Karl Parkinson is a writer from Dublin, Ireland.
His debut collection of poetry Litany of the City & Other Poems was published by Wurmpress in 2013.
His work has been published in If Ever You Go: A map of Dublin in poetry and song, Dublin OneCity, Onebook choice 2014(Dedalus press), New Planet Cabaret anthology(New Island & RTE Radio), The Stinging Fly, Penduline, The poetry Bus, Can Can, and many more. He is spoken word editor at the Literary, arts web journal Colony.ie.
My Q and A with Karl
My post on Karl's powerful collection of poems, Litany of the City & Other Poems
Dave Lordan's excellent interview with Karl
Here are my opening thoughts on his collection:
Karl Parkinson's Litany of The City and Other Poem is almost a Leaves of Grass of the dark side of Dublin. There is to me a kind of deep paradox inherent in his works. There is a reveling in things most would turn their faces from, junkies, young girls giving blow jobs for heroin, natural geniuses on the dole, beer cans all over a filthy apartment in the projects expressed in what most see as the most elite literary form, the poem. The poems speak for those without their own voice. It takes a very cultivated person too truly focus on Karl's works, one whose life style and background will often make him a near tourist in the world of these poems. The literary roots of Parkinson, he refers to them, are Blake, Burroughs, Ginsburg,Whitman and Joyce. I can see Joyce in some of the "catalogues" in "Litany of the City". I can see Whitman nursing a 18 year old fatally injured Civil War soldier and knowing he will not last the night reading these works and feeling an almost paternal pride. Whitman wishes he could have sex with the soldier before he dies. I see Blake rewriting "Litany of The City" as a prophecy book, I see Burroughs asking where the cheapest heroin can be found and I see Joyce taking it all in with a blink of his eye and wondering if it is ok to ask Ginsburg if he wants to talk through the night with him. I see Frieda howling. Jean Rhys stops by and thinks to herself, "there is real potential here". She'll stop back in twenty years.
Confession" by Karl Parkinson
Man I remember when I fist saw her in de block she had them tight denim shorts on, real tight and legs that shined, de wer so smooth.
Her hair was jet black and long, straight all down her back. She loved her hair she did. Loved it. I, I, I loved her hair.
It was love at first sight.
I know, I didn’t believe in that either before it happened te me.
But it did. Maria Donnely, my Maria. So fuckin gorgeous she was.
Best looking bird in de flats, in Dublin even, best in de world te me anyway she was.
She had on that red bra top with de shorts and she had It all in de body man.
Curves in de right places but no belly, perfectly made by God for me ya know?
But she had de personality te go with it to.
Not like doze good looking stuck-up birds ya get, up der own whole, in love with dem selves and look down in yea.
No not Maria, she was kind, gentle, helped out others, took in all de strays cats, dogs, brothers, uncles, mates de lot.
Don’t get me wrong she had her moods and weird way like any of us.
Nobody’s perfect are de? But she was perfect for me ya know what I mean, like?
We were a great team together.
Had our mad days an all that, going out getting outta de bin on de E’s and hash, drinking, partys, all that when we were young and free, hah.
Not that she’ll ever get old now, I’m nor old, I’m only 43 and she was only 38 but I mean we done all that shit in our twentys before we had de kids, two of dem we have, well I suppose I have dem now, or me ma will.
Terry he’s 5 and Chantell she’s 3 and a half only, starting te look like her ma.
Liek her ma used te look before she got sick.
Got sick. Why do de say that? Like, ya cant get it.
Cancer its not soemthin ya catch is it?
It just comes up on ya or from ya doesn’t it?
Fuckin grows inside yea and eats at yea.
She had it in her womb and It spread quickly.
I’m kinda glad it was over quick and she was outtta her sufferin quickly like.
She had de chemo and that, all her beautiful long black hair fell out in clumps, terrlble it was.
She used te joke and start singing Nothing compares te you pretendin te be
Sinead O’ Conner, hah we used te laugh at that.
She said that te me, ya have te have a laugh don’t ya for fucksake.
At de end though der was no laughin really, not when she was in that bed.
Thin as paper she was and pure white even a bit yellow looking but still gorgeous te me.
She’ll always be my gorgeous Maria no matter what.
Man she was in such pain de morphine was doing its best, but at de end like it was so bad, so fuckin bad, lookin at her and hearin her in that fuckin bed and de bed was so white and she was so white all that white I just cant forget it, de whitness of de room.
Den when we were on our own, She, sh, s, she asked me, she put her hand around de back a me head and pulled me down and real soft like in me ear she said Paul, kill me, kill me Paul, I cant take anymore of dis, if ya love me Paul ya’ll do it for me.
So I did. I understood what I had te do.
like I said it spread so fast and de chemo and de morphine and all that nutin was gonna save her or take away de sufferin, so I did.
I kissed her and she kissed me just like de first time we kissed around de back of de pramshed when we were sixteen and nervous but dis was de last time and we really kissed with all de love we had for each other and we said I love you together and den I let de capsule fall in te her mouth and she bit on it and she shook for a bit, white foam and spit came out and it was fast and easy and I wiped her beautiful face and lips with the tissue, closed her eyes and kissed her forehead and that was it, it was over, thank God.
I thank Karl Parkinson for allowing me to share this story with my readers.
I will be posting another of his stories in a few days.