V.C. McCabe is a West Virginian poet and contributor to The Charleston Gazette-Mail newspaper. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, Spillway, Appalachian Journal, Night Train, From the Depths, Rust + Moth, Falling Star and The Pedestal among other journals. She has lived in and travelled throughout Ireland, Scotland and England. She currently resides in the U.S. with her Irish husband. Her website is vcmccabe.com.
“Kylemore Abbey “
I still remember his mother’s face, gazing up
at the ancient Connemara mountain, trembling
in fear as, high above, a pale statue of Christ stared
sternly down upon her, the devout acrophobe.
Her son quickly, quietly wrapped his arm
around her shoulders to offer her comfort
as his older brother stepped closer, wandering,
wondering: “How’dya think it got up there?”
He waited patiently with her as I crept forward
toward Kylemore Abbey, the ghostly companion
of that majestic mountain. Stopping at the abbey
gate, I witnessed the reverent tableau:
The Irish Madonna and her babe,
American mothers smile at their overfed offspring
crawling upon the crumbling ruins of the Colosseum,
beneath a ceiling eaten by the ages, to the tour guide tune
of bloody entertainment. Stirring up the forsaken ashes
of parents who watched their own children crawl there,
trampled and torn apart for tyrants, triumphant, and blood-
thirsty masses, blind; fleeting lives scattered by time and man-
kind’s tendency to forget history’s most gruesome horrors.
All the while, pilgrims flock to graveyards to vandalize
the last resting places of poet rock star idols, snapping
“Funeral Selfies” for Instagram. Tripadvisor reviews
Golgotha, Christ’s own Graceland, and Auschwitz
becomes the latest fad for British stag party lads
who do the Concentration Camp Stroll, mobiles in hand,
ravenous, rapacious appetites whetted for evening pub crawls
by death’s fingerprints and shivers of their own mortality.
Our children, gluttonous, play upon their children, devoured.
Amusement parks built on foundations of flesh and blood.
We dance upon graves: the ultimate tourist attraction.
I sat upon the old canal bridge, staring
up at stars flung over silent fields, praying
desperately to God for solace and daring
the Devil when no answer came, standing
up to take the leap into oblivion, stopping
when I heard His voice call my name.
Axiom breath of dead lungs, the calm
bombastic births a delicate cacophony.
Imagine the illusion of incandescence,
mesmeric, effulgence over a chasm.
Juxtapose an artless, xenophobic
greeting, devoid of empathy, with a fire
-fighter holding a child in an old photograph.
How far beneath us is gratitude, dignity
of language, of verbal silk?
Can a knife be neutral in any hand?
Farewell my kaleidoscopic forgiveness,
reality supersedes trust underneath the bruise.
Yonder is the last civilization
in a zoo no one cares to visit.
“Midnight in Waterford “
Dirty hostel broken lock
splattered communal filth
Psycho stranger across
the hall ranting about
bar brawls & evil sluts
Awaits the mothership
with his “One World
Leader” lapel badge