Terence Winch




I take just a drop of you

from the eye-dropper, just

a tiny sample of your essence,

your sharp tanginess dissolving

on my pliant tongue, my tongue

which is part sponge, part reptile.


First the headache goes, then returns

with more force, calling for ice and medicine

of course as you enter into my bloodstream

like a bad memory nestling in the crevices

of my brain, which is like the surface of an

alien planet, where you stand all alone,

abandoned, sticking your flag into the geologic

garbage of the history of my emotional life.


Then the idiots come into the dark room

and pull the curtain back and we see a day

like no other out there in the wild embrace

of your remote love, the sun the best disinfectant

so they say, as enlightenment crumbles

and we stumble home in time for happy hour.



The Others


The others lose things all the time.

They never put things back where

they belong. They believe the passive

voice is as good as the active. They are

okay with "irregardless." They will

answer all calls from "unknown caller."

They will put unappealing leftovers,

such as broccoli or liver, in an old

Cool Whip container so that when

you open it, expecting to find that

delicious, slightly chemical-tasting

creamy topping, you will get a

horrible dose of reality instead.


The others do not use their turn

signals. They call in sick on the day

of the big battle. They use chop

sticks even with a knife and fork

right in front of them. They

take up two parking spaces in

the jammed up parking lot.

They refer to their annoying

little daughter as "princess." 


The others think their dead are better

than yours and will bury them

in biodegradable coffins.  They

wash the feet of their sick,

drying those feet with their hair.

They think all the awful shit

they have hidden away is

more meaningful than your

awful shit. They firmly believe

the sky is bleeding, the ice

all melting, the stars falling

into dark pools of disbelief.





When the gigantic pub,

the size of a supermarket,

first opened, we all said

this place is far too big

for our furtive dialogues

best exchanged in a small

dark corner, dimly lit.


Then all the pubs started

getting bigger and bigger.

The pints were the size

of buckets. The flat screens

bolted to the walls were

as big as a king-size sheet.

The waitresses were

female Paul Bunyans.

The bartender could

hold you in the palm

of his monstrous hand.


Meanwhile, we got tinier

and tinier. Every year

at our annual physical

we'd shrink an inch.

We were too diminutive

to lift the drink to our lips.

If you slap us on the back,

smoke comes out our ears.

We have to stand on a

little platform to recite

our catalogue of fears.



The Ugly Uproar in May


I would not miss the fugue

you play on your bass drum.

Not for anything. And when

you barge through the door

with a fox name Bridget,

I will buy you expensive drinks

and Kool-Aid and rub salve

on your scary scars.


You fail spectacularly

minute by minute, yet we

keep you in our clan.

Think about the box

is all we ever ask of you.

But you are a rascal, an

eegit, a Pharisee, and your

ears are packed with enough

wax to polish the floor.


Go to the far-off lake

in the morning and listen

to the music that God spits

out over the cliffs and crags,

croaking in his hoarse

baritone.  Isn't it lovely?

There's a dance tonight

featuring amadons and

warriors. We want you there,

distributing sin, doling

out your palaver.

My Life in the Wild  


The black cat who vacations

in our yard is so big I think

of her as a small panther.


The pediatrician's poodle

is so pretty she is

used to getting

what she wants.

I keep petting



Winston Churchill's parrot is still

alive, cursing a blue streak

at allies, enemies, fascists.


The million deer of Rock Creek Park

come out in the dark

for a lark.


I pray the ants do not return.

They are small, but numerous.

I am tall, but humorous.


Terence Winch is the author of five poetry collections: Falling Out of Bed in a Room with No Floor, Boy Drinkers, The Drift of Things, The Great Indoors, and Irish Musicians/American Friends, which won an American Book Award. He has also written two story collections, Contenders and That Special Place: New World Irish Stories, which draws on his experiences as a founding member of the original Celtic Thunder, the acclaimed Irish band. His work is included in numerous anthologies, among them the Oxford Book of American Poetry and four Best American Poetry collections, and has been featured on "The Writers Almanac" and NPR's "All Things Considered." Winch is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in poetry, among other awards.  As a musician, he is a songwriter and button-accordion player.  In 2007, he released a compilation of his best-known compositions called "When New York Was Irish: Songs & Tunes by Terence Winch." In 1992, Irish America magazine named him one of the “Top 100 Irish Americans.” See www.terencewinch.com



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