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ROUGH CUTS ART, WRITINGS ANd dRAmA fROm RAdE’S PROGRAmmE 2011/12


RADE Recovery through Art / Drama / Education OLV Building, Cathedral View Court, off New Street, Dublin 8 Tel (01) 4548733 Fax (01) 4546406 Email info@rade.ie Website www.rade.ie Board of Directors: Eoin Ryan (Chairperson), Fedelma Martin (Secretary), Colm Ó Cléirigh (Treasurer), Jennifer Coppinger, Theo Dorgan, Carmel Furlong, Tony Geoghegan, Fiona McGinn Staff: Michael Egan (Director), Eoghan O’Neill, Síne Lynch, Averyl Swords, Trish Boucher, Ger Twohig Contributors: Niamh Mooney, Gerry Ryan, Terry Murphy, Dermot Egan, John Hobson, Janine McGonigal, Jenna Duff, Gary Nolan, Nicola Clifford, Martin Gibbons, Darren Balfe, Keith Russell, Patrick McEvoy, Lorraine Corcoran, Darren Condron, Mary Killeen, Lisa Callan, Damien Byrne, Tony Houlihan, Eileen Kelly, Kieran Farrell, Yvonne Cooper Creative Writing facilitator: Dominique Cleary Content © respective contributors 2012 Photography: Darren Balfe Design and layout: Kieran Nolan, www.kierannolan.ie


INTROdUCTION “We’re up!” is the signal for the end of break time after an hour of Tai Chi. Someone calls it down the stairwell and it is echoed by another into the yard of the OLV Building. Outside, RADErs stub out their cigarettes and climb the steps in a noisy banter past walls hung with colourful abstract art, landscapes or portraits painted by RADErs who went before. Some days the mood is one of ebullience and enthusiasm. Other days, it is life weary and vulnerable. But it is always interested and committed. RADErs take out pads and pens and sit on chairs in a circle at the centre of a large bright room with a blue linoleum floor. They settle into two hours of Creative Writing. The room smells of clay or plaster or fresh acrylic or oil paint or newly carved wood, whatever art work is in the process of creation. Sketches, poems, photographs of loved ones, children and pets are tacked on to the walls for inspiration. Guitars and ukeleles lean against pillars or lie across tables on the periphery. Two large windows, normally ajar, let in the noise of the Dublin 8 traffic. I led the class from the Autumn of 2011 to early Spring 2012. Together we read extracts of great personal essays, fiction and poetry; the work of Joan Didion, Annie Dillard, G.K. Chesterton, Jorge Luis Borges, Scott Russell Sanders, Raymond Carver, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Wendell Berry and W.B. Yeats to name but a few. With that as a backdrop, everyone had stories to tell, regardless of the genre we proposed. After a short but lively discussion, there was silence while everyone wrote. There was never enough time. Then we listened to each other. RADErs don’t shy away from telling things as they are. Often simplicity brought the deepest truths and there was realism, resilience and insight that comes from a life of self-challenge. We critiqued each other’s work, sometimes with bawdy humour and raucous laughter but also with respect and empathy in deepest measure. There was tender encouragement where needed and praise where deserved. And there was always the ability to laugh at oneself. I learned more than I taught. Dominique Cleary September 2012


NIAmH

HAIkU Eyes glaze Syringe falls No more cold

GERRY

HAIkU The sailor writes Words are his lifeboats They keep him afloat

TERRY

THE REASON I WRITE I don’t do a lot of writing. I have a big hang-up about my writing. I always feel no one will understand my spelling or handwriting. As a kid, my brother was the one with the brains, always good at school and this was always pointed out to me by my father. I was also a little bit deaf and I couldn’t hear the teacher too good, so I ended up being a messer in class and I was told that I would stay like that and I was wasting my time coming to school. It was easier for me to believe that I never had to try. To this day, I don’t do a lot of writing unless I really have to.

