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Friday, March 17, 2006


by Dave Lordan


 A minute’s silence
 A three-minute silence
 Silent silent bloody silence
 Silence in the courtyard
 Silence in the street
 Silence at the warport
 Silence at the embassies
 Silence in the parliaments
 Silence in the offices
 Silence in the factories
 Silence from the journalists

 What the fuck is silence?
 Is it a prayer?
 Is it womb?
 Is it a ticket?
 Is it an art-form?
 Is it an emperor?

 I ask you again
 What the fuck is silence;
 And who has ever heard
 The dead requesting it?


 I am confused
 I have been to a meeting
 Now I'm feeling murderous, suicidal
 suicidally murderous
 murderously suicidal

 What do I mean 'I feel'?
 What do I mean 'I'?

 Fuck off with your questions I'm cranky
 I'm sick of myself
 and I'm sick of humanity
 I'd blow the earth up if I could
 I'd dig down to the core of the world and explode.

 What if the 'I'' could be shattered
 What if the me could be burning daggers in an instant
 flying in all directions
 Where would I plant the me?
 Where would I set the me off ?

 The thought occurs
 that according to the orthodox view
 the universe is the result of an explosion
 is that explosion ongoing

 flying apart
 all created by
 all existing in
 the explosion at the origin

 so ourselves
 and all we do
 is part of the explosion
 since the big bang isn't over
 and things are flying apart

 and if there is a god
 as in a creator
 as even Stephen Hawking
 seems at times to be suggesting
 then she was a bomber
 Perhaps he was a suicide bomber?

 this neurosis is quickening
 one mad thought follows another
 what if
 I mean the formulas do suggest
 everything is possible
 everything is happening
 that in the infinity of universes
 nothing whatsoever is avoidable
 and all is redeemed
 so there is no death
 only every possible action
 every possible combination
 shapes and sizes
 arrangements and re-arrangements
 heads where your feet should be
 balls at the end of your fingers
 necks stretched thin as wires
 little fingers fatter
 like in a hall of mirrors going on forever

 Somewhere else I am my own happy mother
 Rosa Luxembourg is still alive
 There is no Guernica
 No-one has ever heard of the Swastika
 Somewhere else all the smashed eggs are being put back together again
 all the broken children are being remade
 The drunks have stopped drinking and taken up yoga
 The boys have stopped crashing their cars
 foxes escape unhurt from their traps
 and the snow is no longer spotted with blood

 so it’s all good
 fun just experiment
 so what
 going by these rules of engagement
 I were to blow myself up

 would that make me a God
 What kind of universe would my explosion make?


 ATGWU Hall Middle Abbey Street 7.30      pm
 Friday Dec 3rd 2004

 Can I be happy if others suffer?
 Can I be true if the world is a lie?
 Can I be good if I allow evil to rule over me?

 What is my life worth if life is worth less than nothing?
 What is my death to the deaths of thousands?
 What is one bull in a stampede?

 Is it only by offering my death
 that I can prove I am alive
 Is it by stopping sensation
 I can prove that I feel

 Love is the proof of the objective existence of others


 His Daddy says
 eight of ten every black people are scumbags
 His Dad says
 People in them countries they can't look after theirselves
 His Daddy says
 Hangin's too good for them Iraqi cunts
 Can he love his Daddy?
 Should he?


 Shalom Doctor Faisal
 Shalom Shalom

 Slide One

 boy nine years old
 Has one arm
 One leg
 One eye
 Black scabs
 Blood black as oil

 Smashed genitals
 Smashed genitals
 Slide two

 Girl seven
 no arms
                     no legs
 shaved head
 scorched eyebrows
 smiling at the camera
 died a half an hour later

 Slide three
 Street in ruins
 crater pocked
 after cluster bomb
 heaps of concrete
 mangled wire
 steaming limbs
 unexploded ordnance
 bright orange
 looks so innocent
 shaped like a baby's rattle

 Slide four

 In background
 with collapsed roof
 in foreground
 four male doctors

 Two of them now dead
 one sniped at
 one exploded

 We knew the American snipers
 were getting bored
 when they started shooting

 Every morning the medical staff went on to the streets to collect limbs and try to piece together the bodies of the victims of the overnight bombing

 We had no food or medical supplies because of the siege. We had to use the same equipment over and over again same needles same bandages. We had to amputate children's limbs without anaesthetic. In the end the doctors had to eat the hospital’s supply of sugar to stay alive. Finally

 My father's house has been raided four times. My father is an old man. There are two teenage girls in the house. My nieces. My brother and his beautiful wife were killed in the first bombing, last April. The girls are very frightened of the soldiers. They are very disturbed. You can imagine what they have seen and heard. The last time three marines broke in. They were very loud, profane. They forced my father onto the ground and one of them put their boot o n his head. They made the two girls come down from their room and watched them humiliate my father. Of course they were frightened and crying but they were also angry and they shouted in Arabic at the soldiers but one of them pointed his rifle right at them and threatened them and said many horrible things that I am not going to repeat here in front of a civilized audience. Maybe he thought they would not understand but they both have fluent English. We are very educated people in my Country. So the marines made the girls
while they took out their genitals and pissed on my father.


