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Friday, 16 December 2016

"Dirty Angels! Vultures Feasting! Merry Xmas Everyone!"

  In The Bleak Midwinter...

                                                    
 I woke up six weeks ago at four am, the bleakest hour,  and fumbled under my pillow for my phone. Tossing about hopelessly since midnight, I had at last slipped into a black pocket of unconciousness, brief and uneasy. I brought up the Guardian page and there it was. Trump had crossed the line, was certainly going to be President. Right so.

                                 ...frosty wind made moan..                                                  

Next day I listen to media reactions, agonised analysis as to why, breathless crowing from defiant  Trump supporters, almost unashamed now that they are on the wining side. Soundbites. A last gasp from white supremacists! ( particularly amusing that).  It was the people, sandwiched between the cities, stoopid.  From the evocatively named Rustbelt.  People so marginalised, forgotten, that anyone would do, Trump would do, to make it even slightly  better.


                                              ... earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone....


Taoiseach Enda Kenny, in inimicable Enda Kenny fashion went from politically correct condemnation of candidate Trump to kissing Mike Pence's arse. Luckily, it doesn't much matter  to the Americans what we have to say one way or the other (I  daresay) but it kinda illustrated, if you needed more light, how skin deep political correct pronouncements are. How calculated.

                                                      ... snow has fallen, snow has fallen, snow on snow on snow...

And we have the AAA (Anti Austerity Alliance), the Right to Waters, and a handful of elected randomers shouting out for the people. Oh and yeah, Sinn Fein. A Trump? Well, Mick Wallace perhaps, or Clare Daly,  a girl version. It seems we need something stronger though, a more trumpish Trump, looking past the spectacle of this crew's performance once elected. They ride into office off the need, the desperation of the people and they fail utterly to follow through when they get there.


                                                                                      ... in the bleak midwinter, long ago.


It's Christmas again, the killing season for rough sleepers. The homeless (again) sleep in the streets, an increase of 37% on last year.  The most vulnerable people in this society pushed out of the flimsy shelters they used to be sure of, to make way for the others; ordinary people, families, now shifted into single hotel rooms, bed and breakfasts. Back behind them, pressing hard, are others still, pinned to a granite wall paying rents, keeping out of single hotel rooms, hostels, sleeping in the car, by the skin of their teeth.


What can I give him,  poor as I am...

Come to the County Registrars court if you need persuading of this. Come and listen to the sad and sorry narratives of everyman/woman, now that some pesky legislation has been fixed up by the boys in Leinster House and house repossessions proceed apace. To get things moving, you understand.  To take the houses, sell 'em, give the banks the road, the rising tide will lift all boats.  Come to the County Registrar's Court and watch the people, slipping under the swells. ((Not waving I'm   drowning...)

Their houses gone to Vulture funds for knock down prices.   Eager,  hungry Vultures, ready and willing to buy and rent out to the same people for vastly increased rents.  No one, no TD newly elected or from old stock seem capable, willing or able to stop this abomination of dispossession and destruction. Irreparable damage and dislocation to the very fabric of people's lives by evictions, or constant hanging on by your fingernails to a normal life. This is no small group of people, people.

                                            ... if I were a Shepard...

Evictions, borderline poverty,  throw away children, belong to, are consigned to the past, right? You can read about it, shake your head, thank the universe you don't live in that country any more, no? James Plunkett's Janey Mary would never be found wandering about the streets we have fashioned. Right?

                               ( Vultures... There's more that one way to crucify a child.)

"She moved suddenly, but when she tried to speak her ears were filled with noise.
The Lay brother had turned to Father Benedict.
"You were very quick" he was saying  "is she badly hurt"?
Fathe Benedict answering him, said in a strange voice:
"Only her feet...you can see the print of the nails."

                                                          ....I would bring a lamb....        

