Thursday, March 25, 2010


The Hills of Donegal

Old man, when you spoke to us in that proper rural pub, where everyone played cards and sat in rickety seats on the lino floor and had tea and sandwiches, when you told us you were 89 and only ever came here for one wee whiskey, I was beginning to think that I was in some TV Oirish drama, or a play written in the 50s. Then you told us of the poetry you used to write while you worked in America, and you started to recite one, at length, in your rolling northwestern burr, rhyming throughout and full of sentimental imagery about dreaming of "the hills of Donegal" and suchlike. And I resented the fact that I was now undoubtedly taking part in a cliché, in some McGahern wannabe's awful short story. But I was also enthralled, despite myself. And when you told us, both teachers, that there was "no education" in your poems we loudly disagreed. And you told us that you burnt your books of poetry after your wife died, and that your sons and your grandchildren don't bother about you but that's alright because that's the way life goes and we struggled to believe you because isolated, abandoned, sad old rural poets only exist in fiction, surely. And you bade us goodnight and Godbless and hobbled out into the dark and we didn't quite know what to say, but we recalled how you had started to recite the same poem again before slowly realising you'd already said it and we reckoned that maybe your memory is just bad and maybe you see your sons more than you let on.
And you stayed in my head and the next night, reading a novel into the small hours as the lake lapped outside my window the author quoted Joseph Brodsky in saying that "If there is any substitute for love it is memory" and I had to leave my book down on my chest for a moment because my eyes hurt.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Da Po'leese. (aka Monkey Tennis)

Early Monday morning I abandoned Stella to the mercy of Rosie, and embarked upon a transition year outdoor pursuits trip to Donegal. No, I haven't landed a teaching job, I just provide cheap, grateful labour to the secondary school I last taught in. Not many teachers want to go on these sort of trips, but I'll take anything right now. I went on much the same trip last year, only to Killary Harbour. But there'll be divil a cute-faced German girl sniffing around this time. I'm engaged these days, and the women can smell it off you sooner than you'd get a chance to even drop the casualest reference to a fiancée into a sentence. Which is handy, because I don't get to wear the early warning system that the ladies so usefully sport on their left ring finger. I kinda wanted to have an engagement ring too, but was told that would be both lame and gay. It would be. And Rosie's jeweller sister is refusing to make our wedding bands until pretty close to the day itself because she reckons I would immediately start trying to wear mine. The perceptive bitch.

But this all academic right now, my friends, because what I wish to alert you all too is something the ginger foghorn of a kid sitting two rows back from me was anxious to be back home in time for on Friday night. It's Traffic Blues, Ireland's very own answer to Police, Camera, Action! and Road Wars. But there's little in the way of drugs, shooting and helicopter chases. Instead, you've got Garda Gerry ordering a Nigerian woman to pick her chewing gum up off the ground while he breathlessly, needlessly recounts the story to the camera over a dramatic soundtrack that just screams "check the fuck out of how intense this shit is!" Or another occasion where the boys in blue board an empty schoolbus, leaving the driver trembling in their wake as they admonish him with "Five of those seatbelts are broken, would you maybe get them fixed sometime, like?"
The only shocking thing about this show is how RTÉ managed to dream this up before TV3.

Update: A quick check on Youtube shows me that this yoke's been running for nearly a year now. Why the fuck did no-one tell me? I thought I was going to blow your minds with this shit! Clearly I'm way too cool to be sitting in watching telly of a Friday evening.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Stella, I love you!

Lacking in words, as I am recently, I thought I would abort all the half-formed, moth-eaten posts I have been labouring on and post, instead, a picture of me staring at my new bonsai tree.

Her name is Stella and I have decided that I love her. I will caress her while my fiancée is not looking and gradually, gradually, I will have coherent things to say again.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


codeine for a mouth abscess

I'd say that it was the greatest feeling ever, only that i can't feel anything at all. I assume this is what it's like to be a bran flake.

Monday, March 1, 2010


this city you know, get paid, you get laid

There's an art to finding the right song, or songs, to listen to on any short, purposeful walk. These days Simple Kid's Serotonin is the tune I'm using to soundtrack my brief trips to and from Charlemont Luas stop as I ponder the canal in that same way that I seem to stare at any mass of water, as if to dredge some kind of meaning from it. The canal sparkles in the cold sun and tells me it doesn't honestly give a shit what I think about anything.

Serotonin is that classic example of a song with lyrics that might sound like they were written by a 16 year-old when read flat, but then assumes a new profoundness when put to music. Songwriters rarely have half the way with words that poets do, but they have the assets to make them mean much more to us.

Nice video, this one. Makes me think about maybe having a shave sometime. I could even do my own tribute video.


Laying on the floor I think about superman: and did he ever lay around drinking, telling his friends, reefer in his hand, “Hey man some day I'm gonna make a big splash”, or does that kind of talk just come to us folk who can't find 'S' on our chests? So just keep wheeling, dealing, bus-stop dreaming, laying on the floor just staring at the ceiling.
Laying in the tub I thought about rock 'n roll and has it already been done before? Guess so, it's just getting your dick sucked, don't make it any less good than it once was, oh my god I wish that this brain would stop. Start again.

When I get well I'm gonna move to the country, breathe clean air man, turn the televisions off for a while, Eskimo style. Gonna just breathe in, breathe out, breathe. In the city you know, get paid, you get laid, go to the clinic and you listen as the doc says: “Don't drink, don't smoke, work hard, be fun, don't eat no junk,” ain't it just enough to make you wanna go get drunk? That's what I done. Well anyway the drink got me thinking what a friend had said, guess what he said:

“Happiness is nothing but the flow of serotonin in your head, hasn't got to do with Jesus Christ, nothing got to do with wrong or right, oh help me out Simp, can it be right? That it all boils down to how the chemicals flow to your soul?”