Live Encounters Poetry & Writing August 2021
Lynda Tavakoli lives in County Down, Northern Ireland, where, in more normal times, she facilitates an adult creative writing class and works as a tutor for the Seamus Heaney Awards for schools. A poet, fiction writer and freelance journalist, Lynda’s writings have been widely published in the UK, Ireland, the US, South America and the Middle East. She is a contributing writer for The Belfast Telegraph and Slugger O’Toole and her work has been broadcast on BBC Radio and RTE, (The Poetry Programme). Lynda has been winner of both poetry and short story prizes in Listowel, the Westival International Poetry Prize and runner-up in The Blackwater International Poetry Competition and Roscommon Poetry Competition. Her poems have appeared in The Irish Times and translated into Farsi and Spanish. The Boiling Point for Jam, Lynda’s debut poetry collection, was published recently by Arlen House. Beyond the world of writing her main occupations are gardening and playing squash (not necessarily in that order).
Fucked up, if you want
to know the truth,
a lost cause for all
but the stupid few who
think they can save
the world – save me.
And I’m good at hiding it too.
A nice enough boy, they’ll say.
Reserved, a bit of a loner,
but polite –
always polite when
you met him in the street.
when acts of kindness
really, I mean, really
pissed me off.
when the neighbour’s
dog still yelped when I
muzzled it with tape.
when my mother
fed me crap for my tea
and for my own good.
it was just a matter of time.
There remains an odour of absence
and a silent keening of ghosts
that suppurates in weeping walls.
On stoned pathways the hushed footfall
of the dead still treads its beat,
marking time for souls selected
for their usefulness,
a finger’s point away from
one more beating heart or none.
In concrete corridors
the brittle-eyed speak now
from simple frames – their history,
a name, the date arrived and date deceased,
(a day, a month, but rarely more between)
while unframed faces suffer still in anonymity,
their ashes fertilized efficiently
(no wastage here), the debris of those lives
now earthed beneath a sea
of fast fermented tears.
I cannot think too much of it,
for I am chased by thoughts
of things I did not know nor want to know.
For the odour of absence
seeps its disregarded souvenirs
into our selective memory, while history
sleeps on in other ghosted walls,
or hidden corners where is found the letting still.
Sunshine shirks the day
and out in the thickening light
their conversation visits me
like a clattering of plates.
These birds, a nye of ambered beauty
struts my lawn with their conspiracy of dames.
I know them by heart and will let their chatter
carry into quiet sleep – time enough yet
to fear for their feathered lives.
For tomorrow will come the hunters
in their tweeds and their conceit,
peppering buckshot across my roof
like bloodied ash and beaters
will beat death into twenty feet of sky.
I wonder what those brave men say
when they go home?
What a great day’s sport –
the dogs’ soft mouths were eager to retrieve.
From her skinned and tendered ribs
detritus sleeches, soft tissue lost
beneath a century of salted tears.
Only the galvanised survives.
She feels its tingle on her tarnished hull,
an acid tongue that licks through
every orifice and naked bone,
or seeps from rusticles like
poisoned pus of weighted time.
Yet on she sleeps, companioned
by the ghosted souls who wait,
like her, condemned to history now,
the drowning ship of dreams.