"Ah sure I never even heard the case called, didn't know what happened? people up the front, the Bank's lawyers, them up front were muttering stuff an then some one told me, like, it was all over, like...
....couldn't sleep, couldn't eat, for thinking about it, I thought there wasn't anything I could do about it..."
...I did, like I did, come to court... try to explain, I didn't t know what anything meant, couldn't hear what was going on, I didn't hear, I wasn't sure, I never heard it called....
....I did, yeah, engage, phoned the banks, at first.... but here's the thing, they didn't want to know unless they were calling you? They never call you back. They don't engage...
...so, yeah,  I don't know...The county council say at least a year before I get the Hap/rent assistance... From the time I ask for it, I mean like...
...I can only ask for it when the Bank say my situation is unsustainable. They have to find you  unsustainable....you know?...
...I don't care what they say, I won't... leave, I can't leave...  nowhere to go...there is nowhere to go... the rents, if I don't eat, just try to feed the children, I still can't pay those rents...
...The County Council said a Bed and Breakfast, they told me... or a hotel room's all they've got...for how long they don't  know...one room like... you can't go out in the hallway, you can't go out on the grounds, one room....you can have, like...
...can't go... won't do it.  I cannot take my children to live in a hotel room, a BnB, for, I mean,  they don't know how long....
...There's nowhere, nowhere I can afford to rent now. Nowhere...
...my daughter's doing her exams this year, my son has autism, I can't tell Daddy.  He doesn't know... he's old, would kill him... when they...will they... come to the door to take the house, will they? Do they give you any warning? Do you know?...
...My mother and father left this house to me, I am so ashamed. I lost their house. Thats all...
...we borrowed €25,000.... €35,000.... €40,000...in, like, 2006/7/8,  no problem sure,  now it's twicethreetimesfourtimesfivetimesSIXtimes that...
... ashamed, should have known, the banks were really keen to loan and I to borrow...
... ashamed, I lost my job, I phoned them to explain...they passed me back and forth they never called me back...ashamed...
...I told them, as soon as I could get another job, I would...  sure I was only waiting for that, like I'm still waiting for that...
...they never entertained us... sort of, like, they were going through the motions, like you might to cod a child, and then they send the letters, all those letters... Till I couldn't bear to read them anymore...
...so then my husband left, sometimes he pays the maintenance sometimes not, my daughter hasn't seen him since, I have to tell her that he can't... she won't be able for the hotel room she is autistic, she thinks she made him leave...
...the doctor helps. He gives me medication. Only for him....
....we have to watch my son. Depression. He suffers, thinks, we'll all be on the road...my girl's done two schools now, battled through the bullying, took it on the chin, great girl getting frayed around her edges....


                                                        ... if I was a wise man I would do my part....

I think my self, the Government, the new heros and old might usefully be hog-tied and roasted slowly, until they do something here. Stuff the half hearted soundbites, the inadequately funded unworkable schemes, mortgages to buy, Marp solutions, modular houses some day soon, and act.

Stop the sale of people's houses to vulture funds, pay the bloody sustainable minimum payments  themselves to the Banks we bailed out if the people can't pay, release the land banks they actually hold (for who?) and go into partnership with the builders.  Now. This cannot wait.

                                                                                  ....yet what can I give him, give my heart.

I get it that they live another kind of life entirely, that the act of imagination required of them to see this desolation and damage for what it is, is beyond them. To feel the utterly heart breaking vulnerability of the people who are battling banks, indifferent lawyers,  poverty. Standing alone. But they, our elected representatives, will reap the whirlwind  and that at least is certain.

                                                                                                         


          And what rough beast, it's hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born.
           ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When Gerry Adams, or some other such becomes your Taoisenach don't wring your hands, don't trouble yourself to ask why. What version ofTrump have we earned, manifested, conjured up? Those people being minced are legion.

                                                 
                           Dingy angels.. festering coffee mugs...crumbs of plenty...lucky luck.
                           ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Christmas is coming oh yes indeedy. I brace myself for an influx of teenagers from college to swell the ranks of those already here. I steel myself for mess, shouty bursts from uTube videos, crumbs...crumbs everwhere, missing mugs and glasses festering in bedrooms, bare feet dangling over the edge of sofas, mad tittering on mobile phones. I brace myself for Christmas wish-lists, huckstering over what I am to contrubute for some piece of electronicia ardently wanted. It's bloody, irritatingly, chaotically wonderful, all of it. Unless you're stuffed into a hotel room, your children caged, forbidden to go out on the grounds, dispossessed, derailed, thrown away. Reliant on the kindness of the Government. There but for very fickle fortune friends go you or I.  



Plunkett, James  (1945) The Trusting and the Maimed.
Christina Rossetti. (1872  )  In the Bleak Midwinter.
William Buler Yeats. (1919) The Second Coming.



Anna Cogan: I Am Detta O'Byrne.    https://smashwords.com/books/view/674623