 Lately I have taken to standing for the national anthem. I usen't to
 I usen't to because it only shamed me to think
 how we drove one set of bastards out the front-door
 and let another set of bastards sneak
 in the back door
 and it was depressing to see on a Friday night
 at half past twelve
 how the proud young men and women
 of the Flying columns
 had devolved
 to the pot bellied dribbling drunks
 who would drive the Brits out of Belfast
 with their thumbnails
 at closing time
 and who seemed to have lost all memory of how to fight
 except against each other
 all idea of how to stand up for themselves
 except in songs and imagination
 And of course the tune is shite
 But now I stand
 the song is still a memory
 of how we we we
 drove the invaders out
 how a small penniless country
 full of (supposedly) ignorant and superstitious savages
 defeated the army
 of the most powerful nation on earth
 and how did we do it?
 By all means necessary
 we boycotted their personnel and institutions
 we sniped them
 we bombed them
 we ambushed their convoys
 we kidnapped them
 and we executed them
 and generally we made it impossible
 for them to rule


 In Shannon airport
 every day
 by the hour
 military aeroplanes touch down
 Their giant snouts
 hide bloody teeth
 their giant wings
 are dripping blood
 their giant engines
 run on blood
 their giant bellies
 full of soldiers
 soldiers’ arms and soldiers’ legs and soldiers’ eyes
 and soldiers’ genitals
 soldiers’ genitals


 The glory covered dead have set up camp below in Shannon
 Twenty four hours a day they are watching
 and they won't go away
 till its over and done

 All of the empire breakers
 All the signatories and the proclaimers
 The wild geese and the pirates and the smugglers
 Emmett and Tone and Grainne Mhaol
 The commie Countess and the two hard Jimmy’s
 Bobby Sand’s and all the Ulster martyrs
 The poets and the fighters
 Mangan and Davis and Shelley
 Dan Breen and Liam Mellows and Tom Barry
 screech ing through the gore-stacks
 screeching through the mangled limbs
 the heat popped eyes
 the shard spilled guts
 the sear blackened stumps
 the excoriated testicles

 piled as high as wings can fly
 on the runways
 at Shannon airport
 blocking up arrivals
 and departures at
 shannon airport

 The Guards
 who mind the fence at Shannon airport
 are deaf and dumb
 blind and numb
 and only doing their job
 only doing what they are paid for
 and cannot see the carnage
 cannot hear the wailing

 The FBI the CIA the special branch
 that line the approach roads
 to Shannon airports
 got more cameras then Hollywood
 got more microphones than Abbey Road
 but still are deaf and blind
 numb and dum
 But even though I'm sitting in my living room in Dublin
 I can close my eyes and see them
 I can close my ears to hear them
 Wailing wailing wailing


 Fuck the la-dee-da
 fuck you and fuck me and fuck I
 Fuck the spirit
 Fuck the allegory
 Fuck elective affinity
 Fuck the subject
 Fuck the object
 Fuck neutrality
 Fuck Buddha
 Fuck the shamrock
 Fuck the leafy love-banks
 Fuck the holy trinity
 Fuck the oaks and the yew trees
 Fuck the visionary sheep
 Fuck County Meath
 Fuck Homer
 Fuck the canon
 Fuck competitions
 Fuck the bursary
 Fuck the cheese and wine reception
 Fuck poetry
 Fuck the higher power
 Let me make this situation clear
 There is a mass murder ongoing in Iraq
 invasion occupation expropriation
 The country we live in is
 aiding and abetting
 aiding and abetting mass murder
 By allowing our airport to be used to transport
 The cluster bombers
 machine gunners
 Rocket launchers
 Child killers
 Shoot on sighters
 Hit and runners
 Who are committing this mass murder
 Do I think I can heckle you into doing something about it?
 Do I think just by telling you what you already know
 it will shame you into doing something about it?
 Does all this shouting and flag waving make me feel any better?
 What am I going to do about it?


