John Doyle

John Doyle is closing in on the big 5-0 (the age, not the police force) with seven books to his name and his first novel still begging the judge to let it out of jail. Originally from County Kildare in Ireland, he now resides somewhere on Planet Earth with his fiancé, his dreams, and a reasonably new car.

Small Birds Will Fly Out In Front Of You When You’re Driving

   Small birds will fly out in front of you
   when you're driving - Ad infinitum -
   take it as gospel. 
    Every noon 
    these casualties pile up in flocks of ten to half a million -
    in spite of holy water, in spite of speed limits,
    a mass grave speckled
    like diamonds on withered ace,
    or pock-marks on a lime-coated leper.
   Take my word for it, honey -
   a small bird will fly out in front of you when you're driving...
   You can’t stop.
                    Do you say out loud to yourself
                                                    they don't 
                                                              want me to stop?

I do.


A process that separates salt from water is known as desalination.
How salt both builds around a soul and later is removed

remains a great mystery.
I tried this though, using a hacksaw to get into my chest,

my father’s tool-shed for a chisel
to cut away salty deposits.

These had built up over decades,
they sparkled like coins in windows in Monaco

where specialist collectors came from all across Europe
to deal and trade, look down on amateurs like stamp collectors

and those Yankee baseball card collectors.
I hacked away for a month, filled enough buckets

to trade in at my local restaurant where a chef I went to school with
had grown nine feet tall and wore a wig, false teeth and tattoos -

these tattoos suggested membership of some black magick cult -
this I would investigate later;

I told him to take the salt, my soul was my own, 
not for sale.

With a less heavy feeling in my chest, I made room for daily meditation,
music from the Orient, the borders around midnight

chipped away by BBC Radio Wales.
When that clock stuck 12, I checked my soul,

there were no fire engines, no lilacs turning green,
no airplanes shot down by terrorists in countries that changed their names

six years ago.
My local restaurant phoned me this week, said thanks,

offered me vouchers for a meal.
It feels kind of creepy, eating what is essentially part of my own soul.

Chef told me later as we sat down for after-hours brandy
it was a biker gang he was part of, not a devil worshipping cult.

Eternal Car Dealerships

It is only for those without hope that hope is given
Walter Benjamin

Stone-dead moon will lose its balance,
fall like a stunt-double from a church-spire in Mexico;
eternal car dealerships surround us on our highways,

they are gunmen who queue to take those shots,
they place money on who or what comes falling down first,
how fast they drop, what collateral damage there is, if any;

moon goes first always, which if anything takes a load away from our sun,
having been so generous with its light over these last billion years;
no-one thanks car dealerships, surrounding us like hogweed on our highways,

they are like in-laws at weddings, choking us with their own desires,
no escape as confetti flies like grenades,
Ferrari and Bugatti,

Nissan, BMW, Volkswagen, 
those drunken uncles who promise to leave early
then come back in their thousands crushing us at the bar.

It was funny when the moon hit the ground, 
and the sun looked down,
all those shattered windscreens in showrooms as alarms went off

that no-one heard, everyone elsewhere getting divorced, 
or paying off their debts 
on a senile jalopy  - writing their final cheque in complete darkness


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