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‘What Culture Means to Me’ by Colm Keegan

Co Author:
Colm Keegan


it’s your mother’s voice when you’re in the womb
it’s the furniture in your first living room
it’s the sound on the radio you don’t understand
it’s the logos on the bottles when you’re taking a bath
it’s sitting in the kitchen banging spoons off pots
it’s your colours all scrawled on the wall in crayon

it’s the uniform you wear when you go to school
it’s everything the teachers stamp in to you
when they open a book, when they write on the board
when they shout in your face, when they tell you a joke
it’s turning up on time, being told “teigh a codladh”
it’s what you want done to you, you do unto others.

it’s odes to your hormones, fireworks in your body
it’s a map made of courtship texts and valentines poems
it’s the kama sutra, the joy of sex
it’s a step by step guide to what’s coming next
it’s the ritual of growing in and settling down
it’s do this, it’s do that, it’s how the world goes round

it’s punching the clock instead of punching the boss
it’s the hamster wheel run of (just) paying the mortgage
it’s christening the kids when you don’t believe in god
it’s the sleepers keeping down the free train of thought
it’s scanning the channels because there’s nothing on
it’s the font on your headstone, the shape of your coffin

it’s the architecture of the old regime
it’s the truth distorted, a manipulated stream
it’s the subtext of power and how lines are drawn
it’s a barbed wire fence made of hegemony
it’s barking in a voice that’s somebody else’s
it’s a monumental beast that can’t switch direction.

but then

it’s living too much in how it always was
it’s breaking things down so they are built back up
it’s putting into words what has never been said
it’s telling the truth despite the fear of death
it’s railing against the way it’s always been
it’s one voice against the mob.

it’s the bridge in between.

Colm Keegan



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