GARY

WRITING I write lines down for songs, just words plucked from the air or from wherever my head is. Sometimes they rhyme, sometimes they don’t. I observe people on their way, stumbling and falling through life. I write about what’s wrong, what’s right, what I would change and how. Sometimes words shoot out like water from a high pressure hose and other times the words just drip out as if from a tap with a damaged washer.

dERmOT

ImmACULATE Mary got right up the pole Hubby time Joseph filled that role Decamp for census, far up the road Reaching Bethlehem she dropped her load Out popped the baby In a barn I’m telling you, it is no yarn Jesus was a child to be A source of much controversy He pissed off many, to his loss And finally ended up on a cross

JENNA

THE VISIT Prepare for a presidential visit they said Rejuvenate the space Each of us cleaning, painting, mopping See the pride in everyone’s face I played my song. We done our show Did our best to let everyone know Everybody clapped and cheered Not thinking of our problems The man himself spoke of all we’ve done Very knowing in his speech I heard him mention all our achievements Saying every film’s name I don’t think anyone in RADE will forget The day the President came.


JANINE JOHN

CHILdHOOd mEmORY “Will you stop staring at those sweets, John. You’re not getting any – and especially not bubble gum. You’ll only end up swallowing it. Then I’ll have to take you to the doctors.” What then passed through my 8-year-old brain was a thought I hadn’t had before. Just put them in your pocket and say nothing. Quick as a flash, in they went. Mr H Williams wasn’t going to miss a lousy pack of juicy fruits. But being young, I was also stupid. As soon as I got home I was chewing away on my stolen booty. When my mother observed me, she asked me accusingly, “What are you eating?” “Chewing gum, Ma.” “And where did you get them?” “Eh, the supermarket.” “And who bought them for you?” I couldn’t take the interrogation any longer. I broke down in tears. “I robbed them, Ma,” I blubbered. She set her face in a stern expression and said, “Give me the rest of them, and me and you are going for a walk. You have some apologising to do.” A feeling of dread engulfed me. “Please Ma, I’ll pay with my pocket money, when I get it,” I begged. She was having none of it. I was dragged back down to H Williams and the manager came out to us. I apologised sheepishly to this imposing man. He scolded me gently but sternly, but his words had an effect, because of all the bad things I have done, shoplifting wasn’t one of them.

mY fIRST AUCTION My uncle Bob has always loved tinkering with old cars. He would fix them up from what looked like wrecks. He would buy bangers and within a month they would be like new. I was about ten when he brought me to my first car auction, and by then I loved cars from watching him fix them up. I remember sitting in Uncle Bob’s passenger seat, driving to the auction. We parked our car and he held my hand walking into a huge car lot. Everyone there was walking around the lot, looking at which car they were interested in, before the cars went through the auction. We looked around till my uncle Bob found a couple of cars he was interested in buying.

TERRY

A GOOd dEAL At the horse fair on Sunday my father had brought along two good ponies, saying he should get at least £3,000 for the two of them. While parking in the same spot he always parks – his lucky spot, he calls it – a few lads came over to see what ponies he had. Some of them do be interested. Some just look around to see what is going on and what’s for sale. An old lad, Old Joe, asked, “What type of money are you looking for that black and white, Mick?” “Guess I’d have to be getting £2,000 at least, Joe.” “She seems to be a bit lame. Give her a run up the road there and I’ll have a look.” “There you go, Joe, you can’t tell me now that pony is lame.” “Yeah, but there’s something not right about her. I’ll tell you what, I’ll give £1,500 for her.” “Are you joking me or what, Joe? You know yourself she’s worth, £2,000. I’ll tell you what, give me £3,000 for the two ponies. Come on now, shake on that.”


NICOLA

dEAR mINd, bOdY ANd SPIRIT It’s unusual for me to write my thoughts down on paper, especially to my own self. You may find this letter a bit unusual, but I need some answers. Mind, you told me to go for it, to get off the heroin, crack, pills and weed. Even the drink. You made me believe it was all bad. You said if I keep doing the same thing, I’ll keep getting the same results. I’ve done what you said with the strength of my Body. But now, my Mind, you are playing tricks. You’ve pushed my friends away. My Spirit isn’t with me anymore. Did you kidnap her? Well, my Mind, I think it’s time you need to change. After all, it was you who made this decision for me. I feel we need to start compromising. I’ve been negotiating with my Body and Spirit. My Spirit would entertain me today though for only a little time, but I’ve come to the conclusion now that Body has changed, healthwise. Now I feel it’s time you, my Mind, changed. So let’s start with CBT.

