Cal Doyle

Lines for John Berryman

As a child my Mother sang songs to me:
you’d marry girls young enough to be your daughters.

I swear to you that there are ghosts in blackface,
vaudevillians, today, tossing lines beneath a broken tent.

The child wrote stories on an electric typewriter –
you just don’t know a man until you see him cry.

Do I still arrive in the middle of the night?
You need an activity, boy, like drinking, to break

in the evening. Here in Dublin I wrote
fifty, no, I destroyed fifty of them here. No. I forget.

Could have been a cottage, somewhere west.
Fifteen, no, sixteen years before      you

were even born.




or, My Debt to Frank O’Hara

To the film industry in crisis:
chin up.

It is difficult we know,
but just think

of those kids re-seeding you
back into the soil

while they bathe
in the light-blue magnetic light

from whence you came.




Cal Doyle has published poetry both in Ireland and the UK, most recently in Southword and the e-book anthology 30 Under 30. He was selected to read as part of Poetry Ireland’s Introductions Series in 2012. He lives and works in Cork City.