Michael Burke – Three Poems

MichaelMichael Burke was born in Ballaghadereen in 1956 –one of ten children- moved to Galway in1974 – married Denise in 1979 -they have two sons in Scotland –at present they are living quietly /frugally in a two-storey house, with stairs, in the east of the city…although they have removed the wallpaper .

No hangover

When
you
crashed
down
the stairs
and
struck your head
so hard
off the final step
it was to kill you
instantly

(or so the doctor assured us two days later )

all the alcohol
that had
before this
protected you
at times
from
the brutal force of life

you loved
and
hated
equally
failed to save
you.

Full stop.

 
An extra-ordinary woman

She sits on the couch
in the back room
in front of a three bar electric heater
the central heating on full blast
drinking endless cups of cold coffee
watching her favourite afternoon quiz-show
Later she will turn over to the soaps
a feature film or some detective series

She once was a snooker fanatic
but seemed to have lost interest
when Jimmy White faded from the scene
never having won a final
in the major competitions

Her younger daughters
who live nearby
call regularly
bringing chaotic grandchildren
whom she loves to put up with
for short visits
before she loses patience
becoming distracted

Sometimes she complains
about her husband dying
when he should still be enjoying himself
In darker moments
she curses
God
the church
and
especially
the slick tv presenters
who have outlasted him

When they were younger they all squeezed on the couch
to watch The Fugitive
in black and white
Hawai Five 0 (in technicolour)
and then Cannon
who became her favourite
for a while
to be later discarded for Columbo
in his crumpled coat

She too
was young once
before she had ten children
before her sister died of cancer ten years ago
before her long lost brother died in England
two years before that
but most of all
before her husband died
of a blood clot
while she believed he could survive
another while

Now she has grown small
more talkative
She worries about her youngest son
who has’nt drank for nine months
-and cannot always remember
why he ever wanted to drink
except for cartons of milk
which he now devours

She
has few extravagances
if they are that

She still loves doing crosswords
the cryptic clues
especially
Every so often
she checks the newspaper
recalling a time when she knew
the form of her favourite jockeys/trainers
and scanned the racing pages for inspiration
before sending one of the older children to the bookies
with a handwritten bet
one shilling each way

She
loves to sit out on Summer evenings
looking skywards
her hair pushed back from her forehead
with a tiny scarf
picking up a little colour on her face
from the fading sun
She
occasionly lights a Consulate cigarette
inhaling deeply before
stubbing it out
half smoked
menthol flavoured
lipstick stained
She
stubbornly
persists in wearing high heels
especially when standing at the sink
or even lazing in her favourite chair
ignoring any discomfort
with a shrug of youthful arrogance

Finally
for whatever reason
she hates –with shocking intensity –
THE SIMPSONS
that bright yellow American cartoon family
who have become cult heroes
all over the world

So it goes!

 

Everyday occurences ( number 126)

Waiting at the post office
in the main street
a middle aged man -talking to nobody in particular
-walks towards us
Behind him
(his wife presumably)
her back bent severely
speaks to him
through
the pavement
while we try not to stare
As they move past a ladys fashion shop
the woman
stops
lifts herself briefly
to gaze
at the beautiful dress
on
the
upright
mannequin
whispers
something
to nobody in particular
and
continues on her way

We hurriedly finish packing our youngest son’s
twentieth birthday parcel
post it to Canada
and head home
to our
beautiful
new
empty
house.

 

 

This entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Michael Burke – Three Poems

  1. Beautiful flowing poems. Well done Michael

  2. pdlyons says:

    really like these. i like poems about human beings.

  3. Pingback: Michael Burke – Three Poems | Pdlyons's Weblog

Comments are closed.