New Poetry, Fiction, Essays

5 poems by Lorraine Carey

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Irish poet and artist Lorraine Carey’s work has been published in the following: Prole, Atrium, The Blue Nib, Ariel Chart, Poethead, The Honest Ulsterman, Proletarian, Sixteen, Quail Bell, Live Encounters, Picaroon, Laldy, The Cabinet of Heed and The Runt Zine among others.
A runner up in both the Trocaire / Poetry Ireland and The Blue Nib Chapbook Competition 2017, her artwork has featured in Three Drops From A Cauldron, Dodging The Rain and Riggwelter Press. Her debut collection From Doll House Windows – Revival Press is available from www.limerickwriterscentre.com


Counting Backwards

I lay there on the trolley,
the light stung my puffy eyes,
bloodshot from a lack of sleep.
The machines, their occasional
bleeps, hushed chatter of theatre
staff, a sterile roar,
as I lay there alone,
The syringe approached speaking softly,
your eyes doing the work.
Hazel they were, if I recall correctly
as I suddenly wished I’d waxed

you asked me to count back from
that’s when consciousness slid
away, darkness swallowed me whole
and they got to work,

scraping your remains from me
as I slept. I couldn’t even dream
of a different outcome,

or who you might have been.

They Brought Grapes

The old hospital lies empty,
the huge windows
no longer reflect
dead eyes of patients
staring out at daffodils,
sheltered by the grey wall,
mesmerised by the greyness
of it all. Watching for strangers
dressed as mothers, fathers
with bunches of grapes
and resentment.
Clock watchers, their fakery
and smiles, perfect Wednesday theatre,
relieved to return to their silence
and Stanley ranges, whiskey,
bingo and gossip.
The smell of their freedom,
a stench really, crisp and sharp
like autumn air.

They shuffled in their furry slippers
from bedpost to window
window to bedpost,
the grilles imposed on the peeling frames
the paint flakes huddled in corners,
little piles of snow, never to melt.

Nightfall meant snores and sniffles,
the weeping moans
of despair and sadness,
as much a part of darkness
as any dream.
The silence now deafening.

It Wasn’t To Be

you going grey after me,
combing, coating the strands,
the wiry silver with purpley paste
your gloved hands, stain free.
Unfurling latex, warming the
pot indulging in a sweetened brew.
The china cups with dainty bluebells,
their gilded edges snug in saucers.
Helping each other into
woollen coats, shelter from winds
whipped off chiselled hills and sneaking
under flapping hems,

it wasn’t to be
becoming like them
folk that shuffle in Sainsbury’s queue.
Arthritic hands, violet veined, sifting
through change in awkward purses.
Jammed coins in stitched joins,
elicit whispered curses from
behind. Unfolding crinkled bags, for
porridge oats and full fat milk
liquid silk, creamy and rich for
latte froth,

it wasn’t to be
shopping for flats, abandoning heels,
their elegance wasted on curving spines.
The plush pile, softened mother’s
echo, you want comfort, not style
A rush of shoppers, boxes lined with
tissue paper, the flip lids like gaping mouths,

it wasn’t to be,
despairing at bits heading south.
Comparing skin tags, liver spots
our cloudy cataracts, trying to focus,
joining dots. The bi-focals framing sparse brows,
yellowing smiles of shrinking locals, their nodding
greetings, ghostly bows

it wasn’t to be……..


The earth took them back,
not in three foot coffins
but wrapped in browning rags
like slabs of meat. Tiny frames
thrown into clay, marked by
nails in a wall, a haunting
of winters and soft, summer rain.

Milk filled breasts tingled,
leaked as tears fell, dried hard
and stiff, their crusted aprons soured
the air, the smell a pungent
reminder of their sins.
Their raw fingers and cracked skin
bled from days and nights in
laundry cells, as nails
rusted red on the wall.
No granite headstones, nor simple
wooden crosses for the babies wrenched
and dumped with the placentas
they preceded.
Thrown in like broken dolls by those
who strolled floors in starched
white habits,
stiffly buttoned up, their hearts
hard as the marble gifted
to the bishops.
Their necks adorned with rosary beads,
glassy nuggets of worship kissed
by thin lips puckered in reverence.
They carried Jesus everywhere,
their superiority silently choked them,
brushed off the guilt,
the heinous dust, whilst the rust
grew thicker coats on
the nails in their hundreds.

The Interruptions from Brent Geese

Their cackles and quacks
disturbed our chat, along the beach.
The tide far enough out to make it back
in dry shoes.
Brent Geese, seventy of them
sparsely scattered, some on blind dates,
other singletons plodded.

They assembled, poked the sand
their spoony beaks scooping for algae
and eelgrass.
Couldn’t hear myself as their high shrills,
their broken notes invaded our space
until we sidled to dunes
the marram’s blades rooted to sand,
swayed like seaweed waltzing.
I spoke softly as my eyes filled,

just as my footprints
shoehorned spongy beach,
and the tide crept in
with a cunning roll,
I trudged back alone.




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