Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Colm Keegan. All Ireland Live Poetry Slam Champion 2010

Ireland Is by Shirley Chance

Ireland is an on-the-road machine
Ireland is so far gone from Joyce's Dublin
Ireland is Cúchulainn with a hurley
Ireland is English
Ireland is Tír na nÓg
Ireland is a ghost estate
Ireland is a gloc pointed at someone's son
Ireland is a teen-brained new-age lap dancer
Ireland is veins, butterfat with broadband
& self hatred.

Ireland is an on-the-road machine

It's existentially frightened out there
It's got alloy wheels and tinted windows
It can tear ye limb from limb, or stop
& offer you a lift.

Ireland is so far gone from Joyce's Dublin
But still full of the dead, and snow, upon
Quickly snorted cocaine breaths we go.
Ireland is a badly bred famine-stricken
Flea-bitten jallopy of a piebald horse
Galloping down O'Connell Street,

Ireland is Cúchulainn with a hurley
Gurning off his head on creatine, punching
The face off the referee, before sticking
Him in the boot with sectarianism
And the Disappeared.

Ireland is a copper who looks like Brendan
Gleeson in Into the West, in a chopper,
Who'll put heroin in your hands and say:

Grand so, thanks for the fingerprints
don't let the coffin door hit ye on the way
out, after ye hang yerself, with your shoelaces.

Ireland is English, whether it likes it or not
'Cause it's laughing at Newswipe & Mock the Week

Choking on M&S food and ruining
Its new Debenhams' top,

Ireland is a gloc pointed at someone's son
or a Christian Brother, or its own mother
because she won't move into the nursing home,

Ireland is Tír na nÓg, Oisín saying doh!
When his saddle broke, vikings raving
On Wood Key Hill, monks driving Hum-vees
Through round towers they built,

St Patrick standing with his fire on the mound

honestly now that money was just resting in my account

Ireland is a teen-brained new-age lap dancer
Getting drunk, getting chlamydia of the soul
From too much unprotected facebooking
Down the boreens of a ghost estate
Searcing for Foxrock.

Ireland is veins, butterfat with broadband
& self-hatred, caught in the loop
Of a money shot lasoo, faux-hawked Pentecostal
Iconoclast, yahoo, a liar, in flames, in denial,
In the X Factor final of bullshit, Gerry Adams
is kissing Barbara Streisand, Bertie Ahern
on-screen crying, suicide, alcoholics, junkies,
Gunmen, dying & dying and dying, and it's all so
Fucking electrifying, coz we're fumbling blind,
We've no idea what we're doing, no idea where
We're going, and we're almost there.

Ireland is an on the road machine
Ireland is so far gone from Joyce's Dublin
Ireland is Cúchulainn with a hurley
Ireland is English
Ireland is Tír na nÓg
Ireland is a ghost estate
Ireland is a gloc pointed at someone's son
Ireland is none of the above,

'Cause we're fumbling blind; we've no idea
What we're doing, we've no idea where
We're going, and we're almost there.


Shirley Chance is a soundcloud account hosting a powerful version of the poem above, Ireland Is, by its author, Clondalkin poet Colm Keegan, one of two contestants representing Leinster in a live poetry competition, reciting this one that, along with two other poems, got him placed first, at this year's All Ireland Poetry Slam Championship, 30th October last, at the International bar, Wicklow Street, Dublin; in the full ninety minute video of this live poetry competition you can enjoy when watching the video below.

Keegan is a very talented live poet and writer, three times shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award, for both poetry and fiction. In 2008 he was shortlisted for the International Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition, and is currently working on a first novel and a collection of poems.

The event was organised, hosted and MC'd, by Tallaght poet, Stephen James Smith, whose Glór poetry and song Sessions facilitated both the Leinster heat, on Monday 25 October and the final on Saturday 30 October - Samhain Eve.

Traditionally in Ireland, during the bardschool era, at this cardinal, three day transition phase from the three prior months of Beltaine, to Samhain, summer's end; assemblies from the five Irish provinces at Tara Hill - the seat of the Irish high king - gathered in a grand annual meeting, where they celebrated with horse races, fairs, markets, political discussions, ritual law making and poetic court hearings, mourning for the ending of the light half of a bardic year, and an ushering in of the colder, harsher half of the Irish filidh (poets) year. Lighting a flame from the high king's fire, it spread across this country in a time now gone, long past.

Samhain eve also marked the beginning of a student bard's six-month academic year, taught, learned and practiced from sunset's end to Beltaine (bright-half) May 1, on a fixed, singular, island-wide course of dán (poetry), in which the memorisation of 350 seperate ficticious and factual narratives, constituted the core & key a bard needed to unlock their skeletal selves, during Samhain-Imbolc winter/spring - when they studied, worked on and progressed through, a 12 year course.

From word-weaving beginner foclo of the first grade, through seven semesters spent acquiring the five, 'universally' recognized poetic grades, Macfuirmid, Dos, Cano, Cli, arriving at the penultimate, sixth grade of Anruth - 'great stream' - five years away from attaining their final, highest, most sacred, profane, sorrowful & comedic poetry professorship of Ollamh (pronounced ulav) when their log n-ech 'face-price' for spinning bardic dán, brought to them the collective cultural memory - On Coimgne - of bodies and souls formed by his or her Sidhe, stretching far back to a famine daze easy to forget, pay lip service to, losing the run of ourselves and tripping into a delusionally induced debt-madness, created in brief bursts of abundent imbas, its repercussions felt for decades to come in Ireland and elsewhere, possibly, people in it, a ship of state heading straight & staggering to one thing, some claim, is the most deleterious to them - Sovereign you, 'us' people waking to the outline of an iceberg this year's winning rhymes tip thru, lighting autumn's winter portal-point and practice for the good of natural unity, in these unprecedented times, an artist-pool making broke in Ireland Is, poetic magic.