Stephen Byrne is an Irish chef and writer currently living in Chicago. His first collection ‘Somewhere but not Here’ won the RL Poetry Award, 2016 International category and is due to be published late 2017. He has been published worldwide in places such as Warscapes, Spontaneity, Indian Review, Tuck Magazine, The Poetry Bus, The Galway Review, RædLeafPoetry-India, The Original Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology and many others. He is the food writer for ‘This is Galway’ website.
has broken the night
The cracked moon-
is smashed glass all over the table.
I never asked you to walk into the sea.
Five minutes to eleven
the war crackling like burning wood
in our throats,
smoke punching the ceiling
from our mouths
our mouths two fists
so we breathe
in, out, in, the taste of blood
drowning out the fire.
Did I say We
What I meant was
I stuck the tip of my tongue
into my bloodied cracked tooth
searching for the taste of you
the taste of war
the war between the tick of the clock
screaming don’t leave
& the tock stopped dead on five minutes to eleven
when I pleaded to you
It’s only chunks of moon-glass
shattered like your bones
upon the rocks.
Waiting to Return
His chair & ass have become one, married fifteen years.
He just sits & smokes, listens, smokes, eats, smokes.
The clock has giving up & died.
The Earth, breathless from passive smoking, now
stands still, unable to race around the sun
while he grows old, oblivious to the hour of day.
He just sits & smokes, eats, smokes.
He dreams of fishing beside the canal
with the wind in his face & rain in his beard.
He anticipates the day he can return to the place
he feels content. He waits staring towards the window,
remembering how he use to fish; his hand clutching the fishing rod,
the maggot with a hook through its head, the slow water
harmonizing the reeds, the passing swan, the thrill of a fish
taking the bait- the impeccable sound of absence.
He yearns to be there. He is so close. For now, he just sits
& smokes, eats, smokes, listens, smokes, waiting to return.