Irish liberal foresees own enduring relevance — Kevin Higgins

My words are smoother than the essential oils

the Taoiseach last week
had his parliamentary assistant rub
into his badly traumatised buttocks.
My psychotherapist insists
half the people who’ve taken
shotguns to their own heads,
during this recession, would’ve reconsidered,
if only they’d heard me talk for an hour
each week about the dangers of Sinn Fein,
or how I live in the hope of a woman Pope.

I’m all for the good people of middle Ireland
making their point in a dignified manner
with china cups of nothing stronger than tea in their hands.
But when thugs from the far parts start burning vans
and generally acting as if they owned the place;
and gurriers from the depths begin picking up bricks
and tossing words so terrible,
they’re not even in the dictionary,
at the Minister for Poverty’s hair-style.
(How would you like your wife,
sister, great grandmother,
kidnapped in her car
for two and a half hours?)

The world will not be changed by fools
banging on the bonnet of a BMW.
But by the likes of me talking
against social exclusion in TV studios.
And fundraising concerts organised
by former pop-stars.
And the well-meaning priest
with whom I regularly have dinner;
between the two us we’ve enough
concern for the poor to construct a second
Fergal Keane of the BBC,
as a back-up in case
the existing one breaks.

Trust is us. Pay no heed
to the sweary-mouthed crowd,
who if they’re not put back where they belong
will soon be eating pot noodle from scooped out skulls
confiscated from their betters
in defiance of international law.
By the likes of them,
the world must not be changed.


Kevin Higgins is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events in Galway City. He has published four collections of poems:  the most recent, The Ghost In The Lobby, was launched at this year’s Cúirt Festival. His poems also feature in the anthologies Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and in The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Ed. Neil Astley, Bloodaxe May 2014). Mentioning The War, a collection of his essays and reviews, was published by Salmon in 2012.  Kevin’s blog is http://mentioningthewar.blogspot.ie/ .
@KevinHIpoet1967