Of The Coming Plague
I ask nothing
but that I be allowed go out and get it.
Better death than suffer
the interminable sobbing of newscasters,
the grimaces of sweating experts,
and politicians’ elongated
gobs, which keep moving
in the hope the blame
will be stapled elsewhere.
I’ll tour the town’s mortuaries
and kiss on the mouth all the corpses
that died of it. Before you ask: yes,
there will be tongues
which I’m told will feel
like cold, stiff slugs.
And if that doesn’t finish me,
I’ll start breaking into hospitals,
quarantined night club toilets,
the offices of eminent plastic surgeons
to lick clean the soap dispensers
which, by then, will be all out of soap
but alive with the world’s germs.
For, Death, what do I know of you,
never having died before?
You’ve had a terrible press,
but could be victim
of the smear campaign.
Perhaps you’re the best thing ever.
Like the first gulp of Champagne;
or all the orgasms I’ve ever had,
and a few I never managed.
Kevin Higgins’s fifth full collection of poems Sex and Death at Merlin Park Hospital was published last June by Salmon. The Stinging Fly magazine has described Kevin as “likely the most read living poet in Ireland. His work has been broadcast on RTE Radio, Lyric FM, and BBC Radio 4; and quoted in The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Times (London), Hot Press magazine, The Daily Mirror and on The Vincent Browne Show. His poems feature in Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and in The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Ed Neil Astley, Bloodaxe May 2014). More here.