NIAmH

bRAIN TALk But you have to eat! Or you die! I don’t remember the last time I cooked a proper meal for myself. I get home about 4 o’clock and my brain starts again. You must eat! Fuck off brain unless you’re gonna jump out of my head and make the dinner, shut the fuck up. Eventually at about 10:30pm I drag my unwilling body into the kitchen opening the fridge for the umpteenth time hoping that by some magical power a hand will come out of the fridge and hand me a meal. This never

happens so I make toast. No TLC goes into putting the butter and pate onto the toast. I make tea grab my food and back to the sofa. My stomach starts to knot even before I take the first bite. How has a simple thing like eating become so depressing? Food is tasteless unless there is someone to share it with, to say “is your dinner ok”? No point asking myself. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to eat because dining alone is just another reminder that I am alone in this big world and will probably be dining alone for a long time unless I find a knight in shining armour or start shagging a chef.

TERRY

STARTING AfRESH All week, everybody getting stuck in to work: hanging pictures, sweeping and washing floors, painting walls, hanging up banners on the walls. The place was buzzing. For Friday was the big day. The President is coming. On the day, everyone was in early and all looking very smart in their best rig out. Checking out their cameras, making sure everything is in order. 11.00 was the big moment. The time he was arriving. Till then, everyone was nervous. We checked our place once. Checked it again and again. Finally it’s 11 o’clock. He arrived. Everyone shouted, all wanting to get a look at him. The moment he walks through the door, everyone gives a big cheer and claps. It was him. The man of the moment. He gave a big hello to everyone and then all the speeches started. Clap for this speech. Clap for that speech… My hands were getting sore. The speeches finally end, and then we get the drum roll: it is time for the play to begin.


JOHN

AGORAPHObIA Peter sat in his bedsit, on the edge of his bed with the blinds drawn. He hadn’t left his room in over a week. He hadn’t changed his clothes or even cleaned the blood and other dirt from the wounds he got when he was set upon by a gang of teenagers who were drunk and stoned out of their tiny minds. They had decided that battering the guy who looked a bit different would be great fun. He had dealt with this kind of thing all his life. When he was four all his hair fell out due to some extreme variety of alopecia, which made going to school a daily torture due to the chants of slap-head and baldy. Then in his teenage years, he sprouted up to a gangling six foot four inches. But he weighed only nine stone. He was the bane of all the sports teachers, as his co-ordination was distinctly lacking and his chronic asthma didn’t help. He was never very sociable, as he became nervous in the company of people he didn’t know. So this led him to having a non-existent social life. Instead he would stay at home and read books, or go on the internet and eat junk food. Of course, this did nothing for his complexion, and he was pale and sallow, and the spots on his face resembled the pizzas he frequently consumed. Not that any of this junk food put any weight onto his scrawny frame. Well, he was getting hungry now and he would have to face the world. It was that or starve. But what if those kids are hanging around where the shops are, he thought. Suddenly he wasn’t hungry any more. He was a poor, sick, misunderstood soul, living a desperate life with no end to the pain in sight. Suicide of course was something he thought about often, but he was too afraid to try that. So he just sat where he was and cried and cried. It didn’t make him feel better but it did make him feel human.

mARTIN

INVISIbLE no one can see me not that I particularity care they never listen so seeing me is neither here nor there

dARREN b

QUESTIONS ANd ANSWERS I was in a car with a few friends and we were driving around and having a buzz. We seen an oul’ fella walking up the street, buckled. Being young and brave and just having a buzz, we started taking the piss out of him, but he said something nasty to my friend. He jumped out of the car and I jumped out after him. My mate says to him, “What the fuck did you say?” Next thing, he puts his hand inside his coat and pulls a handgun out. I froze. My friend jumped back into the car and closed his door. My other friend, who was driving, heard what was going on, and when he heard the car door closing he wheelspun up the road, thinking I was in the car. I was just left standing in the road with a bloke waving a gun all over the place.


