For four days I watched that seagull circling
round and round our office roof like a prison yard,
trapped on all sides by shiny high windows.
Unlike Narcissus, his reflection distressed him.
'Taxi Driver' monologue with wide wingspan,
slight take off, before head butting the glass.
On the third day I attempted to catch him;
Elmer Fudd tiptoe, coat stretched out net-like.
I've looked for God in birds and in mirrors,
wishing one would alight upon my shoulder.
The gulls overhead are auditioning for Hitchcock
flapping, screeching, aiming droppings at my head.
On the fourth day, he fell down exhausted and died.
His shovelled carcass was briefly brought inside.
A broadside of five poems, centring on the theme of death.
Shifting from grief, to melancholy, to the black humour we all apply as a way to deal with the end of things, McLaughlin maintains an outlook of being able to find beauty within casualty. These poems highlight the poet's narrative skills, where the story is always central.
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Christopher McLaughlin was born and grew up in Strabane, Co. Tyrone. He went to Manchester University and later lived for some time in Chepstow, South Wales.
He has been back living in Belfast since 2011, 'padding out' his own identity through the medium of poetry, working and learning alongside other poets, and giving readings at various festivals and local events, all well received. Within his work you can expect to find a trinity of cultural influences: Irish, British and American.
His poem 'Frankel' was shortlisted in the York Mix Poetry Festival Competition '13.
Seamus Heaney was quoted as saying of the North, 'This is limbo land at best'; Christopher hopes his work will lead him out of limbo and into a clear sense of a new cultural home.