Kevin Kiely

Kevin Kiely Poems

the ‘Inbox’ lights up with ‘Bethany’ and clarions like room service
from the distant past: ‘Ride the shock waves of changes,
full circles, and settling or shaken perspectives…’
the feverish reply launched into the echoing miles of ether

I went absent leaving you for Chicago
The hotel became a hospital
I signed my committal form at reception

To P.M.B.

The cut aches beneath eyelids of sky a glimpse of cherry red

George rules from his riverside bookshop
four storeys high along rue de la Bûcherie
Proudly claiming Walt Whitman as his ancestor—
Shelf after laden-shelf rising like wine racks in the city

He squats all gold
unpierced by nails—
head crowned by sunlight
no blood stains, no spear or vinegar

Professor-poet invited
the Mexican poet, the Indian poet and the Jamaican poet
to his house for dinner
greeting them with

I've lost you then or is it you've lost me
and once more on the newsfront what a mess
I did, you did go deep we both felt free
it's wiser not to damn but somehow bless

Pound praised you in a letter
‘promising' typed Ezra
Not in the cast of thousands
In those necropolyptic Cantos

The sky is a mere exhibition in pools of rain until the sun
unfolds the froth of clouds casting off cosmic oceans
of light and without horizon limitless, where there is silence

you stand proud

I give you two fingers in a definite V for victory
This art thrives on excellence: not wet-turf stack poetry
I could never dig with Seamus's sheep-shaped head
And between forefinger and thumb hold a laptop instead

The memorial sky: invasive clouds are too near and hyphenate
the irises like cat's eyes entranced: motorways are stairs and corridors
in scale, convoys of traffic are so much glass, metal and plastic
and in each a phantom ghostly driver plays out the sonata

"Was that life? Well, then, once again! " Thus Spoke Zarathustra IV 19

Picture a nineteenth century
cobbled street and a horse

You drive with a river on your left
through a valley and hills
to embrace another river on your right

human sized trees
phantasmagoric figures


The error is to see you numerically:
6 legs,2 antennae and (retractable aerial)
the tongue long as a limb. Your folded

To Gary Snyder who asked: ‘Do the Irish walk around Ireland in their ancient ceremonies? '

I drop my knapsack on the floor

‘Monday Blue' half-price cocktails—

the cartoon-artist talks too little for this long night, and draws
Lenin's flat-cap, a gaunt Bolshevik with torn coat

Eckhart stares through the window
each tree distinct as one life, each universe…
and robed ones each embraced by beams of light
bearing seals of office in rows, pout and nod

The woodland is close to the charnel caverns
trees are stark as if clawing
the grey-blue watercolour sky
it is written: let the dead bury the dead

