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Friday, July 24, 2009

DOWN WITH THIS SORT OF THING! poems in opposition to Ireland's new blasphemy law

Bishop Brennan gets what's coming to him on Father Ted
Send your poems on this theme to and we will publish the best of them here

The Christ of Velasquez by William Wall
for Gerry Murphy

I see a dead man nailed
to a plank
someone knifed him
& stole his shorts

William Wall was born in Cork in 1955. His poetry collections are Mathematics & Other Poems* (Collins Press 1997), which won The Patrick Kavanagh Award and the Listowel Writers’ Week Collection Prize; and Fahrenheit Says Nothing To Me (Dublin, Dedalus Press, 2004). His novels for are Alice Falling (London, Sceptre, 2000/New York, Norton, 2000); Minding Children (Sceptre 2001); The Map of Tenderness (Sceptre, 2002); and This is the Country (Sceptre, 2005), which was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize.

Hampshire College Halloween by Susan Millar DuMars
Wearing prom pink with white gloves, I was hypnotised by
my skirt spinning.
Chuck and Mike were lazing on this bench –
the moon was silver.
And Andy walked by, dressed as Jesus in a long white toga, hair wavy
like a midnight ocean.
And he was carrying this crazy cross, big as him, and it was
white in the moonlight.
And Andy said “hey” and we said “hey”, and then Chuck got up
and he was walking behind Andy,
matching step for step.
And I said, “Watcha doin’?” and Chuck said,
“Following Jesus, Dude.”
And we giggled and got in line and then we were all followers of Jesus.
And Jesus led.
And if Jesus drank, we drank; and if Jesus danced, we danced;
and if Jesus did a bong hit,
we praised Jesus,
and did one right after Him. And we fell around giggling
and Jesus giggled too.
And He led us through the silvered night, and we were free;

and no one got nailed to anything.

'Hampshire College Halloween' appears in Susan Millar DuMars poetry collection Big Pink Umbrella (Salmon Poetry, 2008) and will also appear in the Best of Irish Poetry 2010 (Southword Editions).

A Prayer for Monsignor Daly by Dave Lordan

I remember you
The way you strode into our classroom
Your mouth full of tombstones,
Your thin lips full of the grave’s punishments.
Death strode in beside you with a cold wind
And our young limbs stiffened
As we felt the corpse’s grip within ourselves.

One grey afternoon
Or another
You asked us all for news
And I stuck up my hand
And told in all sincerity
How in my room at night
I saw a statue of the Virgin
Filling up with light.

You scowled
And said what I had seen
Was nothing but a childish dream
You said.

I was nine years old and full of talk
And knowing that I had been awake
Knowing it was vision and not dream
Knowing it wasn’t lie or mistake
I told again what I had seen
The truth of light in a plastic queen.

A liar! I was
A blasted little liar’s what you said
And whacked a wooden ruler
Off the back of my head
And whacked again.
A liar! A liar! you said.

I’m still here to peddle dirt
You’re ten years rotting in the ground
Ten years crumbling into earth
I hope you found your mouldy god
But guess you’re mostly in the sod.

Imagination knows no law
Vision’s way cannot be barred
The day after you struck me
I pissed in the churchyard.

Dave Lordan is originally from Clonakilty in West Cork, but now lives in Dublin. His first collection of poems, The Boy In The Ring (Salmon Poetry, 2007), was shortlisted for last year's Irish Times/Poetry Now Award and won the Strong Award for best first collection by an Irish poet.

Last Testament by Kevin Higgins

Whether I leave this world peacefully,
surrounded by respectable nephews
and voluptuous nieces, or go roaring
at four in the morning in the Prison Hospital,
come what may, let no black crow
sit squawking by my bed,
but pin this sign above my head:
“This fucker here does not repent,
would do the same again and worse.”
Yes, when I have gasped my final gasp,
let Satan clap his hands and cry: “At last!”
May I be down below, having
dinner with Tricky Dicky, sharing
dirty jokes with old Al Haig;
before “nice Father What’s-
His-Name” realises I’m gone.

'Last Testament' is taken from Kevin Higgins's poetry collection Time Gentlemen, Please (Salmon Poetry, 2008) 

My Reduction Phalloplasty by Patrick Chapman

 If you can raise a human being from the grave
And cure a leper of his withered limbs;
If you can walk upon the surface of the sea
And change mere drinking water into wine;

If you can whip a pair of haddock and some loaves
Into a picnic for five thousand hungry souls;
If you can put a virgin in the family way
By whispering sweet nothings in her ear –

Possessing such a god-proportioned rod
You don’t intend to put to proper use,
Appears a tad superfluous. That’s why
I let them circumcise me as a boy.

Patrick Chapman is the judge of this year’s Over The Edge New Writer of The Year competition. He is a poet, fiction-writer and screenwriter. His poetry collections are Jazztown, (Raven Arts Press, 1991), The New Pornography (Salmon, 1996), Breaking Hearts and Traffic Lights (Salmon, 2007) and A Shopping Mall on Mars (BlazeVOX, 2008). His fifth collection will appear from Salmon in 2010. He has also written a collection of stories, The Wow Signal (Bluechrome, 2007); Burning the Bed (2003), a multi-award-winning film starring Gina McKee and Aidan Gillen; and an audio play, Doctor Who: Fear of the Daleks (Big Finish, 2007). He lives in Dublin.

