Flying to Malaysia


Flying to Malaysia is like 

sailing to Antartica,

Trekking to Tasmania

eloping to Ethiopia 

cycling to Shanghai

potholing through Rockies

ballooning beyond Bolivia

rowing to Rumania 

– It’s a confidence act.

It takes imagination to dream 

and courage to fly.

I didn’t put fuel in the airplane

didn’t oil the engine

nor train the pilot

nor test the emergency exit

I didn’t chart the course

didn’t make sure the co-pilot took her medication.

I simply trusted an imagination I didn’t invent.

Unknowing the Indian Ocean

the Bay of Biscay

the gulf of Hormuz 

the mouth of the Brahmaputra

and why the earth isn’t a perfect sphere.

If Malaysia didn’t exist,

Rhodes would have invented it

and I might have plonked it  

out of sight

so we could amuse each other with questions like

“What would you do if 

you were born in Tajikistan 

and fell from an angel’s wing 

over Kuala Lumpar?”


“Is the square root of the latitude of the Federation of Malaysia equal to the sum of the other two sides involved in the revolution?”

Because you’ll never find it 

unless you can imagine a black-haired boy 

in an emerald green rugby jersey 

shouting “Ireland, Ireland” 

as he snapchats his way from KL to Cork. 

I am a failure

I am a failure

I failed my mother and father

– so they had more children.

I failed to like cod liver oil, tapioca, even semolina.

I failed to grab the offer my father made

– so the brothers got the business.

I failed as sociologist

– so I became a bus conductor.

I failed as a conductor

– so I moved on to be a manager.

I failed as a manager

– so I became a leader.

I failed as a leader

– so I became an owner of my own business.

I failed as a husband

– so I found another wife.

I failed as a father

– so I had another child.

I failed to live forever in England

– so I sailed back to Ireland.

I failed to stop the clock

– so I faded by the day.

I failed to be satisfied

– so I changed the world

I failed to find the answer

– so I learned be a poet

With that track record

– what chance do you think I have?