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A Poem for the Poolbeg Lighthouse

By Emma Jo Black -

why do you look at me like that

with your tall silence with your one red eye

the wind bowing in frustration to your stare to make a walkway of itself on which to sneer at the tide

watch a seagull pick the feathered flesh fresh from its kin twin mouths devouring a beak rotated back

how do you follow me to shore with your metal song

your blood shape in my sky

“fresh tears coming out of my eyes this morning”

laughs the old man on the pier his grin cut deep by the dark blade of the water

how dare you recognise my face looking down from above with your rust-covered gaze

I’m not lonely like you

in fact, I’m leaving

try chasing me down in this parched autumn mist I won’t turn back

as you split through the horizon I won’t cry not for the weight of the sky on your stooped silhouette

I’ve no tears for a lighthouse

lest the barnacles stuck to my skin

fossilise in their salt lest the barnacles stuck to my skin

bring us close, you and I


Emma Jo Black is a Paris-born poet and visual artist of Irish, French and American nationalities. They bridge seas through poetry and cultural anthropology, investigating migration paths and experiences of liminality. Jo hosts events at Spoken Word Paris and was recently published in The Galway Advertiser’s Vox Galvia and Lothlorien Poetry Journal vol. 6.

They have worked with indigenous leaders in Colombia, left stray feathers in Berlin and stalked the streets of Dublin as a vampire. Their stage performances combine poetry, physical theatre and drag in order to celebrate the queer and the unknowable in each of us.


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