A Boy I Used To Know
I don’t tell my new friends about the boy
who’d blow his pocket-money on rolls of caps
to make penny-bangers, then at dark-fall,
launch them like grenades against the wall
of his protestant neighbours’ house,
driving them mad, driving them out.
I don’t tell them of the names he’d mutter
at the soldiers patrolling check-points and streets,
or the freedom songs he’d sing with his mates.
I don’t tell how the boy would feel the impact
somewhat less, when the news of another death
bore the name of a victim from the other side.
I’m too afraid they wouldn’t understand
if I spoke of this boy, and how he’d revolt
at the sound of their English tongues.
Niall M Oliver lives in Ireland, and is the author of ‘My Boss’ by Hedgehog Poetry. His poems have featured in Acumen, Atrium, The Honest Ulsterman, Fly On The Wall Press, Ink Sweat & Tears and others.
A Tyre Changer Can Earn £350k Per Year
When I look back, I see a multi-million pound
Formula One pit-crew,
making snap decisions at break-neck speed,
but instead of shaving seconds off,
their goal is to add precious time
onto precious lives— underpaid NHS nurses
and midwives rush around the motionless bodies
of my wife and new-born child,
their engines barely ticking over,
me, an open-mouthed spectator,
but today there will be no final lap
or chequered flag, as light reappears
in my wife’s eyes, and our son’s first cries
fill the room. Our race goes on
and just like that our pit-crew has gone,
leaving us to celebrate upon our podium
with rounds of buttery toast and hot cups of tea.
Niall M Oliver lives in Ireland, and is the author of ‘My Boss’ by Hedgehog Poetry. His poems have featured in Acumen, Atrium, The Honest Ulsterman, Fly On The Wall Press, Ink Sweat & Tears and others. Twitter @NMOliverPoetry
So, you are saying, when your son is sleeping
his legs bunch up by his sides like those on a roast chicken,
and when you hold him to your cheek
the hairs on his head prickle like a kiwi fruit.
Furthermore, his breath has a hint of buttercream,
and his chin is always dripping wet
as if glazed in a coat of honey.
“That’s correct. I would also like to add
that his little toes have even begun
to smell of camembert cheese”.
And these are the reasons you felt compelled
to tell him that you could eat him up?
“Yes, I’m afraid so”. And when you carried him
to the kitchen, did the boy cry out?
“Yes, Your Honour, he did. Tenderly
like a spring lamb”.
Niall M Oliver lives in Ireland, and is the author of ‘My Boss’ by Hedgehog Poetry. His poems have featured in The Honest Ulsterman, Fly On The Wall Press, Ink Sweat & Tears, Black Bough Poetry and others.