3 Poems by Tony O'Neill


it all went wrong

when they told me to

beg a God of my understanding

to take away my failings

I told them

“there is no God”

they said “no, no, no.

“this is not a religion!

“a god of you understanding!

“a higher power

“it can be a tree a rock


this left me

with an ideological problem

I could not resolve

if I acknowledge the existence

of a God

or a higher power

(be it a rock, a tree, or a man with a beard)

then surely it is my duty

to hate God?

to kill God?

How could I not? when I left rehab

I got higher than I had ever gotten before

I raised the needle and I said:

“this one’s for you, god.”

but god didn’t answer


the two lovers of 60th street

kissing under dysentery brown leaves

tongues like ulcers

furtive, impassioned, dying

kissing against beauty and government alike

while the state staggers, swords

sheathed between once proud shoulder blades

an arrest warrant is issued for god

here is god, he is on “cops”, they are

beating him like an uppity nigger

I am eating kratom and cheering

on a $299 Ikea couch

the two lovers of 60th street

kissing under ulcerous brown leaves

tongues like dysentery

dying, impassioned, we are all

dying, swords issued, warrants pinned

between once proud god blades

and where is god?

he is moldering, entombed

with billy graham and wile e coyote

tongues entwined on gallows street

under godless brown leaves


failed revolutionaries

are of course

the best kind

if I had to be

any kind of revolutionary

it would be a failed one

there is something more

romantic about that

something special

something beautiful

baader meinhoff

the angry brigade

the symbionese liberation army

ill thought out



above all else: stylish

the black panthers

with their berets

and leather jackets

half rock stars

half existentialist heroes

when I was a child

we had the IRA

I liked them at the time

I thought the balaclavas looked


I liked the rhetoric

and being an Irish kid

in an English town

it gave me something

to believe in

how sad to realize that

they were just men

like the people they were fighting against;

just men who were interested in jobs,

badges, uniforms,

pensions, the nuts and bolts

of running a country in such a way

as to not upset the feeding trough

successful revolutionaries

of course

are just politicians

and there is nothing

less romantic

than a politician

Tony Oneill's work is available through the following links.

Digging The Vein: www.contemporarypress.com

Songs From The Shooting Gallery: www.burningshorepress.com

Visit Tony's website for information on his forthcoming fall 2008 novel: www.tonyoneill.net

Tony O'Neill books are also available through Amazon.com