Friday, June 16, 2006

KATIA AND ME

Although the night shelter I call home does not allow pets, or visitors of any description, which makes it as close as you get to the old bardic cell of composition, I did once breed neopolitan mastiffs, which are the closest breed to the old Roman dogs of war, weighing in at anywhere between 9-15 stone and make rottweilers look like rabbits. Having these dogs around me when I was living in the Big L eventually led to a complete dispelling of city life paranioia.

Before the dog phase, if I was walking down the street late at night in a dodgy area and saw a couple of fellas walking towards me, my imagination would run wild with all sorts of mad scenarios racing through my mind, but with the Mastiffs I could go anywhere anytime of day or night and people were forced to just be themselves. It became clear to me that in London, apart from the native cockneys, many people put on an act. Don a mask. So walking through Burgess Park in Southwark at 3am Sunday morning I could happily wander past a group of highly dangerously minded individuals who would drop the cod Caribbean patois perculiar to the inner city youth of today and just be themselves; kids brainwashed by bullshit gangsta media, who for the short time our paths crossed had a period of normalcy and genuine exchange. All because Leah and Max where by my side like two loaded shotguns.

The reality of their being even crossed over to the time when they were absent from me, and the general clarity and brushing away of fake societal posturing they engendered when out and about, brought me a great deal of confidence and revealed the knowledge that, behind the screen of make believe we humans erect as personae for the benifit of our fellow actors in life, we are all the same.

They also bestowed a confidence which carried over, so when they were absent I would still deport my mein in the same manner as if they were present, and if anyone pissed me off my thoughts would turn to Leah and Max in much the same way that Popye's would to spinach or Hannibal Lecter's to his leather retraining belts and indoor mincing machine.

~

But only once a woman came to me via my bitch. One morning whilst walking to the shops with leah, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Thinking it must be my housemate, because touching strangers in London is a no no, I turned to see the smiling face of a beautiful women I had never seen before; Katia, a Brazillian who had only been in London a few weeks and was working as a cleaning lady. Her English at this point was very minimal and consisted of pointing to Leah and motioning I come with her, accompanied by the words come with me please.

Somewhat perplexed, but highly enthusiastic to follow, we began walking down the high street at a brisk pace, and I must admit to thinking that fate's lotto had released the golden balls of every mans dream, and Sziertzean secret levers of the universe had been depressed to instantly switch my usually unexciting role as an annonymous shopper on his mid morning trip to Tescos, to that of a first time amateur porn actor trotting nervously behind his more experienced fellow performer as they made their way to the set.

We got to her gaffe and she motioned I wait on the doorstep and this particular fanatasy fizzled out when she came downstairs bearing pictures of her own neopolitan mastif in Brasília, the capital of that hot land.

She was obviously just a lonely mid twenties Brazilian and seeing Leah tugged at some part of her and she felt a need to connect. In slow and deliberate English, and trying to conceal my desperateness, I gave her directions to my address, telling her several times she could call on me at anytime she wanted, too shy, socially inedpt and a coward of rejection to ask her on a date.

However we did bump into each other again a few weeks later in Tescos and she was with her older, more portly pal and I ended up having dinner with them several days after that, Katia's intentions unreadable because it was her mate who asked her to ask me to dinner. By now her English had improved and she told me she had got out of cleaning and was forging an inchoate career in modelling of some sort. I perservered and we started what could be called a very timid relationship, as friends. Katia would pop round to my place unnanounced and toy with me as I fell deeper and deeper in, unable to control my feelings for her and feeling the full force of what I knew would become an all consuming passion the more she played with me.

The full tale is a long and somewhat comedic one, which I will spare you from. After a comedy of error few weeks where she held all the cards and nothing more chaste than a peck on the cheek occured, I realised I was merely a mental plaything for a woman whose culture was too fiery and hot for me to take on without becoming a raging loon, and I decided not to call on her, knowing that if I was this close to the edge after only a few weeks of knowing her, in a month I would be a helpless wreck completely obsessed with her. With a career in modelling to keep her busy, Katia didn't call on me again until one day a few months later, on new years eve 1999, when she appeared out of the blue on my doorstep. I let her in and the following conversation occured after only a few words exchanged between us -

Do you think I've put on weight

To which I jokingly replied

I can't tell because you've got all your clothes on.

