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Man on the Doorstep
after the summary killings by the SAS in Gibraltar, 1988
He knocks on my door at night
the howling storm made visible
raves at me like conscience
come out he says come out
come out and see the holes in the road
the holes in the road in the rain
it is all falling down around us
holes full of water for children to fall in
and he is right –
five minutes is all it would take
take five to walk to the bottom of the hill
to see these children’s graves in the rain
But I can’t go out
because I am minding a real live child
I am father to a child
who eats and sleeps and goes to school
flies kites and brings me paintings
and keeps his margins to the edge of the page
or as near as he can at five and a half
who is not for the moment homeless
and depends on me to keep the night outside
Tá Bran ar scoil
Tá Mici ag gáire Tá Lulu ag gol
No you can’t come out says the man
but you can go to bloody Umbria –
and what are you going to do about this
98Fascist descent into Anarchism?
What are the artists of Ireland doing?
Safeguard your reputation
I was here this morning in this very place
in this very place today – and
he digs his heel into the crumbling pavement –
and I said to an Indian doctor
an Indian doctor from the College of Surgeons
how can people live in this
in this city falling apart
seeing this same shit day after day and every day
head shaking like John O Gaunt
this same shit and nothing else
enough said the doctor –
Do you realise
that in the European Parliament
the whole of Europe is laughing at us? The Germans are laughing at us
the Italians the French
the Greeks and Spaniards are laughing
laughing into their translation machines
laughing like drains
like the rain falling on Dublin they laugh
and the British shoot us
He moves away into the night –
Safeguard your reputation with Cess-Clean
says the advertisement on national radio

Editor's Note: 'Tá Bran ar scoil

Tá Mici ag gáire Tá Lulu ag gol':

Irish for 'Bran is at school
Mici is laughing Lulu is crying'