The Holy Shrine of Knock by Miceál Kearney

a three ring circus of clowns —
suffering, praying and molesting;
where auld women form the mountains,
cripples and fools
rot their teeth on candy floss
and leave with bottles of cryptosporidium.

Miceal Kearney won the 2006 Cúisle Poetry Slam in Limerick, the 2007 Cúirt Grand Slam, the 2007 North Beach Nights Grand Slam, the 2007 Baffle Bard in Loughrea and also the 2008 In-Sight of Raftery Poetry Grand Slam. Short-listed for the 2007 Cinnamon Press Poetry Collection Award. Doire Press published Inheritance, Miceál’s debut collection last year.

X & Y by Alan Jude Moore

the earth is flat
territories stretched
across canvas maps

no circum needed
all the journeys we take
tracked on the X & Y

the earth is flat
gated by the godly
from the universe outside

all we need to know
marked on the axis
or scripted in a bible

the earth is flat
pounded down our throats
a Ford Motor Corporation
production line

filtered and smoothly run
lives reasoned out
in dollar signs and oil

fractions of security
payments laid away
made down on beauty

the earth is flat
and there is nothing
to be done

only a monkey
would not believe
in the shape of things

and this is the reason
this is the reason

the reason is

Alan Jude Moore was born in Dublin. Two collections of poetry, Black State Cars (2004) & Lost Republics (2008), are published by Salmon Poetry. His third collection, Strasbourg, will be published, also by Salmon, in 2010. His fiction has been twice short-listed for the Hennessy Literary Award for New Irish Writing. His website is

The devil makes work for idle hands by Liam Duffy

The hounds
Were truly
At his door.

In the
And joyless office
He was forced into
An unfortunate
Took his attention,

Drivelling through
Its pages,
The sacred words
Of De Valera,
He found a job
He could do.

Exiting his office
The fruits
Of his labour
Written on tablets
Of stone,
Would be forbidden,

All the hounds
Stopped growling
And tilted
There heads
In honest awe,

Curious of the forces
That led to
The immaculate
Of this idea.

Liam Duffy is from Galway but next month will be going to Finland to attend university there. His poems have appeared in The Shop, Revival and many more. He recently completed the Advance Poetry Workshop at Galway Arts Centre. Liam will be a Featured Reader at the December Over The Edge: Open Reading.

Poem by Patrick Cunningham

Jesus Christ King of the Jews
I wonder has he heard the news ?
Thoughts nailed up for the good of the nation
Surely man’s ideas are also Gods creation.

Patrick Cunningham lives in Galway city. He has never written poetry before and is quite surprised to be included here. Nevertheless he feels strongly opposed to any infringement on freedom of expression and couldn't resist expressing himself.

Proof Reading by PJ Kelly

There is a song a say’s something, as all songs do
Its say’s that Freedom oh freedom is just some people talking
And you give us these empty streets
The latest diet…a diet for our diction
Not allow us to run a mere metaphor over our own tongues
Are we to have more traffic lights and no pedestrians
What next?
Juggling blasphemy and infamy, speaking when spoken to
Chivalry, gate houses, horse drawn carriages
And ours is not to wonder why, just to do or die
The monarchy of monotony
What next?
The contradictory patronage of painters and poets
The prostitution of progress over the progress of prostitution
And capital punishment and for the innocents we lose, we lose
What next?
Are the children soon be seen again and never heard
Are we to suffer our angst on Robben Island
Incarcerated for articulations apartheid
Then freedom oh freedom is talking to just some people

PJ Kelly lives in Salthill, Galway. He works as an engineer and is past the halfway point of life expectancy. He attended the Bish Secondary school in the nineteen eighties and then NUIG, gaining his formative education in all the hours in between and thereafter.

Progress at Last by Paul Casey

Onward Christmas soldiers and deliver unto me
my twenty-five thou-a-head, each disrespectful enemy
Oh yes my faithful ministers, please us, geeeeeez us
Twenty-five and three zeeerus! It's Gaaaaaw dly bizznus!

Next on the local walrus agenda ... for sure
is a well deserved fifty grandly cure
for coveting thy neighbour's car. A hundred Gs
for praising that false god Mammona Monneeey

Ah, for Buddha's sake! Help me please!
Pour Krishna's blessings down upon my knees!
I've never taken the lord thy god's name in vain! Darn!
Coz he's not my god anyway! The holy minister Harn

eee mayez well be for all her vanity. You'd never catch me
hummmin GeeeeeezusMAAAREEEEandjosefff now, would ya, hmmmmm?
There should be a million euro fine for that one, at least!
Let's pay commission for getting homeless drunks to sprout the beast.

Come on, say we can, on camera man,
all make good 'aul civilian arrests
for a change
Medieval-style. Think of the benefits ...

I say we fling all the unemployed in jail
after six months of no working, nail
them with a National Politeness Campaign
and reform those damn blasphemers again!

Paul Casey was born in Cork in 1968. He is the founder and organiser of the weekly Ó'Bhéal poetry readings in Cork. A chapbook of his poems, It's Not All Bad, was published recently by Heaventree Press. Paul will be a Featured Reader at the March 2010 Over The Edge: Open Reading.