Neil McCarthy is an Austrian-based Irish poet whose carbon footprint will follow him to the grave. He has read as a guest speaker in Australia, the UK, Ireland, Austria, the US, Poland, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic, in lecture halls, embassies, and bookstops. He is a graduate of the National University of Ireland, Galway, where he studied literature and has since published three chapbooks of poetry, the latest of which, Seven Cities, is in its third printing. 

Mist over Monterey
They come out of the woodwork, share tables with
us, haunt us in our sleep and stare back at us in the
bathroom mirror in the early hours. They wear our
unused clothes and leave their smell in the fibres.
They place themselves into boxes in our attics and
wait patiently to be dug out as loose negatives or
old postcards; our wrists itching from Christmas
tinsel we delve through to get to the bottom.

Thereafter, we circle and chase remote calendar dates
to make life shorter, inhale memories through zip
files of digital photographs, shorn of the ones not quite
fitting the scene; like that morning when we woke to
find mist over Monterey, hacked up by the Pacific and
clinging to the crumbling cliffs at random intervals.
And there they were again, ghosting across the gravel
as we drove off, negligent that the past ever existed.   

Her skirt teases the wind

Her skirt teases the wind while the trees
that stand sentry to the river
are harmonious in their taunt.

The slow boats that grace the mirror of
the Meuse and its kelp-like wavelets
glide by shoeless sitters on the bank

with dreams of swans and dreams of bread
and streams of sunlight overhead.

On a bridge in Regensburg
To hear my name, called out across the Roman stones on a
bridge in Regensburg through the languid March drizzle,
was to breathe again as my head burst through the water.

Two lovers in the corner of the Black Bean cafe exchanged
mocha tongues and disregarded censorious onlookers;
me with an envious pang of Iíve-worn-that-t-shirt as I passed.

I have for too long been hitchhiking in the opposite direction
to which the world is going, malingering through the medium
of other peopleís beds, but more often their couches.

This incessant journeying, these photographs that document
the ages of my illusory face, this cracked black pepper light
on my skin at night is but a stopgap grace.

On a bridge in Regensburg, my head bobbed up when beckoned
and, for a second, I was home again; a motherís call from the
kitchen door to a boy and his dogs just two fields away.

Neil McCarthy poet at Moonday Poetry East.

© 2011 Neil McCarthy

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