John Doyle – Five Poems

johnJohn Doyle is 39 and from Maynooth, County Kildare. He has recently returned to writing after a long gap. Educated in N.U.I. Maynooth where he received a B.A. in English and Anthropology, and an M.A. in English, Doyle’s writing is at times lyrical, surreal, and blunt. He counts Thom Gunn, Susan Wicks, Jim Craven, and Phillip Larkin among his influences


A simmering identity upon torso,
bless this woman in your
foremothers’ needles,
clang resin music spirit
on November sonnets
bless those black suede ballet pumps
her insteps caves around October
her lightly baked shroud
rambling on diamond-cut carpet
scarf, my dear, hold on;
don’t forget her, even if she forgets you


Polyphyletic slime, sentient prey,
big rock sleepy, one-eyed chalk stare,
belly of waters, nauseating whiff,
the slaughter of the innocents in shore-side
warning signs, the kamikaze gulls burning
brittle book-end clouds

You are their murky globular bling
choose carefully, please


Basque towns jut thorns
around slipping senile frontiers;
maybe sprinkled informs maps
more deliciously of progress
under steely rock-face submerging
steely sexual river
spits Honderrabia
close to borders
unwilling to ‘fess up their share

Sestao, Amorebieta,
motorways wrapped in fingers of vine
d.n.a. fertile, isolate,
like Jewish names burned like clock-faces
on 1920s Hamburg bread,
Sicilian farmers wriggling sperm from orange-caked land

Hybrids of these frequently shoot home for Earth
some 40 miles short of Mars
citrus circular wheels
tremble over hillsides near sea
light glimmers, reflex from spousal stars
the peaceful glare of halos
on illuminated names
contours round and smooth like newly-hatched globes

Orbach Ikaztegieta Syracuse
though a million years dead
one star managed to decipher their linguistic codes


See her calm shimmering knives
a motherly ocean licking clean her stones

folded napkins
drug barflies from behind

an axiom postulation
who whistles whiskey-fume two o’clocks to their beds

sugar-kissed evening dipped headlights
and her known to weakened men walk

Má Nuad

Centuries ago
this space engorged in shrifts of withering words
by my table, as I write, there are wrens
lifting-off toward endless divides

Of these semi-detached duos
clotheslines ruffle parched vestal sounds, milky riffs
of women and men who spoke Irish here,
where my carpet needs an attentive brush

Were I to commence, kneading dust from twitted tufts
I would imagine their tones
verbally flick, broken bashed windy nights
to Ladychapel, a stream of consciousness

igniting imagined mariners who sail the Lyreen
this table coughs in thudding woody depths,
clipping brush that rouses padded earth
clump of fibre where chieftains, warriors, maidens stood,

Watch this space, they say,
avalanche of meaning, form a haze blinding the clock
shadows of Gaels shape speech in the twisting dust
the college bell chiming lilts of sun across the bungalow tiles.


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