Ode To The Minister For State Security – Kevin Higgins
He likes being photographed
with men in uniform
who all work for him. The law
is what he thinks appropriate
any particular day.
He’s the Traffic Cops. He’s the Army.
He’s everything the Special Branch
choose to tell him about
his enemies. In his brief case: things
about you even God’s forgotten.
He sees your smiley face
but heard tell of your
via a joke told him
on the fringes of a classified
national security briefing.
He’s the glorious portrait
of himself that, for now, hangs
above the Commissioner’s
thick brown desk.
He doesn’t suffer fools except
the journalist who writes the headline:
Minister Mustn’t Resign,
who in mitigation – it must be said –
was far too hammered to make bad
the promises and threats
he threw the Polish barmaid’s way,
as last night she assisted to the exit
his absolute confidence in the Minister.
Things remain whatever he prefers to call them,
given every legally held
Uzi submachine gun
in the state is technically
answerable to him.
Kevin Higgins facilitates poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre; teaches creative writing at Galway Technical Institute and on the Brothers of Charity Away With Words creative writing programme for people with disabilities. He is also Writer-in-Residence at Merlin Park Hospital and the poetry critic of the Galway Advertiser. He was a founding co-editor of The Burning Bush literary magazine. His first collection of poems The Boy With No Face was published by Salmon in February 2005 and was short-listed for the 2006 Strong Award. His second collection, Time Gentlemen, Please, was published in March 2008 by Salmon. One of the poems from Time Gentlemen, Please, ‘My Militant Tendency’, featured in the Forward Book of Poetry 2009. His work also features in the anthology Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Ed Roddy Lumsden, Bloodaxe, 2010). Frightening New Furniture is his third collection of poems and was published in 2010 by Salmon Poetry. Kevin has read his work at most of the major literary festivals in Ireland and at Arts Council and Culture Ireland supported poetry events in Kansas City, USA (2006), Los Angeles, USA (2007), London, UK (2007), New York, USA (2008), Athens, Greece (2008); St. Louis, USA (2008), Chicago, USA (2009), Denver, USA (2010), Washington D.C (2011), Huntington, West Virginia, USA (2011), Geelong, Australia (2011), Canberra, Australia (2011), St. Louis, USA (2013) & Boston, USA (2013). Kevin’s fourth collection of poetry, The Ghost In The Lobby, will be published by Salmon Poetry in early 2014. Kevin is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events. Mentioning The War, a collection of his essays and reviews was published last April by Salmon.