The Word in Flames – Essays on Literature & Revolt – New E-book from Dave Lordan + book trailer

Paypal address: Suggested Donation 10 euro.

My e-book of essays on art, literature, social change & multimedia creation THE WORD IN FLAMES is ready to go.

The suggested donation is a tenner, paid through my paypal account, the address of which is

Copies of the e-book can be read on any device such as a smartphone, tablet, iPad, PC, Mac, Laptop, Desktop etc. You don’t need a paypal account to pay through paypal – any debit or credit card will do.

Smaller & larger donations than a tenner also welcome.

All proceeds will go straight to me, the writer of the book! & will go towards buying me more writing time, & upgrading my audio & video equipment. Since taking up videography in early 2016 I have voluntarily made over 100 videos for grassroots artists, community groups, & social movements. If you think what I do has any value, please do consider making a solidarity donation in exchange for the book.

But first, here’s what some deep-thinking activist heads have to say about The Word in Flames:

“The Word in Flames” confirms Dave Lordan’s stature as the most original, incendiary and impassioned voice writing in Ireland today. The combined lyricism and potency of his writing confronts the reader, forcing us, as all great writers do, to see the things we are unwilling or forbidden to know.

Dr. Sinéad Kennedy Department of English, Maynooth University & Secretary, Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment (pc)

Irish writing has not seen prose as brilliant as this since the Enlightenment. With the clarity of Orwell and an indignation reminiscent of Swift, Dave Lordan identifies the tensions and responsibilities that crystallise within great art, whenever artists are brave enough to allow them to do so. 

Dr Deaglán Ó Donghaile. Author of Blasted Literature: Victorian Political Fiction and the Shock of Modernism. Senior Lecturer in English Literature Liverpool John Moores University

If you like polemic to be scalding, defiant, revolutionary and erotic, then you’ll relish this book. By turn erudite, poetic, auto-biographical and scholarly (often all of these at once), this is an important anthology of essays by Ireland’s only literary prophet. Beware, it will make you a disciple.

Conor Kostick, Author of Revolution in Ireland (Cork University Press,) 2009

“Every once in a while an organic intellectual pushes through, by sheer strength of will and intellectual capability, the dense network of disciplinary and punitive systems that are designed to control the working class. Such a person is rare in Ireland, because public life works to hedge around and make precarious the voice of the outsider who has not been to the right school or played the right games. Dave Lordan is one such voice.”

William Wall, Author of This is The Country.

Donate to Dave Lordan’s Community Funding Appeal at paypal address, & receive a copy of e-book The Word In Flames.

Screen Shot 2016-11-23 at 19.36.37.png

Howlin and Kenny should refund the water charges from their own party coffers.





The right have nothing to offer but division and lies. Supported by their cousins, sisters-in-law, and K-club golfing partners in the Indo, IT, RTE current affairs etc, they are trying to lay the blame for the fiasco of Irish Water on the resistance to it.

This is like blaming the Gulf war on the anti-war movement, or environmental disaster on Greenpeace – but the naked avarice and lust for power of Brendan Howlin, Enda Kenny, the MSM grandees, leaves no room for logic, or morality. They have all agreed behind closed doors that if they scream ‘law-abiding citizens’ long enough and loud enough they will gain ground by getting payers and non-payers to go to war amongst themselves.
There are two kinds of payers. Fine Gael and LP supporters who believe privatising water and selling it to the highest bidding international mafiosi is a great idea – sure won’t their cousins, sisters-in-law, and K-club golfing partners get jobs out of it?

Then there are the elderly and otherwise vulnerable who were terrified into paying by Howlin, Kenny, their MSM toadies.
All should be refunded.

The question is who should refund them? Well the people who fooled or scared them into paying in the first place, of course. Who else?

So, my proposal is a cap on pensions, pay, and expenses for past and present TDs of parties who supported Irish Water – that is FF,FG,Lab – at no more than 50k per annum in total. All above 50k going into the repayment fund. A Levy of 25 per cent on the profits of all newspapers, TV, and radio stations whose editorial line supported the charges. And a 50 per cent levy on all moneys – state and private donations – going to FF, FG, LAB. All these just charges to remain in place until all citizens repaid.
Mad idea? Got a better one? It’s either the people responsible for the disaster pay for it, or the people who aren’t responsible – I’m for the former.

Something which has come up in our discussions here – from Sydney Weinberg and Conchúr Ó Ceallaigh among others – is the urgent need to put environmental rescue and care for the planet at the heart of left-wing policy and more importantly, activity. There’s no point in struggling for socialism if there won’t be a planet worth living on in fifty or a hundred years time.

I’d like to see AAA-PB4P, SINN FEIN, Independents 4 Change, Mandate, Unite – in short all the mass-mobilising organisations and resources of the left – come together in formal alliance with radical and grassroots environmental networks to launch a movement which – over time – upscales environmentalist campaigning to the level of the anti-water charges campaign – that is to the levels of EFFECTIVE protest.