Kevin Kiely Biography

Kevin Kiely., PhD (UCD) in the Patronage of Poetry at Harvard's Woodberry Poetry Room; W. J. Fulbright Scholar in Poetry Washington (DC) . M. Phil., Trinity College (Dublin) ; Hon., Fellow in Writing, University of Iowa. Kevin Kiely poet, novelist, literary critic, American Fulbright Scholar, and PhD in modernist and postmodernist poetry from University College Dublin - was born in County Down, Northern Ireland. His commentaries on literature, the arts and culture appear in main stream media such as Village Magazine (Ireland) and other publications. Selected Publications: Quintesse St Martin's Press, New York 1985. Mere Mortals Poolbeg/Odell & Adair 1989. Plainchant for a Sundering (poem-sequence) Lapwing, Belfast 2001. A Horse Called El Dorado O'Brien Press,2005 Bisto Award. Breakfast with Sylvia Lagan Press, Belfast 2006 awarded the Patrick Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry. US Edition 2007. Francis Stuart: Artist and Outcast Liffey Press, Dublin 2007; Dufour, PA 2008 Authorised and Official Biography. The Welkinn Complex Number One Son, Florida, FL.,2011. SOS Lusitania O'Brien Press (2012) ‘One Book One Community' title for the Lusitania Centenary in 2015. Plays produced by RTÉ include Children of No Importance and Multiple Indiscretions. Theatre productions include In This Supreme Hour at the Playhouse, Derry. Selected Anthology Listings for Poetry: Poetry Publications Plainchant for a Sundering (long-poem) Lapwing, Belfast 2001 Breakfast with Sylvia Lagan, Belfast 2005/US Edition 2007; Third Edition 2015; Awarded the Patrick Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry 2006 UCD Belfield Metaphysical: a retrospective Lapwing Belfast 2017 UCD Belfield Metaphysical: New & Selected Poems Areopagitica 2018 Yrland Regained Central Cantos (Vols I & II) Areopagitica (2020) Anthology Listings: Something Sensational To Read in the Train (anthology foreword: Brendan Kennelly) Lemon Soap Press, Dublin 2005 Catullus: One Man of Verona anthology ed. Ronan Sheehan Farmar & Farmar Ltd 2010 Ends & Beginnings anthology eds John Gery and William Pratt AMS Press Inc, New York 2011 Windows Anthology eds. Heather Brett and Noel Monahan 2012 In Place of Love and Country eds Richard Parker & John Gery Crater Press, London 2013 Liberty, Come Galloping! Salvation, Flower: Poets Worldwide Anthology ed. Kamran Mir Hazar, Kabul Press 2013. Still Anthology Ed. Chelley McLear CAP, Belfast 2014 Where Two Rivers Meet Ed. Kevin Kiely Artskills NI 2015 West Side Stories Ed. Kevin Kiely Eden Place Arts Centre, Bogside Derry NI 2015 SALIGIA Anthology PICP, The Hague 2015 Cork Literary Review Anthology Ed. Kathy Darcy Bradshaw Books 2016 1916-2016: An Anthology of Reactions Eds. Dominic Taylor & John Liddy Limerick Writers' Centre 2016 Writers Room Anthology Ed. Kevin Kiely Eden Place Arts Centre, Bogside Derry NI 2017 Literature Today (Vol II) Eds. Chaswal & Chaswal (Independent Press) 2020 The Shop: An Anthology of Poetry Eds Hilary Wakeman & Hilary Elfick (Liberty Press,2020) kevinkielypoet wiki)

The Best Poem Of Kevin Kiely

House Of Figs

the ‘Inbox’ lights up with ‘Bethany’ and clarions like room service
from the distant past: ‘Ride the shock waves of changes,
full circles, and settling or shaken perspectives…’
the feverish reply launched into the echoing miles of ether
towards Washington in the Pacific North West:
‘how bleak the backlit Plutonian shores of Sligo...’
I am conflicted between images of you: one is the female
crucified Jesus. Sunday school revolt, ideational acting out
of the repeated headline: ‘Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani’
a saddle of calligraphy on each thigh from the ink-jetting pen

anoint these sheets with the mask of your face
strut those ghostly blue outline tattoos of Kentucky:
the speeding boxcar, the saltshaker amidst healed scars
and burns, while civilized life inscribed in law
demands life be lived: ‘Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani’—
what kind of lawful life produced
a phrenology on your Lempicka thighs
in the white room that grew goose-flesh walls
the cuts around kneecaps released the flowing
lifelines of wine down your sloping limbs

and through you, a lover can enter the house of figs
the hazel eyes of the sphinx burn with fiery gems
one eye for sunrise, the other sunset
from where does our hope, our joy, our ecstasy come—
from our tragedy, is your answer. Yet, your post-romantic
‘goodbye until.’ Turning into the alley with a wilting hand
‘some things last a long time.’ The moon shines stark
from a broken cloud illuminating the goddess and
her incense cigarette. ‘Some things last forever.’

I shall rise from the dead by your anointing
I shall not need to ask of this world in this world:
shall any woman forgive our desertion? shall any woman
forgive herself for falling in love with a man?
and the leaves of the fig tree
shroud their fruit in the gale, beyond tragedy

Kevin Kiely Comments

Séamus Keogh 28 June 2022

When I read your poems and lay them side by side with Michael D's poem's I note one thing in common, both strive to be part of a pretence to be of the ordinary people.

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