GO TO MLC HOMEPAGE
Submit to Southword
ONLINE BOOKSTORE FEATURED TITLES
Best of Irish Poetry 2010
Editor: Matthew Sweeney
Songs of Earth and Light
Barbara Korun poems translated by Theo Dorgan
Done Dating DJs
by Jennifer Minniti-Shippey
Winner, 2008 Fool for Poetry Competition
Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
Edited and translated by Aidan Hayes
Munster Literature Centre
Create your badge
John Mee won the Patrick Kavanagh Award in 2015 and the Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition in 2016. His pamphlet, From the Extinct, is forthcoming from Southword Editions (February 2017). His poems have been published in The Rialto, Prelude, The SHOp, Poetry on the Buses (London), Cyphers, The Irish Examiner, Southword, and The Cork Literary Review, as well as in various anthologies. He was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series in 2008. He is a professor in the Law School at University College Cork. www.johnmeepoetry.com
I didn’t know punks collected stamps
I said. Fuck you said the boy with blue hair,
looking up from a bin-bag full of corners
torn from envelopes. He was Kenny
and she was Liz and I wasn’t to mind him.
Her smile was crowded with crooked teeth
like a stamp with doubled print
that makes it really valuable.
YOUR LIFE IS SHIT was scrawled on her coat
and there was a silver ball on her tongue.
We were sorting stamps for Malcolm
in the Curiosity Shop, among the broken
statues of the Blessed Virgin.
I wanted to tell her about Heinrich Gerl
and his Celtic designs that won a prize.
This poor sod, said Kenny, is a worker.
He had the brown 2p stamp – a little dog,
each leg a triangle, his feet twirly brackets,
his head turned to chew his tail.
There’s millions like him, Kenny said,
and Malcolm thinks he’s worthless.
Every day in his chains
and red and white tartan trousers,
Kenny talked about Marx
and a band called Crass and Guy Debord
and when I asked who that was
he said I’d find out when I stopped being ten.
I said I’m fifteen next week
and Malcolm says your dad’s a judge.
Liz laughed or coughed maybe
and he turned red and went out for a smoke.
She said I see them in my sleep
the dog and the eagle and the deer
but the one that really messes with my head
is the flying yellow cow.
I fished around in the bag
to find the 10p with the purple background,
quickly because Kenny would be back,
and I passed it to her like a cigarette or a note,
The Winged Ox from the Book of Lichfield,
symbol of John the Evangelist,
and she held it up to the light.
©2017 John Mee
'Expat' in Prelude
'Paperweight', published in The Rialto
'Wreckage', published in The Rialto