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2 poems by Alice Kinsella


This devil’s purse, casing leathery as charred skin, holds not eggs, but lost things. Leaves of paper: timetables, half-poems, receipts, more receipts. Tobacco has fallen from its pouch, coating the lining like leaves on a forest floor, stuck to coins, pounds and pennies, broken bobby pins, empty filter sleeves. Two pairs of earrings, plucked from lobes in strange beds and stowed. Painkillers, pills, a complimint from the Korean on Parnell Street. Burt’s bees lip balm, for bee-stung lips. All the ingredients to make a kiss. Toothbrush, nipple tassels, a used tissue. All these things I have consumed. More receipts inked with ideas I don’t speak. This purse about to burst with what I thought I’d put away.

Existential Crisis as Addiction

In the space of nights, I lose years. Wake to find them in the crumpled pillows of lost boys.

Through the skylight standing on tippy toes I can see the city lights. Urban fox nipping at my heels. Dogged lust.

I get into difficulty in cocktails thick as canal water. Rooftop yards like cattle crushes stinking of Amber Leaf. Smoke the monster out.

Tip the glass to death’s dilating pupil. Down. The birthing cervix of the earth.

A fat caterpillar, on a chaise longue, blowing smoke rings to the mirror.

That set-your-watch fox cuts across the roof four house before classes not attended, look out on bumper-car traffic, buses wedged, pavements wobbly with suits swimming downstream.

Write poetry. Kiss poets. Fall in love with both. Take a shot. Take a picture. Turn the other cheek for a better angle. Post a selfie. Postpostpostmodern. Post language, post truth, post love. Nothing exists.

My reflection is out of focus. Veil thin. Barely there.


Alice Kinsella’s poetry publications include The Irish Times, Poetry Ireland Review and, The

North. Her poems have been translated into Polish, Arabic, and Greek. Her pamphlet Sexy

Fruit (Broken Sleep Books) was a Poetry Book Society Spring 2019 Selection. She lives on

the west coast of Ireland with her family.


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