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a poem by Kevin Higgins

While gutless others shivered

alone in wardrobes of their own making,

debating whether to kill

by strangling, or have sexual intercourse with,

themselves;

 

you strode into our national crisis

stage left stylish

as a string quartet about to fiddle out

on viola, cello, Stradivarius

something by the late Benjamin Britten;

a set of implausibly perfect teeth attached

to what sounded like a brain.

 

Your intelligence so vast

you had to get the builders in

to extend the dome of your skull

to accommodate a Masters

degree from Harvard.

 

Not content to be the usual

slight disappointment, you reveal

yourself to be the thinking wing

of the Foster and Allen Party; politically flexible

as a cross-community Belfast brothel;

slick as rubbery bacon; aesthetically pleasing

as a Chicken Snack Box thrice reheated

before nine o’clock in the morning

or a third hand pair of trousers grown

pungent with badly digested cabbage;

 

but destined tonight to be wildly applauded

in darkest Arklow by those who’ll have

the shirts torn from their backs

when next the market crashes.

 

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