Pissing on the GPO

Pissing on the GPO

This wasn’t meant to be a political piece, but when I started thinking about it I didn’t see how it could be anything else.

I think it’s finished, but as usual they can only be abandoned, so I hope I’m abandoning this at the right time.

Let’s call it an early version.


Haiku No. 01

There is a Salmon-
pink cloud in the sky tonight,
gently dissolving.

Writing School


Coming home on the bus yesterday a poem filled my mind. That might be a dramatic way of putting it, but still…

The poem is called Hollowman and I wrote it in 1992. I was twenty-two and my writing was full of teenaged angst. In my teens I wrote about sex I wasn’t having and politics I didn’t understand. I started writing poetry when I was twenty-one and holding myself to a higher standard I thought if I used straightforward language it couldn’t be any good. I was part of a writers group, as a rule, when I read my work, the response was silence or a considered nodding of the head. The only, let’s call it verbal feedback, came when I joined a new group; I read out a new poem, a piece I was really proud of, and someone said, ‘That’s shit.’

A few years later living in London, I was going through all my poems, I had a couple of hundred, and decided it was time to find a publisher. I didn’t submit to magazines, I suppose I thought they would never accept my work. Instead I compiled 40 poems into a book which I called Buddy, Can You Spare Me and sent it off to Henry Rollins. I never heard anything back and a few months later I left London.

As I write I remembered before London, I submitted a manuscript to Gallery Books because they were the best poetry publisher in Ireland. I knew so little at the time that I had double spaced everything!


Screaming dream machines
Collide in ecstacy,
Dreams are there to dream
Dreams are there to realise.
The dance of the Hollowman
With a beauty trip
And an empty can.

In the sudden silent stillness
We see and feel the shake,
This attracts us
And repel us
And propels us
Into motion.

The Hollowman can dance
And his lips can move,
But his hands are empty.


My writing has changed now, and maybe within the next year I’ll have enough poems to start submitting to magazines.

As I said before, I can’t help thinking that if I ever become a famous writer the book will turn up and be widely overpraised or over criticised, depending on the critic.

Meanwhile, here’s the freebie, what I now think of as my student work.


New Poem

Children run wildI’ve decided it’s high time I started submitting to magazines, if only to find out how good or otherwise my work is. I call it poetry, but I’m not at all sure.

Anyway, I thought one last poetry post until I get published. So here it is, an untitled story of a bus journey.

Now to find a magazine…


Finished, maybe!

I published an earlier version of this a few posts back. I think this is finished, although now I can see some possible changes. I guess it never ends.


I tried many times to get it right, not even sure what right is, but this is the version I arrived at.

Church Collection

Street Performance

An acrobat leaps
On Grafton Street
Sculpting the air

Sculpting memory

Kindling dreams.

First Draft

I thought it might be useful to chart the journey of a poem from first draft to abandonment. The poem I’ve chosen is as yet untitled. It’s a record of a happening (man!) out side the church in the photo. For those interested, the church is on Dawson Street in Dublin.

So here it is!



An old Priest begging with sexy
Tunes bouncing from a speaker
Behind. He taps out the rhythm against
The side of his money box. His foot
Beats a different song
While his eyes remember.