Friday, February 24, 2012

468. Réimse Beag Glas (the little green field)

Five thousand feckin years if it’s a day
and would yeh look at them cows, shitting,
bedamn, on the same old lumpy grass.

They do be your fields now, Donal Óg,
and your dear departed father’s before you
although the oul granddad wouldn’t have had

tuppence three farthing to rub together,
God between us and harm, and the wife
with a tongue on her that could slice lemons.

You’ll be speaking of me Daddy’s mam?
Ahh, sure, what if I am, Donal my dear,
and she the pride of all five counties?

You’ll be careful now in your choice of words.
I will of course. I will indeed. Would you
look over beyond now at Tim Daly’s tree

where the rooks, unclean birds, do be rising
with the harsh rattling call of their kind,
it’s as though they remember the day.

They were there themselves on the day
or their grandsires surely, swooping down
on the men in the boots and red coats

as young Timmy Daly swung from the bough
with the blessings and thanks of Farmer George,
that fat bloated king of the English.

That day is long gone, Donal Óg,
as we live in the comfort of a difficult peace.
There should be some thought of our children.

Boy children grow up to be men
and the girls grow up to give birth to men:
I fear this business will never be finished.

It is anger and memory that disturbs your soul,
mo chara, mo fear álainn. Sit thee down. Turn
away from this strange and bitter mystery.

There is peace in the land, mo buachaill ghile,
where the cows are patriotic Irish cows,
dropping their Irish dung on Irish fields.

But there are caves and caverns beneath
where the unsung dead cry out for vengeance
and you can hear them in your dreams!

I can hear them clearly, Donal mo chara,
had I a mind to listen, which I do not advise,
for they would lead us on to fear and madness.

Ours is a green and lovely land
carried to the brink of its own destruction
by sióga dona, by the ghosts of history.

Donal, Donal, put your eyes
on the field . Good man yerself.
Put your eyes on the cows. Put your

mind in their minds, was it five thousand
years you said? Aye, that was the figure,
with five thousand more on the way.

Glossary of Irish terms:

Donal Óg -- young Donal, lit. Donal the Young.
mo chara, mo fear álainn -- my friend, my lovely man.
mo buachaill ghile -- my gallant boy.
sióga dona -- evil spirits.

Friday, February 17, 2012

467. The Conversion to Islam of Conor MacArt (Part 7)

An Comhshó a Ioslam de Conchubhair Mac Airt


Níl aon chairde ar nós an sean-cairde.
Tá siad na cinn chun grá agus an brón.*


Holy fuckin Jaysus, here am I in Jerusalem,
dragged out from the dripping tunnels below
with nary a penny to my name. Mazeltov,
says some hairy beaming Jewish gentleman
as he wields a large and rusty Turkish scimitar.
Your most devoted, says I, bending the knee,
I am on an archaeological quest, I am a man of science,
and I greatly fear my poor servant has perished …
Not in the least, a miracle, he is alive, alive!
God Almighty, so he is. My misery is complete!
There he sits, beaming, fackinellmytethortuwozagonner!
I smile weakly, what will I tell O’Sullivan? I collapse.

Days later, on a diet of locusts and honey, I revive
and review the circumstances. Our secret mission
to undermine, to betray these hirsute Hebrews has failed,
and I turn to a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup.
Eat, eat, eat, cries Rachel, the moustachioed burly mother
of Nathan, the man of the ancient Turkish sword. You are
most kind, says I, lapping it up like a kitten. Just imagine,
she chortles, a man of science in these unsettled days!
Haha, I agree, reaching for my spectacles which I cannot find,
then my bruised and bursting head, still, Thank God, on my shoulders.
You are most kind, dear lady, I murmur, most kind indeed,
but I realise my rapier and pistol are no longer to be seen.

As I was going over the Cork and Kerry mountains
I met with Captain Farrell and his money he was counting
with your Ring-Dumma-Doo-Dumma-Da, no chicken soup
in those easy breezy days. Eat, eat, says the urgent Rachel.
I slurped it to the dregs, (mmm, lovely!) reconsidering my situation.
I was a spy, let’s face it, more or less caught in the act,
under the orders of the sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent,
to whom God should take a spanner, the only living man who could
cause me to shiver more than the murderous Shane O’Neill.
Shane was far far away and gone from the present shenanigans,
thanks be to God, Saint Patrick, and their respective holy mothers:
I never want to behold those mad light eyes again!

