Orla McArt – Three Poems

orlOrla McArt is a history and English teacher. At present, she lives in Tullaghan, Co. Leitrim. Her poetry has been published by Ink Sweat and Tears, HeadStuff, the Floor Magazine and Silver Apples Magazine.


Office Politics

Sucrose-scented bitching
wafts ‘round dank corridors
consuming empty halls.
Drones escape like
snakes slinking out of
their work-a-day skins.

An institution consumed
by scorn; silent vicious
jibes reverberate off
whitewashed walls-
than off the human psyche.

Tomorrow’s staff
trash in wakeful Sunday sighs-
work weariness consolidates
Monday’s mourn.
They suffocate
on unbitched oxygen.

On tick-tock time they toil
together, stealing
seconds in whispered
corners to keep a dose of
rumour air-flow
pulsating through concrete.

Drizzling down
sweating walls are tears
of condemnation. Inhaling,
asbestos-like, deathly fibrous
crystals of hate. At six
they say farewell.



Under street lights they
drank shots to
chase dreary days of
post-teen dayhood;
escape burgeoning selves.

Shit-talked, pierced, tattooed
schedule of pain met
reality-fear. Competition reigned
who’d sunk to ground

Cigarettes and hashish
stained the stench of their
skin and mingled with
motorbike exhaust fumes.
The corner kids smelt as one.

Years passed. Shit stuck.
Many succumbed
to grey;
mammies spare
bed. Others retired to black.


Fights to expand
his lungs.
Battles crisp blanket
to fold.

Concrete pillow issues
unyielding achy head thud.
Thrumming traffic;
city’s dance base.

Slit’s blur
waking boundaries.
In doorways, the
thin-place summons.

Survival responsibilities
to meet the
dawn cold.

Arise! Escape
youths’ spittle
that body-crunching

Adulthood decrees
overload. He buries
himself in his bed.

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