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February 2018

Don't Go There

Colm Keegan

ISBN: 978-1-908836-06-9

Page Count: 114

Publication Date: Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cover Artwork: Erica Keegan

Click to play audio Colm Keegan reads 'The Crackle' from Don't Go Ther... play
Click to play audio Colm Keegan reads 'Cheek Cheek Chin and Nose' from... play

About this Book

Colm Keegan's poetry is a soulful yet visceral evocation of what it is to live in a Dublin rarely seen in its un-exaggerated form in the literary world. A life and a mode of living and seeing that refuses to be marginalised are set against a backdrop of palpable geography. Rarely has a poet's voice, unfamiliar but true in it's every utterance, been captured so well as it is in Keegan's first collection. From the first poem to the last the energy of the verse of his life and living never flags. Family, friends, children and the urban sprawl he renders sparely yet lyrically, all are grist to the mill of Colm Keegan's poetics. 

“Sometimes you meet poets with soul, sometimes with experience, sometimes with talent. But you seldom meet a poet with all three. Colm Keegan is one such poet.” Dave Lordan

“The poetry of Colm Keegan brims with frenetic energy and a hard-earned street-wise lyricism, bereft of false notes or unearned experience. These new poems for a new era grow into a powerful and often dark portrayal of contemporary Dublin: an exploration of the streetscape of urban estates teeming with the complexity of life. It delves into the richest and the darkest corners of the human condition, without Keegan ever compromising the deep humanity at the core of his unblinking vision of life passing by.” Dermot Bolger

Author Biography

Colm Keegan has read and performed his poetry at various festivals, including the Flat Lakes Festival, Electric Picnic and the Festival of World Cultures. He was the All Ireland Slam Poetry Champion in 2010. He also writes short stories and screenplays and has been shortlisted four times for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award for both poetry and fiction. In 2008 he was shortlisted for the International Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition. In 2011 he was nominated for the Absolut Fringe’s ‘Little Gem’ Award for the play Three Men Talking About Things They Kinda Know About (co-written with Kalle Ryan and Stephen James Smith) which is touring 2012/2013.  He is a poetry/arts reviewer and contributing poet for RTE Radio One’s nightly arts show ARENA and co-founder of ‘Nighthawks at the Cobalt’. He is co-founder and facilitator of Inklinks, a young writers club in Clondalkin and teaches creative writing in secondary schools across Ireland. He maintains a popular blog and his poetry performances are widely viewed on YouTube. He is currently finishing his first novel.

Listen to more audio recordings at Soundcloud:
Colm Keegan's Twitter page:!/UISCEBOT

Author Photograph: © Joe McCartney, The Echo

Read a sample from this book

The Crackle

There's a party full of 'Fat-Frogs'

and coke all over the table.

There's a man out by the Liffey

getting out while he's able.

There's a fight starting somewhere

a fellah getting stabbed.

There's a car doing hand-brakers

two girls jumping a cab.

There's twitchy bouncer hacks

keeping an eye on the door.

That poor lad in the jacks stuck

cleaning puke off the floor.

The country's getting locked.

There's nobody to care.

There's a slut going down

and there's danger in the air.

There's men drowned in money

girls who'll never bend.

There's a beggar whispering 'honey'

but that's nothing down his end.

There's the gentle sound of heartbeats.

There's alleys full of death.

There's a man after your brother.

There's a lightness to your breath.

All these people hanging around

everybody acting cool

and the night-times fucking freezing

but don't let that fool you.

There's a crackle to this city

There's a steam of dreams that rises

and it gets behind your eyeballs

and it kind of compromises

the concrete

the shell

all the bits that sing 'to hell with it.'

There's another bit

a hoping bit

that screams out

Make a difference.

The city's


It shines on us.

We're sparkling!

And love it man

'cause further out

there's nothing

only darkness.

Dear Dealer

Don't get me wrong:

I've had nice times with blokes like you.

Been in the company of some real nice joes.

Young bucks with bright clothes


buds and bros

who brighten a room with their presence.

But it is endlessly depressing

when you lean in close like that

and say 'Listen - If you're stuck,

I'll hook you up:

I've Coke or blow,

just so you know'.

and the way you wink,

not realising what I'm thinking.

Are you stupid or what?

Have you simply forgotten

all those other scurrying specimens?

Yeah sure

you'll be different.

You're going to make it:

you'll avoid the rats on the run

all the psychos with guns.

And if you do survive

you'll end up just like all the rest.

Making the common man's

worst nightmare

your twisted best

as you develop a blindspot

for the children watching

when you shoot men in the head.

All hopscotch stopped dead

by some bro or Daddy's blood

spraying a short spattering rain

that burns like acid

into their childhoods.

But no

not you

hands open you plead.

Your one of the nice dealers,

you'll just take what you need

and have nothing to do

with the bodies piling up in newspapers.

Brains exposed to the air

a heaving mess of black thoughts and goo

to be tiptoed around

and waded through.

Not just by me

but by every other poor shmoe

who has to live in this coliseum

that your greedy claws

have the gall

to maul and shape

from the muck on

our once clean streets.

So please excuse me

if for the sake of my dignity

I will keep you away from me

and in my mind paint you black

as I smile with quiet tact

and count the targets

on your back as you leave.

Copyright © Colm Keegan 2012

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