2 Poems by Kevin Higgins

Galway poet Kevin Higgins satirizes controversial American figures, in verse that also highlights the legacy of hypocrisy underpinning republican politics


When Henry Kissinger again fails to die:
     Another tree in the Central Highlands loses all its leaves
     A girl sits on a visiting diplomat’s lap
     Someone organises a Nelson Rockefeller look-alike party
     which Henry Kissinger attends
     An election result somewhere is declared null and void for its own good
     An interrogating officer switches on the electricity
     A government spokesman interrupts his denial to wish Dr Kissinger well
     Another tin of Heinz baked beans is sold in China
     and the CEO personally thanks Henry Kissinger
     A ginger cat named Agent Orange leaps down off the garden wall
     A baby slides from the womb with a surprise third arm


When Henry Kissinger again fails to die:
     A ginger cat named Agent Orange leaps back onto its garden wall
     A government we didn’t like is overthrown in a military coup,
     welcomed by the European Union
     A hut is set on fire for the greater good,
     the European Union calls for an inquiry
     Someone dies of politically necessary starvation
     but that someone is never Henry Kissinger
     A bomb is dropped on someone whose name you’ll never have to
     because it’s not Henry Kissinger


     For its birthday, a baby gets Spina bifida
     A Bengali family have all their arms sawn off.
     Fifty bodies topple into the sea off Indonesia
     but none of them are Henry Kissinger
Each time Henry Kissinger again fails to die



I find interesting as a town
in which everyone is Bob Dole;
their spouses, relatives, dogs, and cats also
Bob Dole. Anyone not Bob Dole
refused admittance,
or if they manage to sneak in
immediately deported
for not being Bob Dole
in a place where only
Bob Dole is permitted.

Thought provoking
as a weeklong convention
on the history of the brown paper bag
in a city without cocktails, massage parlours,
or even as much as a cup of tea.
But lots of brown paper bags
and people who know things
about brown paper bags.

Thrilling, even, as driving
down a back road with nothing on it
to Borris-in-Ossory
at thirty miles an hour
every day for a hundred years while listening
to Gina, Dale Haze, and The Champions’
Greatest Hits on a loop,
and not being offered the possible release
of being allowed die at the wheel.


About the contributor

Kevin Higgins
Kevin Higgins has been described by The Stinging Fly magazine as "likely the most read living poet in Ireland." His sixth full collection of poems ‘Ecstatic’ will be published by Salmon in June 2021.

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