Monday, February 3, 2014

3

cookie i think you're tame

See, you look at things like the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman and these young lads who've died from neknomination and you almost feel bad, almost embarrassed for your own restraint, for your fucking pussy moderation, this drinking to almost always only mild inebriation or less, this once-had-an-eight-cigarette-a-day-habit kind of bullshit that isn't even worth talking about in one way or another because it's just nothing and it would be more interesting if you'd never done anything at all, just sat there all righteous while the rest of them smoked soft drugs and said I don't see the point I don't see the point at all will you pass the Club Orange thanks
You are, of course, beloved by your
wife and
your house
and your 
cats and your
parents
And your 
sisterandbrotherand
friends and
yet you will drink to excess on a Friday because it is a Friday and you like it and you have the money and you sit on your couch on a Sunday with your rooibos tea and you say it's an idiot tax it's a Darwin Award it's their own fucking fault it wouldn't happen to me it's a shame it's a shame he was so talented it's all those films we'll never get it's a shame they were old enough to know better their mams and dads and all their friends and i remember him from when he was in Scent of a Woman he had money and talent and kids and he didn't need to do that and it can only be great being them and didntioncegivemyfifteenyearoldbrotherabottleofabsolutvodkathathedrankinonegofromapintglassoncetoimpresshismatewhowasstayingoveronlyforhisvomittowakehimwhilehewaschokingonitsoitsfineitdoesnthappentomeorhim

Thursday, January 16, 2014

5

we are hummingbirds who've lost the plot and we will not move

"What are you doing out there?" asks Biscuit, his face pressed to the glass door, eyes wide and tail a-wag. "I never know what you're doing."
"I am smoking, Biscuit."
"You don't smoke any more. You run. You read books and cuddle me. You drink rooibos tea and you stockpile whiskey that you barely even touch now.You're a total athlete, Daddy."
"We had a difficult day, your mum and I."
"You shouldn't call her my mum, she doesn't like it. She says she can't be my mum because I'm a cat."
"I know, but it amuses me. We were in the clinic earlier, talking to the doctor about how to make something that's allowed call us mum and dad in front of real people without it being socially awkward. Apparently Daddy has super sperm, that's what the doctor said. She actually used those words. I thought Mummy had asked her to, while I was out of the room, because I'd been so underwhelmed the last time when they just told me my sperm was 'fine.' But no, I've cracking motility and all that. Daddy needs affirmation, sometimes."
"I like it when you call yourself my daddy."
"I know you do, you silly fat fuck. Apparently I produced lots of semen, too. Way more than normal, she said. Imagine if I hadn't missed the cup with the first go and spunked half of it on the floor? Front page of Metro, I reckon."
"You're a top-class wanker, Daddy. But I don't really know what semen is. You had me snipped."
"No harm, pal, no harm. The doctor said I'm off the hook, what with the super sperm and all. That's what she said. I don't think doctors know how relationships work, Biscuit. Your mum will take medicine that will fuck her head up a bit, and have nasty scans, then take other medicine that will fuck her head up in different ways. And I'll try not to be an inconsiderate prick while she's doing it. That's my job."
"She'd rather be a mam than a mum. She says only you Protestants have mums."
"I know, gobshite, that's part of the joke."
"Can I keep being an inconsiderate prick? Will you come in now and rub my belly?"
"Yeah, giz a sec."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

0

now what happens you are heavy metal

"You actually look dead, Andrew."

Throbbing with tiredness, and a sthkaw haw of a throat not answerable to boiled sweets. Socially hamstrung; coffee with someone else's yelps that are not in a meward direction so is fine is fine no is good teacher is fine; is preposition why I can. An unexpected suit and tie for POWER AND RESPECT IN SOCIETY and a headful of Clarissa Dalloway; not to mention semi-colons and artefacts and; moreover nevertheless, delightfully worndown stinking trainers for the cat to bury his face in; a shower before eight o'clock. An unflushed piss; this this this, there is this - what is this?
Dress shoes on, to every cow its copy. Miles and miles on the watch and boots most resolutely not on the bottom of the Liffey and I am throbbingly
not
dead

Sunday, June 9, 2013

0

gone to the beach

Greystones is covered in cyclists but he finds somewhere to ditch the car for a few minutes, drags the bike out, pins his wife's number on her back and kisses her goodbye and good luck. He wriggles his way back out, through a warren of affluence, parks in the village, goes for a wander.
He knows this place a little, sees the flat where he used to attend sordid little parties where everyone had The Best Time and posted their Magic Memories on Bebo after, replete with rictus grins and misplaced hands.
He's on the beach now, gritty underfoot. He's not 40 seconds in before he pisses, shivering at waist depth. He dunks himself under, trying not to gasp too loudly as he comes back up so as not to startle the old man throwing a tennis ball into the sea for his dogs. He gets out quickly - the freakishly good weather hasn't warmed up the sea. He checks his phone and retrieves his wedding ring from his shoe. It is 8.08 am, and now there is no-one else on the beach, only him in his trunks, a dozen crows and a crisp packet.
He reads a passage of deep, queasy unpleasantness in his book. Are we all the same? Flies feast on strands of seaweed and the hair on his legs. There are photos somewhere of him here before, fat and tanned and faking something.
Good citizens and their dogs are starting to fill the beach now, though the waves and the sea remain the only sounds. Another swimmer appears and lasts about as long as he did in the sea, though she doesn't look the sort to only be going for a sneaky slash. He wonders where his wife's at now. The gorgeous gorse on Bray Head. A text from his mum. A man from the Tidy Towns committee picking up detritus. More dogs. More crows. Flies on his feet.

