Poem from:

Don't Go There by Colm Keegan

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Cheek Cheek Chin and Nose

Keegan, Colm

It was short
the way you spoke
you up on a pillar
me sitting down low
the flow
of your words clipped
as you shot a rhyme
after a passing ambulance.

"Cheek cheek chin and nose," you said.
"Hope I never go in those.
If I do I will go
Cheek cheek chin and nose."

And shorter still
was the distance
between your life and mine
you got Closer
than I would have liked
when you were furthest away
at your lowest ebb
caught in a web
of drugs and tricks.
And me in love with you
all along
with your voice
the song of it
that's the long and the short of it.

You probably had a fit that night
when bad gear fell on the city
like bad weather
and wherever they found you
some poxy squat
or whatever
with rat poison in your veins.
It was a million miles away
from all the things
you could have been.
No white wedding for you
no babies on your knee
your two brothers left behind
you being the only girl.


Sometimes I think of Dublin
like a huge dirt ridden blanket -
moth eaten
like something
shrouding a homeless man
something he tries to
smooth and smooth
something he thinks
can keep him warmer.
But it never can.

Your ma -
she used to pray.
You'd be out
banging up or
who knows what
and she'd be at home
saying the rosary.
Watching the clock
ticking on your life.

And the closer you got
to your midnight
the further you were from me
And I never said I liked you.
If I had said

In my head
you wander round.
Stir up the dust.

I still remember that time
on the bus going
from Crumlin into town
and you appeared before me.
There were others around
but they're forgotten.
You're remembered
like a myth.

The way the sun shone
round your head.
You'd dyed your hair.
I just sat there.
You were chewing gum
your mouth gamming on
wearing a Levi's denim shirt
with the top button undone.
So close
we could have kissed.

Little did I know 
by then your heart
was already lost.
The drugs had won.

someone told me
that you were
only riddled
with the virus.
a body full of bullet holes.

That's how he saw you.

But not me.

I'll always see you
on that bus.
The two of us
trundling into town
everything else crumbling
falling down all round.
And that shine in your face
some magic glow
some sickness
some song
that was the last rays
of your waning soul.

"Cheek cheek chin and nose," you said.
"Hope I never go in those.
If I do I will go
Cheek cheek chin and nose."

Copyright © Colm Keegan 2012

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