Three Poems by Kevin Higgins
Kevin Higgins has published seven collections of poems The Boy With No Face (2005), Time Gentlemen, Please (2008), Frightening New Furniture (2010), The Ghost in the Lobby(2014), The Selected Satires of Kevin Higgins (2016), The Minister for Poetry Has Decreed (2016), and Song of Songs 2.0: New and Selected Poems (2017). The Stinging Fly magazine has described Kevin as “likely the most read living poet in Ireland. His poems have been quoted in The Daily Telegraph, The Times (UK), The Independent, The Daily Mirror, Hot Press magazine, on Tonight With Vincent Browne and read aloud by film director Ken Loach at a political meeting in London. Kevin’s eighth poetry collection, Sex and Death at Merlin Park Hospital, will be published by Salmon Poetry in June.
after Andre Breton
Your hair is a wide brown meadow
through which the wind has just begun
to whisper the word winter.
Your eyebrows are caterpillars
perpetually on the verge of
moving off in opposite directions.
Your ears, two appropriately placed
Your eyes are the calm surface of Lochs
in the Scottish Highlands which many
have sunk to the bottom of.
Cold days your right nostril
is a summer waterfall;
your left an angry traffic jam
on a crooked medieval street.
Your face is the sun coming up
over a Huguenot district.
Your lips are the Cote d’Azur in September.
Your teeth are monuments
to an actually existing utopia.
Your tongue is golden butter
insinuating itself into a hot pancake.
Your wrists and ankles
are engineering projects whose failure
led to a public inquiry that’s expected
to go on forever.
Your belly-button, the permanently blocked keyhole
in a door with a sign on it that says
Your most intimate bit is a nectarine
with a bite taken out of it.
Your toes are ten premature baby squirrels
that have tumbled blind and pink
The Man Who Spoke Slogan
He was forever bursting through the doors
of occupied bathrooms, bellowing:
The whole world is watching.
When caught wearing his first wife’s tights
he turned on the megaphone and began shouting:
Get your rosaries of our hosieries.
When Mayo suffered another catastrophic
one point All Ireland final loss,
he rode through Castlebar on his Harley-Davidson
singing loud as he could:
The workers have no county.
When he interrupted burglars about to make off
with his credit cards, lap-top,
phone, and hugely expensive watch,
he earnestly told them: There are no illegal people,
and they immediately went screaming
down the driveway.
When his second wife found him wedged
between the au pair’s breasts, he told her:
He who has the youth has the future.
And when the students next door gratuitously chucked
yet another sweet-wrapper in his front
garden, he ran around it bollock-naked, roaring:
For the many, not the few. Build the wall!
We are a once in a childhood
picnic that had to be cut short
despite the excellent weather.
We are a tape that would’ve been played in court
but for the guilty plea.
We are a nephew in England
most of us have never seen.
We are a crime someone else committed,
of which she convicted us all.
We are a wedding half of us
weren’t invited to.
We are a funeral one of us boycotted
and another was told not to attend.
We are a woman shrieking at her lawyer’s
shiny shoes in the court house foyer.
We are a stone broken in four
with a sliver permanently missing.
I think of them hardly ever,
my late family – only one of whom
is, strictly speaking, dead.
© Kevin Higgins