JENNA

mAm ANd dAd I took a deep breath of fresh air, turned the key and opened the door to the hell me and my da called home. And I guess from the outside it might even have passed as one. I pushed the door slowly open, preparing myself for the pungent odour that lodged in my nostrils on entry and plagued my airways all night. Like the dampness that had unpeeled the wallpaper. Like a Satsuma or the cobwebs in the corner of every room. Dad noticed none of it. Dad noticed nothing. There he lay in all his misery. The only show of life was his arm reaching for the bottle of rum and the almost inhuman grunt. The first time I found him like that was ten years previously, lying on the same couch in the same state, but the now smoke-stained couch was then cream coloured. The wallpaper – though at eight years of age, I didn’t appreciate – was pretty, a simple floral pattern. And there was a constant array of both scrumptious and titillating scents floating in the air. That first day I found Da that way, the smell changed. I could only smell alcohol and smoke. My tummy rumbled and my nose longed for the comforting smell of dinner, but there was none. There never would be again. That was the day Mam was gone. No explanation, just pain.

JOHN

THE f WORd So they’ve finally gone and done it. The bastards are after fucking me out of my Ma’s gaff, and I know it’s their influence on my mother that has got her to go along with it. “Here you go, John, there’s €80. You have thirty minutes to get your stuff out of the house”. The bottom has just fallen out of my world. My comfort zone is gone. No more sessions in Chez Hobbo. The lads will be disappointed. I wonder to myself were my two brothers and two sisters unanimous in their decisions, but right now I hate those bastards, so badly. Two years later… “John, do you want to come down for dinner on Wednesday night?” “I’d love to, Ma. Are you sure it’s alright? There’s still a year left on that poxy barring order.” “Don’t worry about it, John,” Ma said. I was thirty minutes early so I had a wander in the garden, which was immaculate. I said hello to the geriatric eleven-year-old cat, who promptly scratched me. But that’s just his way. We sit down to dinner. It smells delicious, and it is. We chat amicably while we eat, and then I bring up the “F” word. Family. What my mother says surprises me. On top of the difficult issues they all have to deal with, they have been asking for me. They are hoping that I’m going to start doing well for myself. So maybe I will try to get in touch with them. After all, it’s been two years, and it is good to talk.


NIAmH

dERmOT

UNSUNG HEROES

NO SmOkING

It is pouring rain outside. The flat is cold, and a damp and musty smell hangs in the air. The cupboard is empty and the fire has gone out. Rachel stares at the tiny bundle in her arms and smiles. How the fuck will we manage, little man? The door knocks and Rachel opens it nervously. Standing there is a very posh looking man and woman. “We’re from the Vincent de Paul,” they tell her. Two hours later, the fire is blazing and the smell of bacon and eggs fills the flat. Rachel picks up her son and says, “See, son, ya don’t have to wear your knickers over your tights to be someone’s hero.”

It had taken a while for me to realise how ill my mother really was. But when my brother took her out of the hospital to see our home, the penny dropped. She was saying goodbye to life. A couple of days later, she asked me to go get her some cigarettes. I said that I couldn’t. The doctors had ordered her not to smoke. I’ll always regret refusing to get her those cigarettes. She deserved that dying comfort. Fuck those stupid doctors for misleading me. Sorry, Vera, for not being there for you on that one

TERRY kEITH

dIALOGUE “You know we have to keep these clean, don’t you, Paul?” “Yeah, I know,” said Paul to his doctor. “I am the only one who offers to give you the sample every week, without the GA’s having to ask me.” “I can’t understand how there’s traces in it. Are you sure they’re right? Because I haven’t done anything since I took the painkillers three weeks ago, and yet you’re telling me it’s got traces.” “Well, Paul,” said the doctor, “all I can tell is there’s trace amounts of opiates still in the sample, which can only lead me to believe you’re using.” “No way, Doctor, I am a hundred per cent certain I have taken nothing but what’s prescribed to me since our first conversation two weeks ago.” “Well, I can only go by what is in front of me, but we’ll leave it until the next sample and see if the traces have disappeared”.

