Towards A Dennis O’Driscoll Re-write of A Cesare Pavese Poem  

Stupid takes after you, its smirk
the one you wear while confidently doing
whatever it is you do worst.

You wouldn’t recognise stupid
if it superglued your eyes open,
threw a bucket of water on you, and sang
“I am what I am” in your ear
with a megaphone.

Stupid can give you a back rub
from the other end of a crowded room.

When stupid comes it will be wearing a coat
made of ideas it stole from you.

Stupid points a water pistol at you
and demands the handover
of your head in its entirety.

Stupid opens your skull with a mechanised
tin opener and goes for a walk inside.

Then stupid takes the steering wheel
and starts driving your thoughts
down motorways at twice
whatever the speed limit is.

Stupid will take your brain
from its box and marshal it
into a circus act that’ll make
people leap laughing onto train tracks.

Stupid will take your history and give it
to TV comedy panel shows to rewrite.

Stupid lashes out at all your best ideas
until they lie, a defenceless mush,
on the autopsy table.

Stupid cries on shoulders
that are not its to cry on.

You are up to your raised eyebrows
in stupid.




Kevin Higgins is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events in Galway, Ireland. He has published five full collections of poems: The Boy With No Face (2005), Time Gentlemen, Please (2008), Frightening New Furniture (2010), The Ghost In The Lobby (2014), & Sex and Death at Merlin Park Hospital (2019). His poems also feature in Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and in The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Ed Neil Astley, Bloodaxe May 2014).  His poems have been quoted in The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Times (London), &The Daily Mirror, and read aloud by Ken Loach at a political meeting in London. The Stinging Fly magazine has described Kevin as “likely the most widely read living poet in Ireland”. His work has been broadcast on RTE Radio, Lyric FM, and BBC Radio 4. His book The Colour Yellow & The Number 19: Negative Thoughts That Helped One Man Mostly Retain His Sanity During 2020 is just published by Nuascealta. Kevin’s sixth full poetry collection, Ecstatic, will be published by Salmon this summer.