Katherine Hastings

Faerie Gold Press 2007 Sebastopol
20 pp hand sewn

Cover painting: Riders of the Sidhe by John Duncan


Sidhe, pronounced SHE,
means 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.

         Earth walkers
                  Night flyers

                  Dwellers under the hills
         Ireland/San Francisco
(there)                 (there)

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 shoes
   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?
Marry me.    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
          bourbon swirling
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,
in between
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.

Yellow Dress

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
all help


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

                           Lonely    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
Fillmore. Greenwich.
The Bermuda Triangle.    Thy baited hooks
People vaporize
legs open    tangle me no more
to the imperfect.

An O'Sidhe Bleeds On the Street

from the tooth     Heart's 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!
of moon
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.
it's warm
most days.

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
sometimes more
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,
you know,
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 80'S pounding on the door     Earth!
She didn't.     Flyer!

     Away, come away: Empty your heart of its mortal dream.
         O, Dark mother —