Leaving Home

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Leaving Home

After I told you I’d never see you again you ripped the mobile home

apart     certain and dexterous and everything in it because

I had lived there     for three slow months one summer returning

from Florida     resource-less and spinning.     And it all came apart so easily

bare hands, claw-hammer, and energy,     dismantled doors and windows went first,

then the fittings and fixtures flew after the furniture and the wall-to-wall shelving

that stowed all my clothes from the black blossoming moulds as they bled against discipline.

The walls, the floor and the roof peeled open     stunningly     like a burn in our vision.

Everyone watched, stupefied and dazed,      my insides cast out over the lawn

disseminating     before you gathered it all back to the centre     and set it alight.

Spectators were horrified     at the strength of the flames that flared over the hedges

in a spectacular show of anger     and all for me!


I smiled – it would have been worse

if you’d done nothing.



 Written as part of my Masters portfolio 2009 and published by The Poetry Bus in early October 2013


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No title

it could have been here

Screenshot 2014-01-22 22.46.48

or here

Screenshot 2014-01-27 11.09.13

the water tower that stood like an alien in wait

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the school bus stop, little children all in a line

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Who’d have thought (a poetry film)

Who’d have thought
Filmed in Peru and Ireland by Melissa Diem
Poem written and read by Melissa Diem
Sound production by Colm Slattery






On my way to the bank, food-shopping and picking up nitro glycerine

and the sap on the car bled by the sycamore heavy with summer     and it wasn’t

particularly sunny or raining     it wasn’t a negative or a tumbling downwards    I simply saw

a juggernaut rising     over the horizon on the left  And heard     a voice     my own voice

as though said by another     say ‘enough’     and as the weight of the juggernaut slid

towards me, against the fade out back     drop of existence, hurtling heavily, unstoppable

on a junction of road meant to pass     I had time to look     And in a neutral state of feeling

I willingly drove     forward      in a sudden chance to escape the great weight

of my fate     But the truck swerved over, blaring its horn     furiously     and passing me by

I missed my chance and was left     wondering      what great thing intervened     if at all

in my sudden chance to cease     at exactly the right moment     Did I say

‘enough’     too soon or too softly and it hadn’t gathered strength     and words

only become commands when they reach a certain  level      of intensity

when enough – and really mean it      say it with a quiet resignation     becomes enough

Appraisal (A poetry film)

Screened at FILMPOEM 2013 as part of the main programme, Dunbar, Scotland.
Selected for the CologneOFF IX – 9th Cologne International Videoart Festival
Selected for the 2013 VISIBLE VERSE FESTIVAL, Canada

A poetry film that explores ideas of alienation and personal identity in relation to others and by testing the limits within the self. Filmed in Ireland in 2013.

Images by Melissa Diem
Poem written and read by Melissa Diem
Sound production by Colm Slattery.


I tested what to do or not from strange lives passing swiftly

before me on a thirty-six inch screen or me before them

on a train travelling before curtains are drawn and after the lights flick on

to renovated kitchens viewed from the back, bird-tables, trampolines all gathering nets.

I tested my body – giving up food, and days I could sleep in multitudes,

pressing the pliable walls of my mind and scaffolds of thought to a fault-line.

I walked across the country with my eyes closed

like a kid trying on sizes pretending to be blind because you haven’t figured out

how to gauge the distance of your life against others.

Or like testing an ornament unbearably fragile you’ve been told not to touch

but you can’t stand the tension of not knowing

the exact measure of pressure it would take

to crush it


Published in The Stinging Fly 2010

The slip





Everything turns over, falls apart and away –

a ticket, a destination, a language     each finding an anchor without hold

I lost my language today and half my vision     flickering on and off     repeatedly

and every time it comes back     you’re further away     I’m hanging around airports

in search of new lands     only the flight board’s indecipherable and the codes are tickering

saccades faster than the eye can see     and the ticket sellers     are growing increasingly

mistrustful and angry because no one can understand     what I’m saying     And you

look at me mystified     with the world spinning gently in the palm of your hand

as you stand with your flight     all arranged     out of here     and me going nowhere –

under a roof that rests on walls      only because its wants to fall     and I’m staring

at these meaningless coins     falling from my palm.     Halved between two selves –

one falling apart and the other unchanging     with eyes that are dying to shut

or to see     and waving you off     at the terminus     with nothing to say

and it took me so long     to find you






733 perspectives of the ward – Experimental

Experimental by Melissa Diem
Music – “Thursday” by Jed Hershon

the one about the bird


Screened at the BELFAST FILM FESTIVAL 2013



Screened at FILMPOEM 2013 as part of a selection curated by Swoon, Dunbar, Scotland.

Screened at TIMELINE 2013 as part of BOKEH YEAH!, with the best of the recent inaugural FILMPOEM FESTIVAL, curated by its founder and director Alastair Cook, with guest programme by Swoon, Manchester, England.



A poetry film based on the poem, the one about the bird, written by Melissa Diem and filmed in Ireland. It explores the human attraction to horrific events through the medium of film. And the idea of the desire to stop and begin again when a situation, an experience, humanity… seems to have gone so horrendously wrong that it is beyond the point of return and can never be undone.

The poem and the visuals were influenced by a black and white film (source unknown) in which children stone a wounded bird to death. I saw this clip of film at a young age and the scenes and all they implied were so startling to me that I have never forgotten the images. Other cinematic influences include the film ‘Don’t Look Now’ in which images suddenly surface in a fleeting glimpse like repressed memories shifting through consciousness.


Visuals by Melissa Diem
Poem written and read by Melissa Diem
Sound production by Colm Slattery