my hermit life if only
that of a notebook and a bottle;

in the shadows a dear friend, a witness to life
moving too fast –

& to think I said
“and we shouldn’t spend

too much time on it”;

the mirror something inhuman
as writing goes on without me; you said it was in my bones, my echoes,

before all the human trials
(we were required to list all our hopes back then)

as if witness to an impossible future;
against the beast,

that system of what we were supposed to be doing but didn’t – as if witness to some other horror

once I was not myself, or anyone else
for that matter;

the unwritten books thumbed by gravediggers, a freedom of sorts, the never having been, the partisans hands, the people preserving

the time we left behind;
the new hope in the surprising place

away from the reality of home;

you start to make a list of things to do,
screwing up the paper as you go.


Uncharacteristically Groggy


i was wondering whether i believed in pain
in the same way as i did before;
i was never going to be a great artist; I sometimes wonder whether I will end up being a great drunk,

but I always rely on time

when I’m thinking
slicing my own liver,
concentrating on being good rather than bad, drunk (most of the time and in-between) &
giving myself a fright here & there;
but i believed in the mildly mischievous big time, confessing
with subtle aplomb; translating a well-oiled canvas to a wall, like Banksy (you can imagine the fear in my eyes);
a sequence of memories flashing like Dali as I wrote nothing (those fucking pictures)
at the peak of his pose;
emphatic, often lost in the noise, the traffic –
the guilt,
some of it sophisticated, most of it shit
coffee stains lurking in the margins; the irony of a shining
night, language speaking alone
without you, me or i,
uncertain whether peace would prevail among the high
rate of casualties; for example, somebody somewhere
will be demanding a revenge play, a Hamlet
for the trial of modern life; everybody wants to be once in a while.

The Neighbours Quoting Rimbaud


Endless is barely the same
as pointless –

a sideshow threatening to spiral out of control;
a magnetic comedy of ongoing

intentions; shaking hands
in harmony – muttering under the breath;

‘i thought they would never leave’;
the new toilet arrangements sounding like a post-punk nightmare;

the cheese gave up the ghost,

after a long quarrel about Rimbaud;
guessing what is on each other’s mind, that region

long deceased, quieter moments where we agree with each other;
the rarity of a ballad;

the rarity of no longer being alive;
flaming eyes, but deep down

very shallow,
it seemed the least i could be at the end, quite pointless,

threatening to spiral out of control.

Whimsical Youth


i knew it was a strange way
to introduce myself in polite company
with a defence
of the enigmatic logic of obscure
the last time i was out
on a whim i was explaining Wittgenstein; in fact
erasing him from history
with one blunt sentence after another;
the point of being tentative
seems simple, until it comes back to haunt you;
there is a temptation to believe i can read
my own mind, or stretch myself; pointing at things
wondering what it means to be in a strange way; a prison
i knew in Manchester where everybody perched
on the roof & sang Billy Bragg or Miley Cyrus loud;
lively & artistic with no love
of words coming back to haunt me; one thing
leading to another; that same intensity of concentration.



it was meant to be this way
rather than that; i wish

i could be more precise,
but i’m smuggling plot elsewhere;

playing cards close to my chest,
spying on myself (for a change, introspection

being the utopian mode of flagellation;
violent outbursts of conscience).

I am afraid it was meant to be this way,
always becoming –

nothing precise –
i could stay up all night

with a good supply, not touching
the food, looking at a statue of a man on a horse

in a square
in a central European Capital;

taking for granted my homespun therapy;
i thought this & then i thought

that etc.
If i’d known the answer

i would have given it to you;
if i’d had a sense of humour –

i would have given it to you.




He escaped to the lancashire seaside,
the famous seaside,
fish, chip & mushy peas,
what you should do on a wet, weak afternoon
when the bubble burst &
the smell insatiable salt; air doing the hole
in your heart so much good, although
apprehensive before she left him,
when the risk of life, the ‘champagne on draught’
was momentary to bear; the triumph to come
oblivious to his horizon, the illumination,
tableaux sheltered only by a violent siesta, the tabula rasa,
duke ellington cranked up, lenin’s
‘what is to be done’ suitably costumed, slumped
on the bed from which he would never redeem the gift of the gab.

Out For The Night


Leaving in silence;
perhaps the fear is the one thing i can

rely on my life, that crippling mentality,
leaving no bruises,

but clanging, what did you say again?
the life saver menu…

yes, i hear you say, the same old
subtly this time –

to be cleansed is to spin around rotten;
& after the curfew, dance –

you’ve never seen me face death during
a harder mouth to mouth;

there is no other sublime i love;
a pint of water, carried to one of the wards;

you are in ward 21
with the great believers in efficiency,

so as not to hear that eerie warning,

how do you feel? clingy,
surprised – silencing every voice;

it’s been a long time coming,
that’s why it happened;

but it makes me regret reading Ulysses,
still reading while waking;

the plight
of departed loves,

for the same reunions,

was it anything serious, i said;
one glance from her says it all;

i have persuaded myself to take place every day,
just the place, nothing but, perfect;

like a day i don’t have to think about
even though the street lighting has been & gone;

bliss these days means it’s all over, though you might
find relaxing unpleasant; they told me

not to budge;
laughter piercing dripping eyes,

stories going around the burials, the deeper
the better, the final

details while asleep,
the course of the night more emphatic;

i will struggle, like hell to the end;
but “what i really want, doctor is this nothing”;

this trust in chance thrown into the world; peace,
like the grand imaginings of the old –

this nothing; sent for me & told not to budge

Poetry Ink, Or Seamus IS ALIVE & Staining the world, as I use devices to think this through in real time.


the end of poetry
putting the world to rights,
I would drink by
myself & raise a wrinkled,

ink-stained-thumb –

to rub it all out;

all i know is that spoiled, dark (the gist)
horizon; these dirty

fingers, nails tapping
on my own coffin; the impossible to say – what else do extra terrestrials do but hang around waiting;

yes, i am alive, burying myself
something new.