Saturday, August 21, 2004

Early Days: The Mission (poem)

We got thrown together
back in those days, we were all
half-drunk on fear;
you could smell it,
you could actually smell the fear
that time we got the orders
to work together
and I thought, no way
am I going to operate
with this wee hoor
and I think she felt the same
from the brassy hard
look she gave me
dressed in her black jeans
and her battered leather
flyboy's jacket with a yellow
patch on the shoulder:
and hoo are yoo, she said
with a lipstick smile
and I said, you can call
me Michael, but it's not
my right name: Michael!
she hooted, my own blessed
archangel, give us a kiss,
Mickey without the wings!
I hated her, straight off,
tried to get out of it, talked
to John Joe, the other lads,
and was told it was decided
higher up, nothing to be done,
we'd be off to France, as soon
as the passports were ready
and we were to move quickly
by train, a couple of tourists,
and were to cross the border
at a certain time, they'd be
waiting in Czechoslovakia.
We were given an awful lot
of money, had to sign for it,
then the leadership called us in
and said it was important:
the negotiations have been
made, they said, your job
is to make sure the merchandise
really exists, there's a bank code
which we will give you, a code
you will memorize, but under
no circumstances, even if things
go wrong, will you ever reveal
this number, even under torture.
Is that understood? No bother,
says I, but do I have to hang about
with this flaky wee bitch? The look
she gave me would strip paint
(she was standing beside me);
coolly the man looked me over,
reminded me I was a sworn soldier
of the Republic, a standard bearer
for the Risen People blah-blah,
and besides, they could put a bullet
in my head right now if I liked,
if I didn't shut my trap, this minute,
and do as I was feckin told.

This was persuasive.