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These poems were written as part of a poetry writing module during my 2008 MA in 20th and 21st Century Literature at the University of Southampton. Not all the poems I submitted as part of the module are here, however I believe that this is the bulk. The majority are experimental poems. Conor OReilly 2008

As Part of the Poetry and Poetics Module

By Conor OReilly


I heard you cry the other night too your tears well laced in red Spanish wine vintage glassfuls rolled down both cheeks dripping from your chin and I could feel your stomach turning from the delicate edge you had been pushed from into a hole where it seemed you broke and drank ten whole bottlefuls venting your fury and your temper In the morning when you woke at ten your makeup smudged in long back lines down to where it dripped and burned holes in the carpet where it pooled I spoke to you and you smiled trying to hide meekly deterring the talk from the topic of your lonely serenade in the night to a house full of ears who had privileged listening rights last night you spoke to my friends who had called and drank and sang songs after dark in the kitchen like the old times how well they looked you said despite having no jobs and

their homes might be repossessed what merriness these old walls have not felt as you again stumbled up to bed and we talked on about where and when will we be gone and if we shall ever come back again when the lights were out and I made my way up the twenty-five year-old stairs - the creaking seemed to play other tunes within your head something we all thought was long put to bed the late-night merriment brandished old monuments of regret as your overflow mark sank below the deluge from the red Spanish wine which we came and helped you drink now no songs may be sung again spending too much time lingering for moments to grieve and as for you do not be apologetic crying late into the night this is no place or time for it.

An open discussion.

Your education is useless reading books that wont do anyone any favours Explain useless then I mean its no good for society youre wasting our money when you should be going out and doing a productive course of study which involves the betterment of humanity Like you Yes like me But I dont want to nor do I care for your academic interests What use is your education but for a job working in McDonalds look at where it has taken you and look where my education will take me to a good job and lots of money But I dont want to nor do I care for your profession and credit rating What use is it that you spend four years reading about history its finished and English when they dont explain how things work that surround us and are so important to society Do you think I dont know how things work or of the importance of things in society I never said that But implied it did you not Thats not important It is if you imply something do you not give your opinion without exactly supporting it with evidence Yes So what use is your opinion in this argument I know what Im talkin


The morning iridescence through the Viennese blinds pale at first but soon becoming bright the childrens shouts on the way to school and the traffic-flow grumbling just outside the bedroom.

Moving over in the bed touching your skin stealing the heat from your bare body trying not to waken you.

Dreams at last over the room despite the darkness is decidedly clearer windows condensation obscures a frosted cityscape that peers down on the bed which naked bodies lie in.

Getting Drunk While Watching the Sun Set

A bottle passed around with laughs. In the background sea waves curling over then under climbing closer with every fall. Guitar notes play and songs sung hushed by the light reclining. All stops for the state of being to consume then pass.

Recognition (Blink #1, Blink#2 etc. and problems with creation)

Even conceiving a second guess allows for the same result: the fluctuation of the instant reaction suppression of feeling, truth, emptiness and believing what is forming but never realise the passing of the instant which tests your creativity & poeticness.

Alone alonealone but For every describable thing (fixation/article/idea/incident/mechanism) Attached to the desk and The environment inside/outside The head/room The weakened mental state Of clarity has affected the vanity of poetry again.

The Funeral

Hed left the body in a ditch half submerged in stagnant water face down wrapped in briars and blackberries

Two hours later a caller came to the front door, A neighbour hardly spoken with before.

The dog had found it he said apparently went mad at the sight In the ditch still kicking.

The Town

Victory! To the denizens of ________________! Your town is the tidiest of them all! Congratulations on tidying your town It looks very nice, very nice I say! The grand judge may say on television After many months of competitive cleaning.

