Broken Lights, poems by Brian Kirk
Brian Kirk is an award winning poet and short story writer from Dublin. He was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series in 2013. He was shortlisted for the Patrick Kavanagh Award in 2014 and 2015. His first poetry collection After The Fall is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in 2017. His novel for 9 -12 year olds The Rising Son was published in December 2015. He blogs at www.briankirkwriter.com.
After a month or two you will begin
to build a future where you do not grieve
all day, but only at fixed times give in
to tears – mornings, of course, and when you leave
the house. Looking back imagine you see
a face in the bedroom window, watching,
forlorn, accusing – that spectre’s not me,
it is only my dim shadow living
in the daylight of your mind. Let me go.
I do not want to darken your time left
with my grim night – you had my days and so
I am happy, please do not feel bereft.
Because I was a fool, often unkind,
I want you to erase me from your mind.
I met you when I needed someone most.
It was selfishness more than love provoked
my interest then. Later I often joked
that I was killing time, was not engrossed
the way you were; happy to let things coast,
while you were hooked, another drug you smoked
like cigarettes that satisfy and choke
at the same time – a parasite and host.
You lie awake nights, knowing you are right
while I sleep on, dreaming I hear the sound
of London buses passing in the night,
waiting for the morning to come around
when I’ll forget the reasons for our fight
and offer up pale love to heal the wound.
No matter what you think it makes no sense
now she is gone; the things you loved to do
are meaningless or just a chore, and you
dwell in the past, no future, present tense.
You lie awake at night until the sun
decrees another joyless day, alone,
of hunger and desire – you must atone
for your mistakes but you are never done.
After a while you’d think the pain would stop;
one morning you might wake and not be lame.
Your life has changed and yet remains the same,
the boulder rolls each time you reach the top.
When she was here you acted out a mime,
a shadow life that should have been sublime.
The hours unfold and sunlight reaches down
to touch our faces at the close of day,
and whether you’re in country or in town
you know that things have changed. Old people say:
a grand stretch in the evenings all the same!
You smile, but wonder why they welcome change
the way they do; if summer never came
they would not age or die. It seems so strange
to want the days to pass when life is brief,
but if time one day stopped would we be glad?
Or would we yearn for death and his friend grief?
Would life lose meaning if it were not sad?
A never-ending day might seem ideal,
but I am of this world, I crave the real.
© Brian Kirk