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Wednesday, 25 March 2015


                                               Devine Ones Bearing Gifts
                                                                                                                                                               On Mothers day all three teenagers lined up in my  bedroom, where I lay considering whether I would go downstairs for tea,  dispatch someone for the Sunday paper, that sort of thing.  I had quite forgotten Mother's day.  Also how tall they had all become. The Beautiful Girl carried a tray, the Boss  bearing gifts, the Boy bringing only himself.

They stood looking virtuous, pleased as I unwrapped some very good chocolates,  a silver spiral heart on a slender chain, flowers in cellophane. "Wonderful'  I breathed,  "you've done me proud this year Darlings.  There was an dipping of heads,  in acknowledgement of that.

"Hold on, there's more", the beautiful one walked swiftly out on the landing returning with a vase of tulips. "From me.  Also."  she specified.
                                                 So  how do you Fit all that in a Heart?

"Do you like the chain, I gave you the chain, do you see what its says on the, that's a whorled heart, inscribed on the heart,  d'you see?  It  says a mother holds a child's hand for a little while but she holds her heart forever".  The Boss watched me expectantly as I strained to read it, asked her how all that could fit in a heart. But yeah it did say that,  the  silver worked,  twisted, whorled, ribbon like.  Cunning.

"You know" she said  "the lady in the shop? She read the words and she said how like delighted she would be to get a thing like that on Mother's day. And everyone in the shop could hear?  I was soooo …..embarassed.  So are you? Delighted?"

                                    Never mind Chocolates and Hearts, what about Gerry Adams?

The boy sat on the end of the bed then. "Uh,  the food?  the breakfast's from me too.  You'll be getting something else also,  soon,  soon as I have some uh spare, like, cash?  Though anyway you have enough chocolates there,  three boxes of chocolates there,  I mean you won't be eating all of those chocolates yourself I  expect.  So anyway, Happy Mother's day.  So what do you think of all that stuff about Sinn Fein and the you know abuse. What  Paudie McGahon said.  D'ye think Sein Fein knew? Would you say Gerry Adams knew. There's like lots of stuff on Facebook.  And it's in the papers today. Would you say Sein Fein, the IRA, they're just like….it's just like the Catholic Church? What do you think"

"Right, well, I will want another cup of tea in say, ten minutes time?  So go away now Darlings and let me eat this. And then we will ah discuss Gerry Adams when I have the,  I mean,  benefit of two teas. And honey! Where's the honey? For the tea?"  They filed out,  the Boss returning with the  honey a good ten minutes later. "Cold"  I said, "this tea is cold!. You'll have to get the second cup up straight away. And where's the paper! There's no paper?  Jeeze!!!"

Twenty minutes later I  stamped into the kitchen, "Oh," they said, where they sat at the kitchen table eating, chatting,  "your tea was like brewing?  We, um, forgot about it.  And yeah the paper is like over there, we meant to, we were going to take it up to you. Um, so,  go back, up?  we'll do it now,  if you like,  go back up?"
                                                      A very Fine Tantrum

I told them I would do it for myself , tea,  paper, and the eating of the chocolates. I told them that I'd   make a better job of Mother's day myself with  one arm tied behind my back.  Better in fact left to my own devises in future. They got that knowing patient look, I recognize from my own armory of reactions.  And, yes, actually that was the best fun I had all day on Mother's Day, stropping, entitled,  getting on my Prima Dona. Being them,  on Mother's day.

                                                            Them's My Words.