Do you want me to take them off?


Somewhat nervously and unsure of what was happening-

If you want to.

She then whipped her kit off with all the speed of Abi Titmus on a lads mag shoot and sat on my lap, then asked me to take my trousers off for the purpose of inspecting an obvious part of my anatomy I will not detail here, but with the subtext as clear as day. However, being out of the loop with soap and the opposite sex for so long, meant that I managed to refuse her offer of getting naked and somehow or other bungled the chance of a mid afternoon new years eve 1999 encounter with a young and beautiful Brazillian model.

This was not a good omen for the rest of the evening, as I was left sitting in my pad wondering how I had let life slip to the point of becoming a completely inedpt idiot who was unable to avail of the most simple and obvious offers which came my way. With Katia gone and my spirit somewhat dampened, I decided to salvage one tiny crumb, by setting my timepiece exactly to the speaking clock and so witness the changeover from 1999 to 2000 with perfect precision.

That night, although it wasn't the real millenium, everyone was behaving as it was, but I ended up looking at my digital watch at 13 seconds past midnight on the street at the back of my garden, missing the change by 13 seconds, unable to even fulfill the one sad desire the night left.

Monday, June 12, 2006

MORE BAD NEWS

DA WORD


Dawn's an advert for sunrise, copy of will,
mind pour, tame of process and nature; her show
will drain liquid man for disposable
cups of recyclable heat, kept in tube warm rows
stacked vertical that move in tilt noble
curves, and deport through his person her weight.

Champion belt thinkers, perceive and taste
her needle, found by chance in vast haystacks
of binary optical data bits,
when light touch's swoosh in trickling dance
make fingertips jive and dig her location.

Dawn fans morph in a mass of electron
and sub particle continuum switch
code, toll in life's quantum the condomic
bell, sounding her one name - humanity,
ooohing, aarghing and praying to art.

Reality becomes her servant, proves
she lies true; that fiction is existence
and our dreams but the kind her dazzle mutes,
shatters, exploding to soul shards which slip
below the love for god's absolute cold
constant zero of absence we sense,
tense, bend and be when she's shaping us.

Oh
ineffable beauty, identity's
docket; please go, to return with her bold
outline, but delineate what form she
will appear in as me. Recognised by
you, will I arrive pressed with all the right
ink in the rubber stamp light of her sheen?


I am now sporting another black eye, only a few weeks after the last one clearing up. James Street flats in Dublin is where a little bastard of around 14 years of age lamped me one and ran off, as I was passing through there on Friday night with a bald man and three women.

We had just attended the opening of Alexander Reilly's Der Schwarze Kanal (The Black Chanel)exhibition and were in transit to an arty party in a disused stables, carrying bags of beer and being slightly worse for wear. The bald man knew the way, but had got lost and was on his phone asking for directions from various pals as little scangers and general dodgy looking people roamed the wild west flat complex.

We had drawn attention to ourselves in much the same way as Times Square Tourists would do looking at a map with lost looks littering their faces. I then made the fatal mistake of asking a young scumbag if he knew where the party was and he attempted to engage me in conversation aboput the bag of beer I was carrying, asking to have a look at it. I then dropped the bag, went to pick it up and the little shit hit me as hard as he could before running off.

A young girl who was with him was all apologetic about his behaviour and proved there is some humanity left, but I am only left cursing the young thug.

~

The only good news on the horizon is Namaya, the Irish poet who has lived in America for the last 30 years who will be performing at the Monster Truck art gallery on Francis Street Thursday 22 June, so come along and have a laugh.

Friday, June 09, 2006

OGHAM

The Auraicept Na N-eces, is in the Book of Ballymote, a 15C Irish Manuscript. This trieste was translated by George Calder in 1917 or so and he gave it the title The Scholars Primer, but it's literal translation is along the lines of

The processes/methods/procedures/formula/way of doing/ of the knowing ones.

The Knowing Ones being the poets, or Fili, who at that point in history (15C) had evolved unbroken from druidic practice.

