Saturday, October 01, 2005


Now that's what I call entertainment
we're witnessing history in the making
written by the winners and the
people who say wherever there
is money to be made it's
all there for the taking

You may have read about it in
the papers
there's kids trained on arcade
games and space invaders
who get target practice at home
aiming pistols at their
playstations, and now they're
taking all their orders from
George Walker Texas Ranger

knowing that if they don't do
as they're told they'll get
called traitors, even if it means
they'll be hated by their neighbours

but why on earth should they care
they're laughing in the face of danger
doing what they do best just to
make the world a little safer

So when they get killed crippled
or decorated and some of the soldiers
start to wonder where the
hell the parade is, they'll have to
learn the hard way that it's been
going on for ages, that there's
lots of money to be made in a war
that rages

so who pays the price?
who's the hole in their pocket?
because someone's loss is always
someone else's profit

It happens right in front of us
but we don't watch it
just shit Bruce Willis films
that make a killing at the box office

I don't mind preaching to the choir
when freedom fries in friendly
fire, time after time it's no
surprise, it's an eye for an eye
until we all go blind

This summer's biggest blockbusters
don't have big name stars or much
of a budget, just a bunch of bandits
with camcorders and swords and
some heads to chop off on the
cutting room floor

We never give in to kidnappers'
demands, if we don't pay them
ransom we won't look that bad
because we know that the rest of
the world understands and together
we can all wash the blood from our hands

But as for the Arabs we have other
plans, they'll be smoked out of
every right hole in the land
till we're sure that they're all dead
and buried in sand

where one day our big business
skyscrapers will stand
it's hard not to seperate fact
from fiction when faced with a
monkey like man on a mission

a leader who learned all about
his religion from Mel Gibson
films with his evengalism
whose not even capable of
taking his own decisions
whether it's abortion or killing
people in prisons

He's about the right size and
daddy's shoes fit him
if he's going down he's taking
all of us with him

I don't mind preaching to the choir
when freedom fries in friendly
fire, time after time it's no
surprise, it's an eye for an eye
till we all go blind

Cameras can shoot nothing worse
than the truth, it's a tooth for
a tooth, we've the pictures for
proof, and it's coming home to
roost, so that's all left to do
is dig up Bob Hope for a morale

Yeah GI Joe is gonna have to do
some explaining, coz photos of
abuse by troops sold a load of
newspapers and caused a sensation
across all of the stations

Just think what a third world war
would do for the ratings
you may have read about it in the
newspapers, there's kids trained
on arcade games in space invader
who get target practice at home
aiming pistols at their
playstations, and now they're
taking orders from George Walker
Texas Ranger.

Leo Crowley

A couple of new voices turn up at the now Monday night warble poetry open mic/workshop, upstairs at the Duke pub, Duke Street, second left off Grafton Street as you walk up from Molly Malone's bronze figure. It's a few down from Phil Lynots one outside the Bruxelle Street boozer of the same name.

This was a few weeks ago when the Monday night session was on Tuesday at the Left Bank Bar, Oliver St John Gogarty's Pub, before the move to another past heartland of Dublin literary life still in use as an art mine and gallery where occur theatrical displays of poetic performance by writers today learning the art of "earning a ryhme", as Mossbawn's bard calls the business of "professing poetry", an occupation one stressed "I" lighter than "prophesying," which is an interesting word I hope to write 3000 words on and deliver from the podium at a poetics conference in at The Disembodied Impossible Poetic College of Higher Education, very soon becoming a university, so effectively I'm going to a University next summer, and one of the topics up for potential blathering on about is "Prophets and seers". A 3000 word essay read from the page and a potential 20 minute tour de force piece of stagework work for the actor prepared to memorise his text.

But what are "prophets and seers" and do I have to be either one or both? Do these positions involve altering the mind through drugs or chewing flesh of some kind? Do I have to deliver prohecy in order to book the hotel? Will I have to make any explicit predictions during the address, and if so can I get away with making up an episode of divine inspiration if one is not forthcoming between now and then?

I will prepare by reading George Calder's 1917 translation of the Irish text "Auraicept Na N-eces/Scholars Primer"; which I have been wanting to lay my hands on for some time, but have been unable to because of laziness and the general difficulties involved in finding a copy at public libraries.

I know none of its contents, although I have a very dim idea that it was some kind of basic bardic instruction text used in the numerous pre-17C civil judiciary academies were the lawyer/poets with a flare for analysising words, trained in acquiring skills which increased the consumption capacity of their appetite for language, until they were capable of (metaphotically speaking) eating the alphabet

I stumbled across Eryn Laurie Rowan's translation of an Amergin attributed poem she has titled "The Cauldron of Poesy," which appears in the "Auraicept Na N-eces/Scholars Primer."

  • Scholars Primer

  • I will have to wait until I have a copy of Calder's book to compare his version with Rowan's, but as a stand alone poem this is an interesting and accessible read, whose narrative, or more accurately, its ruling poetic of "binding principle", lays out what is essentially an explanation of why not every poet's compositional methods will advance to a point where their skill of practice draws from the higher poetic grades or "streams" that have traditionally been associated with prohecy.

    But all this is for another time and will not be of interest to the general poetry buff only wanting to wallow in the shallow end of poesy's pool, and a book I can recommend for the paddlers who are drawn to light literary entertainment is Anthony Cronin's aptly titled "Memoir," first published in 1976. It's a riotous assemblage of memory, jolting back to life Patrick Kavangh, Brendhan Behan, Julian Maclaren-Ross, the painters Robert MacBryde and Robert Colquhoun and Brian O'Nolan, who wrote under the pseudonyms of Flann O'Brien, Myles na Gopaleen (Myles of the Small Horses) and George Knowall.

