Damian Smyth

A Mourne Observer from ASDA

It was only when London was bombed properly by terrorists
that those epic detonations pried loose out of the masonry
an elegiac mood in the midst of distaste for someone else’s war.
(It fell out of the overhead luggage racks and back packs,
overflowed the waste bins and everywhere it had been stashed
when whole other cities suffered; or when one individual even
had found himself forced to face down explosives and failed to do so
so spectacularly there was nothing left to ferry to hospital or bury.
It fell out of London, that comportment towards grief.)
Just take it as read: that dead Brazilian sent home in the cargo hold
like a strange mountain plant that hadn’t taken at Kew,
the national obsequies, workers and poets pausing at their workstations
to suffer their own silence, the rush-hour traffic slowing down
past the carbon footprint in the tarmac the burnt-out bus left at the stop.
Take it as read there had been towns and cities elsewhere in the Kingdom
ntirely destroyed, not a brick standing, populations holed
for generations, old men slain for pipe-smoking, babes in the womb,
and others insisting their own lives be taken instead.  Homeric massacres
of no consequence before and since what was actually a wooden horse
trundled along the rails beneath what was actually Troy and of consequence.

Damian Smyth’s four collections focus on a handful of streets in his home town of Downpatrick in Northern Ireland. ‘Market Street’ appeared from Lagan Press in 2010. A pamphlet, ‘Apparitions: A Hurricane’, is forthcoming from Templar. He works in arts administration.

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