The jargon of ladies and gentleman Discussing the ins-and-outs Of potted plants and window boxes

(very nice they say A very nice attempt at beauty they exclaim A nice eye for detail woz ere 08, ho ho ho is touted by the astute gentleman in the grey suit Perhaps the nice geraniums would look nicer on the nice window facing east. The nice brickwork could have been scrubbed harder with a toothbrush perhaps the lady in the flowery dress and summer hat says scrutinising the post office steps)

Categorically classifying the toil And effort in a venue of no quality, No heart or soul, no berating evil Content which echoes of character And individuality that fits not in The boxes that are ticked with unceasing Regularity by the Sunday school graduate Lookalikes amassing on the corners In a hundred similar towns across the nation Speculating on the beautiful beauty Of little villages and big so-called towns with more public houses than children young in the streets dodging

moving wheels and baton wielding old people vexing the antics of the delinquents overflowing with merriment and carelessness.

(aaarrgghh these children arent nice anymore they growl discontentedly to each other. No respect, rude, fast, happy-go-lucky, smelly, unchristian, uninformed and all the many other complaints which resonate from within them of which they heard when they were but a lad or lass dodging between moving wheels and baton wielding old people vexing the antics of delinquents)

What walls and streets we see Decadent in the splendour Adorned for the date of inspection All the hard effort in vain To have the rain fall heavily And drag up all the soiled drain effusions Lurking just below the well swept gutters.

What pain and blood has been spilt As arguments echoed around the walls While children cried and looked on wondering why the streets must be swept without pay so the street where the shop which will not sell them cigarettes is look so very very pretty all in the name of glorious competition.

The House

Walls red-bricked and pebble dashed From a distance a two-tone two storied Structure of domesticity planted in unison To ten on each side and so many more Around the corner and stretching up and down The street full of miniscule bubbling families Happily creating their own little worlds within The red-bricked and pebble-dashed walls.

Thoughts dont fail me now

- I said to my cranium on beginning this assault on the page For days I ploughed through pages of criticism, theory, memories, more memories my own and then those enviable published kind (niche or no niche yall are what stands between my own shelf-space and an ISBN#).

White ruled feint crumpled and tossed in corners or plastic bags unfolded re-read then crumpled again in a continuous charade of impotent fictive creativity yawning and yawning again and again total absence of all instinct I thought was home grown in the blood manufactured by semen and ovaries going at it all those years ago deep in the (warm) womb of my mother who raised my in the typical fashion of stretch or starve and do it yourself ye lazy article when I asked would you be so kind as to enough said

Well now where was I or am I or ever have I been or does that really matter because at the moment it appears that it is what comes out via the medium of the pen which is of most importance (or have I just created this hierarchy within my head) - Should that be a question or a statement? What does the sentence or the pen (not forgetting the paper but which is of more importance) care another question and I have still yet to answer the first

This is some pathetic parade on the part of my self, antagonising every insubstantial utterance of thought lingering about my frontal lobes mixing in my Wernicke's part below my cerebrospinal fluid (in my brain of course, Im trying to sound very intelligent) full of wish-wash and detrimental quishiness as I was saying at the beginning

Thoughts dont fail me now not with this one opportunity to pretend that I know what I am doing trying to interpret something which has being emerging successfully/unsuccessfully for the past few minutes (or hours I should have recorded it for people to laugh drunk and/or stoned and/or _(insert condition here)_)

on my own under a single lamp in a cold room skull exploding it seems from overindulging in twentieth century theory criticism and literature but it still hasnt presented any allusions or for that matter jumped in front of me and sang waving its arms in my face:

Im here singing and waving my arms in your face I am the answer


Chance would be an improvement on hopelessness would it not I imagine

So seriously what have I been writing (but really its typing although I did start out by writing i.e. pen + paper + hand + movement + thought = writing I can show you the rough arithmetic if you would prefer) for vainly trying to pull some shite out of my metaphorical/physical top-hat which incidentally is full of air and grey strands of hair not mine fate and destiny forbid I declare running from the point again like homework or rugby training after school on Saturday afternoons (and they wonder why no one is a catholic after six years in that school) to smoke stolen cigarettes and find some able eighteen plus year-old to buy us cans for the teenage disco that night in Dublin 4.

