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Streets I'd not revisit

Kevin Higgins

Hey fatso, you laddy, cursing at the wife,

someone’s malcontented daddy,

shaking a hedge clippers at your life.

No doubt you spank

yourself over the things you think I do.

I wish someone had lifted me by my lapels

like I’m going to grab you

by yours.


I’ve been down Grope Lane and Hackney Wick

and anywhere there weren’t electronic

gates to keep me out. I’ve more than once 

helped the wrong type of woman

break her mother’s one

and only couch.


I’ve sold commie newspapers door to door

on the twentieth floor

of blocks since demolished;

painted slogans I now know to be lies

on buildings all around Kensal Rise.

I’ve a map somewhere of Workers’ Paradise,

full of streets I’d not revisit.


I’ve twitched like Andreas Baader

hoping to make it through airport

security at Frankfurt Main, as once again I boarded

the bus with a travel card

that was out of date. I’ve drank cans

of Kestrels down the Green Man

and in the morning couldn’t

find a pulse.


I’ve known weeks when Sunday lunch

was a sausage roll I had to assemble myself;

slurped tea in a condemned mug

straight from the microwave,

with bits floating in it that were likely

still alive.


I’ve done DIY dentistry

on every one of my top front teeth,

have the incomplete smile to prove it.

I’ve watched Class War anarchists

throw fire extinguishers at cops,

while you were upstairs trying on

your latest tank top.


I’ve been to Paradise,

mate, and don’t plan a return visit. So, belt

up and do as she says. 

Kevin Higgins poetry features in the generation defining anthology Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Ed Roddy Lumsden, Bloodaxe, 2010) and one of his poems is included in the forthcoming anthology The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Ed Neil Astley, Bloodaxe April 2014). The Ghost In The Lobby (Salmon, Spring 2014) is Kevin’s fourth collection of poems.

“His contribution to the development of Irish satire is indisputable…Higgins’ poems embody all of the cunning and deviousness of language as it has been manipulated by his many targets... it is clear that Kevin Higgins’ voice and the force of his poetic project are gaining in confidence and authority with each new collection.”

                                                                               Philip Coleman

“Gil Scott Heron’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised as re-told by Victor Meldrew”.

Phil Brown, Eyewear

"Good satirical savagery".

The Cambridge Introduction to Modern Irish Poetry, 1800-2000

Praise for Kevin's poetry.

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