Jim Burke – The Walk

Burke profile Dec 2020

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, Volume Two, December 2020.

Jim Burke is co-founder with John Liddy, of  The Stony Thursday Book his poems have appeared in The Crannog Poetry Journal, The Literary Bohemian, The Shamrock Haiku Journal, Skylight 47, The Shot Glass Journal U.S.A., Live Encounters, Bali, Unbroken Journal, U.S.A. Voices from the Cave, an anthology on addiction, published by the Limerick Writers Centre. His Haiku were published in the anthology “Between the Leaves,” new Haiku Writing from Ireland, edited by Anatoly Kudryavitsky. He has recently completed an MFA in creative writing from MMU, Manchester.

The Walk

After Raymond Carver

The walk when he skimmed a stone.
The walk he picked for the smoky toke.
The walk when he said blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.
The walk he traded for a green Raleigh pushbike.
The walk when he sobbed over a broken timing belt.
The walk he took in the famous blue raincoat.
The walk he took in the world trade centre.
The walk when the lake wore a moon blanket.
The walk when the answer was right under his feet.
The walk when he climbed back into bed.
The walk when he went deeper and deeper into the world.
The walk around a house he can never own.
The moon-walk.
The walk with the girls of his youth.
The walk he took on the tarred road.
The walk when nobody was walking too close.
The walk when he sits down in the waiting room.
The walk his old man has got to.
The walk when he turns away from people who want to come over and talk.
The walk his feet refused to take.
The walk-in closet.
The walk when he and nearly everybody talk.
The walk dripping reddish puddles under the car.
The walk to where he is in the universe.
His walk.


Big trees drowse beyond the Dairy wall – James Liddy

Out Nan’s garden gate,
first past the volcanic
dunghill in the sun.
Then the Kerry Blue
terriers, tormented titans,
we must hurry past.
Then oink, oink,
as curly-tailed
the piggery’s all squealing.
Into the yard
where the saw-horse
idles in the sun.
And the wood-shed
hollers, ‘C’mon.’ ‘C’mon.’
Yesterday, Din and Tim
worked the crosscut
feverishly. On a break
dangling two of us
on each arm, Din
flexed his muscles.
Up the wood
we climb, conquistadors,
overlords of everything
in sight. Then up the yard
to open the road gate
and take our mid-day dash
to the bridge,
where old Jack Grady always
dresses like a train driver,
and seats us in our carriage.
And tells us that once upon a time
he worked in Limerick,
and there he saw rats
that were as big as cats.

The Voice

can be all hot air
or it can be a sweet thing,
it can make the difference
through darker times.
it can be the strokes of the artist’s brush
that shows you.
it can be saying: baby, you understand me.
it can be a bloodsucker
sitting in the crowd.
it can be a hippy
with a handsome mug on him,
hungry for tomatoes and green apples.
it can lay down these words
and say what about you?
you, in the light blue jeans.
it can be a memory of one day
in the big June sun.

Anton’s Haiku

bleak midwinter
the chaste snowdrop
I tune in

Billy Brooks

Billy, new year’s eve,
napping under the table
before the chipper

Gerry O’Brien’s

in a parallel world
our city
memories and ghosts

© Jim Burke