Poetry of Existence

Noah Is Flown



Noah is flown,

A Book Flown.


Desert wildlife

scurry in and out

of the emptiness.

The sun sighs brilliantly

against flashing surfaces

in the sculpture garden.


The winds for now

wrap gently, whimsically

around each piece.

The White House gleams

in stately stillness

and hails its true chief.

The moon,

architect of madness,

wistfully watches over

his works.



Noah is flown,

A Book Flown.


The connoisseur of art,

eclipsing fame and fortune,

creating from the Perspective

of the Little People

exits the Theatre of life


on the Kirby Express

to that surreal




Noah is flown,

A Book Flown.


Now he belongs to the ages

as he belongs to each of us

or none of us,

for we could never

locate him, catch him

or pin him down:

he was always

out there by himself,

beyond our knowing

yet within our understanding.


Noah is flown,

A Book Flown.


We only glimpsed him

through the Signs of Neon

into an ever expanding

assemblage of dark matter.

His pages

of unanswered questions

disassembling up and out

into the deep landscape

of the universe,


where he waits for us

with the Gonebefores,

at home in his easy chair

with a glass of the best wine,

a mischievous eye,

a warm smile

and the usual greeting:

why are you



what are you

going to do




Noah is flown,

A Book Flown.



Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach    

March 6, 2004


In Memoriam

Noah Purifoy ~ 1917-2004

“I do not wish to be an artist. I only wish that art enables me to be.”

                                                                                                 ~ Noah Purifoy,1963




Christopher Dorner

in the snow

your Black heart

covered in White.


A bear-less mountain retreat

to receive eternal rest

from your sin of righteousness



Saint Christopher

medal on your chest

guiding your mind

across the broken waves,


the old honor now

perhaps pinned on

by other deaths

you conquered,


layering long tears

over Blue Lines

in a code

only you might bind.



African Man

on the run

the ancient saga

at your heels.


Will the hounds

reach you first

to lick the wounds

that scarred your life

of thirty-three years

Of “little black sambo”

“gorilla in the mist”




Or will uniformed fears

invade your solitude

to steal your frozen frame

then hang your image

as a victory

over shame?



will it finally

come to this?

( For Christopher Dorner, former LAPD officer and U.S.  Navy reservist, burned to death on February 12, 2013 by Southern California sheriffs in concert with LAPD manhunt)


            Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach                       

            Written on   February 10, 2013

Dear Joe,


We sent a letter

to Joe Biden

our Veep

and waited for an answer

It would not come.


We also mailed

by snail

his boss

the boss’s first lady

and sundry representatives

of the U S of A.


But we really counted

on Joe

because he takes the train

and seems like us

we thought

he’d care and carefully

read our letter


and care about

the 16 suicides a day

in the U.S. of A

by military veterans

we read about

in the newspaper

that morning.


We could see you, Joe,

board a train to the V.A.

and shake down Shinseki

as only you can do

It didn’t happen

Nothing happened.


Should we not have used

the king’s English

and instead

ranted uncivilly

like you do sometimes



Was it the idea

to raise taxes

on the rich

to pay for counseling

before 17 more

active duty kids

pull the trigger

or the chair?


Our letter, one page,

told you

to ask your boss

for an executive order

to serve the kids

now back home

from the land of i.e.d’s

to lives of PTSDs


Dear Joe,

If you had a 24hr hot line

GI Joe could call you

Then will you care

Then will you act

Then will you write back?


Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach  

June 14, 2011



June 1, 201116 US Veterans Commit Suicide Every Day

June 1, 2011. Washington. The startling revelation emerging from last week’s Senate Veterans Affairs Committee meeting deserves repeating, ‘16 US military veterans commit suicide ever day’. That was the reminder when the Veterans Administration reported that vets account for twenty percent of the estimated 30,000 suicides in America each year. That number jumps to almost 17 per day when active duty soldiers are included.




Tears puncturing gargoyled faces.

Legs gone astray.

Arms hanging loose.

Existence doubted

in dazzling light that kills.

Nightmare music exploding

in hero-dreams.

Insistent video games

playing blood and guts

in dying colors.

Heads cocked alert,

ready to fight or flee.

Going home, now.

Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag

and smile, smile, smile.



“Irritable hearts” crawled out of Gettysburg.

Shell-shocked silhouettes

stumbled through the Argonne Forest.

GI’s dressed in battle fatigue

after the Bulge.

A soldier blinked his eyes

in Saigon and

woke up with Falloujah

on his mind.

Lives salvaged from war dumps,

always going home.

Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag

and smile, smile, smile.



So pack those uniforms neatly away.

Wage a life inside your heads,

until the other shoe drops,

and you rise to the next call.

Smile, boys, that´s the style!
What´s the use worrying?
It never was worthwhile.
So, pack up your troubles in your old kit bag
and smile, smile, smile!


Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach  



(Written after reading in NY Times today that American troops are coming home from Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorders in increasing numbers and stretching available mental health services.

