Wednesday, November 6, 2013


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

Sunday, June 9, 2013


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


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


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.