Neu! Post-Truth Poetics DAY THIRTY-FOUR – Harry Gallagher


Their hollow eyes follow the line
crutching ahead to a sign:

Free At The Point Of Care,
but the building isn’t there anymore.

The gathered, hobbled, uninsured,
demure as death duties, wonder

at an underworld bereft
of a bed for Orpheus,

who is noodling unnoticed
in a room of pastels where,

to anyone who will listen,
cottonheaded, he cries, wonders

why her name has escaped him too;
whispers unlit torch songs

indistinctly to the bits of kids
picking up knockdown money.

They walk slow as drips, talk
of closures and agencies

Whose notes are these?
Why are the lights going out?

Sometimes in sleep he hears
the laughter of Hades,

whose milk and honey pledges
never reached the edges. Tuneless,

confused, he wakes still unseen,
mocked by impossible dreams:

The dead do not return to us
is a very hard lesson to learn.

From cradle to grave bleeds
its dust from a wrecking ball

and it will not be long now.


Harry Gallagher has been published by The Interpreter’s House, Poets’ Republic, Ofipress, Rebel Poetry and many others. His third pamphlet, Chasing The Sunset (Black Light Engine Room Press) came out this year. He is co-founder of The Stanza, a regular poetry event in the North East.

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