"So anyway, about Gerry Adams",  I told the boy "Yeah, I think they knew.  In actual fact I bet they figured they were doing great things for the child, with the brutal remedies. And yeah it's like the Church,  macho power values, but I say the people made them, and when the people are ready, they will unmake them too.  Just give that enough time. You can't pluck  all this out of time, demand of them  understanding  they didn't have.  Awareness of  the depth, the effect,  of damage done, the systemic undermining of a human person, raped. They didn't even have the words for that.  Or words for the irony of children being raped and destroyed  in "safe houses.'  I  mean the guy on the run was "safe" wasn't he? The movement was intact wasn't it, they were the people, weren't they. That other stuff was, ok, troubling. But nothing,  nothing really, to do with them,  the movement, the congregation,  the point. What happened to those children,  it was  all about  timing, blindness,  imbalance basically.  A perfect storm in time,  at that point where machismo,  ideology, power,  meet, explode, and devour the vulnerable in its path.    And we evolve,  the victims find the words,  now,  in the quiet aftermath.  Shedding their victimhood, in effect,  from first whisper to the roar of Maria Cahill, and now Paudie McGahon.  We evolve, we judge, we sometimes fail to understand,  to own our own nature  in the process." I reach for the tea. "So, that's what I think, dear boy, about that."

"Hmm, hmm'  the boy said sagely,  edging towards the door,  turning back to tell me that he really was getting me a present so he was, and was I, he meant,  having a good one,  and had he said?  happy,   happy Mothers day.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Fifty Shades of F***kd Up. How Not to be a Woman

                                                   Pornography for Nice Girls.
                                                                                                                                                               "So Godamn and Blast who knew Selma would be so popular" I hiss to the boy on Saturday, having slipped in to the Cinema on the last minute, to be confronted by a tide of folk between us and the  Ticket Office  "I mean at this rate there will be no time to get Ice Cream.  Here, you go get Ice Cream" The boy sniggered irritatingly looking up the long line of  cinema goers.  "Ha, they're for Fifty Shades.  Just released  today.  Dontcha know?"  "So many?" I say in wonder. "I mean who are these people anyway? Why would they want to??" And they were a mixed bag  my friends, young couples, giggling girls,  middle aged girls, mature twosomes.   I wondered had they read the books. Maybe the older ones I decided, the children only curious, open to a bit of titillation, following the herd. Mommy Porn.  A contradiction in terms.  A nauseating notion.

                                                   On the Highway to Hell

All week long and in the week behind it you are bombarded with an endless stream of sensational detail in the Media about tragic Elaine O'Hara,  in a macabre dance with the breathless promotional soundbites for the Release of Fifty Shades of Grey. Reality and Fantasy. The O'Hara case is grim, dark,   with the relentless sensational newsflashes about mental illness,  bondage, domination, sadism, mascochism. The case built by the prosecution was based on circumstancial evidence. There are lots of circumstances.  Bringing us on a trip down BDSM way . Master and submissive, testosterone and estrogen monstrously inflated, bent out of shape into a hellish sexual exchange. The moral clearly being that a tentative flirtation with light kink was a stepping stone on the road to Looser Hell.  Murderous Sex. So, maybe someone should tell the breathless Fifty Shaders to put down the book,  step away from the screen:   ill-conceived squirming  and the fabulous wealth of the Master won't help you down in the woods.

                                                    How to be a Looser.

And remember who get's be the submissive here. Who get's to be the one who's beaten, peed on, humiliated.  The woman, that's who.  And the occasional looser man. You wouldn't actually like it dear heart. And if you would, well you're damaged little head is just good with the dark stuff,  no judgement.

                                                      And How Not.

And I read about the retired politician Liz MacManus in the newspaper, my heart gladdened, my faith in womankind restored at her account of the University creative writing course, the book published, the family reared. Oh, and the love affair, he firmly in place  in his house and she in her's, living her life,  her own woman. You wouldn't catch her at the rope end of someone's fevered fantasy, or the other end either. So, do you have to be sixty plus then, to know how to be a woman. Do you?

                                                   Little Red Dancing Shoes.
"I'm just going to bring them, in my bag I mean, in case my feet hurt too much like
 later on.  Just like,  in case" the Boss remarks as she shoves her Vans into her shoulder bag  on Wednesday night. The mid term break, the  Teen Disco. Suprevised! Alcohol free! So you shell out fifteen euro and drive the three quarter  hour journey to get her there.   I am the designated driver for six of them  going  and in consequence am asked to take the perfect pictures for Facebook in the Hall on the away out. They line up in their tiny shorts, wisps of skirt,  the boss wearing a whole dress, elongated laughing girls in their vertiginous heels, sharply sloping wedges, cruel stilettos, solemn now for the official Facebook picture.