    Brian O'Nolan, a notorious man of the forties and fifties hit the bigtime of his literary success as a brilliant new writer; a recent University College Dublin graduate whose absurdist style of satirical fiction appeared in various newspapers and books during the course of his life, up until his death in 1966. He is painted by Cronin as a stickler and straight man who had been knocking about Dublin as a literary heavyweight from the 1920's, and he enters Cronin's full tapestry of gags around the time the poet had become a qualified barrister ready to strut his stuff as a member of the recently independant Irish judiciary. However Cronin's big break was not to be into the courts or law rooms of 1940's Dublin, but an office job in retail considered a good number for a man of his prospects and station in mid 40's Ireland. However Cronin only wishes to become an artist and so withdraws from from pursuing a commercial career, eventually washing up in a back garden shed, one of a sucession of residences he shared with Brendan Behan.

    Behan's paternal grandfather was a music hall artist who had written Irelands national anthem and passed on the musical gift to his grandson, who breaks into boistrous boozing sessions with Cronin and into the story right at the start, offering his own literary ambition as succour to Cronin's, and in their quest of becoming writers, embark on an alcohol fuelled grand tour to renaissance sites in order, they hope, to suck up Art's vibe at source. The only problem they have is an absence of money with which to fully execute, what turns out to be Behan's masterplan of defecting to Chekoslavakia, in an effort to acquire instant confirmation as capitalism rejecting artists in search of worldwide success. Behan's scheme is revealed to Cronin once the sojourn has reached France, but after a spell of days in Paris they split their seperate ways under a cloud of mutual annomosity; immediately dispelled after a few weeks of Cronin hitch hiking to Northern Italy and hearing, upon making his way back to Ireland through Paris, his name being called by Behan. Behan fills in Cronin on what happened since they last spoke, of him joining the Foreign Legion for a night and being allowed to keep his signing on bounty as he left the following day.

    They are both nearly broke; Cronin more so than Behan, but pleased at the prospect of a joint return to Dublin they go on the lash and doss under a bridge for a few days whilst waiting for a mystery benefactor Behan claims wants to give him money. Whilst under the bridge Croinin paints one of the funniest scenes to enter my mind, when he wakes to find his size 11 shoes missing and has to slide around his small area under the bridge for three days sheltering from the constant downpours in the spare size 6 pair Behan had brought along for the defection party when he crossed the Border in Austria, whilst Behan runs round the city on the scrounge. Eventually he gets a touch from who may be Simone deBeauvoir and Cronins foot saviour leaves a miracle by the side of the road to Rouen as they are leaving Paris, in the form of a discarded pair of cut off wellingtons.

    They return to Ireland and carry on chasing the muse in McDaids Pub, The Palace, the Duke and numerous other watering spots in the city, where Kavanagh steps into their orbit, as a poet approaching middle age and a descent into alocoholism. Rather than rehash it here, go, read the book and let me tell you of Leo Crowley and his pal Aiden, who did an excellant duet after Leo did the above poem, which reminded me of Amiri Baraka's mid 70's marxist stuff. They came along because they had bumped into the rest of the Left Bank locals at the Saul Willimas memorisational poetry show at Crawdaddy in Dublin the week before.

    The duet was called "No Show" and was delivered balanced at the precise centre of the dividing line between speech and song, which I had not witnessed before in any living persons in such intimate terms.

    "Tonight tonight to

    L - Well we couldn't catch a train there was a nation wide rail strike
    so we caught a cab because the taxi blinked a tail light and
    we got aboard a bus and gave ourselves a little high five

    A - Well I had to man because I couldn't take the stage fright

    L - Hold tight
    A - Come on alright
    L - We got a play a gig tonight
    A - I know I know
    L - I know you know
    A - Well then shut up and let me go
    L - Relax
    A - I am relaxed
    L - Well then relax
    A - Just shut up and get off my back
    L - Oh what, you don't have to shout like that

    A - Push the button for us all to be dropped at the next stop
    L - We hopped off at the wrong stop, walked and got lost
    A - Found ourselves broke without a penny to toss
    L - In our lives
    A - In our pockets
    L - How do we cover the cost

    Oh how did we ever get ourselves into this

    A - I don't know
    L - Well keep an eye out while I'm taking a piss
    A - I think you should have thought about it more before you made a mess of things
    L - I didn't
    A - Yes you did and now we're gonna miss the gig

    Oh no you know you know you know
    tonight it's gonna be a no show

    You know you know you know you know
    tonight it's gonna be a no show

    A - Well maybe we should call upon the band to help us
    L - They're probably on stage right now doing a sound check
    A - What d'yer wanna tell 'em
    L - Tell 'em wind up the crowd
    A - But how they gonna do that


    You're right we'll have to get ourselves together and go
    coz we don't wanna be no no show

    Bliuppp Bliuppp

    It's the lads

    You know you should have been here 'bout and hour ago?

    Well we'd be there right now if we were any way professional
    but I guess we're not as tight as we might like

    You'd better not be expecting me to take all the blame

    oh real mature Aidan

    The alternative to mainstream poetry possee of Dublin

    We did a Patrick Kavanagh celebration 2005 in the Palace Bar Dublin, which is where he held court with the hacks and Leanne O'Sullivan and Maurice Scully came along. The night was about putting established and emerging artists on the same bill and to this end it went great. We all ended up back at gods place (ie mike from meath due to his flowing locks) having a poem session, and the night brought home some powerful realisations, namely that poetry is ultimately about a basic human need of wanting to belong and be loved.

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