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summer of seventy seven

Candahar Street, Belfast

sun scraped light spray
sky long and
the sea deep day -

when the heat of it
hits candahar street
the houses empty of
men and kids the

women left behind to
cook and clean and
shop and annoy me
in edgars queueing

for a quarter stone
of spuds and
a tin of beans


Greyhound race in Limerick

denis in his razzledout ritzedup days
dazzled by the sun and the whiskey
dodging the cars from the errigle to
barneys and back with the news that

the dogs are in the traps and
the white flag has been raised
at limerick and they’re off

later drunk skint leaning against the
bakery wall he throws up and rolls
home his pockets full of beaten dockets
his head full of photo finishes

tommy passing free and swiftly

each and every moment in
a rush to move on never
satisfied always chasing
something someone new

i know its a full life
lived to the full hut
all the same take
it easy and anytime

youre passing just
come on onin
and be still a while

Hey joe

Castle Street, Belfast

noway these days so
settled in narrow sober
old at twenty!our and
careful worried ways
go arching in and out
through today
let tomorrow
take care of itself
and chance your arm
boy sing easy come easy
go lurching across
castle street to
reach seangrahams for
the fouroclock off
at kempton but for all
that this lowlife louser
lounging round snookerhalls
and drinking guinness
and whiskey chasers
upstairs in kellys
knows you now better
than i know myself
really not very well at all

(growing) impatient

five years old feels
something too strange
to remember except
secondhand its
better to be
cool and uncaring
not always anxious
excited waiting
for crazy openedup
chances to unwind
and be your
sixth birthday

though I never grew up to be a doctor with nice clean hands and healing

in and out
and roundabout
playing tig
whos got the
        in the streets
                the park
         marys voice
all the time
         and lilting
rippled the summerair
clear across
the football

for claire strides the noontime between barricades

young girls
in dark blue dull
grey and green
catching buses
in high street
going home
it gets to me sometimes
slowly you
pottingers entry
past rices and the
morning star like all
the world before
meIting bright colours
and music whirling
disturb the afternoon
crowds of kids
standing clutching
pennies and tanners
by the galloping
horses and
racing cars
juvenile merrygoround
in leeson street
opposite the long
bar the younger
girls and their brothers
running barefoot beyond
any talking to their
mothers too tired to
chase them leaning against
windowsills watching

Mickey Marley's juvenile merrygoround

sunnyside street

Sunnyside Street, Belfast

black tarmac wet
and glistening yellow
pools of light
along the embankment

walking hunched head low
dark hair long over
the collar of your
sheepskin jacket

pulled high and tight
against the wind blown
heavy rain