MIKE ABSALOM

2nd Vol ,no 1 July 2015

“Lapsadaisical”

I am the grass poet.
I keep my ear close to the ground
and wait for answers from beneath.
What on earth? I am not lapsadaisical!
I am the grass poet! I am waiting for answers!

Poetry blows over me like pollen,
making things grow.
It comes in a peal of bluebells, for example.
Or the sight of a blind snail hiccupping.
Or the glimpse of a dead frog
lepping with new-grown wings from the skidded asphalt.
I am the grass poet.
I keep my nose close to the ground.
Seriously! I am not lapsadaisical.
What?!

And from my schooldays
I remember spotting those iambic shapes
that took form in the fish waif screams of boys
when the ruler measured them too harshly from behind.
And there were telling constructions to be learned
from many other forced expletive locutions.
Later I saw pomes in the glassy babble of old men
in a Ballina craic house.
And even in the strangled howls of Sean-nós singers,
bawling like murdered turkeys at the bar.
I am the grass poet. I keep my tongue in my cheek.
God’s Truth! I am not lapsadaisical.
I am the grass poet. I keep my cheek in my tongue.

“ An Irish Boulevardier Begins to Pencil in his Living Will ”

My generation wore red platform shoes,
and they are still dancing clickety clack
like a pair of wind-up dentures
all along the length of Matt Molloy’s bar.

I am not a godless man.
The Peacock Eyes of God want to see everything for themselves
and I’ll be damned if I didn’t oblige Him
with a pair of sly peepers.

I was raised a Goody Two-shoes,
bursting with celibacy like an overfilled bladder,
but I know God found the feedback dull,
wall to wall prayers and the eyes tight shut.
I know, because very soon He sent me
Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll.

Now I’m a One-eyed Jack
and although I’m going deaf
I am still able to hear the quacking of the doctors in the hospital pen
wondering why I’m not dead yet.

So for today
I think I’ll glug a bottle of brännvin
and drop my pants and dance
bare as a scarecrow,
still flickering like an old candle but not out,
in front of your welcome fire of birch logs.
And as a newt pixilated,
I’ll burrow under the feathers and tell you about 1965
and how I have preserved it to this day in a small glass bottle

“How the Day Returns after Sleep”

Sun on the wall.
Sun on the wall again. Sun on the yellow wall.
How the day returns after sleep,
like patchwork,
memories sliding to the floor
each slowly placing itself in that place it held before the pit of sleep.
Could I one day wake up, under a different quilt, all of them out of place and jumbled
into a different life unfolding,
a different book half read,
a different house creaking its beams around me?
The sunlight pries me out of my safe place like a golden shoehorn
and slides me into yet another artificial day plotted for me by others’ footprints.

Mike Absalom, an Irish poet, painter and printmaker, was born in Devon in 401107_10150517292587851_1546363435_n (1)1940. His mother was Irish. His father was Welsh. Educated in Quebec, Sweden, Iran and England, he majored in Oriental Studies (Arabic and Farsi) at Oxford and Gothenburg Universities before embarking on a career as a singer/songwriter during the 1960s and 70s. From 1980 to 2000 he lectured on satire, using his own verse as a template and worked as a harpist, fiddler, children’s entertainer and puppeteer across Canada and in the USA and South America. He returned to Ireland in 2002 to paint and write poetry. (www.mikeabsalom.com)