Saturday, November 11, 2006

Gentle thoughts for an estranged child

And child of mine she stays, my baby of nearly thirty-seven who loved ironing and feeding the poor and drawing and writing and expounding on every theory with her encyclopaedic knowledge of just about everything. A fierce scrabble player, Harley Davidson rider, music lover, drum player. And on. She lives in Ireland and there shelives and loves well, I hope.
Written yesterday and emailed to her, my gorgeous, brilliant, Irish daughter.

Reflections on a Steam Iron

The steam from the iron
Threading the needle eye
Of the crack in
The laundry room window.

Floating upwards to the
Sky above and across
Four thousand miles of sea
And falling softly on


Ironing too. Pressing
Cutting butter edges
Into soft cotton trousers
And razor creased sleeves on
To Goodwill linen shirts.


Sunday, November 05, 2006



I was taught in early days
For the good of the whole
Give to the church.
And it would take care of Africa
And those pagan babies.

I was taught in middle days
Me first, live and let live.
I’ll take care of me
And you’ll take care of you
How neat. And end of story.

No and no and no
Is there such a thing
As loving detachment
From the pain of
A limbless child in Iraq.

From the frightened
Face of a teenage whore
On Jarvis Street.
From the smelly mound
Of a sleeping bag on a filthy grid.

I teach myself in elder days
That the child is me
The whore is me.
And I’m inside the fetid bag
Of my own blindness.