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Monday, 26 August 2013

Sprinting Summer/Murder of Innocents..

                            Oh yes indeed,  it is the last week in August,  time's up for the teenagers, school's open for business.  I told them this day would come, but still, oh still, oh lord where did the holidays go?  Three whole entire months gone gone and gone, the days speeding up till August is sprinting past in a blur of images,  bombardment in stereophonic;
                                                         waving goodbye to a distracted  boss at the Gaeltacht in Carraroe, as she wheeled round to join the ecstatic disco queue;  collecting the same heartbroken girl from the train station on her return home,  listening to her sad description of the three rail carraiges of home bound adolescents  breaking into renewed weeping at each train stop ("what! the boys too!", my husband can't resist);   stumbling by painful degrees on the party carnage in our house after the beautiful girl's illicit unparty,  cue emotional (her) enraged (us) scenes with the beautiful one,  leading to niagerous weeping (her) and recidivist smoking (us):  the same girl tenderly cradling her newborn girl cousin, breathing reverentially the baby essence from the downy fragile skull through her edgy ring pierced nose:
                                                                           the week just past in Ballymoney Wexford,  a nostalgic sandbuckets and spade holiday snatched at the scrag end of summer, though we have no builders of  sandcastles now to speak of,  soft sunwarmed sand under grateful bare feet,  dog (we brought the dog) darting delightedly in and out of curly waves,  wasps bomb diving past your nose for sandy sandwiches, a million lady birds caught on the car windscreen, sticking in the children's hair;  guffawing teens sprawled watching dodgy dvds at night, sniggering at eachs others red faced contortions to preserve modesty under towel at the beech;
                                                                                       "It's Enid Blyton, picture perfect, beech world this, complete with rollicking waves, incidental caves, the blue sun sky" I tell my Cavan husband.  She used to hope for smugglers, adventure, mysteries down here when she was a little girl  "and now I know that's like never actually going to happen" the boss chimes.  But I don't know dear girl.  The smugglers maybe not, but looking at your dazzled  daffy grin these days, I can't  discount the rest;
                                                                                                  that picture in the newspaper of the  Carlow man, murderer of his two young sons, handcuffed to a guard,  two men head bowed in tandem looking helpless into some abyss. You think of those others who dispatched themselves successfully, so that they might never again see daylight,  endure a conscious knowing what they had taken, snuffed out as though it was their own to take.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

No Ordinary Worms. Perseids bearing Twins.

Oh hey, you know, the Recession in the EU?....over.  Austerity in the .... oh yeah.. peripheral, the peripheral  not  so much.  The Taoiseach he is adopting a you know CAUTIOUS Approach, he has like International Markets and all to reassure.  BUT, you know, Consumer Confidence has improved,  there's a um like  Slight Increase in GDP AND the actual European Central Bank has allowed they won't be hiking interest rates for an entire year or so. Oh and also, for the Coming Budget  the government is thinking really hard about Not Cutting Again Deeper  OR Investing in Jobs ... either/or.  For the people. our cup is full,  the wheel has turned, the cavalry has arrived.  And...and... with one bound,  our hero politicians jump free!" "What? what?"My husband is abstracted  this evening.  A problem with slugs in his tomatoes. But I persist. I have questions for the elected ones, on the six o'clock radio news.

The thing is folks, you're late. Your shrinking qualified recovery is late,  way late for some lost souls. Take a look at our thrashed economy,  our crumbling  infrastructure,  our emptied country.  Just this once,  open up your eyes and look.  Before you carry on up the recovery.

See those blind and vacant shop fronts lining every street in Ireland, see the hunch-shouldered shabby folk standing in the weather,  in the slowmoving snaking queues feeding in through the peeling door of the social welfare office. Flick a sideways glance at quiet barely populated restaurants,  desultory solitaries in pubs. See the threadbare look on cars, buildings,  the people.  Hear the silence,  the hush of absence of those already gone, and those others who have exited on the end of a rope or other desperate means,  overwhelmed by debt, ruin, disappointment.

Still looking?  See the others who stay to struggle with depleted social supports, to care for the sick, the incapacitated,  the disabled. Those ones who could not leave. Watch the young loiter useless and redundant on the streets, only the web welcomes them, our Education System being slowly dismantled, stripped back to a preserve for an elite again. That's Our Health system over  there,  tossed after Education,  deconstructed, taken incrementally, assisted by the  people's reluctant  pained  surrender of  exorbitant insurance cover.  I SAID ARE YOU STILL LOOKING..

Enda Kenny's party animals.  Yeah they acquired the roof over their heads,  cars to get about in,  vitamin D boosting  holiday sun,  a second house even for a pension fund. How they aspired. The authors surely of their own misfortune. Now how they rue the day, and how they  revert to the proper level of want,  reclaim the historic  birthright. Only forty years after all since the austere eighties. They can tap in to living memory can't they.They can learn to be poor again can't they?

And now go back to your recovery safe in the knowledge that, although so much has been dismantled, the political classes and an old old system has  preserved itself,  has  managed even through the long recession to pay you and your buddies way above European, American standards even.  Close your eyes and smile.  Go on! You know you know the cavalry comes for you.

