The Art of Collaboration

Whatever job he’s given,
the collaborator is a perfect fit.
A man of no fixed particulars.
His views are plastic
and always on the verge
of being melted down
and made otherwise.
His life is a full orchestra
of raised eyebrows
and suppressed twitches.
The collaborator laughs at your jokes
and makes it look like he means it.

Whatever it is,
the collaborator makes it his business.
He writes everything down,
especially your name.
The collaborator is awake tonight
and looking up the number
of the relevant government agency
so he can phone them tomorrow to tell them
what he’s heard you’ve been doing.
The collaborator doesn’t mind being put on hold.

The collaborator knows
the name of the woman, man, emu
you were with in that hotel room
you shouldn’t have been in.

The collaborator points the nice policeman
in the direction of those
the newspapers say are bad men (and women).
For the collaborator doesn’t discriminate,
except in favour of himself.

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. 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.