Early August. The growing suspense.
A waiting game as fruit swells and calls.
And its whisper is irresistible. And loud.
And sweet like a summer kiss.
Green as grass, the dewy plums,
A magnet to my sister’s greedy lips
Tumble, barely chewed, stones and all
Into her rumbling tum to burp and bubble.
Tummy fireworks, duodenal back flips.
And we play tig amongst the fruit trees,
Look for late hatched scaldies in the ditch,
And inspect windfall cookers for worms. All the while
Itching with grass rashes and hawthorn welts.
The journey home, asleep in the back
Of dad’s green Cortina is uneventful,
Save for my sister’s farts and groans
As the half ripe fruit claws and creaks
As she hunches double and fitfully sleeps.
Home at last. Carried in one by one.
Half asleep, and in my sister’s case,
Half dead. And there was no pity.
No comfort. Just a hot water bottle
And a clip along the ear. And stern words.
‘What did I tell you?’ My mother said.
‘Don’t eat the plums!’ As my sister
Gurgled and moaned and blew
Like a green volcano bound for the loo.
The next day, green around the gills
She swore that plums were evil and
She would eat no more. Ever again.
Next Sunday we went to Granny’s,
And let loose from our silent hell,
From our colouring books,
From the gaslit good room,
We raced past the duck pond to the orchard.
To the orchard where the dewy plums,
Green as grass, called out my sister’s name.
i watch a herd of hoppity wagtails
flit from blue sky to black tarmac
bibbing, bobbing, galahumpazizing……….
i crunch another crusty malteser,
wolf down another bar of caramac
perhaps after lunch i’ll have a nap
and dream of better times and perfect crimes.
sat in her seat
she shuffled her feet
ruffled her hair…..
I was there
coyly aware that
she was watching me…..
as I stroked my beard
AND WE WERE ELECTRICITY!
Stained brown with overnight rain,
the river licks its banks as ducks ride its flanks.
Bobbing in the corkscrew eddies stirred up by
I sit, snug behind double glazed panes,
as gales and gusts whisper in pain. Snatching, grasping, snarling,
like a rabid dog whipping foam over the river’s skin.
Bewitched by the pushing, pulling, biting wind,
spindly trees enchanted, entranced,
dance to Boreus’s tune, releasing a snow flurry of leaves
to swirl and coat their underbellies.
In the grey rushing sky white tipped gulls twist
and fly, dipping in and out of harm like wing-ed lucky charms.
Playing the wind, conducting each stanza of Ein Aplensinfonie:
wings as batons beating stormy time.
I prefer to sit in my comfy lair, warm air and unruffled hair.
Playing Riders in the Storm on my stereo. Being in rather than being out.
Drinking steaming coffee and daydreaming of Summer
as Mother Nature has her hissy fit.
Neptune’s trident churns and turns
a snarling chastising chastiser.
Hissing boiling white water tips.
Punching the decks with salty fists.
Safe inside the threadbare snug bar
have a jar or two (purely medicinal of course)
and through a porthole eyeball the sea
as it eyeballs me.
Noisy feral snotty wretches.
Ruddy faced urchins, and teens with issues
and giggles and angst.
Run wild to a child.
And mothers soft with love
and hard with life talk shit
aboard the ship.
With headphones on
and volume set to 21.
I block the insipid, driviolic chatter
with Level 42 and Sum 41.
As we near port,
the feral kids, their mums and I.
With gentle ripples
and salty kisses.
On land we lubber.
Engulfed by Irish wind and rain.
Feral kids blubbering
from a smack around the head.
It’s good to be home again.
a violet sky, streaked with cloudy shards of pink
is full of moon and fit to burst with light tonight
on the fifth floor
in my vertical home
i am eye to to eye
with the sky
and the sky
is blue and delicious
and bloody dangerous
little people far below
are dotted here and there
social distancing aware
walking in little people groups
no more than two or three at most
an ambulance, all blues and twos
huffs and puffs and whizzes by
as little people far below
catch little people achoos
in soggy little people tissues
press my nose
to window pane
licking the outside
with my eyes
i can taste
i feel alive
and then as i die a little inside
i curl up in a cosy nook with
my favourite Flann O’Brien book
“When things go wrong and will not come right,
Though you do the best you can,
When life looks black as the hour of night,
A PINT OF PLAIN IS YOUR ONLY MAN.”
is 11.30 am too early for day drinking?
i wish i could day drink with you
the rain is soft and sweet
and sorry for the fuss
as early commuters run for the bus
or walk under a sea of
slim white things
in trim white macs
walk a sea of noisy poodles
yapping and straining
as the delicious water
runs off their hideous
the humdrum city
rumbling and tumbling
in a bubble of vinyl.
with a doffing of caps to 1959
(a good year. a piggie year)
I think of you
you are a beautiful freak!
as the city lights twinkle
I dream my American dream,
in my tv world
hug my ochre cushion
a girl with short fingernails
strums an ovation guitar.
a sip of light beer
a simple chord progression
G to C to A Minor
an ambulance whizzes by
(I hope their patient doesn’t die)
the overtures from the stereo
pin me to my funky Ikea chair
(a girl with short fingernails
and an ovation guitar)
I think I’m in love with her.
morning mist strokes the river
as creatures stir and day begins.
a moorhen chick floats by.
tugged by current,
snagged and jostled,
bobbing in the ripples,
floating on the river Styx.
Charon ferries his soul
to Hades and eternity.
(or moorhen heaven)
i lean against a garden fence.
rickety with age, bleached by sun.
i crane my neck to the river bend
as the fluffy charcoal ball disappears.
i’ve seen it many times before.
this seasonal sadness,
choked in river tears.
the mist lifts.
blue skies and cotton
wool clouds dance in the river.
a fanfare of daybreak.
the sound of moorhens
the river is haughty.
full of life and indifferent to weakness.
a nonchalant nursemaid.
a deadly assassin.
a fatal watery attraction.
a sanctuary and a grave.
the moorhen chick is forgotten.
a short-lived sacrifice.
an offering to the river gods.
new life will return.
return to this river.
with the wonder
and the promise of rebirth.
and death will have its say.
death will have its part to play
in this soap opera we call life.