“Pack Up Your Troubles etc.” lyrics from World War I Song composed by Felix Powell; words by George Asaf, published in 1915)


Ali et Ali in Dublin: Between Scylla and Charybdis



Ali bin Dub Ahmed

and Ali Mohammed bin Dub

            stand a drink

at Davy Byrnes Moral Pub

September 2009.


What’ll be

Ali asks

in ArabicEnglishIrish


Fair play to you, man

a snug-bound voice responds

            but first

remove those feckin’ chains

and you’re very welcome here,

chime others.


Your man, Ali bin Dub Ahmed

unchains himself and his cellmate

            sheds Guantanamo-getup

orders a round

raises a jar

to the old woman of Beare.



how was it in Cuber

a red-bearded fellow inquires.


How do you say

fughin’ madhouse,

your man fully man replies,


let me tell yous

and all lean in



(Upon the occasion of the Irish Republic receiving two Guantanamo detainees from the USA, September 2009)



Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach 





Paddy Stink, Mickey Mud and Maggie Blue

tied together

with beads of persecution

Sisters of Mercy

Have mercy on me

Christian Brothers

See Christ in me


Maggie Blue, Mickey Mud and Paddy Stink

poverty our crime

the cross our salvation

            Holy Father in Rome

            bless me

            Holy Mother Church

            succor me


Where is Mammy?

Where is Da?

Who sent me here?

Who doesn’t care?


            Sisters of Mercy

            pray for me

            Christian Brothers

            care for me


Away to mountain cliffs

Behind cold stone walls

“No wonder they sent ye here

ye brazen article”


            Sisters of Mercy

            save my soul

            Christian Brothers

            scorn my flesh


A state within a state

Christian Brothers patriots all

bullied for old Ireland

beaten for her sins

            Sisters of Mercy

            humiliate me for God’s sake

            Christian Brothers

            rape me for Eire’s sake


Free State English taught

spare me from the lash

free me from the

rosary round my neck


            Holy Mary Mother of God

            help me now

            and at the hour

            that dark hour


Where is Mammy?

Where is Da?

Why send me here?

Who does not care?


Paddy Stink, Mickey Mud and Maggie Blue

tied together apart

died together alone


Holy Ghost

spirit me away

infuse the flame of wisdom

in those who prey






Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach          

May 23, 2009


Sic nos sic sacra tuemur


Peregrine Problem Again


A soldier in a video.

Conserve him, please!

Hope American-style

for this blue-eyed

bird of prey. Home

is so far away.

Release him to

the wild West.


Get out of town

captors instruct.

Or we’ll kill

the guest

we feed so well.


Once upon a war

we did not see

the sad turmoil

of youth under arms.


we can choose to see

or not the cross-legged

blond shaven scared kid

screaming noiselessly

for salvation inside

a shalwar khameez.



Worried waiting wanting

yellow ribbons in

dwell time

get married

have kids help folks

live out his

small town days.

While hashish opium

morphine heroin

are paying

for his cage

back in Idaho.


What was it about

Uncle Sam’s finger

that dashing recruiter

a desert crusade

A Band of Brothers

proud family

that’s missing?


Peregrine problem

again. Conserve him

PLEASE. Release him

fly him to the

wild West.



Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach      

July 19, 2009                                                                                



In my dictionary,

empathic companion for old age,

I scan for the meaning

of monody from a poem

I am reading by Edgar Allan Poe.


But I reach the word Mosul first

and catch myself surprised

as though glimpsing a familiar face

on the street or in the market.


I read

“a city in North Iraq on the Tigris,

the site of ancient Nineveh,

population 180,000.’”

I reckon

there was a time

when Mosul as a place

meant nothing to me


yet now it simmers in the

vocabulary of terror,

paraded before me

dressed in armor,

carpeted in blood,

peopled with tears.


I realize

I will never know Mosul

as itself. I find monody

from the Greek “monodia”

or “singing alone.” Also

“…a poem in which the poet

mourns another’s death;

…a lament; a dirge.”


I am singing


apart from the fever of war:

my words a dirge

a solo reconnaissance

over Mosul.



Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach      


Final Journey


My heart pressed down

by dense steel beams

floats uneasily

towards the east.


Farewell to NYC

Staten Island

and the rest

my star-mangled home.


Sheared by machine

seared by torch

reshaped into cubes

for ready shipping

the twin remnants

unceremoniously scrapped

for their final journey.


Woven unseen

amidst the girders

on this untouted venture:

the sinews of my soul

the blood of broken bones

the residue of dreams.


Towers tonnage

from Ground Zero

to find new life

in India

in China


into useful metal bars

for other

lesser towers.

My vanished life

insinuated among the ingots

carries sorrow’s freight

so heavy

it breaks through

vessel’s bottom

ascending into memory





(This poem arose after reading today’s (1/21/02) Reuters report on Internet:

“World Trade Center Scrap Sails for India, China”)

Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach  

on Martin Luther King’s Holiday

January 21, 2002