 This is the state
 of the suicide
 the suicidal state
 Of life forgot
 the state
 Of life not lived
 the state
 Of life denied

 Keep your mouth shut
 Your hands clean
 Your hands to yourself
 Your eyes dry

 Jesus was a suicide
 Jesus chose his own death
 Jesus killed himself
 died so that you might live
 the churches where the Christians go
 to be cannibals and vampires
 eating flesh and drinking blood
 monuments to suicide
 and the priests and nuns
 are agents a universal suicide

 The Irish revolution
 The one that silly anthem is about
 began with the Easter Rising
 an act of conscious martyrdom
 a blood sacrifice
 an act of suicide
 Connolly and Pearse
 McDonagh and Macbride
 Ceannt and Plunkett MacDiarmuida

 The deformed states
 Northern Ireland
 founded on an act of suicide
 a signature that was was suicide
 for what did General Michael Collins say
 after he had signed the Anglo Irish Treaty
 I have signed my own death warrant


 Why should I wait around for people who don't give a shit
 People who can lounge around
 in front of the soaps
 while all this murder is going on in front of them

 You tell me I’ve got to be patient
 that we've got to spread out
 into the schools and the colleges
 the offices and the factories
 deepen the roots of the movement
 which will take time
 which won't be easy

 but people are dying this instant
 because mass murder is easy
 because mass murder takes no time atall
 so hanging about waiting for the 'revolution'
 just means being passive if you ask me
 passive in the face of evil

 I mean c'mon
 why don't you cop on
 to yourself
 the idea that all the lager boys
 in their Celtic jerseys and their pot bellies
 and all the dolly girls
 with their tattoos and their dyed hair
 and all the play-station monkeys
 and all the reality TV zombies
 and all the all the all the
 mass produced gobshites
 with nothing on their mind
 but who they're going to vote for in Eurostar
 and the latest in mobile accessories

 are going to rise up and liberate humanity
 is laughable
 it’s a sick joke
 and it gives you
 and your lot
 an excuse to do nothing direct to intervene
 in the war machine
 I mean why knock the snout off an F-16
 with an ax
 when Mr and Mrs Chav
 are going to save the world

 I mean fine you can organise your marches
 so all the straights and the straight ups
 all the left leaning lawyers and the liberal teachers and the
 in the NGO's
 can fool themselves into
 thinking they're doing something
 about the war

 You can all walk up and down the street
 shaking your boring placards
 shouting your repetitive slogans
 handing out your worthy leaflets
 selling your rev-rev-rev-ol-ut-ion-ary 'news-papers'
 but it's not going to get you anywhere
 it's not going to stop the war

 People who are ready to take direct action
 People who are prepared
 to be beaten up by the cops
 to be arrested
 to go to jail
 to be hung drawn and slandered in the Phoenix and the Indo
 to make all kinds of sacrifices
 we don't have to make excuses for our actions
 to people who aren't prepared to make any sacrifices atall
 we don't have to answer to your imaginary masses
 we'll do just what we feel like doing ok
 we'll tear down the fence
 we'll break police lines
 we'll block up the runway
 and you are not going to stop us
 no matter
 what you say

 I am looking for a way to dismiss
 this line of argument
 and the rat part of me wants to
 throw acid in her eyes
 tell her she's ultra-left
 she's infantilely disordered
 she's only a sixteen year old
 anarkid on pills at a gig
 who's so hyped up on MDA
 or whatever the bastards put
 into pills these days
 she can't even stop to draw breath
 between spouting all this bravura crap
 she's a middle class dreamer
 with an en suite bedroom
 inclusive of bidet
 in her Donnybrook home
 and what would she know about struggle
 and who is she to judge
 the lives of working people

 and the Trotskyist pedagogue in me
 the Marxist catechist
 that scheming little know all in specs and goatee
 wants to lecture her
 on how the consciousness of the masses
 remains low
 because of their lack
 of self-organisation
 and of the insignificant ammount of class struggle in recent times

 see the workers just don't know who they are
 can't remember what they were
 have no idea what they are capable of

 and yes they are passive
 but not because they're agin us
 but because they are too busy
 and tryin to forget about work
 to be reading Chomsky
 or out gathering firewood
 for the 24 hour peace camp

 like when a man comes homes after ten hours
 driving a Taxi
 around the puke stain ed streets
 of Dublin or Cork City
 or eight hours operating a Kango drill
 on a building site
 or eight hours standing around Roches or Penneys
 all day like a total knob doing 'security'
 or when a woman
 finishes sweeping out the holiday homes
 cleaning the pub toilets
 stacking the supermarket shelves
 keying the tills
 is it any surprise
 he and she are too tired and distracted
 for politics
 like have you ever wondered why
 most activists are young
 why so many are students
 do you think its because young people
 are smarter better more moral
 or just because they have more time
 less worries

 cop on
 to yourself

 so many people are dealing with the everyday traumas
 the ordinary catastrophes
 of working class lives
 the addictions
 the accidents
 The abuses buried deep
 perhaps many years ago
 and festering ever since
 and blooming
 into mental illnesses
 panic attacks

