The Ruins Near Tongue

by Oisín Breen (September 2020)

Sea with Violet Cloud, Emil Nolde



It is in the black,

Where shallow folds twine skin,

And the thrumming of stares,

Stakes the speech and patterns of knowing,

That slow touch turns—at once—too fast,

And you twist in front of me,

Hungry, in the summer air.


Here, the off-cuts of stray water-hungry plants,

Loose fear in the gummed up works of a body set for pleasure,

So that we might list instead to the humbling din of that wanting that preceded us—


A must have as antecedent to time as the sound of the self riling the self with lip-smacking, wet tongued, disavowal, it simultaneous with a vision grappling to hold the curves of you in my eternal hands—


A must that is in the black, and the thrumming of stares—from a hundred eyes, all ours;

A must in the summer air of the early morning

As thirst slams the cusp of my spine, and rises,

Now that we are thrall to the shanking vicissitudes of the burning ash,

Which once I held would yield up the makings of my coffin,

Yet here tears up the root of me—of you—and forces my return to the kerygma of that other place,

Where blood runs cold on black soil,

There at the ruins near Tongue.


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collection, Flowers, all Sorts in Blossom, Figs, Berries, and Fruits, Forgotten was released this year by Hybrid press in Edinburgh (

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