Nicholas of Bari
Another night fifth in a row
unsettled but unfrozen
thinking I get it I get it
(I don’t, but I have skin and nerves):
Whatever sustains someone doing what you do,
I mean never mind the privations! that unseen hand,
Shoulder cupped, steering towards the leper colony –
the Big Bewk saints, the Seenitalls, Tell-you-what-I’d
(enthusiasts who sleep one to a room
and who if we just roll up that sleeve
for a couple hundred spare months)
yes that too. If we just….
And you break away and plod on
As they foretell your grit will kill you.
Well this too, a mile away: Perpetual Motion!
Wind or tide or compressed chipboard or wherever they’re
frisbeeing the tax breaks this current? cycle?
into laps of pals slash creditors ABCing
a redesigned polity, where battery tech –
Sorry – Nology – excuseme, will…
(impilmentated across the economy)
The child in the lithium mine, fingers
deformed, the first knuckle gone.
Overheads, always overheads.
But we’ll outsource to Europa
when the talent pool is Exhausted.
Which will take a while yet.
Half a mile away:
Our Vegan Monday grinners,
Off setting off in the fake jeep,
Eerie silence til the gas kicks in
Over Charlemont bridge, arc of
Our hero stolidly crossing,
Dashboard screams, driver jolts,
keels, (rest of car buried in phones)
“Watch where YOU’RE going!” he starts
As the eyes turn
the whole corpus twists
toward him and through him –
an air-conditioner chill then gone,
no trace in the rear-view.
He tells himself he dodged, but…
This has been happening
More often lately. Overtired, that’s all.
Newstalk. And an early night tonight.
They sleep eight hours.
Belatedly, worry entered their guts
once they had genetic skin in the game, but
Ours will be fine: Business Cantonese, crypto,
Young Scientist, fun size beers (better
they’re in the house than eff-knows-where) and
The Talk About…
They sleep nine hours.
A theatrical yawn.
Back to the salt mine, conference call.
I get it in the sense that I wouldn’t either,
I think you’re right, and if I had your honed instincts
and scalpel humour—
But on days such as this, fifth and counting
Surely a den of thieving fuckers is better
than another wet gutter screaming match
with a fifteen hour night?
Husband your fuel and your wits. Arm yourself
with a rock or a crunched up can
in your goto pocket. Breathe out, finish anything you’ve left,
stride towards the LED light.
Don’t be late, they’ll lock you out to die.
“you’ve made your point
you holy few
you’ve made your point!”
Jesus Christ, like.
I mean Jesus Christ, they’d fling you in
the Liffey stamp “buried at sea” on the docket—
Quickly – pick three: Psychiatric History, Known to Gardaí,
Mintil Hilth™, Engagement Izzyous – which is why –
Refusal, Reluctance, the cracks – and again this is
Again why – yet another – yet
Another No Fixed Address – sponge, waste, nosh Abel
Well, whether the brown liar was once his thing,
He wasn’t using: he wins. He haunts at his pleasure.
Remember that as ever decimating rootless scum
was an inexpensive way to impress upon sit-in
students down a year of Law, sneering at
the empty Jay One cancellation threat: –
“Australia America Canada New Zealand,
we will see them all while you’re here minding
Your handicapped kids, you inbred bogscum” but
but what if – surely a contingent?:
Cracks invisible under carpeted floors,
The weight of Relying On You, son,
And such a long way down.
“We know you’ll get your act together.
Perhaps you’re just overthinking, your—”
Fogged vocation? or, The base fear:
marooned and slowly draining amid the dying
amongst the dying in between the bonesunk husks,
our holy dying knackers dying at midday without a fuss,
town on a weekday, going peaceful after years howling
into their mobiles their streets those trams,
dying for no reason, dying without ever even
presuming to arrogate a version of what same
Artsblock Stephen Heroes claim’s birthright
to lose, yet perhaps too they’re just
dying for a lungful of a dreamt cracked Rome:
nicotine and subway vents and rumour.
Harlem, The Bowery, The Hands That.
Twenty years later the bootlace daredevils’
Conspicuous Return: Lo! It Can Be Done Son, says
the cute one, a quiet deal on a struggling licence
(add strip lighting, carvery, Guinness mid-strentt’)
While the others…
Vanished Camden or Rockaway or Justfuckedoff,
never left the tower no matter how far they fled
from the ripped places those ripped up were next sent,
those banished home staring at the wall of unsaid,
sleepless over decisions unmade, failed
stabs at intercession with mute smiling friends
that went early on,
back when the junk suddenly dropped from the sky
like manna – sufficient for each day
turns out most people don’t want to die,
so explain it to me again.
*Concurrent to the events depicted in noted docu-drama Rambo III, western cities were flooded with cheap Afghan heroin. Dublin – largely unfamiliar with opiates –came out of it badly.
Feature Image: Daniele Idini