The small-scale ‘stunt’ actions typically associated with radical green activism – courageous as they may be – have no lasting, structural effect.

The left has a lot to learn from radical environmentalists, and we should listen to everything they have to say – but environmentalists can learn how to win from the left, and winning matters most when it comes to the future of the planet.


PS – all the most horrible regimes in history were full of ‘law-abiding citizens’ , and all the most radical and progressive movements and indeed governments were full of those who, often sacrificing their own lives and freedom, broke unjust and immoral laws because it was the right thing to do. In memory of these outlaw millions and in praise of all who broke and continue to break the unjust WATER LAWS below is a great poem from Kevin Higgins, our satirist-in-residence.

Dave Lordan.

A Brief History of Those Who Made Their Point Politely
and Then Went Home – Kevin Higgins
On this day of tear-gas in Seoul
and windows broken at Dickins & Jones,
I can’t help wondering why a history
of those, who made their point politely
and then went home, has never been written.
Those who, in the heat of the moment,
never dislodged a policeman’s helmet,
never blocked the traffic or held the country to ransom.
Someone should ask them: “Was it all worth it?”
All those proud men and women, who never
had the National Guard sent in against them;
who left everything exactly as they found it,
without adding as much as a scratch to the paintwork;
who no-one bothered asking: “Are you or have you ever been?”
because we all knew damn well they never ever were.


Solidarity shares appreciated. Up the Rebels


Dave Lordan is the founding editor of The Bogmans Cannon. Contact him at or 0870921117


Dave Lordan reading in New York at the Irish Arts Centre in November 2014

The Bogmans Cannon Top Ten for February


Drum Roll….100 Gun Salute….loud applause…enthusiastic screaming…ten thousand lions roaring…here are the Top 10 reads on The Bogmans Cannon for February 2016 – solidarity shares appreciated. Up The Rebels!

“You Can’t Live With A Child of Trauma and Not Be Changed” – Why We Need To Support Foster Carers in Ireland by Annemarie Ni Churreain

On Creative Disobedience by Bairbre Flood

Because I’m Human, An Anti-Bullying Poem by Dave Lordan

October Third, by Susan Millar Du Mars

The Universal Moderate by Kevin Higgins

Going for the Absolute – Dave Lordan interviews Rob Doyle

The Flying Column General Election Special, by Connor Kelly

DIARY OF AN URBAN BOGMAN, DAY 15. Conversation with Mr. Taxi Man, Pt. 1

Trans* Rights Poetry and Talks, curated by Alicia Byrne Keane

Neo-Soul Playlist No. 2 – Breaking Walls, by Clara Rose Thornton of Vice and Verses

After the party drug accident – time to distribute free drug testing kits


I am feeling deep sympathy this morning for the young people involved in the accidental self-poisoning at the house party in Cork. It could easily have happened to me or many of my friends, especially at that age. It reminds me, sadly, of a similar accident which happened to a neighbour of mine some years ago in the small west of Ireland town where I was privileged to grow up. He was a tall, proud, handsome man who whistled and sang the old tunes as he walked and he worked – he spent decades in the service of the local community as a council worker. He was a carer for horses too – the ones he reared in the field across the road from our terrace were as beautiful and happy and friendly as himself. Late in his life he came home after a night of celebration and accidentally fatally poisoned himself, mistaking a bottle of turpentine for vodka. It was a huge shock to us all. Something irreplaceable was gone for good. Encouraged by us his neighbours, the local town council – undemocratically abolished now – renamed a portion of the field in which his horses were kept after him. It is an apt and respectful way to be able to happily remember him every time I go home.

The objective policy response to potential self-poisoning is clear labelling of the poisons humans choose to use. This can only take place within a framework of legality and regulation and open discussion of drugs, their uses, effects, and potential harms.
The first step now of an enlightened government would be to buy up a million or so pocket drug testing units, as pictured above, and to make those freely available through trusted organisations in university campuses, youth clubs, health clinics, and so on. In the same way that condoms are often available and for similar reasons of public health and compassion for the individual. This would massively reduce the risk of self-poisoning.

Do not listen to the blinkered response of most in the MainStream Media on this. Advertising revenue from Big Alcohol amounts to a continuous commercial bribe of the MSM outlets, and subsidises inflated salaries among MSM management. MSM journalists do not in general contradict their management. Big Alcohol want their monopoly over the drug trade to continue. MSM bosses and figureheads- some of them no doubt more than a little fond of cocaine  – will support the alcohol barons on this.

The same thing goes for drugs as it does for Abortion. Safe, and legal is the only demand which combines rational public policy with care for individuals and communities. And it will be the same shower of mercenaries that like to tell women what to do with their bodies who will be leading the anti-drug hysteria in the next few days. If it was up to them we would all be corporate slaves forced to take holy communion while flagellating ourselves five times a day, on our ten minute breaks from the factory line.

Let’s keep the young people who are in health trouble now at the forefront of our minds and hope they pull through. And let’s pressurise the next government, whoever they are, to change laws and attitudes so such horrible accidents, unavoidable in a reactionary climate of illegality, become much less likely in future.

