Four Poems by Gerard Beirne
Spell for preventing a man for going upside down and eating feces - The Egyptian book of the Dead
Vision of the Underworld
What I detest is feces, and I will not eat it
It will not fall from my belly
It will not come near my fingers
I will not touch it with my toes
I will live on loaves of white emmer
and beer of red barley
I am a bull whose throne is provided
I will eat under the sycamore
I have flown up as a swallow
I have cackled as a goose.
What I detest I will not eat
And I detest feces, I will not eat it
I will not approach it with my hands
I will not thread on it with my feet
I have alighted on the beautiful tree
In the middle of the valley
Men will thresh for me
and men will reap.
The Song of the Sinking Soul
Fish me from the river
in the cupped palms of women.
Place me in an earthen pot
and anoint me with turmeric.
I am a stone washed in water.
The Song of the Mortal Man
Bury my spirit in the village of the rich
watch it rise towards the heavens
a dead man turned into mist
a poor man reborn as a mealy worm
and eaten by a chicken
Meditation #40 The Meaning of this Moment
Kiss me....just once/I do... kiss you/and the meaning of this moment lies/in the show shops and slop shops and sweaters of morbid chattel slavery/where labour, sex and breeding are exchanged
for camels, trucks and guns/bought and sold/traded and inherited, branded and bred/the sweater
and the sweater’s sweater and a third and a forth and a fifth draw their profit/more hands than are wanted kept idle in case of a press of work/ a day and a half without breaking fast/the starved-out
and sweated-out tailor’s last resort/like the penny-a-liners fagging away for hours on end at coroners’
courts/ to receive the Irishman’s fortune – nothing at all/waiting for the windfall/the terrible murder
rejoicing their hearts/Don’t get me started/the thimble-riggers with their tricks of legerdemain/
the reports of shipwrecked dead-men robbed of their sodden purses/the curses of men doomed
to suffer on the scaffold waiting for the drop to fell/swept off by typhus or scarlatina/through God’s heavy judgement and visitation/in the stifling undrained hovel with the fever stricken slop worker/beggared and broken in the slack season/the ticketed garments and partakers of sin/
the guillotined victims skins tanned into breeches/I beseech you...kiss me...just once/we will open
our common shop/work and live together in the sweater’s den/sell for the lowest price /keep up
the dress of gentlemen/permit me that wayward vice/Again...kiss me/we will soon depart/the darkness
visible/the superior stock of our wayworn pairing/the unbearable coffles of our progeny/our offspring ready to die at a moment’s awful warning/kiss me.../the fading evening light/the voice bodeful
of death...of life/the chill extinction of morning/
Author’s Bio: Gerard Beirne, born in Ireland, is a Canadian citizen. He received an MFA in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University. He is a past recipient of The Sunday Tribune/Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year award. He was appointed Writer-in-Residence at the University of New Brunswick 2008-2009.
His collection of poetry Digging My Own Grave was published by Dedalus Press, Dublin. An earlier version won second place in the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award. His collection Games of Chance: A Gambler’s Manual is forthcoming form Oberon this Fall (2011).
His novel The Eskimo in the Net (Marion Boyars Publishers, London, 2003) was shortlisted for the prestigious Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award 2004 for the best book of Irish fiction and was selected by the Literary Editor of the Daily Express (England) as his book of the year “scandalously ignored by the Man Booker judges...”. His most recent novel Turtle was published by Oberon Press, 2009.
His short story Sightings of Bono was adapted into a short film featuring Bono (U2) by Parallel Productions, Ireland in 2001 and released on DVD in 2004.
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