A shudder ran through me. You can’t help that thinking of Shane,
and doesn’t the oul wan, Rachel, run up to me with arms outstretched,
poor poor little boy, you are cold, knocking me over with her bosoms,
when Nathan pops in the door, all very bright and cheery: Konbor!
which is what they do be calling me, God bless their little brains,
I have with me your loyal servant, he is so so worried about you!
and in walks Bert, the shifty-eyed blackmailer, the bold rapparee,
Appytaseeyerinthepink , says he, reporting for duty, Sahh! We ogle,
if such a thing can be said, one another. Orrlbleedindeadthebleedinbloighters,
he remarks complacently. So much for the men. Orlbutyouandme. Sahh!
Very good, sergeant, see to my kit would you? Orlloikefackingorninnit?
What? I beg your pardon! Fackingorninnit? Just you and me, sah. Sahh!

Oh, God … (to be continued)


* There are no friends like old friends.
They are the ones to bring you love and sadness.

Links to previous sections below:

Why bother? It's a bit of a story, that's why, and both Mr Dickens and Mr Thackeray have departed this world. A pair of Englishmen, to be sure, no fault of their own, but stories like theirs still need to be told.

Dubliner in Japan: 428. The Conversion to Islam of Conor MacArt
Dubliner in Japan: 429. The Conversion to Islam of Conor MacArt (part 2)
Dubliner in Japan: 430. The Conversion to Islam of Conor MacArt (Part 3)
Dubliner in Japan: 432. The Conversion to Islam of Conor Mac Art (part 4)
Dubliner in Japan: 433. The Conversion to Islam of Conor Mac Art (part 5)
Dubliner in Japan: 433.5 The Conversion to Islam of Conor MacArt (Part 6)

Friday, February 10, 2012

466. Crossover

My life is in your hands, she said,
and my first ignoble thought, forgive me,
was why was she saying this?

We’d only known each other three weeks
and she was a cute lovely girl and all that
but we hadn’t, umm, you know … done anything?

My father comes from the old country, she said,
and he is so strict. My mother, she is worse!
My older brothers, Daoad and Amir,
they always always beat up my boyfriends
and I hate them! But with you I feel good.

Me, I wasn’t feeling ecstatic at this news,
for I had had a glimpse of Daoad and Amir,
those hairy gorillas, and could only imagine
what the father was like. Never mind the mother.

Ehh, do you have any sisters, says I, to move
this dreadful family saga along. Oh, she dead.
She betrayed my cousin so my uncle kill her.

Oh, really?
Yah, my father he must apologise.
Anyway, you kiss me now?

My lips for some reason ran dry,
some temporary saliva failing, and I
took a rather quick look around …

O God! Is that Daoad (or Amir) outside
looking in the window? No, a shadow.
I’m starting to have feelings about shadows.

Look, Zaynab, I really like you a lot …
I know. I am a treasure. Many boys want me.
But you, you don’t only want my body,
you love my mind. I like that in you.

Ah, of course. To be sure.

I like you, you are Irish boy, Irish boys
are strong and brave, good lovers.
I dart a glance again at the window.

O God, that’s him!
doubt without a Daoud,
no, I mean … emm, I need to visit the gents!

Of course, my dear. Don’t be long.
Where is the back door? Unseen by me,
Amir arrives, smiles at his sister,
and picks up my half-finished pint of beer.

Gone then, is he? O like a puff of wind.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

465. The Facebook Poem

 ( aka Cellphone Sally)

Perhaps a coupla hundred contacts
on Facebook, then, as if you could tell
who or what the hell. Might know, see,
37 of these people, but as for the rest,
they pop up as a constant surprise.
Could be for the best, this ebb and flow,
day to day before your eyes, as through
anew this jagged world you come and go:
try not to be cruel, try to be kind!
Wannabe friends? Oh, I don't mind.
So ... that's how you collect all these
stunningly gorgeous Japanese women
(well, according to their own photographs)
who ding on you but don't have to meet you??
Telecomputers become their social tool
which for them is ... so exactly cool,
it tickles their feminine mystique:
don't touch, don't see, don't speak!
Look, look at them on the trains and buses
tap-tap-tapping with polished nails,
having a great time altogether! I think
if smartphones had a disposable stiff extension
for discreet use, say, in a shopping mall
(come on Samsung, come on Apple!)
there'd be no further need for marriage,
no further need for lads at all.