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Archive for the ‘All Poems’ Category

And No Birds Sing

I have published my first short collection of poems called And No Birds Sing.

Thanks to everyone for being supportive and you can check it out at the following link.

http://www.dempseyandwindle.co.uk/pamphlets-and-short-collections.html

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Love After Love

You noticed a floorboard slightly out of place,
under it, you found a poem, a love poem,
you read it and saved it in the piles of things
we become,
that was forty years ago.

Folded and tucked away through decades
drifting from house to house and box to box,

it followed you

people lived, loved, and died as usual.

You lost love.

But you found that poem again,
it had never left,
you read it, gave it new breath, so now,
forty years later you’ve discovered
it was a love poem from a man to
another man,
kept under the floor and under shame,
hidden in confused tragedy
under the weight of the piles
of the things we become
and like blowing on a fire
you sparked love again
long after it was lost,

so a lost wife is not lost,
she loves you in a different way now,
her breath reaches you in delicate things
like the way a feather flutters down from the sky
or a snowflake dances to touch and
melt on the tip of your ear.

To love in whispers from re-read paper,
whispers from the warming sky full
of all of your breath and mine and hers and ours and theirs.

A poem and love, decades ago,
lured you in,
shifted shapes
to show you
there is love
after love.

 

Kyle McHale        2016

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Old Furniture

That old wooden clock,
my grandmother’s grandmother’s
keeping hand-crafted time and
still ticking long after we become
objects in bones, like furniture,
and no one knows the color of their skin
or the content of their character.

We think we live in black and white
but it is always Grey
and Baltimore was burning,
that great unspoken poverty,
the ignored, silent epidemic of
American tragedy,
vast, sweeping like the plains
across black ghettos, white trailer-trash towns,
and forgotten people in Appalachia,
we are all toothless and shoeless on some level.

Burning across the land without a hill
or a tree to stop the rising of
an evil beast’s heart
like a toxic Trump
or any other form it could take,
miles from any canyon or ridge
that could stop it.

At least there’s baseball and
sometimes Baltimore is all orange.

So down south where deep rivers
still flow in veins of deep hatred,
in Alabama on a college campus
I heard young men shout from a truck,
“They only brought you niggers
here to play football.”
I think of Langston Hughes composing
his symphony at day break in Alabama
wondering where black kids get
to ride the merry-go-round.

That old wooden clock kept time
during the Civil War in southern Virginia,
time that must have never seemed possible
to end, to change or mend.
My family was at Gettysburg on
both sides, both bled,
one lost an eye so
I’m a half-inch away
from never existing.
The clock sat on a chest of drawers
with a secret compartment in the top
to hide valuables in case of
a union soldiers raid,
perhaps a letter was once there
of a secret friendship between a little
white girl and a little black girl
who knew nothing of war,
who knew only what children should know,
the soft societal fabric of
small-scale love that keeps humanity human.

M.L.K. wrote a letter from jail unsure
of how to raise a daughter in such
a pointless hatred filled place,

so with a heavy heart
I have to stare at the clock,
at the future,
my reflection in the glass of
the picture frames that show
old relatives and the
chaotic twitches of their eyes
from their portraits unsettled
by their wasted blood,
my pathetic hands that
can’t do anything except
write like a coward in a book
all while knowing that
we are not teaching
our children
to hate less
than we do.

Kyle McHale         2016

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I Died With My Brother

I Died With My Brother
for Donall Dempsey

The world took you
I wasn’t ready,
we’d never be ready.

I have beautiful love
but a brother’s love is gone now.

I wish another part of me
could detach itself and be with you,
a liver, a kidney, a lung,
but my heart has gone with you,
covered itself in soil and ash
and deep sad earth and beats
in the same peaty mess we
played in back in that place
of childhood.

I died with my brother,
his kindness I cannot
replicate in this world.

These are relentless, hard,
brother tears,

and I just wish I could say,
“Ya alright bud?”
“Ya alright?”

But through the beating mess I’m in
I somehow know

You’re alright bud.

You’re alright.

Kyle McHale         2016

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A Night on a Train Window

I don’t know that face that’s
over mine, it seems old,
not in years but in time spent,
it stares back, through me and
I stare through it
floating on a night-train window.

I focus on the whites of his eyes
to not see the black of them
and wish I had another drink so
I could forgive, forget the world
flicking by, through my
translucent face, printed smears
of distorted sweeping concrete
and light, black air and purple
silhouetted trees, missing fields
with broken flowers after heavy rain,
and litter angels picking up
what they can find on the streets.

It goes by so fast.
I don’t talk to you anymore,
you are in the past
and I cannot get there.

Am I the train or the dark air,
the seat or the glass,
those eyes or the sadness
of that translucent mess?

Am I the past tracks,
or am the next?

Kyle McHale            2016

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Oni’s Death

Oni’s Death

How does one feel about the
death of a friend’s friend?
A horrific end,
a young man on his young way.

To stay frozen in that horror
scene at night on black tide,
only from life to hide
that midnight madness island.

A place I’ve been and love down deep,
wild ponies ride,
dunes and beach collide.
Where was the joy that darkest night?

A midnight swim, a pair of friends,
black water dancing,
a death dancing,
a loud distress in distance fades,

help too late. Terror echoes through
hearts of loyal men
to weep a dead friend,
all changes when sun hits the sand.

So many want to be with you
washed up in shallow tide,
a friend’s friend has died,
another day the earth has cried.

Kyle McHale       2014

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That is No Place for Birds

After heavy loss, sorrow stricken streets,
crushed towns, broken houses,

that is no place for birds
but still a robin sits and sings
on the gate
through the rainy window,
knows you’re sad, and waits.

After heavy loss, torn, convoluted earth,
shell holes, blood-stained muddy puddles,
lost young souls,
it has been one hundred years
since the Somme,

that is no place for birds
but they found perches
even on bare trees
with no leaves
even if the worms they
ate crawled out of the eye-
sockets of the dead,
they were fed
singing still, knew the
sadness in the air,
and waited still.

In my dreams that
I cannot control
a shock of living
re-living in a
make-believe dream world,
a make-believe real world,

that is no place for birds
but a giant eagle appears,
tucks me under his wing
to rest on his warm breast
to keep the bad noises out,
he knows my sadness
he lets me sing
and waits.

Kyle McHale       2016

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