Monday, August 31, 2009

We promised not to forget

It was a week worth of newspaper stories and a march and then we forgot what we had promised never to forget and we moved on, but they cannot.

What is it that they have suffered, can we even begin to imagine?

Wake up smiling or wake up crying.

What about the day when they do not awake at all? If you are right then they will stand at the golden gates and be offered their chance to talk with your Almighty. What could they possibly say to him? He’ll be another scared little man who cannot bear to listen to them. Will he dare to condemn them then, for their sins, or will what they have suffered outweigh the worst that they may have done? Will he track through the script of their lives, circling all of their faults in red ink like some angry school teacher, will he try to smite them then?

What then from this booming voice of your male God, let him try to send them to hell, we will all be at home there. Your devil is more of a friend, he, at least, admits that it is his desire is to hurt us. Will you, who shake your shiny new testament at me, please explain why He, your God, has never intervened? Surely apathy is a sin, the eighth deadly sin. His ultimate crime against man he claims to love so much.

I want you, the believer, to stand before me and look into my eyes and explain it to me, why when they were so small, why when they trusted in him so completely did he let them down so much, why were his tests so harsh?

If he can send any one of them to hell let him, your great almighty Lord, accompany them, for he has sinned as much as any man.

What will become of your world then? When all apparent goodness is held up as corrupted and evil is seen to be the driving force of the earthbound and celestial alike, how then, and why, can you possibly continue in this faith?

Set fire to your home’s, steal your neighbours food, home and wife because, in truth, there is no salvation. There is only now. What can your bible do to help you when the heavens are falling and the golden gates come crashing to the ground?

How did so much implausible fiction become the entire world to so many, the power of your fancy stories that they became a way of life.

"I believe in God the Father, of all that is seen and unseen." How did the lies of the past become the structure of our world today and how will you cope when it all falls apart in your hands?

My faith doth magnify the Lord, but he caught alight under the suns strong beam and all I have left is a pile of ashes. What will you use now to fill this void with which you are left when belief and faith collapse and your entire world has lost all meaning?

Was it a child God who created our world and has he abandoned us now that he has tired of his play? There is as much possibility, as much truth, in this as anything you believe, nothing here means what you think it means.

For the moment

If I could I would wrap you in cotton wool, safe,
and you would never need to know about when the world
is black, black, black and the rain clouds cover everything.

It would not help you, or anyone, if I gave in to this anger
and broke every finger on the hand that dared
to touch you in hurt.

Now it seems to you that things will never get better
and you think that I am being cruel
when I remind you that you are not the first.

You are better then this moment of broken
and sometime far into the future
you will call this an old memory,

For the moment it is okay that you are crying.

Reading at the moment.

So at the moment I am reading The Stone Gods, (Jeanette Winterson), which is a very strange and totally engrossing read:

I am also looking at Portraits (Derren Brown), which you need to have on your coffee table, (at the very least for the picture of the Queen)

Finally, just finished The Life of Pi, (Yann Martel ), which was one of those joyous books that you can't put down until you reach the end,

That is all!

Friday, August 28, 2009


He hates her so much, but she is his and he needs her,
She cries all of the time,
wrapping her sorrow around her like a blanket
and he cannot reach her.

At night he lies in bed with his fingers pressing into his ears
so that he cannot hear her crying,
making that sound that is more
a wounded animal then a real person.

She is an animal more and more often now,
baring her teeth
and lashing out at everyone around her.
He is frightened of her.

She says terrible things to him, forcing him to stop loving her
and to barricade his heart against her.
She has all of the power that he wants for himself
And he has no idea how to reclaim it.

She flies at others in temper, hitting and shaking them
until they cry out for her to stop and then she holds them close
in the tightest of embraces and sobs with them,
but she never touches him.

She never looks at him and he has begun to feel
like he is a ghost in that house, that he is some kind of a monster.
He hates her and he loves her and he wishes
that she would let him be her lover again.

Her sadness is a constant reminder of what he allowed the world to do her.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Baile Átha Cliath

It was the marching
Heavy boots thumping through
What was once my city,
But a lot has changed here
Since the last march.

Sing ‘rare ole times’
And lighters five for fifty
‘till your throat is raw
It still won’t come back
And be our town again.

They thought hatred was orange
But it was only a way to mourn
What the tiger consumed
To bring us here
Where we should not be.

It reminded us of what we lost.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

If I were a painter

If I had the skill to make a canvas speak
I would paint you the night sky, scarlet with expectation,
with storm clouds darkening a fairy tale of
silvers and greens.

I would draw you a promise of tomorrow in a ramshackle bridge
spanning golden waters, flecked with rivulets of red yesterday
thick with forget, slick eels fighting flying fish
swimming towards the valleys.

There would be clawed shadows crawling the edges,
but in the centre I would paint us in light,
wrapped in each other, eternally oblivious
and happy, and you would not have to hear
words that I am not able to say.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Men will become soldiers,
we will fill them up them up with rage
and send them out to fill our papers
with news of their victories and losses.

We will adore them, hate them
twist them away from the boys they were
and fashion from shell that is left
a killer, with a better name.

They will bleed for us and we
will bear their bodies home
to tearstained mothers and lovers
wrapped in the flag that broke them.

Men will become soldiers
until broken, crying in the night
they find they cannot bear to fight.
we will not dare to ask it of them

Then our soldiers can again be men.

