The Wise Curse

by Patricia Walsh


We are there, waiting to be glossed over
Trapped by the formulaic for years to come
Historically deprived of joy, rooting through detritus
Cleaning under orders, loving sanitised heads
Exiled out of school, running home again,
Some disallowed goal frightens the common ground.

Running through coffee, response already given
The sleeping joke capitalises on a miserable sin,
Too upright to be spoiled, genuinely caring
Married off to the threatened, shot dead
Together as role models, grinding angles away
The stock clichés running into a glorified stasis.

The cassette tape in its bulk sings merrily down the stream,
Mature recollection watching on a parked grace,
Strong or weak, going through the unloved type
Jokes and their distance pummeling their usefulness
The useful puns gone away from all recognition
Roaring into submission, the day flying away.

Commissioned into another blame, asking for it
Not alone the funniest, of course he’s fine!
The destructive urge crashes on a wave of crime,
Inward as it seems, taking the year off
Recovering at a premium, not seeing the light,
Walking on three legs at night, the wise curse.



Patricia Walsh was born in the parish of Mourneabbey, in north Co Cork, and educated at University College Cork, graduating with an MA in Archaeology. Her poetry has been published in Stony Thursday, Southword, Narrator International, Trouvaille Review, Strukturrus, Seventh Quarry, Vox Galvia, The Quarryman, Brickplight, The Literatus, and Otherwise Engaged. She published a chapbook titled Continuity DeeErrors in 2010 and a novel, The Quest for Lost Éire, in 2014. A second collection of poetry, Citizens Arrest, was published online by Libretto in 2020. A further collection of poetry, Outstanding Balance, is scheduled for 2021. She was the featured poet in the inaugural edition of Fishbowl Magazine, and is a regular attendee at the O Bheal poetry night in Cork city. Sabiyha Prince is an anthropologist, artist, and author based in Washington, DC.  Her books and essays explore urban change and African American culture, and her paintings and photo collages grapple with memory, identity, kinship and inequality.

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