Over. Protective.

You took it tight to you

Before it got the air

And held it too tight

Until, unbreathing, you set it down.

Now, blind to the desecration,

You shake it angrily by the leg

And scream

Why won't my baby dance?

The Skirt

Pity the skirt

Symbol of triangled femininity

A line dividing those who sit and stand to pee

Drawn tight to bind the knee

So that the wearer cannot run,

Or draping between feet

To make a hazard of stairs 

So that the wearer cannot rise.

Oppression in a floral disguise. 

Subvert the skirt, recut the cloth.

She used to be for warriors, 

Loose cut for kicking, 

Swinging over a horse

Or a flirty twirl on the dance floor

Genderless and powerful.

All this with only one seam.

True, they’re cold without a pair of tights

But don’t forget they’re also good in fights

And not a fibre stands against women’s rights.

Raise your hemlines to the skirt!

She carries a lot of baggage

In the pockets she doesn’t have


Some say pride is a protest.

First and last, a protest. 

Harshly they say it through gritted teeth 

As though the idea of pride as something so silly as a celebration abrades it’s worth.  

And it is. Pride is a protest. 

But it is a celebration too - a party.

An access of joy. 

Even if it sometimes feels like they tore up your invitation like Cinderella 

And left you in the ashes excised from history,

Pride is your fairy godmother, find your tribe in her bosom and let them tell you your rags look fucking stunning

And share a glass shoe from  Penneys that almost fits.

This matters too.

At Stonewall, as the fighting raged, they wore flower crowns and brought their record players 

And shared wine and stole kisses

And danced and twirled amidst the breaking glass.

When you cannot walk down the street without defiance

When the colour of your skin or the way you style your hair 

Or the way you walk with the undulating sensuality of a young Sophia Loren

Is innate and inescapable and who you are

Then every day is a protest

Every step burdened with worry

Every gaze met carries potential confrontation

And pride is the day when you can draw a breath

Deep, sustaining,

That doesn’t hitch with fear

And scream delight and hear 

Warm, kind, exhausted, 

Yet rejuvenated in the pulsing disco ball reflected light,

That you are not alone.

Dance today. 

Pride was born a Protest, 

But she was conceived in love.


Allergens did not declare themselves when I was young 

Things contained what they contained in private silence

And we blindly swallowed what life gave 

Most of us were fine 

And those unusual children

Who suffocated

On the snickers of their peers

Were not discussed 

Now allergens cry out in Bold

And even nuts

Who are clearly nuts

Coyly declare that they may contain nuts

In performative allyship.

Closing Time Customer

At five to theoretical liberty

You slither in before the door is llocked

And seeing that the shelves are all well stocked

Begin to chat without a fear of scarcity

Or shrinking from my growing tersity

If my eyes contain a yes

It is only because that’s how you spell eyes.


Once all this was trees. Most of our island was covered with oak forests. Cathedraled arcs of intertwining branches sheltered us. We hunted in the green shadows and we prospered.

Then we were settled

And we settled for it. We learned that the forests were wild. We learned that we were savage.

And we cut away.

Cut away the forests. Cut to a bright new vista where the trees have been cleared for a new civilisation, and the savages have no food, and the ecosystem is broken but it’s OK because we can get food from the settlers if we just cut away a little more.

Cut away our stories. A goddess held open in grinning fecundity doesn’t fit, give her a broom to occupy her wild hands and make her a saint of placid domesticity. Take all our gods and goddesses and fairies and heroes and cut away their stories leaving saints and saints and saints and saints and no significance.

Cut away at our women. You told warriors that had grown strong in the oak’s shade that they had been damned by the fruit of another tree and must be small and weak in atonement. We cut our Maedbhs into maids to fit the shape of woman in a new language and we cut her and cut her until she was cutting at herself and then we banned the bean for her own safety and cut away her agency.

Cut away our lover poets and our lovers and our poets. Cut the language from our mouths and the men from our beds. Give us silence and shame and let the shame grow to fill the silence that used to fall between the trees. 

Cut to us stripped of all we were, standing starving in the smallest field staring, wild with hunger, into the bald bare sky and dreaming of branches and goddesses. Cut our ties and set out to sea or stay and cut the crops we’ll never be clean enough to eat while our children cut their teeth on grass?


We can’t cut at nothing and must grow. Our trees are still bare but our roots are deep, growing under the fields in darkness, dauntless courage and biding constancy.

Our day will come when we can pick up all we’ve cut away, and, taking it lightly on one shoulder, join hands and walk back into the fresh green shadows.




An Phéist Talún

Is cuma leis an bpéist talún má chuireann siad tobathrú ort.

Sleamhain agus tais le múcas slaodach

Téann siad tríd an ithir

Ag tógáil istigh gach rud atá go maith

Agus ag fágáil do dhiúltachas go léir ina ndiaidh.

Cuireann an próiseas seo aer san ithir

Mar sin is féidir le rudaí fás -

Rudaí a a uait cosúil le barraí agus bláthanna -

Ach níl an péist talún á dhéanamh duitse.

Is cuma leis an bpéist talún.

Is rud contúirteach é a bheith le feiceáil

Nuair is péist talún thú,

Béile éasca d’éin agus and do volta

Agus cineál áirithe leanaí.

Is rud an-deacair é a bheith i bpéist talún.

Is cuma leis an bpéist talún.

Cuirfidh an péist talún cóta de smuga orthu féin ar laethanta báistí

Agus pléasctha as an talamh chun grá a dhéanamh i measc na deora fhearthainne,

Nó damhsa le áthas

Cosúil le Drew Barrymore, ach sorcóireach.

Is rud an-iontach é a bheith i bpéist talún.

