back-to-a-slow-death

thin shafts of light light up my room,
lifting the seductive-seasonal-gloom,
popping the elfin mediocrity.

i struggle with my Christmas depressing gown,
all-fluffy-soft-as-down-terry-towelling,
which hangs on me like a stocking.

at 7am, i should be tucked up asleep,
not pacing dappled floorboards
in Christmas slippered feet.

coffee. ah. sweet caffeine.
a cup of joe on the go, a pick-me-up
before the bastards grind-me-down.

it’s been snowing again. hanging like
curdled semolina against window panes:
a sick back-to-work-joke.

all around the house is still.
contented snores fill the air as i,
suited-and-suitably-booted, depart.

the outside is not like the inside.
it is hullabalooic-unhappy-icy.
the morning light is weak and unkind.

there can be no turning back now.
post-festivious office banter beckons.
another cup of joe and a stale mince pie.

thin shafts of light light up my office,
lifting the seductive-seasonal-gloom,
popping the corporate mediocrity.

it’s horrible.

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soft and wet and free

there’s something special about rain.
it’s soft and wet and free
and doesn’t discriminate
between you and me:
it pisses on the rich
as well as the poor.

soft
and
wet
and
free:
there’s
something
special
about
rain.

Soda farls and spit and sizzle

my mother wrestled flour, buttermilk and yeast
preparing our daily soda bread feast
kneading dough on a small formica table
rounding the sodas before slashing each middle
then testing the griddle until flour dust browned
before setting each soda flat side down

the griddle took up most of the range
burnt and black, round and heavy gauge
made from smelted chunks of iron ore
gouged from Mother Earth’s molten core
a staple of every honest Irish kitchen
a blackened symbol of farmhouse tradition

when my mother was busy and her back turned
i’d creep to the range, careful not to get burned
and dribble spit onto the hot plates in a drizzle
to watch it fry and dance and spit and sizzle
crazy bouncing saliva hot, fizzing and alive
dancing like cowboys to the slugs of a colt 45

“what do you think you’re doing young man!”
my mother would shout, her strong rough hand
would clout my ears until stinging and warm
then drag me kicking as I wailed in alarm
dumping me in the hall to sit on the stairs
as she finished the sodas, leaving me to my tears

then in a sweet lilting tone she called me back in
perched me at the table, tucked a bib under my chin
fresh warm soda dripping in butter was proffered
a peace offering to a boy from his long suffering mother
i bit into the sweet buttermilk dough and dribbled
butter and crumbs onto the flowery formica table

that was a different age, a selfish innocent time
a soft and gentle world when my mum was all mine
and we shared soda moments as we sat at the table
in a tiny room, in a tiny house, happy and comfortable
and watched the cold outside blowing wind and drizzle
as my spit hit the range top to dance, spit and sizzle.

mince pie crumbs

snow tomorrow.
a dusting or two.
a smidgin of seasonal white
to delight the child within.

i imagine
carollers singing
as a tramp shivers
below the bridge,
by the river,
tucked out-of-sight.
tucked out-of-mind.

and youtube will be choc-full
of frantic puppy dog vids
of frantic puppy dog skids
in snow they’ve never seen before,

and mulled wine will stain
the lips and jumpers
of seasonal plumpers
who hoard mince pie crumbs
in their folds.

i don’t like snow much
and i will watch it
turn to churned-up slush:
I don’t like mince pies either
for that matter.
and carol singers
make me ill.
but i’ll dig out an old blanket
for the old man under the bridge.
and raise a glass to Chione.