Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bryan Murphy- Two Poems

Bloody Student Cuts

A viewing platform:  
the world sees him
lotus-knee’d on the flat roof
of the prematurely aged
“New Building” of a tired university
raised beyond its means,
tasked beyond reason,
refused life support, just
to keep a bottom line black.

In front of him, see
a slim spire, city symbol,
split the mountain background,
aspire to higher matters, above constraint.
Built as a synagogue, abandoned
for fear of a fall to earth,
now the nation’s cinematographic mecca,
it hints that human genius may endure,
though all will pass.

A drabber edifice, way below,
lures the protestor’s starry eyes
to meaner aspirations, baser options,
a secure footing in a young man’s world
mediated by televisual rituals
and largesse for a mogul’s minions and mignotte.

Too late the lure. The image
sweeps the world in a different format:
a photograph, stamped even on Web front pages,
portrays the youth as Sisyphus unchained,
calling us to our consciences,
reminding us that even here,
in this good-life cage, or our own lands,
a voice can still be lifted
to penetrate clamour or silence
with “Enough is enough!”

He’s marked, that lad: bad attitude,
immortalised, brands him a future.
One saving pathway beckons from the dark:
to trade his looks and locks with Mammon,
shine them with Saviour’s shampoo, whatever,
then splatter them across the waves of air
to spare us worry over life’s tough choices.

Rule of the Road

It’s only a car - blood’ll wash off -
not even yours. Moment’s distraction,
pressed the wrong pedal;
he was probably drunk, too.
Pile out. Moving - still alive.
Gather up the broken body,
shove it on the back seat.
No arguments! Where’s the hospital?
Get there before police show up.
Leave him to do the forms – who else
would know his mother’s maiden name?
Hope he lives. Hell of a dent!
Still, it’s not as though it’s yours.

Bryan Murphy is a translator who lives and works in Turin, Italy. His own words have recently appeared in The View from Here, Transparent Words, The Camel Saloon, Snakeskin and Pygmy Giant.

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