Poetry ~ Matt Duggan
My half-brother’s condition
a consanguineous syndrome;
(his blood Irish - veins Egyptian)
We watched him on the footie pitch
famous for that fifteen –
throwing punches not footballs;
Hooligan of the terrace
De Niro of the estate.
Our father played rugby
expelled his mist against foes;
afterwards hand - shakes and banter
if he got caught by the captain’s blow.
My own anger lay dormant
awaiting to rise like my father’s –
A brawler on Wetherspoon’s beer spilled floors
like a bear rolling for food & cheap tricks;
In time all reputations faltered
I swapped my fists for words;
even now the mist lingers
like a trapped and raging animal -
breaking out of human skin.
Finding myself quarantined dividing energy between bouts of twitching legs feverish sweats of Anxomnia. I dream of feeling the sun taking a breath of our first incubated summer. What it must feel like to smell spring? bright flowers and the open bloom expectations are now of a high birth rate. Men dressed in pyjamas wear surgical masks glue toilet tissue to both hands - exhausting their frantic play stations. Incarcerated with one million home comforts - television repeats of old sit- coms; we see only a shortage in toilet rolls but not contraceptives. We twiddle our fingers play with our foreskins; wait for the cure to our anxiogenic future.
We all clapped & felt a sense of well being
if hope had found a face regardless of class
It wasn’t the mask we were hiding behind
but those simple emotions we had long forgot;
The face that we see is one of resilience
held between rocks that we split open
on the beaches of tired men.
We all clapped & death pondered
human fragility & resolve
the measure of our species;
would see a world slumped
like a drunk on a midnight bench;
Would our future be an empty hour-glass?
Held in the crumbling hands of delirious men
lost inside the screenshots to an invisible shore.
Our final breath on earth
the last time our names
will ever be mentioned.
(The Egyptians had told us
that we die twice)
we moved our celestial sat nav’s
guiding us through tombs of the deceased;
will they ever leave our souls in peace?
Down office corridors filled
with statues of hawk headed gods;
do not scatter bones and ashes
near kings & fellowships of obsequious fools.
Let them swallow the guts of men
leave me far from those voyagers
& their cabal of perfidious dissidence.
Let me drink wine with the sun god
in a boat of silver heading to the underworld -
may the judgements of our life -
bare truths unhinged and treacherous.
Matt Duggan was born in Bristol 1971 and now lives in Newport, Wales with his partner Kelly. His poems have appeared in many journals including Potomac Review, Foxtrot Uniform, Dodging the Rain, Here Comes Everyone, Osiris Poetry Journal, The Blue Nib, The Poetry Village, The Journal, The Dawntreader, The High Window, The Ghost City Review, L’ Ephemere Review, Confluence, Marble and Polarity. In 2015, Matt won the Erbacce Prize for Poetry with his first full collection of poems Dystopia 38.10 (erbacce-press). Matt won the Into the Void Poetry Prize in 2017 with his poem, Elegy for Magdalene. Matt has previously published two chapbooks: One Million Tiny Cuts (Clare Song Birds Publishing House) and A Season in Another World (Thirty West Publishing House). In 2019 Matt was one of the winners of the Naji Naaman Literary Prize (Honours for Complete Works). His second full collection Woodworm (Hedgehog Poetry Press) was published in July 2019.