‘Therefore it is God’s decree
Bare to the world he’ll always be.’

Seamus Heaney, ‘Sweeney Astray’

 

 

1

I, post-hatch, half wild, part man, King Cock, beak fed.
Crowed upon the dawn of the roost of the high-stool-born,
Womb-shell cracked in blazing red
Cradle-crowned in twisted thorn, stout-spittle and shit
Who was hushed-up proper by a bishop’s limp crook
To the froth-born yak of my unhallowed-be mush
And nailed by the claw-hooked hand of each wing
To a shattering stained-glass notion of gospel
The Devil’s own pack, half Jokers and Jacks.
A straight card flush, part magic trick stroke truth.
Strung-up by the neck in the sheds of my youth
And condemned for the out-of-line cut-of-my-jib
To live in the liminal gloom of the chatterbox darkness
Tied up in knots by slivers of iridescent light
To the hoot of the moon in the conjuror’s night
By the whispering, whispering, whispering world

 

2

I am who am you who is they who is us
Who is molten cerebral beneath the skull’s crust
Half cut, part gay, translucent, silent, still, come what may.
Who hovers in midair, brass-bollock-bare and brazen as fuck
Beneath the frenzied spotlights of the raving sun.
Naked and deranged in candy bar towns besprinkled with visions
That burst into wildfire, lynched upon pitchforks
Trembling in asylums of unsullied flesh
In black debased basements caught in the tangle
Of a fine spun cobweb of shuddering chills
I shrank out of sight in a bottle of pills
And bled from the ear to the nightingale’s tune.
Who could fly off your cliffs to the song of your grief
Then perch upon branches, light as a leaf
In the gathering, gathering, gathering storm?

 

3

I who can ride on the blustering steeds
Of Caorthannach winds until bitter words bleed
From the fresh open wound of my jabbering mouth
Blabbering absurd incantations of naught
I post upon pedestals, grinding my teeth as you stand
At the pulpit or kneel on your penitent knees at the pews
To crucify Gods you would worship and whip
And then like a virus go spread the good news
Of your suffering souls condemned to restraint
Beloved by demons and cursed by the saints
To live in my head away with the birds
Yes it was I that taught them to sing
And I heard thunder clap in the silver-washed beat
Of a mid-May meadow-bound butterfly’s wing
And was lost for a while in the wilds of myself
In a riddle of shadows that lunged from each wall.
Who was lead by the hand through the dark by the blind?
It was I of the muttering
Muttering, muttering mind.

 

4

I who could fly with the shadows of dusk
Wept for the sun when the sun turned to rust
Who could see every world in the maddening clouds
Knew the lore of the crows for I taught them to talk
Who was picked up and worshipped in out-of-town town bars
And burned every love by the fire of the soul
That kindles the mind set ablaze in the stars
Thus was I judged in your hollowed out eyes and confess
To the blessed congestion of what you believe
Is carved in the stone of your corpse-fed creed
Yes I confess, I confess, I confess.

 

5

It was I who was tarred and then feathered
And hung upside down by the unbroken bread of my body
Left in the stocks of apostates and thieves
Where the red-necked, half-witted, deaf, dumb and blind
Thoughtless and flightless minstrels of misfit
Gathered to brand me the beadledom’s leper
For displaying in full feather the wings of the mind.

 

6

So I soared in my dementia on the keening of the wind
With the landscaped bludgeoned and the red sky skinned
I wailed at the flowering song of the shrub
I hooded the rook and bespeckled the dove
When the Cardinal cursed what the Morrigan blessed
I lay with the robin and reddened her breast
A fine holy madness to wreak amongst men
For the pennies they gathered to bury the wren
In the harrowing, harrowing, harrowing muck.

 

7

And here, at last, with our rainbows spent
I sang in the full plume of my bedlam
To the adolescent seed of the gobdaw state
To the blue clad batons of the gombeen law
And the bone-headed puppets of the amadán Dáil
And my song was a Godless land without faith
That the fat of the lamb spat back in your face
And poisoned with sorrow the seed of your men
Piping my sickness from furrow to glen
For I danced on your grave well before you were dead
And I spray painted red: not right in the head
Then I skipped through your mirror and with a tip of my hat
I died in a dream and then never came back.