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for Danny
In the realm of the shit-kickers 
and the rabbit punchers 
and the head butters 
during the terrible five-year reign 
of the flying gang of ear-chewing brothers
with metallers getting stuck into ravers
and coppers getting stuck into travellers
with the Rossmore Hackers
whipping the seven varieties of shite out 
of the Bandon Boy racers 
and with all the magnificent Saturday samurai
all the capsizing warriors’ legendary names
in the bloody spit and bloody snot 
running into the puke and the piss
and the half-eaten burgers

The pair of of us behind the vines 
hanging down from the sleepers re-used 
as beams for a walkway
at the back of the Chateaulin gardens 
sucking our joints and our flagons 
with the convent girls we were aiding to cheat on their parents
Treasa and Tara, Maeve and Deirdre and Grainne
all supping and inhaling in turns and fits 
of lebanese giggles at our panda-black eyelids, 
our brazen red lips, our defiantly moony-white pusses; 
we were gorgeously freakish 
and spitting out midges 
while spouting of truth and of love and nausea 
with quotes from the ur-texts: 
Disintegration,The Head on The Door
Pornography, Seventeen Seconds, Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me.

Please also remind me of Augusts 
famously twisted in spidery corners 
of Fahey’s, De Barra’s and Fiddlers
on snakebites and smuggled-in naggins, 
how when the Soldiers of Destiny rose all at once in the cross-drafts
to drive the British out of Ireland with their thumbnails,
we held our position, we stayed in our seats. 

Was that not risk of life and limb? 
Was that not courage? 
Was that not brotherhood?

I recall being packed in a 747
among row upon row of dead uncles 
and flown three thousand miles home 
where, by my illegal dying, taboo in my room 
big bully shame had me under the blankets 
bully boy shame had me pinned to the mattress 
and no-one would call to my door for fear of infection
for fear I would lead them down tunnels and wells 
for fear I would lead them to forests of wolves.

That was bleak mid-winter 
and I was unwell and alone.
I could not conceive of a future.

Then you were standing before me 
brushing your fringe from your forehead,
all sleepy and slurred and glazed over, 
GP’d to the rim of your senses like me 
in a sweater three sizes too big, 
thumbs through the holes in the sleeves, 
black denims, basketball boots trailing white laces,
enormous purple tongues flopping over your pull-ups,
having swung your way through to my door 
to hack me out of the silence 
to open your mouth, smile, and enquire How’s it goin’?,
spread your woolly wings out and embrace me, 
be alone out of all of the living
and reach out and touch me.