and it's unlikely that she'll suddenly start writing poems.
She takes after her mother, who didn't write poems,
and also her father, who likewise didn't write poems.
I feel safe beneath my sister's roof:
my sister's husband would rather die than write poems.
And, even though this is starting to sound as repetitive as Peter Piper,
the truth is, none of my relatives write poems.

My sister's desk drawers don't hold old poems,
and her handbag doesn't hold new ones.
When my sister asks me over for lunch,
I know she doesn't want to read me her poems.
Her soups are delicious without ulterior motives.
Her coffee doesn't spill on manuscripts.

There are many families in which nobody writes poems,
but once it starts up it's hard to quarantine.
Sometimes poetry cascades down through the generations,
creating fatal whirlpools where family love may founder.

My sister has tackled oral prose with some success,
but her entire written opus consists of postcards from vacations
whose text is only the same promise every year:
when she gets back, she'll have
so much
much to tell.