sickly Ulster sun

home. a rare visit
to a rare place. where
the sickly Ulster sun
trickles off concrete
shops, rebuilt after
bombs. bombs carried
in lorries and vans
to flash and boom
and change everything
and everyone.

leaving grieving mothers to mourn.

memories etched into
the echoes of ripped
cars and slaughter
and burning mayhem.
and the cold rosy smiles
on the gobs of gabshites
clinking glasses in some
republican shebeen on
a job well done.

leaving grieving mothers to mourn.

that was many years ago.
now outside looking in
somehow the undercurrent
seems deeper. cuts deeper.
runs deeper. bubbles beneath
the optimism and belief.
bloc granted, mollycoddled
and tribal. it’s business
as usual, or not, which
is business as usual, or not.

an Ulster farce.

i drove into Magherafelt
past well kept streets with
neatly clipped trees. parked
and walked up Broad Street
anonymously to sit on a
summer-seat by a roundabout
and think. and remember.
and try to forget. suffused
with sickly Ulster sun the
peoplescape was alien now.
strangers in my home town
looking strangely happy.

and confused as ever.

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i am a tennis ball

i am a tennis ball.
one of thousands of
very small yellow tennis balls
at Wimbledon.

i prefer ballgirls
to ballboys. i guess that
i’m a sexist tennis ball
at Wimbledon.

i don’t like the rain.
it makes me spongy and i hate
getting lost under the covers
at Wimbledon.

i quite like being rolled
from net to baseline. to and fro.
i say wheeeee! a lot
at Wimbledon.

i don’t like being lobbed
into the sky. even as an elastic core
I had no head for heights and especially not
at Wimbledon.

i have a very short lifespan
a few games, perhaps a set at most as
i get the crap whacked out of me
at Wimbledon.

i have never had strawberries
and cream. still a tennis ball can dream
perhaps one day i will imbibe
at Wimbledon.

i would love to sit
in the stand with gladys and stan
and watch a five set match
at Wimbledon.

but i am a mere tennis ball after all.
one of thousands of
very small yellow tennis balls
at Wimbledon.