The Penury of Thirst

by Oisín Breen (June 2020)

Sleeping, Egon Schiele, 1911
These strung-out arias are the greater hue of melancholia,
And their openness sounds like cracked cans of cheap cider,
Or the beat of a wooden spoon stirring an onion broth,
Each is a symbol of a symbol of a symbol of a symbol,
Reflecting the mauled rain of quietude.
And, now that my thought is spurred into motion,
As though I hold the melody in my hoary hands,
I remember when we foraged for damson-berries to weave inside each other's thighs,
So that our lips would always be heavy with wanting,
So that we might thrive, with many eyes, 
Plastic, priapic, yet alive.
But this etiolated vision is why I lament the coming of the waves,
It is why I dream of the shattering tranquility of gulls,
It is the starkest of reminders that the I that separates me from you was the first of our sins.

Oisín Breen is a 34 year-old poet, part time academic in narratological complexity, and a financial journalist. Dublin born and bred, Breen spent the last decade living in Edinburgh, after a rip-roaring period that took in, amongst other things, the Middle East; a stint in a bizarre one-donkey town with excellent wine; and a total inability to properly fit a door onto a mountain. His debut collection, Flowers, all Sorts in Blossom, Figs, Berries, and Fruits, Forgotten was released this year by Hybrid press in Edinburgh (

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