Dave Lordan

Young Rebels 2016 – Transmedia Pamphlet submission callout


In 2016 we will be publishing a series of YOUNG REBELS pamphlets to show off the breadth and variety of the subaltern literary culture in Ireland.

The series editor is Joe Horgan.

Anyone based in Ireland or with an interest in Ireland aged between the ages of 16-30 can submit.

The Bogmans Cannon is especially interested in hearing from artists from the working classes, Travellers, asylum seekers or any other ethnic minority groups. Nobody else is excluded at all but we make no apology for attempting to broaden the range of artistic voices to be heard from or read in this State.

We would like accessible and topical work that is rebellious in content and adventurous in form and will accept for consideration any genre or medium that can be freely accessed on the world wide web. So, flash, poetry, audio, photography, video, aphorism, animation, podcast, manga, game, posters…any or all of the above and whatever else anyone can think of.

We have high editorial standards and expect a lot of submissions so please do submit but don’t expect acceptance as a given. Any canvassing of Bogmans Cannon editors here or anywhere else, on your own or on others behalf, will immediately disqualify from consideration.

Send a small sample of your best work and we will get back to you if we are interested in seeing more.

Reflections on Shannon – by Dave Lordan


us miltary out of shannon.

Note: This poem was originally published on Irish social movement website Indymedia in 2005, having been composed in 2004. I was involved in the mass anti-war movement of the time and the poem reflects intense debates taking place between the different sections of the movement back then and also my own feelings of frustration – despite mobilising tens of millions of people across the Globe we had failed to prevent the imperialist slaughter in the middle east, and also failed to prevent Shannon airport becoming  a pit-stop for the mass-murderers and torturers  known as the US army. Today we are seeing a much needed revival of the international anti-war movement and the poem is dedicated to everyone who stands against war and for peace and justice – not least jail bound TD’s Mick Wallace and Clare Daly. It’s time to get back on the streets. 

Reflections on Shannon

A minute’s silence
A three-minute silence
Silent silent bloody silence
Silence in the courtyard
Silence in the street
Silence at the warport
Silence at the embassies
Silence in the parliaments
Silence in the offices
Silence in the factories
Silence from the journalists

What the fuck is silence?

Is it a prayer?
Is it womb?
Is it a ticket?
Is it an art-form?
Is it an emporer?

I ask you again
What the fuck is silence;
And who has ever heard
The dead requesting it?


I am confused
I have been to a meeting
Now I’m feeling murderous, suicidal
suicidally murderous
murderously suicidal.

What do I mean ‘I feel’?
What do I mean ‘I’?

Fuck off with your questions I’m cranky
I’m sick of myself
and I’m sick of humanity
I’d blow the earth up if I could
I’d dig down to the core of the world and explode.

What if the ‘I” could be shattered
What if the me could be burning daggers in an instant
flying in all directions
Where would I plant the me?
Where would I set the me off ?

The thought occurs
that according to the orthodox view
the universe is the  result of an explosion
is that explosion ongoing.

flying apart
all created by
all existing in
the explosion at the origin

so ourselves
and all we do
is part of the explosion
since the big bang isn’t over
and things are flying apart

and if there is a god
as in a creator
as even Stephen Hawking
seems at times to be suggesting
then she was a bomber.
Perhaps he was a suicide bomber?

This neurosis is quickening
one mad thought follows another
what if
I mean the formulas do suggest
everything is possible
everything is happening
that in the infinity of universes
nothing whatsoever is avoidable
and all is redeemed
so there is no death
only every possible action
every possible combination
shapes and sizes
arrangements and re-arrangements
heads where your feet should be
balls at the end of your fingers
necks stretched thin as wires
little fingers fatter than thumbs
like in a hall of mirrors going on forever.

Somewhere else I am my own happy mother,
Rosa Luxembourg is still alive,
There is no Guernica.
No-one has ever heard of the Swastika.
Somewhere else all the smashed eggs are being put back together again,
all the broken children are being remade.
The drunks have stopped drinking and taken up yoga.
The boys have stopped crashing their cars,
foxes escape unhurt from their traps
and the snow is no longer spotted with blood.

so it’s all good
fun just experiment
so what
going by these rules of engagement
I were to blow myself up?

Would that make me a God?
What kind of universe would my explosion make?


ATGWU Hall Middle Abbey Street
7.30 pm
Friday  Dec 3rd 2004

Can I be happy if others suffer?
Can I be true if the world is a lie?
Can I be good if I allow evil to rule over me?

What is my life worth if life is worth less than nothing?
What is my death to the deaths of thousands?
What is one bull in a stampede?

Is it only by offering my death
that I can prove I am alive?
Is it by stopping sensation
I can prove that I feel?

Love is the proof of the objective existence of others


His Daddy says
eight of ten every black people are scumbags
His Dad says
People in them countries they can’t look after theirselves
His Daddy says
Hangin’s too good for them Iraqi cunts
Can he love his Daddy?
Should he?


