A poem by Kevin Higgins.
Don’t get photographed presenting your
two thousand names to the Mayor,
looking as if you’re graduating
with a qualification you’ll never use.
Don’t ask the Church of Ireland or National Council
for the Advancement of Concerned People
Do it yourself.
But not explosives, no.
There’s always a mostly innocent
retired car park attendant with a limp
(or some such) passing at the exact moment.
He retired five years ago
but because of the limp
was still on his way home.
And now he’s in small pieces
or, even worse,
and you’re the reason
he has that stutter
when the journalist talks to him
on the every o’clock news.
Nothing like a spot of terrorism
to make all that racism, pillage, and slicing
off most of a native’s thigh
just to test your blades
or a child’s hand
because their parents wouldn’t cooperate
with what was
an honest attempt to improve them
seem civilised in comparison.
Arm yourself with
no mere plinkety chisel
but mallet, kango hammer,
a couple of the like-minded,
and high vis jackets marked
‘City Council’ or ‘Irish Water’
and present the slow citizenry
with the fact
of his stone tribute
in the sea.
This poem is a response to a debate in local media in Galway about whether the monument to Christopher Columbus at the Spanish Arch in Galway should be removed.
Kevin Higgins is a Galway-based poet, essayist and reviewer. He is co-organiser of ‘Over The Edge’ literary events in Galway, and has published five full collections of poems: The Boy With No Face (2005), Time Gentlemen, Please (2008), Frightening New Furniture (2010), The Ghost In The Lobby (2014), & Sex and Death at Merlin Park Hospital (2019). Follow him on Twitter @KevinHIpoet1967 or read his blog here.