Confounded sick twisted memories keep filing into my head, erotic ensembles of times long dead, not really a priority but they just keeping coming to mind mind... mind full of ___________ doesnt look good here no one can gather whats coming out in this blather of pen and my head distracted again from the process of writing Poetry.

Writing Poetry.

There I said IT IT Poetry Poetry is IT

IT is there finally written I think it can be said successfully and I havent even had a drink yet yet poetry is not this surely this means nothing and poetry should mean all that ever was running off the tongue lyrics declaiming to the tune of a ballad forgotten by the new youth personifying the self originating in the self a footprint of the streets and poor misfortunate forgotten leaves which were trodden into oblivion and washed down empty drains by the melting ice and winter rain a skyline hazed grey by the urban detail of five hundred thousand lives which make the space below the smog the place in which their homes are made were not this the day the lonely maiden made her way with all her life packed away and draped over her shoulder climbed the flyover above the trains and above any other humans grave then dropped between the arches below to the stillness of a crematorium which she hoped would spread her ashes away never to be named

POETRY BE NAMED I finally can free from my mouth the word but three syllables so hard to stress the start but so much more complete are the words I speak without that name-tag attached almost a sin connecting my words with this archaic term which makes noses turn reminding them of school or something worse it almost feels language corrupted like taste from the memory of a past experience sensory organs corralled into hatred mustard is one my old disciplinary last meal when I said a bad word like fuck or shit or poetry

Poetry you you mother of Poetics theyll be screaming on the next Hollywood A -list big screen extravaganza swearing W.B. Yeats and William Wordsworth and if things really turn bad/good my name will also be included although I think I might have to die first some form of suicide is bound to get their (By their I mean EVERYONEs) attention it will increase my appeal as a beautiful person and/or a tender soul damned by reality

Reality (not T.V. or the News) has gone beyond existing realistically rules and words in large block capitals in red have decided that we should all walk on the left and stand on the right Im afraid to even apply for a library card in case they ask for my life (or that of a small child I think may suffice) reality has gone beyond

existence what is the point in having a reality without the ability to express its own tear drops and molecules of emotion (hatred love apathy) which caress the footpaths walked on every night and morning the broken glass the orange tinted vomit a random unattended dangling under-garment fading echoes of a dramatic enactment smeared with joviality conversation can no longer express the subtle passion felt when happening on the foot trails of these instances the breaking of a bottle over a head - a brief but over zealous cuddle in a bush too many drinks and a curried dinner words wound in a direction toyed - a performance twisted from a fight into a play a drama into a game a love story into a riot a moment into a lifetime a parting glance into a promise to stay a house on fire to just another day Words - stewed well in inspiration - dont fail me now save me from convention rules and reality!


I looked all over for you; the pleasure of your crystal dome your sacred meandering river and twice five miles of fertile ground. But a myth is all I found, secular and unspoken, clinging on for people to try to explain why soldiers lie for their sins and are taken deep below your caverns measureless to man where forgiveness is a days labour believing that truth is an evil thing.

From hell I wandered on to seek the lifeless ocean the answer to a prophets call echoed within the frozen cavern where souls had left it empty but for the tumultuous drawl rebounding of the cavern wall then dancers came they haunted newly ruined gates by lilting to the lucid, seducing the stupid, and pawning gifts which they had taken. When all was said

and done they sank beneath the waves to the redemption of the bottom of the sea, waiting on a chance to re-emerge bringing with them greed.

Now, no sacred river left to navigate or salvation delivering mountain effusing its turmoil like an unforgiving hurricane; only obscurity and anonymity remain and in the darkness we hear a whistle calling our children to mountain caves and see a bright light enticing us to sun blanketed cliffs white from artificial sunshine Now devoid of dependence on all memory and memorable things no chance to choose, to leave synthetic misery. It is only the future that we believe in.

That sunny dome, those caves of ice, Xanadu, what

became of you?

Are we left alone battling against unseen furious things, drunk with the fruits of production with no declarations for no domes or pleasure now, only more decrees of state?

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