Shalom Doctor Faisal
Shalom Shalom

Slide One

boy nine years old
Has one arm
One leg
One eye
Black scabs
Blood black as oil
Thick stitches

Smashed genitals
Smashed genitals

Slide two

Girl seven
no arms
no legs
shaved head
scorched eyebrows
smiling at the camera
died a half an hour later

Slide three

Street in ruins
crater pocked
after cluster bomb
heaps of concrete
mangled wire
steaming limbs
unexploded ordnance
bright orange
looks so innocent
shaped like a baby’s rattle
or some other kind of toy

Slide four

In background
with collapsed roof
in foreground
four male doctors

Two of them now dead
one sniped at
one exploded

We knew the American snipers
were getting bored
when they started shooting
at stray dogs
Every morning the medical staff went on to the streets to collect limbs and try to piece together the bodies of the victims of the overnight bombing
We had no food or medical supplies  because of the siege. We had to use the same equipment over and over again same needles same bandages. We had to amputate children’s limbs  without anaesthetic. In the end the doctors had to eat the hospitals supply of sugar to stay alive. Finally the hospital was bombed.

My father’s house has been raided four times. My father is an old man. There are two teenage girls in the house. My nieces. My brother and his beautiful  wife were killed in the first bombing, last April. The girls are very frightened of the soldiers. They are very disturbed. You can imagine what they have seen and heard. The last time three marines broke in. They were very loud, profane. They forced my father onto the ground and one of them put their boot on his head. They made the two girls come down from their room and watched them humiliate my father. Of course they were frightened and crying but they were also angry and they shouted in Arabic at the soldiers but one of them pointed his rifle right at them and threatened them and said many horrible things that I am not going to repeat here in front of a civilized audience. Maybe he thought they would not understand but they both have fluent English. We are very educated people in my Country. So the marines made the girls watch while they took out there genitals and pissed on my father.
Lately I have taken to standing for the national anthem.
I usen’t to
I usen’t to because it only shamed me to think
how we drove one set of conquering bastards out the front-door
and let another set of conquering bastards sneak
in the back door
and it was depressing to see on a Friday night
at half-past twelve
how the proud and glorious young men and women
of the Flying Columns
had devolved
to the pot-bellied dribbling drunks
who would drive the Brits out of Belfast
with their thumbnails
at closing time
and who seemed to have lost all memory of how to fight
except against each other
all idea of how to stand up for themselves
except in songs and imagination
And of course the tune is shite
and the lyrics are naff
Soldiers of Destiny me arse
But now I stand
because however warped
the song is still a memory
of how we we we
drove the  invaders out
of most of our Island
how a small penniless country
full of (supposedly) ignorant and superstitious savages
defeated the army
of the most powerful nation on earth
and how did we do it?

By all means necessary

we boycotted their personnel and institutions
we sniped them
we bombed them
we ambushed their convoys
we burned them from their barracks
we kidnapped them
and we executed them
and generally we made it impossible
for them to rule
by all means necessary


In Shannon airport
every day
by the hour
military aeroplanes touch down
Their giant snouts
hide bloody teeth
their giant wings
are dripping blood
their giant engines
run on blood
their giant bellies
full of soldiers
soldiers arms and soldiers legs and soldiers eyes
and soldiers genitals
soldiers genitals


The glory-covered dead have set up camp below in Shannon
Twenty-four hours a day they are watching
and they won’t go away
till its over and done

All of the empire breakers
All the signatories and the proclaimers
The wild geese and the pirates and the smugglers
Emmett and Tone and Grainne Mhaol
The commie Countess and the two hard Jimmy’s
Bobby Sand’s and all the Ulster martyrs
The poets and the fighters
Mangan and Davis and Shelley
Dan Breen and Liam Mellows and Tom Barry
screeching through the gore-stacks
screeching through the mangled limbs
the heat-popped eyes
the shard spilled guts
the sear blackened stumps
the excoriated testicles

piled as high as wings can fly
on the runways
at Shannon airport
blocking up arrivals
and departures at
shannon airport

The Guards
who mind the fence at Shannon airport
are deaf and dumb
blind and numb
and only doing their job
only doing what they are paid for
and cannot see the carnage
cannot hear the wailing

The FBI the CIA the special branch
that line the approach roads
to Shannon airports
got more cameras then Hollywood
got more microphones than Abbey Road
but still are deaf and blind
numb and dumb

But even though I’m sitting in my living room in Dublin
I can close my eyes and see them
I can close my ears to hear them
Wailing wailing wailing


Fuck the la-dee-da
fuck you and fuck me and fuck I
Fuck the spirit
Fuck the allegory
Fuck elective affinity
Fuck the subject
Fuck the object
Fuck neutrality
Fuck Buddha
Fuck the shamrock
Fuck the leafy love-banks
Fuck the holy trinity
Fuck the oaks and the yew trees
Fuck the visionary sheep
Fuck County Meath
Fuck Homer
Fuck the canon
Fuck Judges
Fuck competitions
Fuck the bursary
Fuck the cheese and wine reception
Fuck poetry
Fuck the higher power
Let me make this situation clear
There is a mass murder ongoing in Iraq
invasion occupation expropriation
The country we live in is
aiding and abetting
aiding and abetting mass murder
by allowing our airport to be used to transport
Ccluster bombers
Machine gunners
Rocket launchers
Child killers
Who are committing this mass murder
Do I think I can heckle you into doing something about it?
Do I think just by telling you what you already know
it will shame you into doing something about it?
Does all this shouting and flag waving make me feel any better?
What am I going to do about it?


