‘The House That Don Built’ by Kevin Higgins

“The sky is high / We shit on earth / We look up the sky /
The earth gives birth / To our future”
                                                                    Yoko Ono, Poetry (July/August 2018)


The Christmas lights which bat their eyelids
all year round on the screaming pink terracotta roof
are classy as Demis Roussos’s
ground-breaking retranslation of the Odyssey.

The gold-plated giant front gate tasteful
as the prison raps of Bill Cosby and Orenthal
James Simpson combined.

The foundation wobbly as the sestina sequence
Access Hollywood says, Miley Cyrus,
is currently sweating over.

The walls and internal supporting beams
solid as a verse novel by Big Bird of Sesame Street.

The water faucets in the vast bathroom
he had purpose built for himself
understated as the last line of the Haiku
Admiral Tojo wrote the morning
he was hanged.


In cases made of teak,
behind the thickest glass
Chicago has to offer:

Ezra Pound’s raised right hand;

Weldon Kees’s obviously suicidal car keys;

Eileen Myles’s last leather jacket
but one;

the bunch of blue violets
Emily Dickinson was buried clutching;

Edgar Allan Poe’s and Charles
Bukowski’s embalmed private parts
side by side for comparison;

a stray candle from Robert Frost’s
eighty fifth birthday cake;

and several false beards
Walt Whitman allegedly wore.


For these are the endowed halls
where poetry goes to get preserved
in the finest glitter and formaldehyde
moldy Dollars can buy.


Kevin Higgins is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events in Galway City. He has published four collections of poems: Kevin’s most recent collection of poetry, The Ghost In The Lobby, was launched at this year’s Cúirt Festival by Mick Wallace TD. His poems also features in the anthology Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and one of his poems is included in the anthology The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Ed Neil Astley, Bloodaxe May 2014). His poetry was recently the subject of a paper titled ‘The Case of Kevin Higgins: Or The Present State of Irish Poetic Satire’ given by David Wheatley at a symposium on satire at the University of Aberdeen; David Wheatley’s paper can be read in full here. Mentioning The War, a collection of his essays and reviews, was published by Salmon in April, 2012.

Kevin’s blog is http://mentioningthewar.blogspot.ie/  and has been described by Dave Lordan as “one of the funniest around” who has also called Kevin “Ireland’s sharpest satirist.”

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