                            I refuse to be Hobbled, I will not  Bored,  where's my woolly Hat???

Later on I return to find the Beautiful Girl's black suede shoes lying randomly on the kitchen floor. Another girl on Mid Term, leaving the house earlier to party,  precisely balanced on high wedge heels. I find her  lying on the Sofa, legs draped over the arm,  pyjamed,  a book balanced on her chest, her grey woollen hat pulled down snugly over her ears. Her indoors, chillin' uniform. "Back early?" . "Yeah, hey, I 'm reading this.  Have you read this. The Monk".  She is like a deep sea diver with  the college reading list, she emerges with the kind of Books I could never tear her away from the web to read heretofore.  "D'ye like it? It's dark."  I offer.   "Yeah dark, it's cool. I was so you know bored? I came home. I'm not hanging round if I'm bored. Yeah,  love it,  it's great".  Yep, I think she's on course, she's on the road, she'll be  her own woman.

                                                  Not drowning I'm Dancing.
"Was it wonderful did ya dance all night were there lots of boys how's the poor feet" I ask the boss in the morning.  "Um, well I actually changed into my Vans in the car on the way there?, I was going to put on my actual shoes when we got there.  But then I just..didn't? Yeah. It  was great, it was laughing, and dancing.."( The boss goes to Discos to dance,  as well as to electrify boys.)  "....and you know all the girls said they like really envied me? later on when you'r  feet really hurt cos you're dancing I was able to I  could.... dance...I like danced....I could dance... all night".  So, right, she's cracked it,  she's nearly sixteen,  she knows how to be a woman.

Friday, 23 January 2015

The Wife's Tale. ( With Apologies to you, Stephen Hawking.And God)

 Did he actually change his mind...

"So right, if the world actually began..... then it was created? and I mean the Christians,  they want that.  Right?"  "Yes darling.  Right.  But then he,  like he said himself,  changed his mind.  So now, no boundaries, no beginning,  no end, no creation, no God. And the thing is he persuaded folks with his Brillance.  Either way".  The boss and I mull over the movie The Theory of Everything on the way home from the cinema.  She,  preoccupied with black holes,  space time continuum,  mathematical equation, and I guess there was  not enough science in the movie for her. Quite enough for me however, burrowing into the velvety executive seats at the very end row- they were empty!- losing my self in the lovely visuals, the engrossing human drama.

                                                   or was he just.........

The thing I particularly liked about it was its delicacy, I tell the boss. The drama showed you where Mrs Hawking was going,  it didn't drive you there with whip and loudspeaker.. And the tale she had to tell was worth the ticket.  "Yeah... yeah.... but.... were there new treatments for Motor Neuron disease  then.  Like...why did he not die? And... what was that scene with the pencil at the end.... and also I mean  a world without boundaries?, what kind of answer was that to how he lived without the comfort of believing in I mean God.,  is he still  looking for  a single equation for like everything,  like he said he would find???"
                                                                                     screwing with us.........

I tell her that I figure he lives yet through, yeah improving treatments, but basically by virtue of a will of  iron, and a vast appetite for life. And as to boundaries, that he, in his mind, stands tall and walks to pick up the pencil the pretty girl drops, and somehow his body finds a way to follow.  We dine then on fish and chips, no cooking/ Sunday evening fare, the kitchen silent, empty except for the dog, listless and longing for the the excitement of noise.   I dispatch her to locate school uniform, the school bag tossed on the Friday before.


