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!

Hollowman

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.

TEACH YOURSELF TO LIVE

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My Violin

My Violin web It’s been a long time since I updated this blog. I noticed recently that my best performing pics on Instagram are the ones with a story attached, which I find ironic and slightly annoying. I joined that site because it was about photos, and I don’t really like talking about myself.

Anyway, the picture here is called My Violin, as the title suggests, it’s a painting of my violin, which I can’t play yet. My girlfriend gave me a violin for my birthday. It’s a lovely instrument and I hope to start learning to play some actual tunes by Christmas.

I made this painting for an exhibition, currently running at Blanchardstown Library here in stormy Dublin (both the weather at the moment and the political climate). That’s a story for another post. The painting is a natural progression from the previous four. I thought I was discovering my own style of Cubism, but something was nagging at me so I went searching and learned that I was really just ripping off Juan Gris. However, I like this painting and the style, so I think I’ll keep going. Maybe ten or twenty paintings down the line I’ll do something of my own.

And now, here’s a picture of my actual violin…

My Actual Violin web

 

 

Teach Yourself to Live (again)

Teach Yourself to Live cover

I’ve gathered what I consider to be the best of the verses I wrote over the last few years and put them in this handy little PDF for you to download for free from my blog. The piece below feels unfinished, but that’s life!!

I don’t know if you’ve experienced problems with reading the version of this book I put on Scribd, but everytime I try to access it I get a message saying it’s been removed. It is still there, so I don’t know what’s going on.

Anyway, I’ve added this version to this blog, so download away and feel free to share..

Her Last Embrace

The Old Master sat by
Her bedside, their children
All gathered around, watching
The colours that come to claim
The living for the dead.
As all around and all within
Urged him not to lose
Her last embrace.

Dissolving into light
She set the past on him,
As he addressed a nakedness
He’d never known before,
As all of her memories escaping
Urged him not to lose
Her last embrace.

___

Here’s the link:

TEACH YOURSELF TO LIVE