Renaat Verbruggen – Five Poems

Renaat Verbruggen lectures in ethics and computer science and writes poetry from his father’s Flemish background and his own natural arena of Wicklow and Dublin.

He has had two translations published in Cyphers and has read at Strokestown for the Cyphers 93 launch.

He is currently working on an English translation of the latest collection of Aleidis Dierick’s Flemish poetry Het Gewapende Kind , an exploration of the war-time memories of a child.

He is carrying this out in collaboration with Arnout Horemans.

On this rock

Back from Mass
Thirty years since Da had died
The Fourth Sunday of Easter.

A priest on crutches
A diorama on the altar
Jesus with his visitors.

No real tomb.
Just Umberto Eco’s
Faith in Fakes.

Readings of Peter
on the spot, post fishing,
returning Jesus:

“Tell me you love me,
Not once, not twice.”

A random Elton John LP
“Where to now, St. Peter?
Show me which road I’m on”

Young Elton,
All his friends in
Photos smiling.

“Son of Your Father “
Still a step too far.


Allor si mosse e io li tenni dietro.

We had conductors, us
Each one a charm
Our Virgil, on the bus

Keeping us from harm.
Dixie made a fuss
“Tickets, lads, tickets?” all alarm.

But Bray could be a piss-stop
Or even cheeky pint ahead
No sign of any cop.

A pause on Bray head
For a puke, no need for the mop.
Recriminations but no dread.

Mervyn leaned, staring out the top
“Fine day for the high stool!”
Sunken eyes and unkempt mop.

Jumped off at Pat’s, by rule,
Some pints would drop
The bus go on, beyond Kilcoole.

Bags of tomatoes were a sop
They worked as barter and for fuel.
The 84, a trip that never meant to stop.

Bus Plans

I ‘m goin’ to see me sister
I know it’s 8 but like
I’ll be on the 9 bus back
I’ll meet ye up at the museum
at the Luas stop
Yeh I have to see her,
She’s pregnant like.
Yeah, 17, yeah I know, mad.
No fuck him he’ s on to me all the time
On the oh-83 number,
I have his oh-85.
Yeah I know, I only owe him two fifty
That’s all.
But I told him: “Fuck it,
These people behind me know you!
So don’t think you can do me.”
Yeah I know but…
I’ll see ye in town so.


On stormy days he gathered limbs
Where they had fallen from the wind,
But always brought the saw along
And when he met you always grinned.

He smoked at work
Because he got them free
And thus he died –
From generosity.

At night on crowded buses
We sometimes met,
His wild and roving eye
Could make me fret.

The crush of bodies
was suited to his grip
his hand and thigh too close
for many on the trip.


Walking before eight, hot sunlight,
Hundreds on the way to class.
I felt alone amidst the rushing crowd.

And then I saw a butterfly,
my first in China.
His normal random, wind-blown route beyond me.

But then, he landed
on my shirt
And stayed for minutes as I made my walk.

Then gently left.
Moved by this welcome benediction
My visit felt secured.






















my father has an excellent way
of hurting me the pink polish
leaked all over it smells sour
and sweet like synthetic oil
and dish soap hand soap
from the dollar store strawberry
it looks like pepto-bismol soaking the corner
of the play-doh box stink radiates through
my work gloves i step through
the door of my father it’s so clever
how he knitted everyone
so much stupider than him

he dresses up in a top hat and tails
stands alone
in the center of the ring i his delicate lion
a pink bow tied around my neck













the star

running in top heavy revolutions.
spurting like a sparkler.
feet barely tapping
black water, blacker sky
her first solo
at the cloud amphitheater

old clouds
and new in the round, in pews

made of themselves? she
couldn’t understand. but she lost

herself as she threw herself around them
liquid lightning shouting echoes
through the skimmed rivers and seas
and swimming pools that made them up.

her performance touched them
with hot little hands
until they let go

of it all
and rained.









sutton funeral

from the dome like warm rain on him
waves of my voice wash down ethan

barely believes in the seersucker sound
for grandfather more than his dead

mom I sing ave maria uncle matt
last second pulls off to hunt me

down radiohead sees best buy
on the interstate sign

in the rafters i stand
high he feels cheap

vinyl booths
licked in grease

ten-song anthology
only suitable cd

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