Poetry: Billy O Hanluain | Cassandra Voices

Poetry: Billy O Hanluain


Gold Fish

I envy the gold fish
the dignity of his fits
and spasms mid the
glass shards of his
smashed aquarium,
the water that was his
air, evaporating, floor
board sucked around
him, gills screaming,
cold blood pierced by
the furnace of room
temperature, epileptic
defiance as oxygen
congeals his world.

The brittle bowl that
held my world has been
drained of chance and
flooded with numbers.
The days are stale and
plain, the months are
undercooked, the year
unseasoned. But I have
no gilled valour. I do not
scream among my shards
or gasp for air and tremble.
I walk like a patient, long term
on the ward, round the well worn
radius of park and asphalt and wait
and wait, binge watching banalities,
downloading instructions for how
to pant on.


Rare Aul Pompei

Town was at its eeriest today.
A rare aul times Pompeii. Its streets
broad and narrow, frozen by the
shuttered and unlit lava of lock
down. A hollowed out commercial
carcass. Sleet spitting gulls circling
the wreckage like white painted
vultures. It appeared to me, like
a join the dots puzzle in a macabre
children’s book. The outline of some
familiar things visible, the numbers
though were like memories I struggled
to evoke, as when I swim against the high
tide of waking, trying to remember a
dream. The numbers were a maze of
dull dots, the pencil of my mind’s drawing,
faltering and I was forgetting how to count,
hardly knowing where I was. All the familiar
turning to fog as I got lost in an echo’s frail
memory of the sound that first bore it.


One Year Anniversary

I walk through the shuttered reminders of my life before.
An abandoned theatre, the play I acted in is long over,
the poster curling on the tobacco stained walls of a
a boarded up, once
Flowing Tide.

The unbrowsed books on Dawson St peer out at a
camp site of shame; tents pitched in the doorways
of travel agents that sell trips of a life time to locations
that shimmer azure blue like lotto day dreams. A bronzed
honeymoon couple jet ski over the sodden reef of a
a sleeping bag that has a dormer extension of rain pulped
Amazon stamped cardboard.

The shops tremble, empty, like DT sweat sheets, withdrawal
symptoms from the sugar rush of compulsive shopping. Stephen’s
Green Shopping Centre is a stale wedding cake whose icing has fallen to the
ground, like vast sheets of nuptial glaciers, so you can see the putrid fruit,
held inside by a frayed, once loved silver band.

The place is emptied, like sink poured Tesco wine,
the broken promise to never drink again.
The whole place is a broken promise.
Window displays of garish coloured children’s
clothes turn and stare at me with uneaten
crumbling cupcake eyes.

The mannequins are mute Midwich
orphans, stranded on the low tide shore of stunted
commerce, their plastic, cash starved eyes look right
through me.

It is a drained aquarium full of writhing, rusting gold fish,
a carol whistled out of season, a joke that nobody
has laughed at for a year, lurching, searching for a
punchline to belt up his trousers with.

Outside morsels of memory
from the time before
are being torn at by
gulls whose pen sharp
beaks scrawl the grey
parchment sky with manifestos
of a new clawed and feathered
city, not mine but theirs.

The headlines in Bus Stop Newsagents read:

“Search for Teen Torso”

I have come too far in one year
I turn away and try to remember
the way home.

Featured Image: © Daniele Idini


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