"Oh hey" she calls  " Googled him!  He didn't actually say he doesn't believe in God, he said God was not necessary to science. Aha.  Right."  Well, he  has been known to change his mind" I offer "Hawking I mean. Not God. ????"  "Yeah, and his books are for the Lay Man, he wants to make this stuff  like  explicable, I mean hey!  will we buy that book.  I, you know,  haven't decided yet whether I'll do Maths and Physics  or Maths and Art in college anyway.  I haven't made up my mind!!" she adds,  flying down the stairs phone in one hand, unwashed grey skirt in the other.  "Yeah we will. We'll buy that book" I say.

                                 but  why was he going to America with the nurse?....

And later, just when I think its all over, the boss's humming hard drive on standby...  "So.. but... like why was she crying. When he said he was going to America, with the nurse. Why was he crying too, and...why was he going to America with the Nurse,  and why did she let him, what was like happening?, I didn't really get, you know..... I tell her that the Hawkings were each acknowledging the end of their marriage, mourning, looking the end square in the eye.   And that it was at the heart of the movie. "I kind of thought that.. yeah," she said, "that the marriage like failed".  "Not failed,  no, simply over" I amend. "Yeah, right. And anyway,  he was only supposed to live for like two years" she finished sagely.
                                                                                                and myself struck to the heart (a little) ?...
And thereafter I couldn't shift to standby either. The absolute finality at the end of a marriage, the arid space between you where enchantment was, haunting me a little.  The ghosts of loved up she an he lingering on in the marital space. The  harsh comfort  in mourning, acknowledgment,  rough gratitude for what was.  If you can bear to feel it.   Before you take yourself  back out in the world,  alone like you came in,  to wherever you can manage,  imagine, reach.  Maybe even America?.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Kill them All . Devil Speak and Angel Song.

                                                 Love Hate. A Solution

"And anyway, I don't...... I mean WHY don't they just go ahead and shoot them  NOW. I mean WHAT are the Cops waiting FOR." The boss  makes Christmas Cards to sell at the Christmas fair on the rug in front of the window. Has been for weeks, a happy engagement,  turning out improbably good things. The Boy and I  catch up on recorded episodes of Love Hate. A revelation to her, who does not watch the show by inclination.  "Of course they can't just....they have to.....  prove it!  build a case! set them up! It's called SURVEILLANCE" the boy replies roundly. It's called Television, I amend. And also um Due Process. Which I go about  explaining at the end.  She gets it. She's quick. She's not impressed. "What does it matter actually" she says, "Better dead before they do any more harm..... for us".

                                          The thin end of the Wedge.  Again

I remind of her of the movie Animal Kingdom. She kept a weather eye on that on Monday as I watched,  declaring that  she was not really watching. Only making cards, didn't want to work alone in her room. The boss likes company, in a houses of instinctive solitaries.  We were both numbly riveted by the body count, the casual dispatching on both sides. The instant disposals on the part of the Cops. "The thin end of the wedge", I tell her,  "after the criminals, go the rest of us, instant disposal, sooner or later".  We all stare, stunned,  now at King Nidges bloody runners.

                                              More  Accidental Television

On Thursday she accidentally watches the movie  Martha Marcy May Marlene  with me.  Christmas cards done and on her way to bed, she gets involved, as do I,  until realizing she is there beside me as the credits roll. "Over!!  It  CAN'T be over! Not yet... until we know....until they... I thought she was imaging...what will they do to them???  OH.  Now that was actually  frightening" she says. I agree, more than Love Hate, more than any tough hardcore  horror,  that was actually disturbing. Lingering in the mind, haunting quietly,  puzzling.

                                                     Killing the Boy

On Friday the boy announces harshly that he has lost his glasses. Yeah he brought them with him to a concert in the O2, the first one with a tiny girl and not his sheparding family, and  came back  again without them. I cannot take this equably. I do not try. His phone has gone the same way a week ago.  The glasses, the eye test  took time and money.  I berate him roundly. I am harsh as he.  Each of us capable of a bruising anger. I keep going until this...  "Don't you think I know??  Don't you think.... I'll  pay you back.  I KNOW I'm loosing everything, I don't KNOW why??  I don't KNOW whats wrong with me.  Don't you think I've said all this to myself".  His voice  a grating wobble and  the kitchen is silent at last.