"The thing is these are not regular worms baby,  you gotta see 'em,  they are monsters,  they have teeth!  Know what I mean?  Snarly teeth! Tomatoes,  lettuce,  cucumbers; gone, gone and gone!  And the thing is Angel Face YOU CAN"T SEE THEM IN THE LIGHT!  You only see 'em in the blackest night  They take the colour of the plant they're feeding off.  I mean your mother's garlic and lemon in water remedy isn't in the ball park here honey. Know what I mean?" "Yep, yes, do, know exactly" and I pass the dear abstracted one a cup of strong sweet tea.

Later on we fail to find the Perseids in an unyieldingly clouded night sky.  He and his sister came here in a shower of shooting stars and now it is his birthday, she having returned to the stuff they came from many many star showers ago. 

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Zombies a Gathering. Lambs on the march.

A tale of two parties, a song in two notes:

We go to Galway on Sunday to see our blissful boss in the Gaeltacht,  stay overnight.  "And at least we know the beautiful girl will mind the house, in the company one of her little friends as agreed......... which is reassuring darling.... no?" My husband snorts.

We return to tell tale  signs of partying. You know the kind of thing. All the windows open, the dustpan and brush on the landing,  the very air unsettled. My husband becomes increasingly disturbed as the evening wears on, finding many empty mineral bottles in the bin (he is carrying out a  full investigation by  now), stray shards of glass on the living room floor,  the TV aerial askew in a permanent way,  his stuff moved about in our bedroom. The beautiful one is taxed with this, the evidence presented.

"A Party? No. Well....Ok I mean  N brought a naggin of Vodka, yeah, and we had a a few like drinks,  yeah, and we..and we....went to bed.....You SAID  N could stay.  Shards of glass?? well I don't know about that,  TV aerial?  nope..... don't...... Well  yes, there was SOME dancing' but..... your bedroom?,....well... you know I put N in there because SHE's gentle and I put C in the boy's room,  and.... and well ok Ok C was here and also R L and D came, and yes yes they  each brought a naggin of vodka, but I mean we were not DRUNK, like  do you know how much vodka you get in a a naggin?.  And I mean I did clean up the boy's room after.....  the boss's room looked ok.  And,,,so .... NO there was nothing GOING ON  in the boy's room but C you know, she  smokes,  and.. um...  hasn't you know much stomach for alcohol.'....but...  No! no boys! I mean like R  and  C  wanted to have some but I said no, and now look at the thanks I get, I mean hello? it wasn't actually a party, it was it was a,....mixers? well some of the girls wanted to make shots, and NO! N n D were not like  drunk when they fell on the tv aerial, AND ANYWAY WE DID NOT TRAUMATISE THE DOG".

"I could forgive all else  but what they did to the dog" my husband says sternly ." No! the dog's not all right!  He is withdrawn,. He is not himself. What do you mean what do I mean withdrawn? He is SHOOK. And.. how would I KNOW what they did to the dog, but they did it. And there WERE boys! How do I know? I'll tell you how I know, some one was moving my antique bullet collection around in our bedroom, the boy's fishing stuff has been gone through. You' re not going to tell me a girl would have been interested in that stuff. And besides I can smell it. Smell what? Disturbance! smoke! booze! What's wrong with your Nose!?"

Things got  heated, took a turn for the acrimonious here. BUT we have agreed, he and I, to differ on what actually happened and she, the beautiful gig, has agreed, even though she never did it in the first place, never ever to do it again. "The truth" I say sagely, "lies somewhere in the middle. Sweetest heart".  He snorts.

Burn now or burn later:

Later on, to take his mind off the war, I asked him  if he thinks that strategic defaulters, in the frame on  the airwaves in many and mind numbing discussions about mortgage arrears,  are in fact A GOOD THING..  "I mean, you know, if The Banks and The Regulators are calling us names,  it has to be  good. Strategic defaulters or lambs to the slaughter,  baby cakes,  pick your corner, choose your Moral Hazard, now Bankers are exercised about the state of your soul. Least you burn in the next world,  instead of roasting helpfully in this".  He, having reverted to tobacco after the Party  that Wasn't,  sniggers in a fine fug of smoke.

One last thing:

On the Radio I  listen to the Canadian woman, attacked on the street by  a randomer  drunk,  describe her ordeal,  haltingly allow when pressed that she might come back to Ireland one day, does not blame anyone over here.  She is too generous. She has been maimed, irreversibly.  It is  not an unlikely incident. Walk through any Irish population centre these evenings, and you will witness the march of the Zombies. Loose, sloppy, labile people drinking on the streets. It is spreading; encroaching, infectious behavior. Not very long ago, if you wanted to get degradingly drunk, you had to do it within the four walls of a pub, and the rest of the folk could walk unmolested in the streets. Not now. Our gardai turn a blind eye and we tolerate it. Until, that is,  some one whom we invited back here to shake down (Gabriel Byrne take a bow) is blinded. And then we lie to ourselves about who is to  blame and what exactly goes down in this place.