Paris–Dublin, at Night

Cobwebs of orange pinpricks tinge the void
beneath our roaring wings; myriad lives
give off their sullen glow. A brighter gnat,
a helicopter beaming traffic news,
slides sideways through the thickest of the swarm;
thin filaments connect the villages
that mar the perfect earth like jellyfish
who poison with their glow pure ocean depths.

The fertile fields of France, black lakes, give way
to Channel nothingness, an interval
too brief before the luminescences
of England spill bacillae everywhere.
The Irish Sea kills all, till Dublin’s squares
of seaside lanterns shock us back to life.

Portrush, Northern Ireland

Smoking in this room, a notice at
the Royal Court Hotel proclaims, can lead
to a deep cleaning charge of £50.
The sea we see through rain-bespattered doors
that would, in summer, slide to give dead-white
new-marrieds access to a feeble sun
supplies, like loads of eternal laundry,
onrolling breakers cresting into foam.

In restaurants with themed cuisines, the young
of Anglo-Ireland make gay with their Guinness
and a dated rock’s background of drowned-out noise,
but bare the still disconsolate dry wit
of the colonized. These people had a war,
and peace partakes of the sea’s tedium

New Resort Hotel, Portmarnock

Too many plugs and switches in the room.
The reading lights are dim, however, and
the flat black plasma television screen
ignores the hand remotes, as does the safe
the combination I distrustfully
punch in. Too many outlets for the well-
connected businessman, too much Preferred
Lifestyle, here in formerly homely Eire.

The Celtic tiger still has crooked teeth,
the twinkle of the doomed-to-come-up-short.
Success’s luxuries pair awkwardly
with golf’s grim thrashing out upon the links,
the shabby, shaggy dunes where newborn rich
land helicopters, then can’t find their balls.