A peacetime group photograph,
Sepia lens into a provisioned past.
The pinhole cameras shuttered entry,
machine tooled in Dresden with
Italian leather casing.
Between first index and thumb
flaring, red eyed, unfiltered upon
an ashtray of fag ends across a fold up
The un-factored shoulders to die for, the imperfect
smiles to hide from.
I’m still there, undeveloped in your arms
awaiting exposure, this moment unfolding.
I had a soft nose and you would squidge it
Against your tongue, lips sliding mouth over mouth
And I was only ten
Your name was Alison
I used to pay you a penny for you to kiss me
and in sunshine.
Up until you
I played football and wheezed
Phantom sprains, ingrown toe-nails,
Gallybanders across my back garden blazed.
There wasn’t much growing at ten
But we got there.
How many lives did we collect?
In our faded jeans at the knees
Armies we led, matchbox spiders we bled.
All we did was kiss.
My wall-penny freckle and I went back home
Your face in front of me
Growing and growing.
Sylvia Plath is Karen Carpenter
In response to Ian McMillan’s ‘Ted Hughes is Elvis Presley’
in fact this very day
I cried the first Achoo
behind the stage,
under hand and foot,
a wedding ring,
a gold encased, soap caked filling.
You’ve got a ticket to ride
through the vast unknown,
my incisors indentured on your
You, you, the vampire whom I wed
the shriek the ich, ich, ich.
Marching to timpani
our skins taut as Auschwitz
in transit our binary code
capillaries congeal under wrist.
‘She was a rake’, you said
‘Slim, slim as starlight under hammering
Terry Doyle resides in Cork. His work has appeared in places such Poetry Ireland Review, The North, The Honest Ulsterman, and Crossways Literary Journal.
Terry’s chapbook Out of Blocks was commended in the 2018 Fool for Poetry Competition run by The Munster Literature Centre. His poems are forthcoming from The Poetry Salzburg Review (Issue 34) and Centenary, an anthology commemorating the Limerick Soviet 1919.
These poems first appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, The New Writer UK (2017), and Crossways Literary Journal respectively.
A ‘gallybander’ is slang for a catapult in Waterford, Ireland.