Poems | Kenneth Hickey

Sketch by Gayatri Goswami

1. Thus Spake Hector

Achilles’ baneful wrath - resound, O goddess.

i. Shock and Awe

Remus, whitewashed rapper,
MOBO winner 2011,
Gold disc hanging high,
Halcyon sepulchre against grey grey sky,
Demanding gas for his humble humvie hunger,
Sends bright Benny Blanco from the Bronx,
One hell of a pizza chef,
To lose an eye in Faluja,
Six hours and twenty four minutes,
Before the young village girl
catches the stars from a smart bomb shower.
Prickly pear, prickly pair.
They grow dumber by the day.
Schools out.

The Prime minister has a special relationship you understand,
Ambassador over for afternoon tea,
Debates whether to have one lump or two.

Leader of the international community court,
States disaster is imminent.
Rouge Russia vetoes,
Protecting foreign policy imperatives,
Important diplomatic links.
Nothing left to do,
But settle down to plates of escargot,
‘My hands are tied don’t you know!’

CNN weren’t available
to cover the village girl story.
Broadcast priorities the executives say.
Cyclops Benny watches from his bed.
Somewhere the defence secretary
is showing videos of precision carpet bombings,
Flanked by his favourite ribboned general.
‘Watch ‘em go Norman.’
Cue applause.
Israel grabs more desert.
Old Glory fluttering over Texas.
great Britain still values its free press.
Little girl succumbs to her injuries.
Unavoidable collateral damage.

ii. Endgame

Minor mini-clad models
- moulded on media’s martyr Moss,
Sniggering supermodel,
snapped snorting charlie
from ceramic cistern surfaces,
Tomorrow’s trout trappings,
tossed to tarmac and towpath -
amble ably on.
Each a Helen in herself.

Rugby’s running Ruairis,
rampage round ruined revellers,
Blackrock’s borstaled boot boy battalions
bend to batterings bright.
Proletariat papers’ prejudices,
Passed proper for painted pardons.
Poor peoples’ perplexed panting
piles polished plight on plight.

Mother’s maiden meadows
mashed mangled for mortar monstrosities.
Green grass gorged
by greed-fed growling granite giants.
Yet we wage the wigged warriors
working wonders for wealthy wranglers.
These tycoons to trite tribunals trape
tying TD’s to trinkets tight.

The land has paled to darkness
Such are the things you see.
Turn wasted eyes to wasted skies,
Where empty words smile wide for thee.

iii. It Bleeds

It bleeds.

Rust blooming on patchy pile,
Cauliflower red stained
bedroom bile,
Drip by drip,
Draining from me.

Left the last seeker
stranded at Australia’s heart,
Aboriginal activists pleading backpackers not to rise,
‘It is sacred.’
No one listens to dark skins.
‘Where’s the souvenir shop?’

So they tear oil
in my pop up book country
from the heart of peoples’ rosary gardens,
Ancestral houses.
The leader’s painted face crying,
Dark eyes lined
with mascara too expensive to run
The not yet perished ready for the blender,
Mashed beans far too costly
for the King of clowns to afford.
Fiscal limitations abound.
‘He’s not that bad really.’
‘Sufficient satisfaction!’ rating polls declare.

Bring out your dead.

Nothing but corpses now,
Sending auditions tapes to the newest TV show,
Celebrity Slurry Island.
They tear the sad shepherd from the hill,
To burn in their bright twinkling bonfires.
There is no poetry anymore.
I blame Paris.

It bleeds.

2. The Unicycle Paradox

The red blood poppies bloom in June.

Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon.


Hair of raven black claw,
Skin, cold, new silver snow,
Eyes piercing Eventide’s song,
Cat Anna flays to the bone.
Alone he stays the lonesome vigil,
His strength forlorn, faint and freckled,
In solitude watches her emptiness
Of which the golden angels wept.
They are christened children of shadow,
Fine fortune set amiss,
Peering through perfumed visions,
To vandalised each anniversary.
Bronze for the eighth year.
Or so they used to say.
Does anyone remember?
Or first caller wins a t-shirt.
The future’s ghost so seldom glimpsed,
Cruelly blind to the fate of drowning mariners,
For Jesus was a sailor.
Calmly followed the condemned man,
From gallow post to gate.
Childlike through forgotten lines,
Forgotten songs, forgotten airs,
See how they run.
She takes his claw with strength unanswered,
An eagle to all lesser birds.
Aquila chrysaetos.


And in the desert cactus flowers,
Fed by heavens seldom tear,
Pierced thorns with bold colours screaming,
Bloom for paradise regained.
Never more in Hell than when in Heaven.
There amongst the Tuareg tents,
Settles them to fever bed,
To play away the stilted daydream,
Through every twilights dying breath.
Half in that half-light perfection gallops,
Matching stallion’s march for step,
Hoofbeats cracking, breaking white sands,
Waiting on imagined tides.
The salt that would never arrive.
In her eye dark prizes blazing,
Burning iris, pupil spark,
Midnight desert silence cloudless,
Peeling every answer twice.
Here they gain the zenith proper,
Here they touch the fractured skies,
Feel the golden sunlight streaming,
From within the tarnished mouth.


Like the swans sweet silent swimming,
Of her beauty she knows not,
With mortal arms he tries to capture
That which only Gods can forge.
Dipped in death like Hector’s slayer.
Her soul’s not tempered for ceaseless sunlight,
Divine dove of brittle wings.
The world of cracking pots and riddles,
- A fox, a sheep and a sack of hay -
Strips with filed teeth this hard won life,
Scratching tears from rose gentle cheeks,
Burning infants as they lay sleeping.
All the pretty little horses.
But still their love fell, tarnished dew,
Gathered in puddles cool and sacred,
There to stand with babies’ weeping,
Embraced as tightly as mortals dare.
Each tragedy must show its villain,
Each court must name a knave,
Fairytales so full of falsehood,
Follow the crumbs for your salvation.
The second thief would not listen.
Dost not thou fear God?
A question for our age.


His pride, his pride becomes his weakness,
Jealous lips plucked raw and red,
Held others wicked words as gospel,
Forgetting all he saw.
Through the pain she screamed forgiveness,
For deeds and wars not her own,
His madness raging, raw waves tempest,
Burning seas of beauty acrid.
He dried her eyes with fury boundless,
Sin of trumpets calmed her pleas,
Knowing too well his own errors,
Finished every sin.
Till destruction was the shadow,
Of a Samson without sight,
Dragging temples down on pagans,
Screaming his righteousness to the deaf heavens.
He stole her half constructed penance,
Drew passion drop by drop downward,
Mixed it well with spoken spell,
To feed his chocking crop.


In vain she forced a lovers smile,
Alas she cried on high,
She tamed his pain, his rage, his pride,
But never chained his fears.
Now strange ghosts haunt these bloodshot days,
Lessons learnt and lost,
He walk the hills before the dawn,
Draw faces in the dust.
Shifting through old creased bills,
From suppers dark and undocumented,
He sit alone in silent hissing,
Content with evenings song.
For through his veins she dances onward,
Her song, his blood, entwined, ensnared,
Her smile the crescent crackling moon,
For every star that winked to extinction.
There in the pale white lily bloom,
He see those tears once more,
And know by heart the price paid
For the ignorance of men. 


No comments:

Post a Comment