The Poetry of Stephen Byrne


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.

 

 

 

 

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Again and Again you Leave

Breathe.

                           Another war

    has broken the night

                                       in two.

The cracked moon-

  light

            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

                     locking lips

                                  so we breathe

                   in, out, in, the taste of blood

        drowning out the fire.

 

Did I say We

                    breathe?

                                      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

but

                               you left

when I pleaded to you

                        stay

 

It’s only chunks of moon-glass

shattered like your bones

                                     upon the rocks.

Returning

Waiting to Return

My father never leaves his corner anymore.
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.