John McKeown


Suburbia almost makes sense,

Dripping with stillness, peace

Under the rain-washed, wild, calamitous sky.

Seeming to reflect a deeper order,

A natural stability, my restless, unmortgageable

Over-heated temperament’s too thick to realize.

This is the heart of things, the good life:

A house set well back, two cars in the drive,

garden trim or self-consciously unkempt.

Then two semi-detachees conversing as I pass,

His golf’s improved with those new clubs...

Suburbia’s a graveyard, and these are it’s living dead

Waitress in Cafe Imperial, Prague

Her hair a seam of gold,

she persists, spreading silently

under the killing weight

of compressed circumstance.

She arranges tables, brings beer,

smiles into massed

ignorant faces, while her fingers,

ministers of her soul’s elegance

conduct concertos of beauty

unknown to her.

John McKeown © 2008

The Hundred Years Sex War

No more than a skull


wisps of white hair.

But she drags him over

each and every coal,

still hot, and he submits

to the reins.

She pauses to dab

crocodile tears

in a compact.

He looks on Hell,

draws her close,

thinking to embrace

all of it.

John McKeown © 2008