Is the recession over yet????

It is seriously depressing that, despite the fact that I seem to work almost all of the time, I cannot afford (despite dropping rents) a nice place to live... two bedroom apartments are getting much cheaper, but still too expensive for one person... and the one bedroom apartments are not much different in price, all coming with the tagline 'suitable for couple sharing'... yeah, that's great but what if you haven't bowed to social convention and paired off into a happy double... then its off to the hell of grubby bedsits for you, you insufferable single social freak...

Hmmm, this is almost a rant!! I wish a was just a little bit richer.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The World

She moves so slowly, impossibly bent and twisted into herself; leaning heavily on the metal frame that is supporting her faltering steps. Her dirty old coat is open and the clothes underneath are washed out, well worn and slightly grubby. There is a hole in her sleeve and the hem of the slip she is wearing is showing, frayed and yellowed, from under her skirt. The hands gripping the frame are veined and tinted blue with the cold. She should not be outside alone, somebody should take care of her.

She is wearing slippers and they cannot be safe, flapping uselessly from her heels with every hard won step. One of her stockings has curled around her ankle and I can see the skin of her leg, almost translucent. I can see the crisscross of veins under the parchment of her skin. She is so delicate, this woman. She is a portrait of age and fragility and in all of this there is beauty. She is life, the curve of her spine and the awkward angle at which she holds her hips advertising the kind of life that she has led. She is a wealth of memory and stories, of experience. There is nothing more alive then this, and yet she is fleeting. She is decay and death as much as she is life.
She is too easily lost and with her goes her story, never to be captured, unimportant. But she is beautiful for all her connections with endings and loss. She is frightening and awe inspiring and completely real. I would write her, I would create drunken husbands and too many children all scrambling to be fed while she works and suffers to fill their bellies and hearts and heads. I would make her a hero if she will let me, standing tall and proud and surrounded by love and family; not limping, lost, from house to shop for a paltry bag with bread and milk for one and a frayed handbag in her shaking hands. I would turn her into a fiction where she is strong, I would straighten her twisted spine and have her stand with her head held high as a survivor.

I watch her body, small and fragile, tense at his footsteps behind her. Everything about her is watchful as heavy male boots rap closer to her side. She is frightened, as she must always be frightened, so much of this world is strange and dangerous to her now. He seems oblivious to her presence on the street. His I-pod is firmly connected to his ears, tobacco yellowed fingers drumming an uneven beat on his thighs as he lumbers closer to this creature from another age. He is greasy and foul, cigarette hanging limply from one lip, eyes fixed firmly on his feet. Everything about him screams bad news, dirty and roughened mean eyed boy pretending that he is a man.

Then, for a moment, her entire frame seizes even further into itself as he passes her too closely, trapping her for one heart stopping moment between himself and the wall. Then he has passed and she seems to relax, seems to almost swoon and I think that he has seen her near collapse because he is turning back. In one swift movement he reaches out to her. He could be a lover, putting his arms around her. There is beauty in this too; they are crushed together and everything in their embrace screams passion and connection and want; age and filth forgotten and they could be in a moments pleasure. His arm wrapping her waist with the other on her neck; her hands grasping blindly at his shoulders and chest; but the hold is unnatural, he is too close and she is frightened, it is the wrong kind of passion, the worst kind of want. They could be lovers but for age and fear and the way in which she struggles against him, pushing him weakly, uselessly away.

She flutters against him while he divests her of the bag gripped in her clawed hand. There is beauty in this too, the tightness of the muscle in his neck and cheek and the hopeless fear in her face, a different kind of beauty but it is there, real world beautiful and horrible at the same time.
He has her clasped to him, pressed against his chest and I can imagine her heart fluttering against his. He releases her, their embrace is finished and as he steps away she staggers slightly, he reaches out for the briefest moment, hand on her elbow to steady her and they are lovers again before he runs.

She is left alone, curling back into herself, her breathing laboured, her emaciated body trembling with fear. A car speeds past and she flinches, frightened by the noise; silent tears making tracks on her cheeks and hovering at the edge of her lip before falling, and this is beautiful too, perhaps I will write her like this.

She is crying. Her hand reaches to her face and neck as if checking for something, before fluttering briefly to her heart and settling to grab onto the wall. She is still, confused by what has happened, by the speed of her attacker and the feel of his hands upon her. She is not ready to move yet, standing still as if waiting for something else to happen. Then, with a movement so tiny it is almost indiscernible, she nods once to herself, resigned and I watch her go, more slowly now, defeated.

She is a lost soul, made of too much time, too much life. I cannot make her a hero. Her tears make her beautiful but then they are gone and she begins again her slow limping way home and it is terrible and it is ugly and it is the world.


Mother and child in a winter doorway
Wrapped in a blanket of Irish apathy
While Phil O’Byrne texted into the Late Late show last week
During a segment about refugees
Saying, “We should look after our own first”.

I wait for a while to see if Phil will arrive
With money, hot soup and a bed for the night
No such luck.

The child sneezes green snot onto his face
Which his mother lovingly wipes away
With the palm of her hand.
Somebody passing by mutters ‘bloody junkies’
I’m not sure if he means mother or child
Or both.

‘But at least their Irish’, I say, ‘At least their our bloody junkies’
He nods sagely, ‘Bloody refugees’, he agrees

Bloody Junkies
Bloody Refugees
It makes you bloody proud to be Irish really.