This is the state
of the suicide
the suicidal state
Of  life forgot
the state
Of  life not lived
the state
Of  life denied

Keep your mouth shut
Your hands clean
Your hands to yourself
Your eyes dry

Jesus was a suicide
Jesus chose his own death
Jesus killed himself
died so that you might live
the churches where the Christians go
to be cannibals and vampires
eating flesh and drinking blood
monuments to suicide
and the priests and nuns
are agents  of a universal suicide

The uncompleted Irish revolution
that nearly drove the British out
the one that silly anthem is about
began with the Easter Rising
an act of  conscious martyrdom
a blood sacrifice
an act of suicide
Connolly and Pearse
McDonagh and Macbride
Ceannt and Plunkett MacDiarmuida
All suicides

The deformed states
Northern Ireland
and the Free State
founded on an act of suicide
a signature that was was suicide
for what did General Michael Collins say
after he had signed the Anglo Irish Treaty
I have signed my own death warrant


Why should I wait around for people who don’t give a shit
People who can lounge around
in front of the soaps
while all this murder is going on in front of them?
You tell me I’ve got to be patient
that the world won’t change overnight
that we’ve got to spread out
into the schools and the colleges
the offices and the factories
deepen the roots of the movement
which will take time
which won’t be easy
but people are dying this instant
because mass murder is easy
because mass murder takes no time atall
so hanging about waiting  for the ‘revolution’
just means being passive if you ask me
passive in the face of evil
I mean c’mon
why don’t you cop on
to yourself
the idea that all the lager boys
in their Celtic jerseys and their pot bellies
and all the dolly girls
with their tattoos and their dyed hair
and all the play-station monkeys
and all the reality TV zombies
and all the all the all the
mass produced gobshites
with nothing on their mind
but who they’re going to  vote for in Eurostar
and the latest  in mobile accessories
are going to rise up and liberate humanity
is laughable
its a  sick joke
and it gives you
and your lot
an excuse to do nothing direct to intervene
in the war machine
I mean why knock the snout off  an F-16
with an ax
when Mr and Mrs Chav
are going to save the world
I mean fine you can organise your marches
so all the straights and the straight ups
all the left leaning lawyers and the liberal teachers and the do-gooders
in the NGO’s
can fool themselves into
thinking they’re doing something
about the war
You can all walk up and down the street
shaking your boring placards
shouting your repetitive slogans
handing  out your worthy leaflets
selling your rev-rev-rev-ol-ut-ion-ary ‘news-papers’
but it’s not going to get you anywhere
it’s not going to stop the war
People who are ready to take direct action
People who are prepared
to be beaten up by the cops
to be arrested
to go to jail
to be hung drawn and slandered in the Phoenix and the Indo
to make all kinds of sacrifices
we don’t have to make excuses for our actions
to people who aren’t prepared to make any sacrifices atall
we don’t have to answer to your imaginary masses
we’ll do just what we feel like doing ok
we’ll tear down the fence
we’ll break police lines
we’ll block up the runway
and you are not going to stop us
no matter
what you say

I am looking for a way to dismiss
this line of argument
and the rat part of me wants to
throw acid in her eyes
tell her she’s ultra-left
she’s infantilely disordered
she’s only a sixteen year old
anarkid on pills at a gig
who’s so hyped up on MDA
or whatever the bastards put
into pills these days
she can’t even stop to draw breath
between spouting all this bravura crap
she’s a middle class dreamer
with an en suite bedroom
inclusive of bidet
in her Donnybrook home
and what would she know about struggle
and who is she to judge
the lives of working  people

and the Trotskyist pedagogue in me
the Marxist catechist
that scheming little know all in specs and goatee
wants to lecture her
on how the consciousness of the masses
remains low
because of their lack
of self-organisation
and of the insignificant amount of class struggle in recent times

see the workers just don’t know who they are
can’t remember what they were
have no idea what they are capable of

and yes they are passive
but not because they’re agin us
but because they are too busy
and tryin to forget about work
to be reading Chomsky
or out gathering firewood
for the 24-hour peace camp

like when a man comes homes after ten hours
driving a Taxi
around the puke-stained streets
of Dublin or Cork City
or eight hours operating a Kango drill
on a building  site
or eight hours standing around Roches or Penneys
all day like a total knob doing ‘security’
or when a woman
finishes sweeping out the holiday homes
cleaning the pub toilets
stacking the supermarket shelves
keying the tills
is it any surprise
he and she are too tired and distracted
for politics

like have you ever wondered why
most activists are young
why so many are students
do you think its because young people
are smarter better more moral
or just because they have more time
less worries

cop on
to yourself

so many people are dealing with the everyday traumas
the ordinary catastrophes
of working class lives
the addictions
the accidents
The abuses buried deep
perhaps many years ago
and festering ever since
and blooming
into mental illnesses
panic attacks

