Karl Parkinson

Karl Parkinson

Karl Parkinson is a poet and novelist from north inner city Dublin. Photo: John Jordan


The People Died
Sunday, 06 September 2020 12:47

The People Died

Published in Poetry

Karl Parkinson presents The People Died, published in his recent collection Sacred Symphony (Culture Matters)

The poem has been made into a video by poet and videographer Dave Lordan, and performed by myself. It's a danse macabre, an avant-garde videopoem for the 21st century that looks back on the poetic tradition, and to our present situation.

I received an Arts Council Covid-19 response award, to make spoken word video poetry for people during the pandemic, and this is one of the pieces I made. It was sparked off from listening to Puerto Rican Obituary by Pedro Pietri, and with the phrase the people died running through my head, I went on a poetic run, adding more lines and extending the poem with relevant unpublished pieces I had, resulting in a ten page poem. Please share.

If you would like to read the text of this and other recent poems, you can buy Sacred Symphony here.    

All the Swings are Gone
Tuesday, 09 June 2020 09:34

All the Swings are Gone

Published in Poetry

Karl Parkinson is a poet and novelist from north inner city Dublin. He is well known for his spoken word performances and videos, like the one at the end of this piece

Karl has published a novel, The Blocks (New Binary Press), and two collections of poetry: Litany of the City and other poems, and Butterflies of a Bad Summer (Salmon Poetry).

His new collection of poems is called Sacred Symphony, and is a work of spiritual and political poetry from one of the sub-proletariat living in north Dublin's inner-city tower blocks. Sacred Symphony contains poems and photographic images about the working class, art and beauty, the precariat, love and death. Here is one of the poems in the book:

All The Swings Are Gone

by Karl Parkinson

from the old flats.
Swings we played on
as youngfellas and youngones.

All the swings are broken and gone.

Tonight, I'll swing so high.
I'll fly right out of this fuckin kip,
Mountjoy prison.
I'll swing through the bars on the window,
I'll swing over the gates,
I'll swing down Phibsborough and land in Doyle's pub,
drink a toast to my victims, my enemies and my abusers.

I'll swing from the fuckin chandeliers
in the big posh gaffs in Dalkey.
I'll swing from the top of the spire,
naked, prison ink tattooed, fight and gear scared,
and I'll spit on the heads of every bastard I see
that every laid a hand on me, or ripped me off
or turned up their nose at my track suit and accent,
fuck them all, I hate everyone, I hate like a house fire,
I hate like a virus, I hate like cancer hates.

I'll swing out of history, memory and time,
I'll swing to wherever the dead go.
I'll swing from this bed post till I turn fuckin blue.
I'll choke myself to freedom, and they can all laugh
or cry at my corpse, as it rots in a paupers coffin.

All the swings are gone from the old flats.
Swings I played on as a youngfella.

All the swings are broken and gone.

Sacred Symphony will be launched in Dublin later this summer.