Tuesday, March 08, 2016

The Sunday Poet: Tomas O'Leary

Tomas O'Leary

Way Back Before the Drones

We were roaring drunk when they nailed us
in some jolly swill of an alehouse, our
raucous songs of butchery having
unmasked us as favoring the wrong bloody side.

Selective murder all over the realm, that
was all we'd been up to, and these snakes
we were having a hellish high time with
go smashing our heads on the stone bar

and spilling our drink all over! You're goddamned
right we're offended, we've proper commission
to cleanse your nice hovels of elements
inimical to fair trade, our mutual boon.

All we done's for the sake of us all.
We're like priests on a sacred assignment
slicing throats for the greater good.
We demand to be treated as innocent murderers,

ushered down from this scaffold on which
we seem suddenly now to be standing.
We sense you're slow to grasp the pith,
but read our credentials, you morons, can't you see

we're just top-secret hunt-and-kill sorts
who got a bit drunk and sang bold songs?
What court of reason would claim we're to pay for killings
uncertainly counted, and all for the blessings of commerce?

These nooses pose a serious affront
to the good will our sovereign governments had
achieved before this unfortunate misinterpretation
of our endeavors to rid you of evil.

Activist diplomats, that's all we are, with families
we're to return to, that's the law.
Don't make the mistake you're about to make. . .
Ah shit, you're making it! . . .

The traps are sprung, we drop straight down,
no time till our necks are snapped,
split second at best for a speck of sass

at them bastards that sent us: Immunity my ass!

Tomas O'Leary's third full-length collection of poetry, A Prayer for Everyone is just out from Ilora Press. Of the poems in this volume, X.J. Kennedy said, "I relished their verve, their cheerful strain of Irish blasphemy. And Rhymer's Horoscope is the best poem about poetry I've read in years." O'Leary's previous books are Fool at the Funeral and The Devil Take a Crooked House, both from Lynx House Press. O’Leary holds an MFA in poetry and an MA in expressive therapies and taught for years, and for years has worked with people who have Alzheimer's. He plays Irish accordion, sings on key, doodles artistically, and translates poetry from the Spanish.

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