By Kevin Higgins, Ireland (Published in Issue 20)
I’m a ground floor room with a window
that will not close. I’m a cot
with a cloud of cigarette smoke
floating over it. I’m the watercress seeds
we planted at school today. I’m the week’s
worth of ham sandwiches I left under the desk
last day before the summer holidays,
nineteen seventy seven. I’m one hundred
per cent in a science test once,
six percent in honours maths.
I’m the university degree I don’t have.
I’m Between The Wars by Billy Bragg
for my eighteenth birthday and Auntie shrieking
over the fence, that I was conceived
out of wedlock. I’m action likely
to bring the Labour Party into disrepute.
I’m in contempt of court and must
apologise before we continue.
I’m fourteen cups of tea a day
most days (with the bag left in)
maybe ten cigarettes
in my whole life. I’m two weeks working
for The Wall Street Journal.
I’m yesterday’s sausage roll
for breakfast today. I’m everything
I’ve been accused of
that wasn’t true. I’m the things
they never found out about.
Kevin Higgins facilitates poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre; teaches creative writing at Galway Technical Institute and on the Brothers of Charity Away With Words programme. He is also Writer-in-Residence at Merlin Park Hospital and the poetry critic of the Galway Advertiser. He was a founding co-editor of The Burning Bush literary magazine. His first collection of poems The Boy With No Face was published by Salmon in February 2005 and was short-listed for the 2006 Strong Award. His second collection, Time Gentlemen, Please, was published in March 2008 by Salmon. One of the poems from Time Gentlemen, Please, ‘My Militant Tendency’, featured in the Forward Book of Poetry 2009. His work also features in the anthology Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Ed Roddy Lumsden, Bloodaxe, 2010). Frightening New Furniture is his third collection of poems and was published in 2010 by Salmon Poetry. Kevin has read his work at most of the major literary festivals in Ireland and at Arts Council and Culture Ireland supported poetry events in Kansas City, USA (2006), Los Angeles, USA (2007), London, UK (2007), New York, USA (2008), Athens, Greece (2008); St. Louis, USA (2008), Chicago, USA (2009), Denver, USA (2010), Washington D.C (2011), Huntington, West Virginia, USA (2011), Geelong, Australia (2011) & Canberra, Australia (2011). As part of his Culture Ireland supported trip to Chicago in February 2009 he participated in and took first place in a specially arranged poetry slam at the Chicago’s Green Mill Bar and Lounge, the birthplace of slam poetry. Kevin’s fourth collection of poetry, The Ghost In The Lobby, will be published by Salmon Poetry in 2013. Kevin is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events. Mentioning The War, a collection of his essays and reviews is just published by Salmon.