POEM ON MY 39TH BIRTHDAY
i try to dance
but i'm stabbed by my bones.
They knife me just
as i am about to fly.
i am a bird with my joints
a butchered bird with a song of starving.
i stumble thus into my poor body
this bag full of guts and terror.
i crouch in unbelievable poses.
What can i call this dance?
only the dance of the Human
in this sharp skinning space
like a scream
in these pieces
that then fill the room of my life
both particle and wave
so i am nailed to the floor
in a flood both of love and stoning.
This is the dance of the body i was.
A severing dance, a dance springfull of ruptures.
The being i was!
This is my fall without limbs,
the fall deeper than the hollow of my bones
where i hid.
This dance is the dance of
my battering bones,
the dance of my butchering
though no one is here.
Who caused such carnage?
That these crude claws
tear my face from its mirror?
Such a question shakes the strings of my
This faceless me in the sack of my dimensions
reminds me of
like a bird or a child
dismembered in flight.
So all the parts, my beautiful parts,
flew on, flew on,
(each one like a philosophy
for what had become of the other?)
On my 39th birthday
i danced the dance of my broken parts
plus my head who was
vomiting at the sink
(like a woman pregnant with the ghost
of a child)
puking on the potscrubs and dishcloths
that threw up my flight like
a blinded creature
tunnelling without light,
what else, in my downward descending,
from the belly of the beast
but to dance myself sane in the shivering light?
Oh, this is a dance that is less than a dance
more a war in my electrons ‘til
i see the light.
More a falling from the sky
to a crowded memory
of hands and feet and tongues
all beating and lashing and grinding,
that claws my spirit from this poor body
like paper shredded into leaffall,
at wintertime, all darkness too.
So i never stop falling, down
this motherless tunnel towards the night.
No matter how many corpses i wrap in wool
in the screaming black voices
saying "you're dead, you're dead"
like my face in a fright
and all the ashes are cold and what of
this puke in a sink?
It's my soul i leave hanging on an old coathanger
with its arms jointed and ready for flight
and myself wrapped in this cloud of a night
so i still tried crazy
like a wind in my eye
settled softly on the ceiling
on my 39th birthday
watch this flock of
in howls twisting
rise the walls
the sky, the earth
into a shape uplifting
like a gust, or this tear in my eye,
that might well blow me human
Somewhere far from here,
O my great great great great starving grandfathers,
and this father who rapes me withthe blinding in his eye.
Séamas Carraher was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1956. He survives on the Ballyogan estate, in south County Dublin, Ireland, at present. http://www.