The Auraicept Na N-eces was a drawing together of all the compositional rules that existed in what were known as Bardic Schools, which ran in Ireland until the time Cromwell came and the British Monarchy's policy in Ireland turned to complete supression. And in the slaughter which ensued Ireland's unbroken cultural evolution of the previous 2000 years came to an abrupt end.

The trieste also charts the history of writing in Ireland, which was adopted by the Druid/Fili in a form called Ogham, which I will not go into here, save to say it appears to be an entirely rational, logical and mathmatical system, and out of this the Irish came to write in their own vernacular from the time they first decided to adopt writing.

Prior to this adoption in the 5-7C the sociey was ordered entirely orally, and so instead of the law being textual it was spoken.

If you get a baliff's letter today, the legal process occurs when you take physical possession of the document, but in Irish oral culture, the legal process occured when the poet spoke the judgement.

So Ireland found a way of writing in her own tongue, via the initial ogham script.

That's enough for today. I will let you have the poem tommorow. Tonight I must go see a few emerging poets read at a state sponsored do. The dual main realities behind this decision are to wallow in the word and avail of the free booze which, as Charlie himself would have known, is a very important function of most serious poets.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Tuesday Blue

What do you want?

Why are you here?

Do you know about Ogham? The ancient writing in Ireland prior to the written language being established and stabilised into normalcy by the fili, who took over duties from the druids once the Culdean monks came in the 5C?

Are you surfing for culture or a quick fix of bullshit about velux windows or what Irish drinking poems you can download for the heart-attack party when all your family will turn out, moaning at life and getting on a downer?

I don't know do I Dear Reader, so maybe you had better have a think about what it is you want from your online search.

~

This is what I've been checking out today, in my continual quest for the knowledge no-one but poets value, so have a peel then drift off into the rest of your day Dear Reader.

OGHAM


Au Revoir

I must go now and find out the info on the man who shot Anthony, Anto O'Rahilly, a young career criminal who died in a hail of gunfire outside his house last night, over a drugs deal that went wrong after O'Rahilly called the girlfriend of Sean Casey a boot. I got a call off Casey's sister who wants me to sort it out because she knows about the other fella who I won't mention here, but needless to say he won't be doing any more blathering.

I have to dish up some justice and if you want to find out more about how my day today went when I go to O'Rahilly's to see him with a few pals, then keep tuned in checking your inbox for spots of.....

Saturday, June 03, 2006

LOVE SUNDAY

It has been a beautiful week here in Dublin and the sun is currently out in force, as are the tourists and all round merry-makers intent on finding the real deal craic with no additives of bullshit, which is where I come in

Dear Reader.

The next bit of real-life poetry I will create in Dublin is tommorow, Sunday 4 June 2006, when me and PJ Brady will be checking out the Monster Truck Art Gallery space and sussing out how we will go about putting the Patrick Kavanagh Celbration 2006 together. A workshop in the day followed by a fantastic night of page and stage poets, like the one we did last year with the very kind assistance of the Arts Council of Ireland, who are also assisting us this year with a bit extra than last.

Obviously they understand the benifits of this enterprise, which is all about bringing established and emerging talent together to close any gaps in the boring page versus stage debate. We are lucky in Ireland, as the divide is minimal, but in other lands Dear Reader, they are in a right tizz about what constitutes a real poet, whereas here a poet's person is their own guarantee. This is an historical anomoly unique to Ireland and I won't bore you with the details, as they are quite complex, but trust me, a poet can't get away with faking it here.

~

On Sunday a Brazilian saxophonist called Andre Costa will also be at the gallery, as shall be he who shall remain nameless, but who many consider to be Irelands finest poet.

All are welcome to attend and read, so click the Monster Truck link to your right for directions. It is a ten minute walk from Temple Bar.

~

The first gig was last Thursday and was a real victory snatched from the jaws of defeat affair. I turned up at 7.30 with he who shall remain nameless and Raven pitched up an hour later, then Tim Costelloe and Jessica Peart. Tim is a mid-twenties poet and had been out of the live loop for a bit. He was keen to do his new stuff and it was very good. Jessica is three years off finishing her Phd on The poet in the community, and is using Ciaran Carson and another poet for her study subjects. Raven was the guest and Fintan Higgins also did a turn.

