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The Boom and After the Boom

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The Shannon when it washes
the shoreline in the wake
of a cruiser susurruses
exactly like the Polish
language you hear in lidl
on Friday evenings, 7 pm
payday. That’s what
Gerry says.

                           •

The river surface offers
space to the song:
hammer taps of Latvians
and Poles nailing planks
of a deck.        The place
between water and sky
holding sound. It is under-
loved and an amphitheater.

                           •

Latvians and Lithuanians
are nailing planks
of grooved decking.
It will be a nice feature
of that riverside property.
        Their tap-tapping
underscores the distance
between this side and that.

                           •

Winter gales have made swift work
of the billboard proclaiming
42 luxury bungalows only two
remaining.        Crumpled up
on the roadside now
two-by-four legs akimbo—
a circus-horse curtsy
or steeplechase mishap.


Source: Poetry (December 2011)

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This poem originally appeared in the December 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

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The Boom and After the Boom

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  • Alice Lyons was born in Paterson, New Jersey and grew up in its suburbs. She has earned degrees in European history, sociolinguistics, and fine art from Connecticut College, the University of Pennsylvania, and Boston University. She earned a PhD from the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, Queen's University, Belfast. She served on the faculty at Maine College of Art in Portland for a number of years before moving, in 1998, to a rural village in County Roscommon, Ireland. 
    Lyons often collaborates with artists and filmmakers on interdisciplinary and public art projects that explore poetry and its publication in new contexts and media. She has co-directed poetry films with animator/fine artist Orla Mc Hardy, including The Polish Language (2009), which has received numerous film festival awards and citations.
    Her year-long public art project in the community of Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim is documented in the book Staircase Poems (The Dock, 2006). Developers, a poetry film project made...

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