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 .

_______________________

I NEED A LIFE OF MY OWN

My mother abandoned me for no particular reason a short while ago. She left a brief note
in her usual tiny meticulous hand writing. “I cannot look after you any longer “her unsigned
note said ; “ I need a life of my own “
I don`t think I will ever be able to forg ive her.
I wouldn`t mind but it was just two days before my fifty sixth birthday .
_______________________

Denial in Eyre Square

In the early morning summer sun
walking determinedly to the courthouse
in her best high heels
half way across the square
she barely notices
a fresh faced garda
kick the boots
of a sleeping homeless man
checking for reaction
nothing more
As she wonders what to say
to persuade the company`s esteemed barrister
(who has become a tribunal millionare last year)
to agree a small settlement with the young woman
in the first case listed
the worn faded blue v-neck jumper
registers with her
as
her youngest brother
stirs
squints
in the sunlight
fumbles in the tor n pocket
of her ex-husband`s old tweed jacket underneath him
eventually extracts a can of warm cider
and swigs from it
before
mumbling to the young recruit that he`s ok
while she furtively glances all around
making sure she has not being recognised
and
gratefully
hurries
to her
now
even more
important
appointment.

_______________________

A LIFE IN PRISON

Just after Balla
before reaching the turn-off for Ballyvary
getting closer to home
smiling contently
in expectation
my late father
a national school headmaster
and former scholarship student
would ask us
the very same question
year after year
journey after journey
trip after trip
eager to share the story with us
as if
it was
for
the first time
on each occasion
“Did I ever tell you
about the young fellow
from here who went to America
years ago for work
and when queried by Immigration officials
he proudly responded
I`ve just come from Prison near Balla in County Mayo
Deeply concerned the most senior official
asks
how long he spent there
to be told
with great bravado
that he spent all his life in Prison

Eventually the true story emerges
his papers are stamped
following some humorous comments
he
is waved through”
My father loved telling that story
Now
everytime I reach that same turn-off
I tell the story
to my father
and whoever else is in the car
along with my father
always
as if it is
for
the first time .

_______________________

 

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