 I tell you every house
 has something up
 every street could fill
 a health farm with its woes

 and then there's the simple fatigue
 that follows from spending your life
 being exploited and used
 and the sinister voices
 telling you
 you are worthless
 you're good for nothing
 but cleaning toilets
 laying bricks
 pulling pints
 and what would
 a thick eejit like you
 know about anything

 which is why we hold the peaceful marches
 the candlelit vigils
 the soft and woolly stuff
 so people can take that first easy step
 and first steps are important
 all journeys start out with first steps

 you can't just leap over reality
 you have to work with people as they are
 not as you might wish them to be

 no matter how dedicated you and your buddies are
 no matter what sacrifice ye are prepared to make
 no matter how spectaculo ye're actions

 a small minority of activists
 cannot force the world

 and historically
 the wild plots hatched by super-activists
 saintly types
 with a cold fire in their bellies
 and a stone in their hearts
 and pure in their dedication
 detaching themselves
 from the wider movement
 have backfired rather badly
 have blown up in their face

 ask the Baader Meinhof
 ask the Brigada Rosa
 ask the INLA

 and if she's serious
 these are the kind of organizations
 she should be studying
 because if you want to worry the Irish state into
 withdrawing landing permission from the American Military
 You're not going to do it
 by tearing down a few metres of fence
 or by saying the rosary
 or by setting off colouredy smoke-bombs
 or subvertising
 or guerrilla graffiti

 It would have to be full scale
 military actions
  properly planned and co-ordinated
 military assaults
 mortar attacks
 maybe a shower of rockets
 landed right into the middle of a crowd of marines
 while the y're stretching their legs
 sucking on the butts of their Camels
 in Shannon airport

 would she
 and her
 hoody wearing
 friends in the
 Blocca Nerobe up for all that ?
 Would anybody in this sick green land
 be up for all that?
 Is there even a dozen
 punks hangin around
 hardcore enough for all that?

 just as I feel
 I have adequately explained
 why my people
 are allowing their country be used
 --the country their ancestors won
 by force of arms from an empire-
 as a staging post in a genocide
 and why she should allow them to allow it
 I feel again the sting of shame

 so I take her number
 her e-mail
 her website address
 being curious
 and wanting to know
 how serious
 she is

 I am sick of marching
 marching up and down O Connell street        Nassau Street        Kildare
 marching to the Dail
 marching to the embassies
 marching from Shannon town
 three miles out
 to Shannon warport
 then marching back

 The left foot
 the right
 the left foot
 the right
 the left foot
 the right
 the left foot knows where the right foot is going
 the left foot knows what the right foot is doing
 the left foot
 the right mouth has learned
 teeth have learned
 foot has learned
 toes and hands and tongue have learned
 how to march
 how to shout




 sick of speeches and slogans
 sick of shaking my left fist at fences
 sick of the passionate screeching at helicopters
 sick of the onlookers,
                                        the bystanders,

 straining on the footpaths
 of staring at row upon row of indolent overfed coppers

 tired of our understanding
 tired of our patience
 tired of our patiently explaining
 in the back-rooms and the basements and the union halls
 tired of the meaningless signatures
 and of the statements that are lost to wind tormented corners
 tired of train station lobbies and of indifferent passengers
 tired of the threadbare edges of homemade banners
 tired of the waste of paper at park gates an d pier-endings
 and of the footprints sealing leaflets to footpaths
 outside gigs and cinemas and all kinds of public gatherings

 These days
 These sick and void days
 These null and tired days
 of poisoned life and murder's reign
 when I close my eyes
 I am always a sniper sniping
 from the window of a burnt out building
 I am the last stand in the last burning building
 and when at night,
 in solitude and silence,
 when at night my heart speaks,
 my autonomous heart,
 It speaks of a solo run
 it speaks of a spectacular ending
 it speaks of being the nucleus
                                                                     the spark
 that sets off the hell
 which is all that I owe
 all that I own
 and all that is mine
 for unloosing

Dave Lordan is a thirty-year-old poet and peace activist living in Dublin. He recently won the Patrick Kavanagh Award, Ireland's top poetry prize, for his first full collection The Boy in The Ring to  be published shortly by Salmon Poetry. He has read by invitation at numerous peace and social justice events and has had his work translated and published in Arabic and Serbo-Croat. About this poem, Dave Lordan explains, “The world marches against war and occupation again.  Here in Ireland we're focusing on the US military use of Shannon  airport--half a million tro0ps and God knows how many 'rendered' have passed  through there since 9/11.”