For those left behind & Black dog

For those left behind

 

Behind our eyes

beneath our faces

beyond skin colour

creeds and races,

our worlds crossed

similar paths,

by dead man’s lane

the killers’ wrath

were all the same.

 

An empty chair

an old hat,

with locks of hair.

A favourite skirt,

muddy boots,

still caked with dirt.

 

We can never

replace those,

who did not plan

to leave so soon.

All that remains

are the ghosts

of those we grieve.

 

Seán Maguire

 


Black dog

 

The black dog

never leaves

my side,

gnawing heavily

at my wounded pride.

 

When I try leaving

it behind,

it is hot

on my trail

wagging its tail.

 

If I go for a walk,

I cannot think

I dare not talk.

 

The black dog,

is a serial beast

feasting on my

darker side,

pulling me below

the swirling tide.

 

I will not weep

when, I put

the black dog

to sleep.

 

Seán Maguire

 

Disappeared

It is twenty years

to the day,

since you drove

all night,

in foul winter rain.

 

Someone saw him

hitching lifts, a hundred

miles from home.

 

Although exhausted,

we talked all night,

until the sun smiled

between yellow clouds,

well rested from the

day before.

 

And yet, after all

this time we fell foul

of idle speculation

and misinformation;

that he was alive and well.

We hoped it was true,

that he would turn up

someday, out of the blue.

 

I love those tales

of roller blades,

Sunday dance halls

and schoolyard races.

For you, those happy days

are shades of broken smiles

and pallid faces.

 

Seán Maguire


Prologue

She balances on a knife-edge. Between tragedy and cliché.

He accuses her of vandalism as he picks chocolate from the fabric of his chair. They were the chocolates he’d given her on Valentine’s Day, the day before he confessed that his Valentine is elsewhere. She couldn’t stomach the thought of eating them and they looked close enough to dog turds when smeared into his chair.

He does not leave the house. It is Dante’s definition of hell. Proximity without intimacy.

The dog can smell her distress and cowers.

He has stopped talking to her. But the rest of the world is.
ABBA: Breaking up is hard to do.
Elton John: Turn on those sad songs, those sad songs, they say so much.
The calendar: Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
She wishes it was tomorrow not today. She wants to believe in time travel so herself-in-three-years can come back and tell her-today: it’s all okay. If it is.

The Real Estate Agent’s eyes light up the moment he’s through the door. They are the fat parasites of marriage failure. They feast on the corpse. It’s the only way they get hold of such gems: the beautiful family home.

Sympathy is a killer.

She wonders about forgiveness. Forgiving him. Forgiving herself.
Maybe there is no such thing as forgiveness. Mark Twain said it was the scent the violet gives off as it is crushed beneath the boot.

Advice comes unsolicited: Let go. Move on. Make decisions. Get on with it. What is past is gone. What is past is prologue.

She reads Chekhov: it is sometimes the most insignificant people who realize happiness is found in ordinary things. She looks on her desk at ordinary things. The paper. The pen.
The prelude to her life is over. If only she could turn the page, and under the heading, Chapter One, begin to write.
About anything but him. So why does it keep coming back to him?

Jane Downing