Is cuma leis an bpéist talún má chuireann siad tobathrú ort.

Lá éigin beidh a mbolg sleamhnánach ina uaigh agat.

Is cuma leis an bpéist talún.


They say he banished us.

As if he could, some stuck up sexless little saint

Trying to paint us out of history and taint our good name

When he’s the wee scut that would faint 

if you so much as hissed at him.

It pissed us off actually,

This supercilious sham of a seanchaí

Claiming the concept of a trinity and explaining it

With his wilted little shamrock 

When our divinities had been trifold,

Carved into stones and rocks, for an infinity

Before his fancy new saviour was even in his infancy.

He said he sold sagacity to savages:

A myth to satisfy his sterile sensibilities.

We hissed and sighed and started our slow slide 

Into invisibility.

You know Sheelagh?

Holds herself open, nice god, not much shame. 

He took her name and stuck it on a saint of housework

His stories say she may have been his mother or his wife. 

She was screwed either way, and not by him.

He never pleased a woman in his life.

He took poor Bríd, three sister goddesses

And stuffed her into one tight saintly bodice

Then weighted her down with humility 

And modestness

Enough to bend her knees

And press her belly to the earth.

Casting her down with the snakes

When she was worth three of him.

Buouyed by these successes,

He took sapphics and sodomites.

Who used to be within their rights to enjoy their nights

And said he was sickened by their caresses,

Turned families against them, made them lesser, 

And put them under such stresses

They couldn’t even say their esses

For fear of discovery.

He made them secret and scared

And said that the only recovery was through prayer

When they were never sick

He just reallly didn’t like quares

And, in similar unfairness,

Wasn’t keen on curves, or skirts or longer hair.

A woman’s place is nun or none, if she wears

Anything but a bad habit she’s asking for it

And for asking he took everything that was theirs,

Dragged them off  to scrub stairs 

And endure judgemental glares

From righteous prayerful women, 

Pure enough not to spare the rod.

Like the knickers they washed,

The poor dares had the absolute 

Shite beat out of them.

Children too. 

He slipped it into schools.

His church, that is,

Though with this tool in place

It wasn’t long before they were slipping it in disgracefuly

Knowing the lickspittles in power would faithfully 

Grant acquittals, having been beaten around the faces

When they were little so they know their places.

His predators and perverts basically seal up their secrets 

Behind church gates under their own dogmatic laws

So they could get their preaching paws

On generations of children. 

Kids they slapped, starved and raped,

And those who escaped 

He claimed to banish.

Generations vanished,

Sick of the sight of him

And he only delighted with no one to fight him.

The might of his mitre got mightier

But we were growing in the shadows, getting snakier and bitier.

Not banished, only driven out of sight

And we were losing our patience.

We never claimed to be saints.

We have weighed him in our scales 

And found him wanting, so we’re biting back.

Not with fangs full of poison, or the swift kick in the sack

He so richly deserves. Just small acts of reclamation.

These pale against centuries of degradation

But retaliation only hurts our hurting nation

And we’d rather get on with a bit of self celebration.

We joined his parade, our shining bodies throwing shapes

In defiant exultation, not snakily sneaking in but openly snaking in formation,

Making them ours. It isn’t hard to outdance a celibate. 

Without need of proclamation, we were centre stage

As soon as we left the shadows, and so for the already damned to hell of it

We tore up his laws. Not all the laws, not willy nilly,

Just the ones that were harmful or silly.

We freed the women and the gays,

Made what we could more equal.

We’ve a ways to go yet but we’re back out in the open

Cleaning up the messes

And ready to choke the life out of any sneaky saint

That tries to pull a sequel.

We’ll pass on that. 

You can hiss 

Our esses.


Roe v Wade Blues

Stop all the clocks, turn back the hands,

Yield hard won rights to the right’s demands

Split women from women on ludicrous bases

The shapes of their forms and the hues of their faces

Let fear be a spear that pierces compassion

Stamp down on the weak in the zealots fashion

Shout over dissenters, cut off their voices,

Make bodies and lives bend to personal choices.

Reopen old fights that were already fighted

Tear apart all that was good and united

Wake up old myths and burn all the new witches

For fear of the queer that they keep in their britches

Sharpen your nails and scratch out the trans

Turn the fight from the right and yield ground to the mans

Pour away your freedoms hardwon in blood

For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Another Eden

They want another Eden.

A return to old fashioned values.

A funny old world where we are all the same. 

A simpler time when there was just one man.

Sitting in a garden. Fucking his rib.

No funny stuff.

They want to unbite the fruit 

And return to a world without knowledge

But they cannot go back.

The vertebra has burnt her bra,

Got off her back, and learned her worth. 

The bitten fruit has learned it’s flavour

And wildly thrown its seeds across the earth.

They get on bended knees and dig and dig,

For they have no room for such weeds in a perfect garden,

But still the flowers grow. 

They shout in shame and shake the trees

And crush the fruit beneath their heels,

But though it bleeds, it also spreads the seeds

And grows anew,

And will not let them have 

Another Eden.

To the Daughter of a Witch they couldn't burn

Dear daughter of a witch they couldn’t burn,

Do not define your sisters by the flames,

For they were witches too, as free as you,

They danced beneath the moon and they had names.

There were no witches that they couldn’t burn,

Just those they burned and those that got away,

And those they burned should never be ashamed,

And those that burned them should be brought to pay.

Join with the children of the witches burned.

Destroy the foes that sanctioned witches’ slaughter

And never again let your lives return 

To fear, for you are all strong witches’ daughters. 

No subjugating force should turn, through fire,

A woman’s life into her funeral pyre.