About the Author
Ryan Duggins is a Dublin-based performance poet and spoken word artist. He was born in the city of Wolverhampton in 1988 and studied creative writing at Staffordshire University. A published columnist, theatre reviewer and journalist, he now brings his working-class gaze to poetry. This is his first poetry collection.
A children’s shoe and a carvery pub in Stoke-on-Trent.
If I were to pinpoint a moment where it was clear I’d end up writing bloody poetry, I’d say it was that day. My parents had come up to visit me for the first time since I fled the nest to university, and they were treating me to Sunday lunch. It was a thankful break from my usual diet of Jacob’s cream crackers or, if I was feeling particularly fruity, a tin of baked beans (bean juice drained down the sink) fried with bacon pieces and Thai five spice. Decadent.
I walked arm-in-arm with my mom from the door of our Toyota Corolla across the car park to the pub. Dad was shuffling behind us, fiddling with his roll-ups. Before we got to the pathway, that was inevitably flanked by a bark-infested death trap of a children’s play area, I saw from the corner of my eye something on the floor.
I let my mom walk ahead, as I knelt to get a closer look. It was a girl’s slip-on shoe. The kind a toddler would wear to dance class. My parents walked ahead as I picked up the pump, considered it, and placed it back.
‘How’s Uni going, love?’
My mom asked as we sat down, dad staring at me for an answer. He was still confused at my new cockney accent I’d been putting on since I left home. Looking back, I don’t know what I was thinking, but I kept it up for three years and, luckily at reunions, no one mentions it.
Love I’ve given love a miss a while And honestly, it’s been class I haven’t missed it for a second The company of a lass My friendship group has tripled Career no longer in a mess I spend my Saturday nights And Sunday mornings on the sesh I can fly to see my parents Any day of any week I can cancel on myself To go and rescue my physique The hours of negotiation When talking about food These days, I smash a Burger King Whenever I’m in the mood Even in my love hiatus The wolf’s kept from the door A cheeky snog and finger blast With neither party wanting more But sitting with a pot of tea In my local yesterday My hangover’s disrupted With a feeling I can’t seem to push away My breathing seems a little colder Like my lungs are out on show My shoulders slouch, I’m sinking When the waitress says hello I stumble through an order For another pot of brew I’m going to bloody need it As I put my current state on review Since my last love ended, I’ve worked hard At picking up my life I let trauma in to talk to me So I can figure out my strife I’ve lived alone, I’ve moved back home Said yes to anything I could I ignored the devil at most turns And put myself to good So alone in the pub this afternoon Staring at the clientele My heart is trying to nudge me Something he needs to tell I listen to him whisper Whilst I’m sipping on my tea He asks me to let him see the world again And find out what love has in store for me St Patrick’s Day Get up ya’ pup! The boys in green! On the sunniest day we’ve ever seen The Liffey’s looking quite pristine And that pint over there looks like a dream It’s got to be Paddy’s Day At least four pints before daybreak No less than two, bejesus sake And what allows us to choose this fate? Something about a bloke and a snake Who cares? It’s Paddys Day! Sing the Wild Rover after a few Molly Malone or The Foggy Dew Pretend Sweet Caroline’s Irish too The Brazilians won’t have a clue It’s fun and games on Paddys Day Go snog a stranger, make a pass Grab a bloke, romance a lass She’s a ride and he’s fecking gas And they end the night to The Parting Glass To feck, have I missed Paddy’s Day Slaintè
Praise for the Poet
“In the evolution of poetry, Ryan’s work simply tells the art form to ‘get with the times, mate!’. Ryan’s poems make you laugh, make you think, while using the perfect amount of comedy and satire. This collection is digestible, relatable, and heartwarming, with some good chuckles sprinkled throughout.”
- Dearbhla Neenan – Host of The Flo Sho, weekly performance event at The Workman’s Club, Dublin
“Ryan oozes talent. His quick wit is incomparable and his writing is individual. I find myself lost between his pensive thoughts and his ability to take the reader on an emotional yet light journey. This book is an honest reflection of his personal life, and poses questions on modern day society, particularly within the working classes.”
- Emmet O’Brien – Poet. Host of Dublin’s Finest, a weekly showcase of Dublin’s best spoken word artists at Sin E, Ormond Quay, Dublin