A brief interlude in the (mis)translations project to offer something original, insofar that any poem may be original. This one is presumably self-explanatory.


There had to be earlier times that I don’t remember
now lost in the fog of memory, from confabulation
to capitulation, but the weekend that those poor kids
burned in Dublin, a few days before Bobby starved to death,
I went away for the first time with my da,
over to the football on the ferry, a bumpy crossing,
toilets heaving with puking men, ankle deep,
stinking of sour stout, black and yellow,
till we landed in Liverpool, like millions before us,
just after dawn, into grey skies, drizzle you wouldn’t
call rain, all the shops still shut but my stomach
complaining, and it was still Yosser’s town then,
red and angry, Torytortured, the darkened eyes
of the sleepless staring up suspiciously from shopfronts,
and we went looking for sausages and bacon, anything
really to stop my complaining, walked all the way
from the docks to Anfield, my hand in his. In his hand.

I think they even lost that day, those invincible reds,
and I don’t recall the match, just the crowd, a sea of scarves,
the roar of thousands, the fear and thrill of it, a man’s world,
and me manhandled into it, gripping my father’s fingers for fear
of losing him in the crush of the crowd, the swaying terrace
bouncing underfoot, and when, in the dayglo sun of Puglia
I grab my own kid’s tiny hand to arrest his limitless courage
in the face of the big world, the onrushing mopeds, the cars
and traffic he’s obsessed with, this is what I’m really holding onto,
the dead man’s hand, that lost grey world, all victories in defeat.

Last Universal Common Ancestor

(With huge apologies to Suzanne Vega)

My name is Luca
I lived on the hot sea floor
I lived quite a while ago
About four billion years or more.

They say I came from a meteorite
during the Eoarchaean night
Just don’t ask me when that was
Just don’t ask me when that was
Just don’t ask me when that was

It might be because I’m mumsy
But you’re all descended from me
The lineage is rather hazy
But all life are my kids, you see.

From spirochaetes to amoebae,
cat, dog, whale or butterfly,
every living thing is mine
every living thing is mine
every living thing is mine.

For more info on your oldest ancestor, here’s a nice NYT article on the topic.