Martin Mooney

Time in the High-Dependency Unit

Lenin’s entire vocabulary consisted of a few words such as ‘Lloyd George’, ‘conference’, ‘impossibility’ and several others […] He knew the word he wanted to use but could not articulate it completely. He would say ‘Rev-rev-rev-vo-vo-vo-lu’, for ‘revolution’.

—David Shulb, Lenin

A fortnight after surgery you can’t read clocks.
With every surfacing from stupor
you ask the time. Why do you want to know?

‘To place myself in the fabric of history,’
you say, ‘and daily life.’ Ah, grandiloquence –
the well-wrought phrase, our family curse…

Your speech is slurred, and in the deep
knots and folds of the cerebellum
sentences, like poems, are never finished, just

abandoned for the time being. It could be worse.
The stricken Lenin struggled for the mot juste,
then finally just the mot, handing on –

to Trotsky, as he thought – the New
Economic Policy, the care of his books,
the permanent Rev-rev-rev-vo-vo-vo-lu….

Martin Mooney has published four collections of poetry—Grub (1993), Rasputin and his Children (2000), Blue Lamp Disco (2003) and, most recently, The Resurrection of the Body at Killysuggen, published by Lagan Press in 2011. Mooney lives in Co Antrim.


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