                                                       Killing the Dog.

I go out to the garden to regroup. Apply myself to cleaning up the dog turds there. Bad idea.  The boy's words, his tone of voice harrow me, the dog barks on a loop, his large stomach-churning turds refusing to slid smoothly onto to the plastic spade I keep for this purpose. The dog amuses himself habitualy with Demon Dog Barking at any thing that move within a very large radius, despite sanction, so that I suspect  the neighbours have taken to creeping about the back, to avoid the sheer discordance when he is on a roll. His dog turds are as large and labile as his personality.

"Re-homing!" I tell the boss. A large place out the country for him. Somebody (else) would love him*. "But..." the boss struggles here " he is our, he is part tof our.... You cannot...he is FAMILY. You  CANNOT... You didn't mean? "  I tell her that of course I didn't mean.. I resort to muttering that  maybe in my own case someone would take me,  as she turns away in a sorrowful blue study.

In the kitchen where I go to make a cup of hot strong tea I am brought up short at the sight of the boy, all six foot one of him  accordioned in around the dog in a silent embrace.  He strokes his head gently. His eyes are closed. The dog's huge black eyes gleam in the shadows of the early winter evening.

"Yeah, I was not even slightly serious" I tell the boss,  sipping tea, thinking of the awful raw dysfuncionality of teenage boys,  the mysterious, the invisible wires of connection in family. "Re-homing! It's the thin end of the wedge too. After the dog, we all go. Nah"

                                                            Christmas Came

And then it's Christmas again. Officially started at the Boss's christmas concert, where she stands on the podium with the others, singing with her entire being, a young woman now where last year she was a child. I drive through the dark, the road works, icy cloudbursts,  from Dublin,  stressing about not getting there on time, listening to the endless gnawing discussion on the car radio about the Prime Time programme the night before,  the treatment of disabled women by their female carers in Bungalow Three, Arus Attracta, Swinford, Co Mayo.

                                                       Killing the Disabled

The  Childlike People, degraded, kicked, slapped, by the carers, secretly filmed for the programme. The brutal tones of the women linger in the mind, as though it was not only what they said, but how they said it that was the killer, the degradation.  " Hang down your head!  Hang down your head and look at that wall!  At that wall!   Back!  Get back, Get back in that chair"  the carers chorus.  For three hours, five hours, eleven hours get back in that chair.  "Get back in that FUCKING chair And Hang down your Head and Look at that wall. At that wall!". Don't look at ME. Don't.. ever... look at ME.

                                                     The devil spoke the Angels sang.

The faces in the choir are raised to heaven now, singing in transport of ecstasy,  as one. The Devil he spoke in Mayo, over and over and over. The Angels sing in the School, year after year after year. Ding dong merrily a Child is Born Santa Claus is coming in a Winter Wonderland, on the Twelve Days of Christmas Hark the herald.....Oh Rudolph Rudolph in the Bleak Midwinter.

Sunday, 26 October 2014



"Yeah. But ....should YOU not be worried why are you NOT more worried?... it's.... it's...spreading. The World Health People are worried....I mean do you not think that maybe we should like stay home for  a few weeks until it all like blows over?"' The Boy snorts "Oh HELLO! It's not coming HERE! Child!.  we are Very... Low... Risk. Miss  DEMPSEY you know says its just actually body fluids?, its like actually been here before? and so it will actually burn itself out?" "But.... what about all the....all the.. People... more than ever before.... dying. And its getting Out of Africa, it's coming to.... coming to..." "Huh!" the boy dismissive "That's because of their like Poor Health Care. That's different."  She looks at me, appealingly.  "I mean I can't you know stop thinking about it.  Why would it be in The News?,  all the time?  Cause it's NOT going away. That's why.  And, it's actually still..still...coming...and so shouldn't we be even like be taking out temperatures?..or ..or"   "No! Angel No!. Really. We shouldn't"

                                                   Luckily, we have the Irish Health Care System.

