after / the divider / and yes the birds
darkness trying to claim us and i shivering and fuck me and wondering about everything in the world and i figuring it all wrong and tapping this shit out to make as much as i can of nothing or something into light so i can see it and if i can see it maybe i can bring it back with me when i leave here and my girlfriend wakes up and i am still talking to god with my hands up over my eyes cos fuck me the light is splitting my head into fragments and they are not speaking to each other and it’s like being in a fucking cathedral and the stained light is all over the bleeding place and she’s looking over me like i’m something else compared to what she was falling for
for two or three days i wandered dublin seeing every speck of her and in every speck of her i could see the universe and it tumbling around inside itself looking back out at me and making an unholy mass in me mind and the light was dark as if the dark was full of light and who knows who knows and you might be shaking your head but who knows just tell me if you know who knows
the birds are out there
talking in french and spanish
in lakota in inuit
in irish in english
the birds are out there in the mist
the soft drizzle the draining clouds
the pressure fronts the sloped
lands the oceans of earth and sea
the birds are out there
talking catching up pointing out
warning off feeding each other
in latin in greek in aramaic
the birds talk so much i try
to copy them i try to copy them
i try words in their language
the bonjour the slan leat
the guten tag the buono journa
the je t’aime the le haine
the head scratch mixing matching
thoughts streaking across mind
lighting up the birds in me head
the birds in me head are talking
to the birds out there
and none of this is known to me
none of this is known
and the clouds drain to earth
and slope spins on
and the words are all language
lighting up my mind lighting
up all the birds on the wires
<she’ll leave me when she sees me>
<who stuck those feathers on you? who?>
i wont and she’ll go mad
“what fucking noise is that?”
but believe me believe me
we copied the birds
i know it i do i know it.
schools of veal
boys sat and chewed blue bic pens crunching into the see thru plastic the chewy top until their mouths filled with blue ink. most of them were nervous. no one would ever see any of this. most of them were indigenous but no one knew who they were. most of them had to read milton. in dublin. in 1984. most of them were lost by their own people. no one looked for no one noticed the lost the losing the losers. no one spoke english but everyone spoke english.
through window moon filled all eyes with shining illuminating reflection some unseen unseen sun some unsung song some unknown woman singing song some her not there some sky returning class to there dark blue purple bruise their mouths still filling drowning with dark blue ink. most of them saw things no one had words for. english is a kafka law. no one saw anything whatever you might hear. no one would tell. not in english.
at break they drank milk and all the while they were hung upside down leaking blood into drains in case they murdered all their fathers and intercoursed their mothers. no one would ever see any of this. and all the while bells rang out in poems no one could fathom the purpose of while reading them in dublin and no one knew what a fucking elegy was anyways. reading the fucking elegy was a fucking elegy. someone said never. and was beaten to death in an alley somewhere. by no one. said not her or not him. no way.
(non one or no one said it is hard to state how hard it is to replace a language. none. no one said it is hard to state that in the replaced language. no one said any of this in the language that replaced the language and no one noticed and no one knew how to say any of this.)
most of them were children. all of them. most would spit between their legs onto the floor when the ink became too much to swallow. no one would ever see any of this. years and years of blue spit on school floors. there is no name for these spit paintings and many/all have not been discovered yet. and will never be. they were bad boys. no one says it but in ireland they all say it. they never know if they are actually speaking or just englishing. in france they had men shaking spears at bison in their caves. who cares. who fucking cares. the boys had bison shaking spears at them. they were full of fucking shaking spears and mouths full of blue ink. sometimes it dribbled out their mouths and onto their chins.
and everyone learned how to write and read. and everyone read shakepeare and thought that hamlet is really interesting. it is probably the best the english have come up with. it’s really amazing. james joyce was too hard and he’s a filthy cunt anyway and there’s no way of saying it otherwise. he just is. and molly was a dirty bitch. ta ocras orm. she says. the filthy bitch. great singer though. and brothels in dublin. and a fellow wiping his hole with the newspaper. for the love of jesus. isn’t it better to be or not to be. and joyce could hardly write anyway. did you see the wake. did you. did you see the wake. that no one went to. as if someones fucking died. as if.
they learnt how to ask to go to the toilet in irish. tá mo chroi broiste. they learned how to ask the time. tá mo chroi broiste. that was all the irish language could say and no one wanted to say it. every time they opened their mouths to speak irish the fucking irish language just kept shite-ing on about the same shite. tá mo chroi broiste. open your gob and it kept saying that. over and over. none of them would speak irish after school. none of them wanted that language.
there are lots of people in the world who lost their language. lots. and none of them say anything about it. tá mo fucking chroi broiste. no one ever heard the like. and so what if your mouth is fucking blue. who fucking cares.
Brendan McCormack is a poet/writer living in West Cork, Ireland. His first collection, Selling Heaven, was published in 2013 by Burning Apple Press, NJ, USA. He runs the annual ‘Clonakilty Bloomsday’ event.