I tell you every house
has something up
every street could fill
a health farm with its woes

and then there’s the simple fatigue
that follows from spending your life
being exploited and used
and the sinister voices
telling you
you are worthless
you’re good for nothing
but cleaning toilets
laying bricks
pulling pints
and what would
a thick eejit like you
know about anything

which is why we hold the peaceful marches
the candlelit vigils
the soft and woolly stuff
so people can take that first easy step
and first steps are important
all journeys start out with first steps

you can’t just leap over reality
you have to work with people as they are
not as you might wish them to be

no matter how dedicated you and your buddies are
no matter what sacrifice ye are prepared to make
no matter how spectaculo ye’re actions

a small minority of activists
cannot force the world
to bend to their will

and historically
the wild plots hatched by super-activists
saintly types
with a cold fire in their bellies
and a stone in their hearts
and pure in their dedication
detaching themselves
from the wider movement
have backfired rather badly
have blown up in their face

ask the Baader Meinhof
ask the Brigada Rosa
ask the INLA

and if she’s serious
these are the kind of organisations
she should be studying
because if you want to worry the Irish state into
withdrawing landing permission from the American Military
You’re not going to do it
by tearing down a few metres of fence
or by saying the rosary
or by setting off colouredy smoke-bombs
or subvertising
or guerrilla graffiti

It would have to be full scale
military actions
properly planned and co-ordinated
military assaults
mortar attacks
maybe a shower of rockets
landed right into the middle of a crowd of marines
while they’re stretching their legs
sucking on the butts of their Camels
in Shannon airport

would she
and her
hoody wearing
friends in the
Blocca Nero be up for all that ?
Would anybody in this sick green land
be up for all that?
Is there even a dozen
punks hangin around
hardcore enough for all that?

just as I feel
i have adequately explained
why my people
are allowing their country be used
-the country their ancestors won
by force of arms from an empire-
as a staging post in a genocide
and why she should allow them to allow it
I feel again the sting of shame

so I take her number
her e-mail
her website address
being curious
and wanting to know
how serious
she is


I am sick of marching
marching up and down O Connell street     Nassau Street      Kildare Street
marching to the Dail
marching to the embassies
marching from Shannon town
three miles out
to Shannon warport
then marching back

The left foot
the right
the left foot
the right
the left foot
the right
the left foot knows where the right foot is going
the left foot knows what the right foot is doing
the left foot
the right  mouth has learned
teeth have learned
foot has learned
toes and hands and tongue have learned
how to march
how to shout




sick of speeches and slogans
sick of shaking my left fist at fences
sick of the passionate screeching at helicopters
sick of the onlookers,
the bystanders,
the gawkers
straining on the footpaths
of staring at row upon row of indolent overfed coppers

tired of our understanding
tired of our patience
tired of our patiently explaining
in the back-rooms and the basements and the union halls
tired of the meaningless signatures
and of the statements that are lost to wind tormented corners
tired of train station lobbies and of indifferent passengers
tired of the threadbare edges of homemade banners
tired of the waste of paper at park gates and pier-endings
and of the footprints sealing leaflets to footpaths
outside gigs and cinemas and all kinds of public gatherings.

These days
these sick and void days
these null and tired days
of poisoned life and murder’s reign
when I close my eyes
I am always a sniper sniping
from the window of a burnt out building
I am the last stand in the last burning building
and when at night,
in solitude and silence,
when at night my heart speaks,
my autonomous heart,
It speaks of a solo run
it speaks of a spectacular ending
it speaks of being the nucleus
the spark
the trigger
that sets off the hell
which is all that I owe
all that I own
and all that is mine
for unloosing

Because I’m Human – An Anti-Bullying Poetry Film, is released

Because I am Human, an Anti-Bullying Poetry Film is now online. It is 3 minutes long.

The poem was written by Dave Lordan in 2012, as a gesture of help towards a young relative of his suffering from bullying.

It was aired by RTE ARENA, and the RTE PLAYBACK programme, reaching an audience of hundreds of thousands.

Since then the text of the poem has been used as an Anti-Bullying Resource in schools around the world – many have made posters of the poem, others have used it as a speech choir piece.

This autumn, with the support of dozens of community funders and volunteers,, the popular alt.culture website founded by Dave Lordan and Karl Parkinson, got together with filmmaker Padraig Burke of to make a film of the poem.

The lead role was given to Shane Fitzgerald, a young actor from O Devaney’s Gardens in Inner-City Dublin.