I raise my hand against the boy's next pronouncement. Tell the boss firmly that Ebola is never penetrating the obscure fug of the Irish Tribal Carapace,  ask her to think instead  on how scared the People trapped in the midst of the raging epidemic must be, before she indulges in ramping up her own terror gauge, consigning us to quarantines which would have to include the Boy!!  etcetera etcetera. She shifts from harrowed to rueful. You know,  she says the guys in school start coughing and rubbing their foreheads when they see me now, because I asked Ms Dempsey, if we shouldn't be taking like precautions and you know pray for them..."  Hmm.  Lucky Smart Arsed entitled Irish.  With The Health Service Executive between us and all harm..  Really.

                             Not Entirely Getting what she was Doing with the Whiskey Bottle

We go to see  Gone Girl on Saturday.  I want to coast for the evening. I have read the book.  It's one of those books where you find yourself sticking with the second half having being engaged by the first bit.  Despite a constant "oh, come on!!!"internal chorus not quite causing you to fling the book across the room . Anyway its popcorn cinema as I expected it would be. I am bemused on Sunday to read an article criticizing the writer, being disturbed, concerned about its depiction of Bitch Woman, finding anti woman riffs in the antics of the ludicrous heroine.  "You needn't think I 'll be going to that " my husband felt called upon to tell me, as we watched an add for Fifty Shades Of Grey at the start of the movie. I tell him that he needn't t think that I will either. And for good measure, if I want to indulge myself in a read about Sexual Shenanigans from the Dark Id, there are actually some really good books... eschewing the swooning syrup. No, really!!!
                                                   Extremely Ravishing and Pointlessly  Gorgeous.

And all of this, Ebola, Silly Sex, my daughters tormented vision of a stalking,  advancing virus, plays out a against the prettiest most painterly Autumn. The leaves kaleidoscoping  pink to red to orange gold  on the garden tree in front of my living room window, till scattered artfully on the grass by the wind, glistening with raindrops from sporadic showers till taken up again to dance by the sudden,  benignly humming, gales. The shivering red orange fairy trees on the green. Darkly plum leaves layered on strained green and gold in the lane. The berries every shade of dark to blood red in the bush as thought the painter decided I can't decide, oh what the hell, I'll do the spectrum! Old yellow apples, clustered, dying devine overhead.   All gorgeous pointlessness on its way to decay, I tell the Boss, extravagant pleasing color just for the hell of it.  Really.  Lucky... we.

Monday, 29 September 2014

. My Baby Gone (and Left Me). Christina Noble..

                                                      Home Without my Baby
                                                                                                                                                                   "But I'm like, you know,  glad..... I get to come home? ...I didn't have to like stay... too?."  The Boss's remarks come at me from a great distance in this space I find myself,  car wheels slapping on tar macadam, grayish white light  illuminating the road. "Yeah, but, hey, it was nice,  she'll be grand, a  room of her own, the others just down the corridor,  she's you know lucky. " I run out of steam quite.   "I um liked the tall wavy tree at her window.  I was thinking she'll you know see that every time she sits at the desk" the Boss says after a silence. "Yeah.... right..... I was thinking that too"

The Boss and I have deposited the Beautiful One to the student campus for Fresher Week, with her suitcases, bed linen, towels and kitchen things. It is the Friday of a busy buzzing week of accumulating the stuff, sorting her ATM card,  completing her registration, mundane and esoteric things she thinks of that cannot be done without,  a pair of beer glasses with a smirking reindeer on the sides, new pyajmas, a large bottle of iron tonic requiring a last minute dash to the health food shop. I buzz through all the days of the week, planning, anticipating, reminding, till there we were on campus, in the small bare room. Empty. Hers.

