It’s not a secret if you know.

I have a secret 

Fragile light within me.

I know it shines through my skin

When you are near to me.

When you speak to me

Even the most passing comment

I glow.

It scares me to think that you

Might see it too

That you know it is within me,

You are the one who turns it on,

Still.

Somehow, only your look 

Your words

Are like little fingers

Which find their way inside me

That turn the dial up.

Somehow, you have a secret map

To connect the wires

Or play my veins 

Into a sad melody.

I am your Spanish guitar.

Each time you leave me

The light goes out

And I am left in darkness.

My body aches to find the switch

Itself

Open the windows to my being

And let the light in.

I do not want your fingers

Or words or music

To know me and open me

I want to glow without you.

Slut

He slapped me across

The face once,

And then again, straight away.

Pulled me up by the scruff

Of me collar.

Squared up and got

Straight up in my face

Forehead to forehead.

‘You’re a dirty little slut’

He spat through his teeth

at me.

And then he kissed me

And I liked it.

And I wrote it down

Unashamed.

Men who write

He once said that

Men who write poetry aren’t manly.

He lived by an arbitrary ideal

Of tall men, strong men, silent men.

All the flowers and fauna and feelings

Are for girls.

Yet disappointment

At the unachievable

Plagued him.

As if the canon has not been defined by men.

By Shakespeare and Wordsworth,

Coleridge, Byron,

Blake, Shelly, and Keats.

By Joyce and Yeats,

And Kavanagh and Heaney.

And Whitman

And Eliot

And Pound.

Poetry is a woman’s game for sure

And his toxic masculinity

And fear of poetry

Has nothing to do

With his inability to verbalise

The disappointment he felt

Having never reached the ideals imposed

On his gender.

Don’t dance, don’t speak out, don’t feel small.

Society regulates us all.

Self-respect.

My self respect

Is not around my ankles,

I’ve kicked it off.

With me knickers.

How fucking dare you equate

The number of people I’ve rode

With the level dignity I demand?

And what is the acceptable number

I should confine myself to

To make you happy?

How is it right that I could fuck one person twenty times

But to fuck twenty people all at once would be a disgrace?

Saying important shit

I’m too coarse to be a poet.

Like Polaris keratosis

On me arms in summer

And my skin just outta the shower.

I want to easily articulate the

Innate truths and fundamental

Universalities of the human

Psyche.

But my tongue is too heavy

And my accent’s spattered with cunts and fucks.

How am I gonna escape the escape, the system of inequality

That relegates working class women’s opinions,

That regulates what we say and how we say it.

What if I don’t talk like a nice lady?

Paint me like onea your Clontarf girls.

Is it so cliche

To want flowers to bloom

From my empty mouth?

Stick fingers down my throat

And try to fish the rainbow out

Make that almost vomit noise.

I ache under the weight of

My contemporaries words.

I eat, sleep, and breath cliche.

My pre-used and once loved words

could never expose the inner workings of the working class experience.

Madeleine Minstrels

I’m havin’ a Madeleine moment

With this bag eh Minstrels.

Mad meditating over bygone days.

Havin a long stare off into fuck all.

Filled with thoughts of me holy communion.

I member

I took me massive little white gloves off

Me tiny little hands,

An I had an unchipped french manicure miracle all day.

Me ma did me nails the night before.

And I was delighted wi’ life

Sitting in the back of our navy Nissan

Goin’ around all dee aunties

Gettin’ told I was just

Bee-uuu-tee-ful.

I’m batting me eyelashins still.

And I knew it

I was massive.

This was the first time

I ripped a packet of Minstrels open,

And the paper glided

Like scissors on sexy chris’mas wrapping paper.

And sucked on one eh dem Minstrels

Until the heat of me mouth cracked their shell open.

Therewithin,

The soft, sweet, melted chocolate

Poured its insides out to me,

Like forbidden fruit or me first secret

On’ee I was allowed have dem.

This was me real holy communion.

Chocolate exposed itself to my tastebuds

And God,

I was alive for the first time.

This moment is deeply ingrained in my memory.

Like a Minstrels virgin!

Touched,

For the very first time.

High on life, and a

Rakeload of sugar.

I have seen the light

I thought to meself.

Holy God has blessed me

An’ now I know that

This is what the holy bread should taste like

Not that tasteless rubbish

That sticks to the top of your pallet

And you take ages trying to get it off wit your tongue

And give up and pull it off wit your finger instead

An your ma gives out to you

Tellin you

Holy God is watchin’ you!

Jesus was brown

So the body of Christ should be holy chocolate too!

Gimme the holy Minstrel!

Token, Smithfield, Dublin 7

There’s a pub in Smithfield called Token

Where you can go play on retro arcade games

Like street fighter, dance dance revolution, and tekken.

We went a long time ago, on a date.

You wouldn’t go on the dance machine like a loser,

And I kicked your arse

Because I am the fucking queen of tekken.

I found a little golden token from the machines

In the corner of my room the other day

When I was clearing out bits and bobs.

Absolutely useless to me,

Chances are, I’ll never go back.

I wonder how many others,

Have kept junk disguised as mementos.


But I put the token away in my safe spot.

I kept it, even though I’m not usually sentimental.

One day I might let you know I still have

This little token of my affection.

Or I’ll just go back

And play the game

Without you.