After premiering at the Dublin Book Festival last week, the 3 minute film is now released and can be freely used in perpetuity as a not-for-profit anti-bullying resource.

You can show your support for the anti-bullying message of the film by sharing on social media, liking it on youtube, letting interested parties such as teachers and youth workers know about it, and so on. Thanks in advance for any of the above.

For anti-bullying talks/workshops/performances and film showings in your school or community organisation please contact poet and educator Dave Lordan at or 0870921117 to arrange a visit from an experienced facilitator.

The Bogmans Cannon Top 10 reads

Top 10 red 3d realistic paper speech bubble isolated on white
The Bogmans Cannon Top 10 reads for September 2015
  1. The Unquiet Death of Decency (In Memoriam Nick Cohen & David Aaronovitch), by Kevin Higgins

2. The Bogman’s Cannon Padraig Pearse Playlist

3. I see people, Joe Horgan on the Refugee Crisis

4. Corbyn, The Irish Left, and The Arts, by Dave Lordan

5. 12 Irish Personalities on The Books that changed my Life as a Teen.

6. Against The Police – Free international Poetry Anthology from The Bogmans Cannon.

7. How to support Refugee Solidarity Structures by Caoimhe Butterly

8. The Flying Column (Royals and Fisting) by Connor Kelly

9. A Playlist Of Irish Hip-Hop by Karl Parkinson

10 Women This State Hates Us, by Sarah Clancy

Necrophiliac Bestiality, Future Irish Shanty Towns, AAA-PB4P-SF-WTF???? – it’s this week’s Storm Swept Rock

Although Necrophiliac Bestiality is one of the rarest and choicest of depravities, it’s no surprise to find it prevalent among the genocidally inclined English Ruling Class, inventors of the portable gallows;

travelling gallows

and the concentration camp (in which, during the Boer War, almost 25000 men, women, and children died).

concentration camp

Even today, one third of Britain’s land is owned by the Aristocratic supporters of the Tory Party. As these people are beyond the law, no-one really knows what they get up to behind shut drawbridges. The work of the Marquis De Sade, a revolutionary traitor to the French Aristocracy, gives us some clues however, as does Pasolini’s documentary study of the ItaloGerman Ruling Class, Salo:


It wouldn’t be fair on the ruling class for us to expect them to be any less depraved in private than they are in public. Any group of people who can gleefully implement and then smilingly defend a system that drives disabled people to suicide, as English Tories do every day of the week, is obviously capable of anything. The only defence against such people is the democratic removal of their undemocratic power.

They will use their quasi-feudal Power, as long as they are allowed to retain it, for sadistic and bestial purposes, public and private, every day of the week.


Don’t think the Irish aristocracy, currently fronted by Fine Gael and their tagalong jesters in Labour, are any healthier. What is it but a sniggering kind of sadism that has ministers (Barons) and backbenchers (Counts) all over the mass meedja talking about their compassion for the homeless, while simultaneously encouraging the housing bubble and rent rises that are driving more and more people into homelessness?

In a village near me one couple has abandoned all hope of help from the Irish state and set up camp on a river bank instead.In a way I admire such people – surely it is preferable to camp by a country river than to be effectively imprisoned in a filthy ‘hotel’ in inner city Dublin? But, all the same, what a disgrace.

Re-election of the FG Barons and Labour Jesters, who will do absolutely nothing to undermine the market forces that cause homelessness, may well lead to the emergence of Shanty Towns in Ireland.  You saw it here first.


The recently announced electoral alliance of the AAA and PB4P gives grounds for optimism around the eventual emergence of a principled left opposition in Ireland capable of both organising and representing the democratic majority. But what will be their attitude to Sinn Fein, the party which will harvest most of the left-leaning vote in the next election?

Rejecting any kind of alliance with Sinn Fein would be self-harming and potentially suicidal. But so would entry into official coalition under the domination of Sinn Fein, whose SYRIZA-lite leadership will likely have no problem compromising with the ruling class in order to retain power.

The AAA-PB4P would ultimately have to sell out their own supporters, one way or another, if involved in an official coalition with Sinn Fein. And that would be the end of the far left for another twenty years.

The third option is support from the opposition benches for a Sinn Fein or Sinn Fein led minority government. AAA-PB4P could then decide, law by law and case by case, whether to vote with or against. This is the type of scenario which gives propagandists for the status quo nightmares of ‘instability’ – as if ‘instability’ weren’t already the daily bread of most of us.

But it would also provide an opportunity for a fabulous experiment in contemporary democracy – AAA-PB4P could commit to supporting only those laws and state initiatives that a clear majority of their own supporters were in favour of. In our digital, click-button age such mass, participatory democracy would be easy to organise and would encourage an increase in political consciousness throughout society. Now that would be what I’d call a democratic revolution. Make it part of the manifesto, I say.