I make the bed, have her unpack the suitcases, "then we can take them home you know,  give you space to breath". The boss stands bored and patient to one side. The beautiful one dashes off to obtain a front door key,  taking the large orange tub of kitchen stuff from my hands on her return.  "Hey, It's Ok.  I'll do that. You needn't... I'll do it. Later".   "O...right..."  The fine yellow light of the Indian summer illuminates her casual unpacking, piercing through the open window high up here on the third floor.  I am suddenly and  enormously exhausted.  "Um right, well,  I guess then...Darling girl, I think then we 'd better leave you to it."   Darling, darling girl I think we'd better go..

She clatters down the stairs behind us, takes the cash I fumble blind for, and jittery, distractedly allows herself to be hugged. She feels insubstantial to me,  forcing herself to be still, already tugged at by the room upstairs.  We go home. All week after we are like a cart missing a wheel, a building with a supporting wall removed. It seems like a glimpse of the real framework that contained us all. Requiring  a psychic reframing.  A sort of spiritual poke,  a sniggering chorus "so what did you think keeps you standing, keeps you here,  what all this means, what all this means" Something like that. We are adjusting


The Boss decides during the week that this year she'll be doing Bronze Jazz,  Grade Five on the piano,  a birthday party hosted from the family home,  oh, and a summer Berry Pie on Thursday. Also "like what do you think?" a trip to Africa to help out with relief work in the summer. She's going to galvanize her friends, get the school on board,  "I mean, OMG do you think they would?"  A concerted effort I think to move into the newly  available space left by the beautiful departed. The new projects will require lifts, cash, dollops of maternal attention. Chances are she'll get around to most of it. Her will like a long haul Arctic Truck being mighty and relentless.

The boy announces casually that he's looking at his college options. That would be next year!!! "Could someone maybe win a scholarship, acquire a bursary, " I murmur , thinking of the impossible task it  will be to finance this level of education for one, two, three even,  people in Ireland. Each year the college fee that dares not speak its name, going by the euphemism of the Contribution Charge, increases. Latterly, accommodation costs have soared,  the accommodation on campus being scare and expensive.  A college education seems to require great wealth, or the actual poverty of the unemployed, where at least your children may qualify for a grant from the state.

"I told you I won't be coming up with A1's. I have a life!, I'll get the points I have to. I already said that to you all"  the boy is positively truculent, in the kitchen where he fries trout from the river for himself and his sister. "brain food" he adds.. He takes himself off most days after school in the obliging  Autumn sun to fish with his fishing buddies, and rarely returns without Provision. He pushes up the spectacles newly and reluctantly required on the end of his nose now   Astigmatism recently tested for. "Lasered! I am having that Lasered as soon as I can"  he states grimly, though less stridently since some hopeful girl at school told him it makes him look thoughtful, intelligent. " Does it?" he asks me innocently now. "Yeah," I say looking at his glowing golden skin, his fine arched alien blue eyes, "definitely"

                                                          Christina Noble.

The Boss gets her African Oddessy idea from the movie Noble. Having read a distinctly patronizing review of this in the Irish Times, I want to go see the fine central performances, the beautfuil sets allowed  for by the reviewer. I want to see the movie, mostly because it's true. Christina Noble lived. Lives still and is in all ways remarkable. "Inspiring?" I ask the boss after. "Yeah she says, "but,  like,  Not Enough. I mean how did she manage to get like  all the other orphanages up and running. It took her the whole film to get that first  one going."

 She is thoughtful on the way home. As am I.  All the dreadful things that happened in Ireland to children, lonely bereavement, rape, homelessness. That happened to girls. The magdalen, the savage wasting of being use as a sexual facilty, a brood mare, a commodity, a thing. And yet, from the heroic ashes of all that damage, Christina Noble changes destinies in Vietnam, and children, girls are somehow salvaged, nurtured,  snatched from the fire to shine, to outperform the boys, and even to go one day to college.

