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Three Poems by Mark A. Murphy

Egemonia Culturale



Antonio Gramsci knows only too well
the limitations of ‘common sense’,
hunch-backed, fading away in his Turi cell,
constantly in pain –
while the ‘natural’ and ‘inevitable’ nature of man
plays itself out in the Senate,
the Sardinian countryside
and the Fiat and Lancia factories of Turin,
where ‘parliamentary immunity’
is a phrase that is to be found wanting.


Somewhere, the Sunday church-goer ambles home
with the songs of starlings ringing
in his ears. And the question must be asked,
would he defend his Christ, the lessons of love
if the cost of love became pain
or nights in the wilderness,
or the necessity that some of what he clung to as truth
was not so… or would he join in silencing,
in the taking up of stones?


In Buenos Aires, Juon Perón considers Nuremberg ‘a disgrace’
while the eminent Bishop Hudal,
‘duty bound’, thanking God,
(Spiritual Director of the German People resident in Italy)
and Father Draganovich (that Apostolic Visitator)
are issuing Vatican papers
for Franz Stangl, Gustav Wagner, Adolf Eichman
and Ante Pavelic – names to be reckoned with,
patriots, men of action. The Roman ratlines
to South America ring with their triumphs.


Comrade Gramsci, we know it only too well,
the history of all hitherto existing society
does not belong to science,
the very idea is ‘abstract’ and ‘fanciful’.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, consensus culture never killed anyone,
King Victor Emmanuel has no need to pull the trigger
to silence your brain for twenty years,
and the irony is not wholly lost on his daughter, Mafalda

who eats her last ever meal at Buchenwald.
The rest as they say is hegemony.


Natural Law



            To utter is to alter. – Niyi Osundare


Reviled is the man that sits down with beggars
and dares to speak of freedom
whilst sharing his evening meal with whores.
Reviled is the man that seeks neither place nor fortune,
nor pays heed unto the lives of the rich,
nor gives credence unto celebrity –
when all around the congregation are looking for alibis.


Reviled is the man that would rather die than surrender
his own speculative reason.


Oh we know the blood-letting must begin somewhere,
(speaking the truth is nowhere an inalienable right)
that Party neophyte and chauvinist hack
share the same bed, walk in the same shoes,
guardians of the historical taboo,
denouncing the rebellion, silencing the weary
for the good of the many, always for the good of the many.


Reviled is the man that would rather die than surrender
his own speculative reason.



Seven Day Eternity



Always, there is some inexpressible grief unfolding
in the world that our bodies
cannot wholly escape,
beyond the apple orchard down the lane
where a boy falls and breaks his arm stealing apples
from the orchard’s greedy owner,
beyond the ‘grand final’ live
and the greedy advertising on billboards,
beyond the latest headlines and the ‘war on terror’,
there is a list of dead insurgents,
a list of dead GI’s,
and always, somewhere, there are those that will cry out:
‘God, save us.’ And then, ‘God, revenge us.’


Mark A. Murphy’s first full length collection, Night-Watch Man & Muse is due out in November 2013 from Salmon Poetry (Eire). His poems have been published in over 100 magazines and ezines world wide. He is the creator and editor of the online poetry journal POETiCA.


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