Tuesday, February 23, 2010


and on the lazy days the dogs dissolve and drain away

A while now since I've posted anything. Thing is, I blog every single night in my head. All sorts of wonderful posts about everything both zeitgeisty and, um, the other word. And I write stories, all kinds of touchingly lovely ones that will probably save short-form literature as we know it and persuade millions upon millions of people to abandon heat and nuts and now hello VIP you cosmopolitan zoo mirror smut. Probably. But they're not on a page, like, or on a screen. They're in my head and they will stay there for the time being until I can stay up late at night and have the patience and the mental strength to churn them out and save all your sorry lives. You will be glad.
But for now I will take the sleep that I get so that I can take the work that I get to fix broken fillings and pay the lecky in this longest of long fucking winters.

Friday, February 12, 2010


how it makes of your face a stone that aches to weep

My aunt told a story at the dinner table the other day of how the mother of a colleague of hers died sitting in an armchair while a birthday party in her honour bubbled gently around her. She might have been dead  quite some time before anyone noticed her sitting motionless amidst the throng of friends and family. She was pretty elderly, so the story occupied the warmer end of the tragi-comic spectrum and we laughed. The consensus at the time, apparently, was that she would have died happy, perhaps expediated slightly to impending demise by her excitement at seeing all the people she cared about gathered in one place.
My grandmother, who died two years and three days ago, didn't have such a luxury. Cancer robbed her of her hair, a breast and her weight before it took her entirely. And her words. My mother and I sat with her one evening in the hospital as she tried to tell us something, both of us straining for meaning in her well-formed, well-spoken nonsense. But there was no sense to be made from the words she used whatsoever and she deteriorated into further gibberish as she grew more and more frustrated at this breakdown in communication. Already wracked with guilt over a previous occasion when she had woken up only to catch me crying over her, I was determined that she wouldn't feel that our inability to understand was her fault. "I'm sorry, granny," I said, after this had gone on for about fifteen minutes, "I think we're just not listening properly. We must be tired."
She smiled patiently. "Yes, I expect you are."
And with this, the last thing I remember her saying to me, she refused to let cancer take the politeness and consideration that had been her hallmark for over eighty years from her.

Monday, February 1, 2010


An Béal Bocht

There's this grey coat I have that I bought in Milan about three years ago. I think it cost me about 240 eurolira - not exactly wildly excessive but way more money than I had ever spent on an item of clothing before. I swaggered around Dublin and various insalubrious parts of county Wicklow with it on, always confident that the coat lent me an air of respectability. I looked like the kind of man you'd be happy to have teach, and possibly even date, your children.

I still wear the coat in winter and, dubious strawberry yoghurt stain notwithstanding, it looks pretty good from the outside. Inside, however, the fancy satin lining is perishing to the point of non-existent and strands of it peek out most unwantedly from my cuffs. And lately I've been seen to meander into McDonald's and fumble for an unfeasible length of time in the inner breast pocket in search of Buy One Get One Free vouchers for sausage and egg McMuffins.

Aside from that, I don't think unemployment has made the slightest bit of difference.