Harry Gallagher – three poems


Lipstick smiling, she is filling up.
Feasted out on scrambled heads,
she is toast; roasted in sorrows,
burnt to the marrow. Eaten away.

No longer fullofbeans, lemon tears
scald her dreams; citric kisses
searing at skin. She needs a waiter,
patience long as an a la carte menu.

One close at hand when the moment
arrives, serving up silence, all ears
and smiles. Twinkles and sympathy,
an entremet before sweet slumber.

A Bridge Too Far

These are the tracks
that carry the world;
crossing the bridge,
spanning the void.

These are the arches
that parry the wind
over the ridge,
avoiding the train.

This is the mind
that dreamt up the arms
that carry us now
from city to town.

These are the hands
that drew up the plans
to transport the steam
through every dene.

But this is the ego,
this is Canute
forbidding the tide,
refusing to stop.

This is the hero
dead on the quay,
who said No mere sea
will ever stop me!

This is the man
who built the bridges,
who changed the world,
who couldn’t give up.

Who kept on marching
into the storm,
who saw no tide
worth respecting.

Whose need to advance
was never ending,
who wouldn’t listen
to the voices
pleading to stop.
Never stop!

This is the man
who couldn’t swim
when his only ship
was sinking.

Note: In 1859 Brunel, the great engineer and builder died while trying to build the world’s biggest ship, The SS Great Eastern. The project was a disaster and many blamed the stress of the project for his premature death.

Whatever Happened To The Tuxedo Princess?

Newcastle, we have your Princess.
She is orange and drowning
in a river gone bad. Leaning
into a tide only going out.

Snared by a bridge nobody uses;
she was old and decrepit,
skin seared brittle. Fell into
sludge’s soft loving tug.

We have sponged her banal
with sunshine tomorrows, ashamed
to call the breakers in earshot.
She is almost bloated enough now.

And one day soon, we will bubble
about dignified ends; add her name
to the list of the glorious dead
of a town where everything dies.

Harry Gallagher has been published widely – The Stare’s Nest, Ofi Press, Heddon Quarry Press, Lucifer Press, Rebel Poetry, The Font Journal and many more. His third pamphlet, Chasing The Sunset was launched on 30th January by Black Light Engine Room Press. He is co-founder of The Stanza, a monthly poetry night in Newcastle, and performs regularly across the North.

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