The publisher of a recent anthology of Irish literature, a multinational with a turnover in the hundreds of millions, offered neither payment nor contributors’ copies to at least some of its contributors, and did not even inform others they were going to be in the anthology. Such squalid behaviour, which should obviously be illegal – if it isn’t already – seems to me to be one more reason why writers should take much more seriously issues to do with the public context of their private work. If we don’t stand up for own interests, we shouldn’t expect anyone else to either.

Literature as well as all the other Arts has always been far easier to access and participate in for the well-off. With the impact of austerity on arts and education funding, this structural inequality has become more pronounced. A democratic revolution in the government of  Arts would begin by introducing measures and supports that reverse this inequality – fair pay legislation for writers and artists, and a legal and unconditional right to quality arts access and participation for all citizens.

Dave Lordan

The Storm Swept Rock – The Jobstown 27, Art before Profit, Arena on Culture Night & Clara Rose Thornton

Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it.
― Howard Zinn

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
― Voltaire

false imprisonment

The list of rights we would not be able to exercise and benefits we would not be able to enjoy if our ancestors had not broken unjust laws while protesting for just causes- and in doing so faced the wrathful clampdown of an unjust state – is very long. It includes everything from the 8hr day and weekends to the right to vote.

The Irish state was itself created by a mass and continuos defiance of the laws of the British Empire in the period of 1916-21. The 21-23 civil war which followed was, broadly speaking, fought between the left and the right wings of the Irish revolutionary movement, between a radically democratic wing and a conservative wing. With the help of the British Empire the Right won and proceeded to build a partitioned reactionary state to rule in the interests of the indigenous rich.

The defeat of the progressive forces in the revolutionary movement meant that, as Brendan Behan put it “Nothing changed but the badge on the warder’s cap”. Before the defeated revolution oppressors wore the insignia of the crown, after the defeat they wore the insignia of the Harp. And that is the way it has remained.

Don’t believe me? Then think for one moment about the contrast between the state’s legal treatment of say, the establishment-buttressing Catholic Church, and the establishment-challenging Jobstown 27. Although the catholic church in Ireland has a long history of harbouring, protecting, and producing paedophiles – to say the least of it – no establishment politician, no policeman, no barrister, no talk-show host, no national columnist….has ever queried the right of the Catholic Church in Ireland to collect millions of Euros a week which, until proven otherwise, must surely be suspected of at least in part paying for the harbouring, protection, and production of clerical paedophiles.

In contrast the Anti-Austerity Alliance is undemocratically banned by Superintendental decree from collecting money door to door because it may go towards helping organise anti-water charges resistance. And 27 protestors are arrested and charged for their part in a lively protest against our Thatcherite Tanaiste Joan Burton. Ever hear of 27 child-abusing priests, or 27 baby-stealing nuns being arrested and charged in one unannounced pre-dawn swoop? No? Me neither.


The rottenness of the Irish state is also apparent in its contemptuous treatment of the Arts. The Republic of Ireland comes last in the OECD table for percentage of GDP going towards arts funding. The 40 million earmarked for the Arts council would fund the HSE for less than 12 hours. In my own profession of creative writing much of the the tiny amount of funding available goes to far from transparent middle-managing Quangos of questionable utility on the one hand, and to funding or promoting writers who are already established and commercially successful on the other. Little is left over for the direct support of emerging/experimental/non-conformist/community-oriented/non-commercial writers .

All of which came up for discussion at the well-attended People Before Profit policy workshop on the Arts on Saturday in The Teachers club in Dublin, where I shared a panel with Robert Ballagh, Senator Fiach Mac Conghail, and Aedin Howard of Children’s Arts centre The Ark.

Some of the concrete policy proposals suggested, and which I hope will be taken up by People Before Profit in their general election campaign were:

  1. An Increase in Arts funding to the mean OECD GDP level.
  2. Decentralisation and democratisation of arts funding and policy with the aim of increasing access to and participation in ‘excellent arts’  throughout the country and at every level of society.
  3. 10000 public sector jobs for writers and artists in the health and education sectors. This would be of huge benefit to public health and education and give participating artists time and money to freely pursue their own work.
  4. Legislation for a fair and sustainable fee structure for artists participating in state-funded events and events organised by profitable private entities. Fair and sustainable wages for ground floor arts and cultural workers.


RTE receives a lot of fair criticism from the left for its blatantly biased current affairs coverage, including from us here at The Bogman’s Cannon. But we should not be indiscriminate in our criticism of RTE. RTE’s arts programming is often excellent and is on a par with any similiarly-resourced broadcasting outlet in the world. Credit where credit is due. Last Friday’s Arena Culture Night Special was an example of the best that can be done in live arts broadcasting and was rounded off with a scintillating call to cultural solidarity by poet Clara Rose Thornton. The whole show is worth a listen back but I particularly recommend Clara’s ‘Latitude’ which you will find about 2hrs 30min in. I hope that literary festival organisers will find room for Clara Rose Thornton and other radically inspiring spoken word poets on their programmes in 2016.

The Storm Swept Rock is a weekly column by Dave Lordan