means a people of the hills.
It is the Gaelic name for fairies.
Descended from people defeated in war,
the Sidhe retreated to a different dimension of space
and time. They have the power to move quickly
through air and change their shape at will.
The Sidhe live under mounds.
Sidhe in this poem live
Dwellers under the hills
And For the Babe Floating On the Lake
in a plastic bag
on a block of wood
past our doorsteps, spread (breath!)
across our kitchen tables
Welcome, little O'Sidhe
of Rio de Janeiro
The health of the salmon to you,
a long life,
a full heart,
and a wet mouth.
An O'Sidhe Is Born In the Flatlands
My mother was of Ireland,
My father came to dance…
The father 9 months later Love like heat and cold
moves down the street Pierces and then is gone;
with Bernadine Of the Tight Maroon Dress
Jealousy when it strikes
and Large Bosom. Sticks in the marrowbone
Here's health to your enemy's enemies
Father O'Bank O'American Dream
New Cars Here's health and prosperity
For the girls new matching dresses
to you and all your posterity
New, New, O'New! O'New! damned for all eternity
New bank examiner, new
trial, new word:
What did the Bank Examiner say to the father of O'Sidhe?
Go to jail.
What did the Bank Examiner say to the mother of O'Sidhe
Here's to you and yours and to mine and ours and if
After a Small Wedding Which She Didn't Attend,
O'Sidhe Is Banished to the Hills
Yellow Mercury green
interior Lucky Strikes
Closed windows May the road rise to meet you
600 miles northward northward northward
looking at the back of the head
of the Mortal Son of Un-nourishing Substance
"Who Is He?
Open the door I'm going to be sick."
Bottom of a hill. Curbside. Sunlight
limping through the fog.
Six steps to the locked door.
More steps. May peace and plenty
Up. Up. be the first to lift the latch
Here's your room. Good-bye.
What the Mortal Son
of Un-nourishing Substance calls it.
Lithium Valium Seconal cradled
palm of hand
Head back re-fills
spits "I hate the sight of you!"
O'Sidhe is five, still wondering
who is he, the cockalorum
O Little O'Sidhe, how is your heart now?
How to Go Invisible: Get a raven's heart, split
it open with a black hafted knife, make three
cuts, place a black bean in each cut. Plant it.
When the beans sprout put one in your mouth,
say "By virtue of Satan's heart, by strength of
my great art, I desire to be invisible." So it will
be as long as the bean is kept in the mouth."
And the Flower Like Milk in a Dark Pantry At Night
Narrow hallway Pantry The Mortal Man
of Un-Nourishing Substance
reaches for O'Sidhe
I see the color on your head but
What color is your hair
O'Sidhe perches high in the corner
back pushed against the ceiling.
Fi! Fie! Fo! Fum!
She didn't know
until he came -- the Mortal Son.
O'Mind! O'Powerful Mind!
No man can reach the shape-shifter.
I could scale the blue air
I could plough the high hills
I could kneel at night in prayer
To heal your many ills
Where O'Sidhe Keeps Her Tongue
In a silver box
shaped like a shield, a spear.
Evenings, she slips it
from safety, sings to her sister
songs of stars and moon.
Before sleep she plucks it,
returns it to the vault
of silent daughters.
O'Sidhe of Greenwich Street
Twenty-one-eighty-two is the color of dirty Caucasian flesh.
Squint your eyes: Dead doves of tissue float from the
landlord's room, rest on heads of passing schoolgirls.
Rocking to and fro he whistles one long strain.
Phantom train in the night, long forgotten teapot.
He giggles like a girl.
Twenty-one-eighty-two, stairs burrow under to the dirt-
walled cellar where the Mortal Man, the step-man,
mounts the whimpering stairs. Hair wrapped around fist,
feet dangling down the hall, a garbage sack of a Sidhe
is tossed, door slammed shut. She'd been off the block
again. Was missing. Was found.
Upstairs the teapot, downstairs the dungeon,
moonlight pulled over song.
Twenty-one-eighty-two, through the keyhole waft of cow's
tongue, delusion tinkling on ice. The parakeet bangs his head
against his little bell, hangs on the unforgiving hook.
Up the sun-drenched block from
twenty-one-eighty-two O'Sidhe finds comfort hugging concrete,
chanting safety over ants. Walking home the windows of
Greenwich Street flare. With one hand she catches a dove,
breathes it back to flight, with the other
turns the sizzling knob.
Home below the hill
papered with air
brushed skin. Fairies are said to be beautiful
with long yellow hair
Women imperfectly hairless
There and delicate forms
No wounds from the war
on women. They have the power to affect human life
They are hungry and O'Sidhe
learns the lesson
and she hungers often luring mortals
and she is alone
hungering. into an eternal dance
Bare shoulder on the screen May your body not cease
bare white shoulder to pay me attention
strap slipping down may your love follow my face
the yellow dress on the floor
as the cow follows her calf
but not enough.
O John Wayne
Why did you burst through that
O'Sidhe Rents a Wedding Dress
Light tilting through window
impaled frigid sheets
Give me more love or more disdain
He knows purity The torrid, or the frozen zone
but not the body Either extreme, of love, or hate,
Unresponsive flesh. Is sweeter than a calm estate.
House of gallows
She leaves the flatlands, Farewell love
for the bottom of the hill. and thy laws forever
The Bermuda Triangle. Thy baited hooks
legs open tangle me no more
to the imperfect.
An O'Sidhe Bleeds On the Street
from the tooth Hearts blood
the hombre has left and bowel's blood
a window calls the cops May your eyes go blind
her hair is long, the color And your knees be broken!
so they will ride the hills
she says Let him go And no man in Ireland
will fire the shot
he's just an hombre
O'Sidhe comes through the fog
to live in a car.
O'Sidhe Lives Through
The women's hot tub
a block from the ocean.
Clothes in trees.
Naked back and forth
across the Great Highway.
One man disappears, arms extended like a cross
morning is wrapped in a sheet without a sound
from someone's line. the lost are found!
Booze weed 'shrooms Angel of this sacred place
than she bargains for.
Calm her soul and whisper peace
Twin Peaks Woman
undresses in front of the fire
undresses O'Sidhe, too.
(O John Wayne stay away
from the shape-shifter!)
A man she thinks she loves
and comes hard to Night flyer
but she is Irish (remember?)
and he is Jewish so,
the Mother. Earth Walker
Then coke then dope Shape shifter
then Death with a capital D
one night standing Night flyer
right in the corner
the 80s pounding on the door Earth!
WAKE UP! EVERYONE'S GOING
She didn't. Flyer!
Away, come away:
Empty your heart of its mortal dream.
O, Dark mother
Katherine Hastings has had poems published in numerous journals and anthologies. Her chapbooks, Sidhe and Wolf Spider were published by dPress; Lonidier Rampant and Bird. Song. Knife. Heart. were published by the Small Change Series. Hastings founded and hosts the WordTemple Poetry Series, bringing well-established poets together with poets who have not yet published a book. She also hosts a radio program, also called WordTemple, on Santa Rosa's NPR affiliate, KRCB 91.1 FM (for information go to www.wordtemple.com)