Monday, May 27, 2013

0

Radge against the machine

I feel it would be remiss of me to let the decision of a blogging contemporary and like-minded soul to give up the ghost pass without remark. I've been at this for about five years now, and Radge was there when I began, putting his thoughts out there in the same kind of way I wanted to and chiming in with encouraging words on my own efforts as I went along. Personal blogging has always been an easy target for accusations of narcissism, though it rarely contains anything more revealing than a Twitter feed, a personal essay or newspaper column, and doesn't suppose that its audience are interested in multiple blurry shots of every drunken night out they have. Radge, as with so many of the others he mentions, was always trying to articulate life as it happened, equal parts appalled by and in thrall to all the things he encountered. Writing projects, without the usual incubation period. There was a brief period, probably early 2009, when at least one of these people, often Radge, could be counted on to have something great for me to read every day. Moseys around Dublin, thefts of PM Dawn, flights of fantasy,Serious Thoughts on Serious Things. It was exciting.
I survey my own 312 posts over the last few years and only feel pleased with vague snippets of a few of them, only feel that little bits of them capture what it's like to be me or someone like me in Dublin in the 21st century. But that's enough, quite honestly. If Radge can do the same with his 803 pieces then it was all time well spent.

Friday, February 22, 2013

2

I hear everybody that you know is more relevant than everybody that I know

January saw me haunting the streets of Stoneybatter at every available quiet or light moment, searching for our missing cat, Butters. The plumber had let him out, and he obviously bolted, then didn't know how to get home. I grew familiar with every every single street - invariably named after an obscure Scandinavian king or one of the more agricultural parts of  County Wicklow. The streets grew grubbier and darker every evening that I didn't find him, and with them my mood. The streets smelt of other cats' piss. I thought the brushes on the inside of every letterbox we posted heartfelt callusifyoufindourcat flyers through were going to eat the flesh from my hands. A young guard on a bicycle who stopped me late one night as I was checking under cars on Niall Street looked disappointed when I told him there were only Dreamies in the little bag I was clutching. He looked taken aback by my face, helpless and teary with the wind. My wife, who loves me very much, beat the streets with me more often than not, tried to tell me when it was time to knock it off for the night and bought me a lightbox to combat the dark and grubby beast that is my SAD. I took the head off her for telling me my dinner was ready one night, and hated myself more than I ever had before.

I am back in college now, part-time, adding another silly arts degree to my 'skillset' - so I sat in front of the lightbox with a history textbook or Great Expectations, letting the harsh light hit my retinas and waiting to feel better. And, stupidly, I did. I do. What a sorry mental condition to just be pining for the sun! Who wants to lose their edge, their excuse to be a prick and be bad at their job, to a high watt bulb and regular walks in the park?

Natural light slowly returned to the world just as Butters was found. Not by me - a great blow to the hero fantasy I had conjured up on cold evenings - but by a nice man called Des eight doors down. He was skinnier and had rotting teeth, but he's grand, the little fucker. Butters, that is. I have little reason to pour scorn upon the dental hygiene of Des. We gave him a bottle of Faustino V by way of a thank you. Des, that is.

So the returned cat and the improved mood leave me with just the streets to contend with. Because a place takes on everything that has ever happened there, and every bad fucking feeling you felt on it. It does. Thankfully, most of us only feel the ones that happened to us. But I've reclaimed the sofas of bereavement, school locker areas, and the lane in Wicklow where someone punched my jaw so hard that the pain made me vomit. Scraped off the residue of resentment. I will put the strut back into my Stoneybatter shuffle and the  aching streets will be glad of it.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

5

Do you have a minute?

Are you having a good Christmas? Have you consumed? Do you spend an inordinate amount of time giving out about things beyond your control, TV shows you are supposed to like, social media trends and the decline in quality of mince pies? Do you have a pension plan? Do you feel really satisfied with life every once in a while and then worry that you're being smug and then worry that the act of worrying about being smug is in itself really smug, or else a mask for many other concerns because you aren't all that satisfied at all, are you? Do you participate in that ah here leave it out hilarity even though you know it's not really very funny? Have you ever eaten four pieces of shortbread in alarmingly quick succession? Did it hurt? Do other things hurt? Is it OK to go shopping on the 26th of December? Is it OK to loudly proclaim your despair with the world over people going shopping on the 26th of December? Is it? Have you read a book recently and was it good? Do you not have time for reading? Do you watch more than four hours of reality TV a week? Do you believe that America will ever sort its shit out with guns? Do you gripe about auto-correct? Do you jangle your keys? Would you buy a gun if you lived in America? Do you get vexed? Do you regret a lot of the things you did in your early twenties and some of the things you did last week? Do you think that foetuses have a soul and can you explain what that might be? Do you ridicule the religious? Are you, the evangelical church up the road wishes to know, the victim of an ancestral curse? Do you ever pray? If you do sometimes pray do you mentally sign off with "almost certainly not, I know, but just in case,LOL!!"? Did you read the small print? Have you claimed your tax back? Do you do something to break a sweat every day? Can you touch your toes? Are you aware that this entire concept comes from Padgett Powell's 'The Interrogative Mood', but that this particular dude hasn't read it because writing a whole book like this and getting it published and expecting people to pay for it would be taking the piss, right? Am I wrecking your head? Has anyone ever accused you of being a hipster? Can you go now? Is it getting better? Did you get what you wanted? Do you feel at home? Did you have a good year?