Kevin. J. Nolan – Seven Poems

K. J. Nolan (1)Kevin. J. Nolan, Dublin born, holds an honours degree in Philosophy from The Milltown Institute. He also studied fine art in the National College of Art and Design. His writing has appeared in, Skylight 47, Colony and Studies, among other journals. Also a singer/composer he has recently released his debut album entitled “Fredrick & The Golden Dawn”, notably he has recorded a duet, “Aubade” with Julie Feeney.


There are lines in this poem.
that lack power.

They do not serve the poem
as a whole.

I love them, dearly
each, loaded, phoneme
in all it’s delicate naive beauty.

I imagine myself
as I softly lick the linings
of their vowels, lament
the lipograms and kiss away
all deferred meaning
my perfect sentiment
of intimacy.

Meaning dies
in the arms of truth.
I can’t let go,
her head limp on my shoulder
I am frozen, weeping, desolate.
I can’t divorce myself from
that first wild flourish,
that primordial stretching
which compelled me uninvited
to oafishly interrupt
the history of utterance
the dread of expression
and the whole hellish business
in the first place.

Let me have them, let me
leave them in, so they may
bathe naked amongst
the finer specimens, like
cadent deviant nymphets.



We held each other like pillows, as if crawling
into bed after a day of stress and sweat, dirt and
dark shadows

we spoke deeply
and when you left I sat for a while
docile and gazing
out my window onto the street sunlight
but I wasn’t in the mood for sunlight
so I drifted off to sleep
with the sounds of electric Dionysian blues
in my ear I and dreamt
of the changing seasons…

won’t            be     summer                         forever
cold will grow and grow
light will retreat

shimmering    disembodied       sounds
of country fields will cease

animals will no longer           uncontrollably
burn like freight trains
to mount,        breath,           and shove in the
shallow density of lost intimacy, the fulcrum
of raw momentum

darker with the days
brighter with the leaves
as autumn
gently leans forward
for that last
corroding kiss
then you will retreat from me
darkness will come
every thing will die

And the winter will                      last



I walked a violated mile
down by Kathleen’s with the north wind.
The blood red sky gushed
down like a livery sedative in my brain.
It cups the peaks, folds the final shore line:
a new free state
after the great wars
of eroticism.

I followed the bare knuckles of a frustrated night
I came across a cross roads
and as I watched her flying by
I was shot

but I didn’t die.



They made love,

and it was everything
of which all the deepest poetry
of the world

but fail miserably
to even come close
to that deep and ineffable

As we stood at the door
saying good bye she said
I have a friend
I think you’d like her,
she paints.

I closed the door
my heart receded

it’s you I love, not some

For dramatic effect I repeated the sentence
to myself.



with that I fell into darkness
and with tears trickling down and mixing
with the beads of sweat that only moments ago
covered our bodies
I went back

to read
the deepest poetry of the world.



tonight it became uncontrollably obvious,
so I accept it
like a vampire victim
giving in to the blissful pleasure of a death kiss

we’re fucked

its happened

we’ve fallen

so far down
into love

effortlessly it took control of you and me

no effort could have stopped it
no effort was made
to expose it as it hid

biding benign inside us

and by making no effort
to stop it
we became it’s accomplice

in the darkness and the heat,
in the trembling, and the suffocating
in that quenching intimacy

so far down

I found you

in purest form,
uncontaminated state

so deep
a part one can never find in isolation,
for each forever standing
in the way of ourselves
someone comes along
and finds it in us
and gifts it to us



Once I was reading to a friend
we sat on deck chairs at his house front
feet away from a lake, surrounded
by the lustre of nature.

As I read he listened,
I got deeper and deeper into the text.
The first signs of a strong wind evolved
tossing hair over my eyes,
I kept reading.

As wind strengthened, branches
slowly began reaching out to me,
long knarled knuckled arms
with tiny fern leaves quivering
violently in the storm. One branch
almost touching the book.

Without need for contemplation
I began to feel frightened.
I had fallen out with nature,
she was angry.
With my words I was interrupting
my friend’s attention to
her breezy and unthreatening silence.

I stopped reading
in that instant nature was serene again
as if nothing had happened.
I asked my friend if he liked
what I was reading,
he said no.

So I said we’ll do something different next time.
I told him we could pass the time leisurely
by sitting at the front of my house.
This time for entertainment
I would be his ghostwriter.
I would listen to his story and use my pen
to commit it to the page.



Somewhere in a dark room
mists are mistaken
for spiders webs
softly sifting through the air
in beautiful motion, like
those seahorses
lovingly negotiating, the pull
and trusting language of the sea:
its deep shifting tides

a grimy underpaid
emigrant boy is printing yet
another copy of Finnegan’s

He’s never read a word
for his language
and the language of Joyce
are very different.

On a break he exhausts
a cigarette
and traces the image
of the words
as if reading brail

while back in the room
the wings of a gallivanting blue-bottle
surreptitiously kiss,
a drifting web.

*Kevin J. Nolan chooses ‘the road less travelled’ and sends back to us his brave, fresh take on the world, in collaboration with the artist John Nolan. 
Whether plain-spoken and direct, or offering delicate lyrical flourishes, or tilted at an oblique or an abstract angle, these meditations stay true to the impulse that prompts them. 
They are full of a quiet yet ardent appeal.  Their insights come of close observation of nature and humanity both under duress, of hard experience in face of which the poet yet remains open and attentive to what the day – or the dark – may bring.
Here they await – what K.J. calls his “prayers of a poet” – alongside and intermingling with the startling hues and shifting dimensions of John Nolan’s sumptuous colourscapes. 
We gather around; we lean in, looking and listening.

Patrick Deeley

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