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This week in the town where my parents live and my sisters grew up, two men were brutally murdered. Having been to Castlebar many times I often saw one of them – Jack, a quiet man who was known well to the town. This poem is for him.



For Jack & Tom Blaine

Around the town he laid kisses.

Soft and wet they glistened on windows and doorframes.

They were his gifts, each one a puckered blessing.

Bent into a swirl he shuffled from street to street, a daily routine threaded into his soul like breadcrumbs.

New Antrim Street was his home, a small haven with an open door where he watched his world go by.

Everyone knew him. Locals greeted him with a nod often finding his eyes lost in the job of kissing.


His kisses are lost now, stilled by violence, their ghostly imprints scattered along the aching streets.

Soil waits to hold him, embrace with soft hands too used to harbouring sleep.