Colm Keegan was shortlisted four times for the Hennessy XO New Irish Writing Award and was all Ireland Poetry Slam Champion 2010. His poetry collection, Don’t Go There, was released in 2012 to critical acclaim. In 2014 he was awarded a residency in The LexIcon, Ireland’s largest public library. He is co-founder of Lingo, Dublin’s Spoken
Word festival. He also writes for television and his first play, For Saoirse, was staged in Axis Ballymun in 2016. His short play The Process was part of the 24hr plays this year in the Abbey Theatre.
Turn up at 11pm and suggest an impromptu workshop,
nothing too heavy, an icebreaker, something about
sharing secrets, fictions, russian roulette with words
where nobody knows there the truth bullet is, and it works,
but it works too well and you’re like fucking hell
this is an overwhelming level of admission, dark truths
and vulnerability in the room like a coiling mess of broken
electrical wires, sparks everywhere – out of our mouths
and out of our eyes, because this is more than ice breaking,
the veil between what we present to the world and what we
really are has faded away and what do we do
with all this. And I come up with a desperate solution,
holding the heavy secrets in my hand I say I’m going
to set them on fire, I’ll burn it all, and I leave,
I go out into the starlight and walk up the boreen
to a stone bridge, dark trees moving in the wind,
and standing alone on a Killarney road I light my little fire,
and smoke rises and a crow jumps in the branches and screams,
and the darkness goes wild because this one woke crow is letting
his whole murder know the fire is coming, and the trees
are alive with a nighttime chorus, the secret fire
is small but the silver grey tendrils of burnt poems and admissions
is a terror to all these cawing birds. Such a glorious disturbance.
And if anyone walked by right then I’d be like, Yeah,
I’m a special arsonist. My job is waking the crows.
I take people’s problems and set them free like dark spells
No big deal, I think do it better than most.
What’s the craic with you man. Any smokes?