Inch Strand, Co. Kerry

From this place

on sand as fine as ash

there is only

the incomprehensible West.

It takes down the sun

and spreads out its spillage

like whey and in return

it sends us this great roil

of climbing, falling water.


Poised here again, held

in equilibrium between

the salt curtain and

a pushy wind, between

the birthstone and

the world to come,

you tether your breath

to the moment and

you turn to go.

The God-Shaped Hole

It’s death

that stencils

the God-shaped hole


into our

tinplate lives.

Because of


childhood’s end;

because of

the sleep


of reason;

because of

the darkness,


that blows like

black sand,

scouring flesh


back to bone

and before

bone; because


of these things,

and because

our name is One,


so we choose

to nominate

the raw, untitled


light that streams

through the

God-shaped hole.


Manhattan Transfer – Going Downtown

Starting from the raggy edge

of a night of demons:

Crazy Helga in a blue room

across the alley, her shadow

wild & ticky on the busted blind

as she wails in German

at her TV screen.

Jesus, what a sound:

something dark & spiny

thrashing in her soul

to cry like that.



as the spidernet

remnant of a dream,

a fume that discharges

in clear light.


And then, as I wash my face

in windowmorning light,

the snow still falling,

thick like feathers, like

the white silence

under a wing.

W. 186th – ghostblanketed cars,

hydrants, phone booths,

all mugged & compliant

like freezeframe phantoms.



as a lostsoul princess glimpsed

on a busted boxtop

in a trashcan.


So I step, a slo-mo dancer,

a Magellan of the heart,

a one-trick missionary

with a world to lose,

into the drifts & dunes

& head towards Amsterdam.

Julio’s got his cab

on blocks by the sidewalk.

He curses, half under snow

with a wrench & a flashlight

while old man Turpin

turns Danish pastry snowslabs

with a shovel & spits

green pockholes deep.



as a face from

a crashed snowcloud,

bloodless, tearless,

turning away.


I sidestep the corner.        

Streetcenter subway breath

in plumes, denying snow.

In the deli the Slimani brothers

rattle & blather round

the kebab spit.

Here is a grillbound, spice &

powders corner of Algeria.

On the wall the entire 1st team

of AC Ajaccio, 1983, flyblown

bouffant bushes dooming them

to formica & disco history.



a rumor

in the vapor bloom

on chrome.


On Amsterdam cabs in chains;

sunshine ghosts kicking up

the crystals. One bent warrior

with a stick raised like Aaron

wagging the serpent, steps

into white surf & disappears

& reappears as one dressed

in ashes for a wake. He moves

like he’s been cauterized in

a furnace of ice.



as a smoke theory

behind a high

brownstone window.


Check into EJ’s for waffles

& coffee & watch the steam

reorganize the air into thick

silver aboriginal mountains.

I slide across vinyl amongst

the prose & numbers shaken out

of the NY Times – the clatter & flash

of barcode headlines, the snap

& flutter of papers lifting

like sudden wings,

from front page clamor

to sports page sidewalk

whisper – Giambi misses

a 3rd straight game.

'Felt fuzzy', he says.

Jesus, what a putz!

And Sheffield’s sprain’s no problem.

He’s good for Sunday’s game

against the A’s. The boys

kick it around: who are the king hitters?

who are the dancing queens?

'Who the fuck gives a fuck?'

yells Nance stamping snow

off her old lady boots.

'Gimme a black coffee         

so I can stand my spoon up in it.'



in the window


drawn south

on a hundred streams.

Which should I follow?


Through Morningside the snow’s

a gray dreamscape. Bloodholes

switch to emerald – the churn & spin

of cop cars crying out loud across

Cathedral Parkway. I’m highstepping

from bootburrow to icefield,

clogging deep & sliding hard.

I drop dark beneath

the streets – the visceral heat

of the subway neon

& the echo of the

footstep cough & scuff,

the hoot & slam wind.

A rocking conspiracy of

furtive travellers, wall-eyed

or wrapped in paper

winding sheets.



as a hiphop chant

in the wheels between

Parkway & Columbus.

Say my name,        

say my name

like you’re winding up

a spell.


At Columbus Circle

the lights go dim,

the brakes bind &

for a moment

we are all of

one breath in

the tarry dark.

Then, singing his pain

like a cantor, a guy

in a Mets sweatshirt

& a baseball cap with

a busted peak jumps up.

'We’re fucked, people!' he yells.

His voice is like stones

in a can. 'We’re fucked!

This the last train

to San Fernando

& we’re going down!'



on the upline platform

at Delancey & Essex

in a brakeman’s cap

from Dave’s Army & Navy

blew me a kiss

& turned into a winter fume.


Washington Square’s

a cloud chamber, the heart

of cumulus. My footprints

turn secret & die behind me.

The edge of everything touches

my face & whispers in

multiple falling voices.

Bleecker carries me

on a twilight current,

turning, turning, the thick

river, past the cameo flash

of Mr Piombino hip-deep

in front of the trattoria,        

dug into his own canyon

down to the sidewalk,

his spade disputing logic

with the falling snow that beds

thick in around his feet.

Two cop cars, chained wheels

flailing, & three kids in mufflers

dancing like full moon maniacs

through their slush & mud parabola.

The ghost of Sid Vicious shivers

on the corner of Bleecker & Grove

in charcoal & tarnish. Nothing

but slogans & a thin soul

against a night of hustling bars

looking for the trick who will whisper

where his mother went one

spectral Christmas Eve.

Hell – once just his father’s name

would have been enough

to light a candle

in the dark.


And now Bleecker crosses Broadway

where the snowplows rule.

Surgeons laying the white

flesh bare. And I catch

up my breath & I check

the beat of my Magellan heart,

cruising now into a

safe harbor. The still pool

of the East Village,

the Stuyvesant rendezvous

whose lights bleed pastel thin

through still falling snow.

Dido’s Bar & Grill whose door

now unplugs &

in a draft of steam

it’s your tune comes stumbling

onto the sidewalk

in a spindrift of crystals

& memory like you knew

each step I took, each high step

sliding down Manhattan’s lattices

on hope & a dream unconsumed

to seek you out, painted

onto the inside of the glass

in your logger’s coat, in

your cossack hat like

you knew & sliced the moment

fine as ice & called me home

with your spilled tune,

its colors running in the current,

& you rising sideways &

your head turning in a mist

saying my name,

saying my name

like you’re winding up a spell.


Initially wooed by the First World War poets and then seduced by the Beats, Dick Jones has been exploring the vast territories in between since the age of fifteen. Work has been published in a number of magazines, print and online, including Orbis, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Ireland Review, Qarrtsiluni, Westwords, MiPOesias, Three Candles, Other Poetry, Rattlesnake and Ouroboros Review. In 2010 Dick received a Pushcart nomination for his poem Sea Of Stars, and his first collection, Ancient Lights, is published by Phoenicia Publishing and is available from them or via Amazon. Dick also has a blog which can be found here.

As daily occupation he does the school run, the shopping and the cleaning, while his partner earns the money. And for fun and modest profit he plays bass guitar and percussion in a blues roots-and-shoots trio. 

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