When it became obvious to me that no one was coming at 9.30pm, I kicked off the readings, just happy to have an audience for myself, and then half way through my set, Tom the gallery head honcho who lives on the premises, drifted downstairs with a few of his pals and by the end of my set we had a bona fide audience, which increased as the night wore on until there were about 20 of us in the room.

The whole buzz was just about getting people to do their stuff and feel good about it. The following day I had a workshop with Jim McAuley and 11 other poets who have been selected by Poetry Ireland for this years Introductions programme, and I was the last to get workshopped.

Everyone brought a poem along, read it and then we all tossed in our tuppenceworth. After three full time years at writing school this stuff is second nature to me, and it's all about making people feel good about themselves, as simple as that. By the end of it Jim and I had become a double act, putting out the feel-good vibe. This one was mine, which I wrote after seeing Leanne O'Sullivan first read, and who very kindly read at the Patrick Kavanagh Celebration last year.

O'WATTS IMAGINED

What O'Watts imagines is she may fly
as Fintan flew, if she attempts to launch
like the old Irish poet flock, who thought
themselves as birds and made her realise
how wings are crucial to succeed in flight
as a shapeshifter.

So now she knows all
her slim options she decides to try
out her wings, with no cutting quips or wry
observations, by flying in the form
of an elegy to the dark one who caught
her imagination's ember alight.

~
Western star gathers with the druid spawn
in full blather wear, making well worn
anecdotes of one another and lies
before their surety in tongue, to find
hanging from the mythical branch were pure
milk fruit of poets toil are torn,
Abharach's raiment in ancient straight cry
stating


You've now found your soul, so sing all
your song, as fear and doubt cannot haunt
where you belong. Your flesh fits and my
measure's this gift. Go, weave the thread of life's
ageless truth twining timeless within your
spirit, and tell of what is to all
those yet to cross your ever wide
path from this moment onward


And in tall
dreams with future high hopes for all
those men and women who urge their love
not to hide
O'Watts imagines.

~

A nine tenths metrical piece I delivered from memory and which was well recieved by my fellow emerging poets. And this is what it means.

In Irish mythology Fintan mac Bóchra, known as the Wise, was a seer who accompanied Noah's granddaughter Cessair to Ireland before the deluge and lived for 5500 years after the flood, in a sucession of animals including a salmon and a hawk. He survived into the time of Fionn mac Cumhail, becoming the repository of all knowledge of Ireland and all history along with a magical hawk who was born at the same time as him. They meet at the end of their lives and recount their stories to each other. They decide to leave the mortal realm together sometime in the 5th century, after Ireland was converted to Christianity.

~

So basically the poem opens and the narrator is talking about a woman called O'Watts, (which is me) thinking she may fly as Fintan flew, if she attempts to launch like the old Irish poet flock who thought themselves as birds and made her (O'Watts) realise how wings are crucial to succeed in flight as a shapeshifter.

So now she (me) knows all her slim options blah blah blah and try out her wings....by flying in the form of an elegy to the dark one who caught her imaginations alight". This refers to me as O'Watts wanting to fly as an elegy to Leanne O'Sullivan after seeing her shine at the do full of new Irish poets.

So "Western Star gathers with the druid spawn in full blather wear" is the start of O'Watts' elegy and refers to all the poets at the new irish poet launch. So it is O'Watts talking not the narrator, and when we come to the "Abharach's raiment in ancient straight cry, stating..." The voice, although still a part of O'Watts' poem, has shifted to become a singing coat. I am talking about a Tuatha De Dannan god of sound I read about who had a singing coat, and so seemed apt for the part of an old Irish character from mythology telling Leanne (and me) that we "have found all your soul so sing all your song, as fear and doubt cannot haunt were you belong, your flesh fits and my measure a gift"..etc

So we have three seperate characters talking in the poem. The narrator, O'Watts, the singing coat and the narrator ends it.

That morning I got an e mail from Namaya, and he is booked for Thursday 22 June, so come down and see some of the best poets in Ireland. This is not an idle boast dear reader, but the plain bald truth.