2007 - 2022

Poem of the week : In A Dublin Pisser

In A Dublin Pisser

In a Dublin pisser
I relieve myself of a €6 Heineken
Wearing the porcelain smooth
With a history of spirits
An interweaving tapestry
Of pish
In this riverside hostelry
Turned tacky museum of plastic paddy past
I think of the rough men who once did the same:
The dockers, the porters, the factory workers
How they would fill this cramped room with laughter
Turn the air blue on the fine tip of a filthy joke
And I wonder, what they’d think of me

In a Dublin pisser
My bladder conjures a river
As I recall my maiden voyage
To these ancient shores
Sure my name would be a passport
Trigger a long-planned celebration
A riotous homecoming
Of tricolour tickertape
Before discovering, with amber disappointment
That I was just another homesick tourist
Weary with modernity
Groping around for an identity
In the hollows of the past
Wallet open to any amateur historian
Who could bestow some meaning
On a sad wee boy from Glasgow
Who grew up listening
To too many Wolfetones records

In a Dublin pisser
I dream a meandering future in this city
All literary clichés
And adopted phraseology
My harsh vowels embraced in a celtic knot
A second chapter of overdue respect
But the artists moved out
When the money moved in
Gentrification as cultural cleansing
It’s fucking deadly right enough, lads
When London is a viable alternative
Killing off the saplings of creativity
Filling in the fertile ground of community
With boxes of impenetrable concrete
And glass shrines to the malevolent gods of capital

In a Dublin pisser
The seal is broken,
So are the tiles
And I wonder –
Like the fucking idiot I am –
If Joyce or Beckett or Heaney
Ever held their shrivelled cock at this urinal
Letting the liquid inspiration flow
And what they’d think of the old place now
All Airbnb lodgers
Transient ghosts holding four leaf clovers
En route to the Guinness Storehouse
Streets overlaid with the double negative
Of a 1916 theme park
To which I have purchased the full package
Novelty photograph and all

I let the recycled air
Dry the European water from my hands
And breathe in my counterfeit birthright
Liffey smog, unfiltered
From the unofficial diaspora capital of the world
Mecca x Rome x New York
For all of us who trace our lines across oceans
Taking the journey of our ancestors in reverse
Trying to understand their hardship
As we fly unmolested across the Irish sea
The snakes returning home
Quicker than it takes a pint to settle



Kevin P. Gilday is an award winning writer and spoken-word artist. He is a multidisciplinary artist working in poetry, theatre, television, literature, music and the weird gaps in-between. Most recently he has edited an anthology called The Scribbler’s Union (which you can buy here) showcasing poetry and writing by new voices.

Comments (5)

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  1. john Wakenshaw says:

    All we are is idiots, but a lovely place to be !

  2. Axel P Kulit says:

    Very nice.

  3. J.Jones says:

    Wonderful stream of in vino veritas. Echoes of Unionists relieving themselves into the wind.

  4. Paula Becker says:

    What a lovely poem (though maybe lovely isn’t quite the right word). Thank you Kevin.

  5. Neil Young says:

    Groans. What a stream of cliches about Dublin and literary ‘Oirishry’.

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