My husband tells me kindly that I am sexist, biased, excluding of,  boys. How he longs to edit. cut and paste.  If only I would let him. "Oh let me!"  But.  Yes, I tell him,  guilty, yes I  am, you bet, don't care, get over it,  Only Women, Carry, Women Bear, Only Women, Bleed.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Savage Dream Girls/Aquamarine Silver and Blood

                                           She Only Studied Lightly, Occasionally All Year Long.

 "And so he told me he got you know 490 points!, although I didn't actually ask,! so then he asked me and I told him and he said don't you mean 353!!! and I said no! I mean 535, and he said O....o"  The Beautiful One smirked blandly then. And why would she not? The Leaving Certificate points required for her chosen course;  in the bag, the carefully conveyed impression of doing only occasional actual study, intact!

I think of my stern statements during the year, when she assured me she was chained to the small wooden desk in her bedroom while all her friends like the lilies of the field neither read nor wrote, that this was horseshit ! That  they were at it beavers!. Despite her supercilious stare, I am guessing that was what she wanted me t say. Its a tightrope, parenting, my friends, a high wire act to carry buzzing teenagers to the far shores of self determination. Don't look down.

But then again,  it is she who does the high wire walk. You have no life without the imprimatur, inclusion of your friends. You will have no life without the CAO  College points the ancients yammer on about. . You absolutely know you will be extraordinary in the world when you find your own people, come to you own thing. You mostly shove your jarring sense of incompetence on the back burner, where it bubbles and burbles away, while you absolutely break your back in doing all the stuff  expected by all best you can.
                                                         To Sink.

The soundtrack of your life , the shaky  flaky  judgements of your peers, the constant instructions,, warning,s of your elders. You just can't see the time when you will  function in the world. Every instruction has the sub text  that  you could never do this on your own.  And anyway down here its predictable, warm,  well worn. So  hard to leap. to rip aside the apron strings, to sink or swim.  To sink.
                                            Aquamarine, Silver and Bloody. Dream Girls

And so to the Debutante's  Dance, the  Lovely Girls Parade,, take your pick.   She dances upstairs to her room trailed by the giddy girlfriend, slips into the aquamarine dress, the silver sandals, slathers on a cursory coat of slap,  pins up escaping locks from the up do bought and paid for, and only that paid for,  she won't let any stranger touch her face, and rapidly descends, to  her boyfriend's muttered "Wow" at her careless flighty greeting, he standing in the hall, shoves flowers at myself , "for you."  bemused and dazzled at her casual disposal of the corsage he gave.  She stands still ,barely, for the photographs, but oh she can't recall where she dropped her sweet corsage, and gone lightly climbing into the car, with bleeding heels, a blister burst,  laughing, serene,  unconcerned as I chase the car with lint and plaster.

I close her bedroom  window  in the silent house, pick  up two bottles of vodka mixer, discarded with the "well done!" cards, a hoodie,  her battered trainers on the floor,  breathe in the smell of cigarettes,, perfume, residue of hysteria, expectation.

I ask her how it went next day.  She said it was savage.  Just that.  savage
                                               Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright

In the calm after that storm, I am on the last lap of  Eimear McBride's A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing. (2014).  Serendipity. A slow burner for me. Like burning matter falling melting on your skin to simmer in to the bone. Don't warm to books that are pre labelled  "A Masterpiece!."  But, it burns. I can only read  the  book when I'm feeling robust.  By now I know the story, know the way the stream of imperious consciousness sucks you in until you're just another worm on a hook with the heroine. Yep,  a Masterpiece.
The Beautiful Girl and I take time out of time to go together to the movie Boyhood.  Serendipitous again.  I don't  tell her of the three hours running time. She might not come.  Don't know where the time goes. . So?  I ask her after, cautiously, both of us blinking under the unsettling electric light in the foyer. "Yeah. Loved it. Cool, the actor growing up and going to college, Yeah. The mum, she kinda reminded me, like of you, the way she, you know, she did,  yeah, she really did. Yeah."   O..