Poetry: Selections from Edward Lee


Those illnesses
that come and fade us,
as though our bodies
must be lighter
before we die
so our souls
can fit through the thin gates
of heaven, if it truly has gates,
if it exists at all, or the soul
for that matter.
I hate those illnesses
the most, having seen
the wreckage
of their touch
in your body,
your death only inches away
and yet seemingly more distance
than you can cross,
despite the prayers said
at your bedside
and in all the churches
where friends bow their heads,
believing in their belief.


In her first gasp of pleasure
comes a name
that isn't his,
the truth leaking out
in this moment of exquisite weakness,
a weakness that
contains the strength
to rent asunder
all that they have
built together
in the eye of the storm
that their life was
from the very beginning.
But, he doesn’t hear
the wrong name, or
does but doesn’t care,
just continues on,
keeping loneliness at bay,
keeping silence from his ear,
keeping himself alive
simply by never not moving,
never not making some sound.

Blood a Poison

Before our father
was our father,
he was a father
to others, six
who hated us
with a passion
that can only be found
in blood,
our history
rewriting their future,
or our future erasing
their history, one
or the other, or
perhaps both,
cruel words born
in their heads
finding their home
in our unmoving mouths,
guilty of a crime uncommitted,
innocence seemingly something
we were incapable of
before we were able
to survive for ourselves.
What chance
did the possibility
of family have
in such mired circumstances,
even allowing for a family
as spread wide as ours?
No chance then.
No chance now,
the father gone,
the mothers too, almost,
blood a poison
that allows little hope
for survival.


through pure fluke,
the loser writes the history.
or the winner simply
wasn’t paying attention,
comatose by victory
and all its benefits.
This history, it is
just as bitter
as that written
by the winner,
the winner, every winner,
so secretly unsure
they deserve the victory,
as the loser
is secretly sure
they deserve the loss,
most losers, anyway.
But does it matter
who writes the history
when we live in a present
where people seem to believe
what they wish to believe,
regardless of what is known
or what is believed to be known?
And does anyone read anymore,
or simply absorb what seems suspiciously
like poison in the air?

The Garden of the House You Spent a Lifetime Paying For

Your garden swelled
with weeds
as you faded
to bone, your body unable
to fight any longer,
just like the flowers
you tended
with loving care
unable to hold on
to the good of the earth
and their share
of the sun.

Edward Lee's poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Acumen, A Thin Slice Of Anxiety, The Blue Nib and Poetry Wales.  His play ‘Wall’ received a rehearsed reading as part of Druid Theatre’s Druid Debuts 2020. He also makes musical noise under the names Ayahuasca Collective, Orson Carroll, Lego Figures Fighting, and Pale Blond Boy.



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