On COLLECTIVE LIVING IN A SINGULAR AGE and MODERN BOMBS DON’T TICK:
The poems and songs of Peter Doolan
From first faith to last, our hopes for the day superceede us;
All too often we’ll shelter into some form of dark compromise,
But in Peter Doolan’s starred work he is attempting to tame
Life’s lost chances and re-imagine and set them in what his
Poems and songs aim to prize. Collective Living in a Singular Age
A portrait of the artist, as irish as Joyce and still young,
With balladry for the page as well as the six strings he favours,
Love, life and loss documented, before the onset of doubt has begun.
Doolan notices birds not with ‘whiff of voyeurism up his nostrils’,
But as if they were a colour that pavement philosophy paints,
‘Scrambling the Number Stations,’ he moves from ‘tumbling sea’
To the ‘stress and strain’ of the concrete, in thrall to the high
Conjugations of word into wing the eye makes.
His poems converse with a gaelic lilt. You can hear it.
His voice appears older than the face that frames it, for sure.
Irish born, London based, you hear Galway Bay, Barnet, Dublin,
Each soft tone bestowing the ‘thirsty pueblo of the soul’
To each door.
He walks the city and sees
Every separate signal, the Victorian streetlamps,
The ‘groups of laughing hyenas in packs,’ with a verse close to hand
And phantom guitar at his shoulder, or a real guitar, sent
To capture the melancholy muse each street lacks.
Doolan’s personal pose is to confide and share with you.
He regrets his transgression with a woman for whom he couldn’t be
What she sought,
But his confession’s genteel , noble it seems,
Moonlight honest, when God’s sky eye settles on you,
Spearing you sharp with guilt’s thought.
He mixes modern slang with an ode, or with the air of odes
In an instant. Jingo and the Pacifist’s fuckpig, nudges the ‘dead poet benches’
That ‘scantily clad waves’ bemoan, revealing the writer of these words
To have more bite than expected, as the Bonheur carves the city
On an evening stroll, seeking home.
Doolan’s ‘baffled brains’ are bereft as he contemplates his existence,
Youth and age joining, as youth and age will, mirroring
Just as he sees the ‘depths of fleeting days’ and surrenders
His ‘troubled ship’ finds fresh harbour, in a lover’s smile, rivering.
‘Fuck the tongue that never trips and fuck the tongue that never tells,’
In the poem The Matrimony of Starlight is one of this book’s glazed
Reflections on the state of play of the heart. Doolan’s lines tumble out,
As he riffs and roams on each image, ‘sexual botherations’
Accusations, featured and marked on sin’s chart.
With each released and then tamed by a withering word,
Or a lesson, the poet observer becomes in his way love’s dark judge,
Offering question and qualm to the sense of calm poems search for,
If written like this in reflection and contemplation too of wracked buds,
Breaking now through the earth as others trample on beauty,
Doolan examines the petals offering the stains of earth and of blood,
Poetry and the beast in all of us, he espouses,
With both patience
And anger, his is the ink that won’t smudge.
Poetry, is a craft cresting on free flowing waters.
As these words careen, thoughts engender reaction
And stowaway rhyme below decks.
A confluence starts between pen, oar,
And subject, as Doolan’s keen eye scans horizons
For whatever hope or fear shapes his text.
Here, then is the slim volume, refleshed with the heavy experience
By the clouds that are housing in a singular age,
Tenancy for all who would share ‘renewed faith in the heavens,’
As they seek to shine and to shelter those who betray us,
Turning words over as a way to restore clemency.
As love’s apostle whose book is decidedly honest,
Doolan’s songs and album, Modern Bombs Don’t Tick prods the nerve.
His are the explosions of heart that this irish troubadour introduces.
Sons of Immigrant Blues country shuffles with a mixture of vitriol
And of verve. Doolan’s voice duly scowls as face down in the dirt
Escpape’s what’s he’s after, ‘The suns eternal embers/ are the morning’
But they seem to bring scant reprieve. Dig Paddy Dig coruscates the worst aspects
Of the workers, from the situation that stains them to the suffered abuses,
Most of which they can’t leave. Doolan’s gentility breaks, giving reign
To a wildness that grants this folk rock a punk spirit which each song
On this disc now begins. The supposed observer of the book has now
Revealed the full judgement, thanks to Andrew Payne’s driving rhythm
And Marris Peterlevics, and Barbara Bart’s violins.
Leonard My Dear is a wracked lullaby in which Doolan’s dry voice
Tries to order the times of trouble that the subject reveals,
From rage to ruin it seems, Doolan’s early Dylanesque seeks to question
This unlucky Leonard, ‘still turning tricks in these times of cheap appeal.’
Modern Bombs Don’t Tick’s poem creed scorches the slut
Who has abandoned the subject, as Doolan’s narked narrator splinters and spits
Spurned heart’s bile. He wishes the tear love apart and replace the soul
And the sundered with something more violent and which will carry
The stumbling parts the full mile. A Bird That Flew Banjos in,
Thanks to Conor O Malley. Doolan and his consorts, sparkle and strum into light,
Lyle Zimmerman’s Mandolin revives the folk in the fucking
That grinds through the gristle that each empowered song
Aims to fight. Fulaucht Fla now completes this Ep’s held explosion
The silent tick is the fervour with which Doolan’s songs claim the air.
Any Harwood’s 80’s bass updates the template
That his guitar and keyboards have essayed with consummate skill
And great care. Doolan’s is a voice from outside, sneaking its way
Through the alley. As Poet and Preacher on the musical stave
And the page
He is proving his way and daring all who deceive him,
To realise he is coming.
With these words and passion,
Here is one singer speaking,
Brimming with youth, pouring age.
David Erdos 6th July 2019