Gearóid Mac Lochlainn

Second Tongue

I am the tongue

in the kidnapper’s sack.

Lips stitched, feet flailing.

I am the tongue

bound on the butcher’s block

in government offices,

a battered, broken corpse

ditched at dawn.

I am the tongue

who comes in the night.

I am jinx

swimming through flex

and electricity cables.

I sing softly in the element of the bulb

on your table.

I am Johnny Dark, Creole.

I wing through secret pitch-black passageways

beneath the broken city.

I am the tongue

you shun on dark roads, in pubs.

I am hoodoo

waiting for you on the corner

under the yellow street lamp,

stalking you like a jilted John.

I am the tongue

you silenced. I am patois.

I am mumbo-jumbo, juju,

a mojo of words

in the back pocket

of the weirdo poet

busking for bursaries.