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Poem by Dave Lordan

Eyewear is very glad to welcome Irish poet Dave Lordan (pictured) this Friday.

Lordan was born in England in 1975 to Irish parents who soon returned to Clonakilty in West Cork where he grew up. He began writing in his teens and his chapbook 18 was published by the English literature society in UCC in 1994. While at UCC he gained a reputation as a strong performer of his own work and he continues to read regularly to great acclaim.

He graduated in 1998 with an MA in English Literature. In 2001 he took the Mphil in Creative Writing in Trinity College Dublin and in the same year was featured as part of Poetry Ireland's Introductions series. He received an Arts Council Bursary in 2004. He was runner up in the Patrick Kavanagh Award in 2002 and he won it in 2005.

Lordan's work has been widely published at home and abroad. The Boy in The Ring - his debut collection - was published by Salmon Poetry. His website is http://www.davelordan.com/ and you're encouraged to check it out.

Moments before a murder

You could tell I had a criminal intent
by the carefree way I hopped and skipped
across four streaming lanes of cars and trucks
as a man might dance an Irish jig
through the galloping heart of a stampede
and by how, like a child on a green being tugged by a kite
much too quickly up a slope,
I gamboled up the concrete steps
entering the Eurostudent dorm
on my tippy toes

Then when I stood in reception
dashing mustard from the flap of my kebab
onto the cool blue tiles
(not to mention the provocation of the mayonaisse
dribbling from my chin onto my shirt and my shorts
my raggy sandals and my unmatched socks)
it was obvious that I was gone
quite villainously mad

Christ I hadn't shaved or slept or changed my jocks
or cut my hair or brushed my teeth or washed
or done anything but sigh and weep
and drink hot milk and clench my teeth
for going on a month
and now some fucking dam inside had burst
and what was flowing out
unstoppably
was laughter

Laughter gushing from my tongue
Laughter tumbling from my belly
Laughter gouting from my guts
as deliriously as the blood
jets from a hacked artery
I tell you every bone every organ
every cell in my body was giddy
I had to drop to my knees on the floor
I had to lock my hands to my mouth
I had to press my lips to the tiles

but the laughter kept on flooding out invincibly
laughter echoing and echoing and echoing and echoing
echoing up six marble flights of stairs
echoing round the building's underworld of Egyptian cleaning ladies,
Congolese janitors, Macedonian chambermaids, Moroccan
watch sellers,
echoing under the locked doors of Albanians and Slavs, their secret
refuges
echoing over a Polish biophysicist carrying a bag of poisonous fish
echoing past an Irish dipso walking hand in hand with a
Nigerian princess
echoing through a debate on human rights between a Scotswoman
and a Portugese
echoing at the Finnish breakfast on the balcony of bread and smokey
ham and cheese
echoing by a game of poker played by Germans Swiss and Swedes
laughter laughter laughter laughter
echoing echoing echoing echoing
like a tannoy announcing the end of all tears
like a train of hooting howling ghouls
all in bententangled stitches at the world

When I raised myself back up again
I was dizzy with the sudden weightlessness
I was as light as a helium balloon
and I found that I could moonwalk up the stairs
so I bounced from landing up to landing
as if the twelve step flights were little red hillocks on mars
which was some relief
for a man who had been walking
with a stoop for six long weeks
who had been crooked underneath
the weight of his own coffin
It's hard to carry a coffin on your own

but this bouncing trip upset the Albanian heiress
I was in love with
and she quickly scurried upwards,
her rattle-tail beating out a rapid rhythm on the steps,
to report the incident to the office of the minister her brother
who held the east and the west as having different
and totally incompatible histories of love

but it wasn't long and I was over the loss
and when I twice belched loudly
in the direction of a passing ring
of popular guys and beautiful girls
someone surely should have phoned the police
and if they had come and arrested me
and took a little peek inside my head
before I'd achieved my chamber
the nice policemen would have seen
how comical how farcical
this whole world really is to the dead

and really I think they would have had problems
ever again breaking the faces of students
or raising those you're-so-intelligent chuckles
at the bitternonsensical comments of judges
or even getting themselves up out of bed
for they'd have seen how everything everything everything is
just a string of oozy melting beads
in an almost endless chain
strung together in a river
that's pouring all the way
round the almost interminable bends
from the suicidal bang at the origin
to the last screech of light
being sucked
into an eye
at the end

but then the nice policemen did not come
for with all the phones
no-one thought to ring them up
and anyways I now realise
the crime was never dying by my choice
but was the pure unfiddled-with release
I got for giving in to death

for nairy a roaring ocean full of stout
nor a moony mountain lake of laudanum
nor twenty sheets of Timmy Leary's LSD
nor an artic lorry loaded with cocaine
nor even fucking your most flexible lover
all night on the purest of E
could reach that supersensational peak
that complete unassailable high
that I had received from death
in return
for agreeing to die


poem by Dave Lordan



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