From County Kildare in Ireland, geography and politics matter not to John Doyle; rather, it is how long his hair will remain this color and how long it will stick around before saying sayonara. Songs For Boys Called Wendell Gomez is Doyle’s second collection of poetry, and features musings on Spanish supermarkets, pyromaniacs learning their trade in local hay-sheds, Australian postage stamps, nice things that happened in 1986, longwave French radio stations on rainy neon-dazzled nights, some existential excursions in the Irish language, Pete Duel, and the profound epistemological experience of two friends urinating in a river on a Saturday afternoon in 1983.
Her face reflects
George VI, Onassis, 1950s mob-built hotels,
her maiden smile uttered
in waves of cellar-whitened wine,
John and me resist the urge to swear;
and her colours gleam through heralds,
a coat of arms tanned on rocks
near Eze; she speaks of horses
groomed in youth,
smile unfurled as flags at death of dusk.
“Monaco”, she tells us
“was nothing ‘til the mobsters came,
the palace was full of weeds
and Grace Kelly was some Irish girl’s name”
Monaco; as we stand,
charters carousel-tanned veins –
she listens through
chimes of glasses almost-full;
we rummage through our lives, what stories could we possibly tell?