Belfast Confetti

Suddenly as the riot squad moved in, it was raining exclamation
Nuts, bolts, nails, car-keys. A fount of broken type. And the

Itself – an asterisk on the map. This hyphenated line, a burst of
rapid fire…
I was trying to complete a sentence in my head, but it kept
All the alleyways and side-streets blocked with stops and colons.

I know this labyrinth so well – Balaclava, Raglan, Inkerman,
Odessa Street –
Why can’t I escape? Every move is punctuated. Crimea Street.
Dead end again.
A Saracen, Kremlin-2 mesh. Makrolon face-shields. Walkie-
talkies. What is
My name? Where am I coming from? Where am I going? A
fusillade of question-marks.

from The Irish for No (Gallery/Wake Forest University Press, 1987),© Ciaran Carson 1987, used by permission of the author and publishers

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