TO WHOm IT mAY CONCERN Over the last twelve months, while in custody in Clover Hill Prison, my life has changed a lot. I have had a lot of time to think about where I am going in life. I have started an education course, and I am coming along well. I have spent time thinking about my children and how important it is for them to have a two-parent family. I hope to continue with my education, to help my children and to convince them that an education is very important if they want to get on in life. I am also on a drug-free programme, and I have been clean off drugs the past ten months. At this stage, I feel it would knock me back if I was to be sentenced to a high security prison, as they are not drug-free and it would take time for me to get onto a new drug programme and education course. If you could consider this before you pass sentence I would be most grateful. Yours, Robin Banks


JOHN

TRIAL “My client is completely innocent of all the charges that have been made against him,” my solicitor said to the judge, as I sat passively in the dock. “And yet he refused to make any comment whatsoever to the Gardaí when arrested, and he did not cooperate with the investigation,” said the judge. “Well, your honour, my client has had a long and colourful history with the Gardaí and felt it was in his best interests to do so, as he believes that anything he said would be misrepresented by the Gardaí and be taken as an admission of guilt.” The judge paused for a minute, and I could see by his demeanour that he was getting ready to deliver a right bollicking. “Mr O’Connor, in all my years on the bench, I have never heard such a lame excuse given to me by a solicitor. Could you not have advised your client differently and saved us all a lot of time? I would have presumed you were aware of my opinion of time-wasters, Mr O’Connor.” “No, sorry, your honour. It’s my first day.”

dARREN b

A SONNET A sonnet is something new to me to my peers I shall read what appears to be random words that grow like weeds in the eyes of everyone else. Innocent thoughts put on display now today everyone gets their say great minds together get their way.

TERRY

TOOTHACHE Standing at the door, waiting for it to open after I had rang the bell two or three times. I could hear footsteps coming from inside. The sound of keys rattling. The keys scraping the door as the person inside searches for the keyhole. Then the scratching noise as the heavy door is pulled open. I walk inside. Up two steps and into the … Bang! I get a strong smell. It’s like bleach. It’s very overpowering. “Take a seat there. Someone will be with you in a minute.” Someone else is standing with me until someone comes out. I sit into an old leather chair that’s cracked and torn. A screeching sound every time I move. It seems to carry right around the face. Throbbing, throbbing. Here we go, that toothache again. Swollen jaw, one side of my face feels all swollen. The pain runs into my eye, across my forehead. Can’t sit easy. Up and down all the time. I sit with my head down my hand rubbing my jaw. I stand up. Walk around. Still holding the side of my face. I reach for the painkillers. Anything to kill the pain. There’s always something for pain. Good old relief drugs, some people call them.


SYRINGES, bATONS & ROSETTES


JENNA

PATRICk mC

mEAL dEAL fOR ONE

SPIN dOCTORIN

Dominos Meal Deal meant for one Divided up for two Might seem like nothing special But it’s special to me and you Piping hot with pepperoni The same order all the time Never fighting over slices You know yours and I know mine Can of Coke, can of Fanta Sweet waffles for dessert Don’t have to get all fancy I’m happy in your t-shirt So many secrets, laughs and whispers Shared over stringy cheese and garlic bread Who’d want a fancy restaurant When I can be with you instead So keep the fancy dinner parties That people flock to, all like sheep It’s not what you eat or where you go It’s the company you keep.

Cinderella went to the ball. Little did she know her prince was four foot tall Comments and plenty of sneers, Cinderella got relegated beneath her peers With all the sneers in her ears She ran like a hot snot She wasn’t sticking around with that lot Bursting through the door, a shoe was left on the floor in her carriage Thinking he can forget about marriage, those two evil cows will always persist That my prince can’t be seen, never mind in the mist She woke up the next day and felt no better So she decided to become a dominatrix and got out the leather. A bird to a feather, she said to herself, and as for that prince, he’s an elf But to start my brothel he might just help.

NICOLA NIAmH

dOCTOR Doctor Niamh! Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? And I was kind of a doctor. I could write dodgy prescriptions and always had a drawer full of pills. Feeling down, have an upper. Feeling up, have a downer. I could also find a vein on any addict, which got me the name Doctor Niamh. It also got me a lot of free drugs. But I wasn’t the kind of doctor my mum hoped for! Maybe in the next life.

SITTING IN I could feel myself wanting to jump up from the doctor’s chair, my body had so much good energy running through it. I couldn’t hold my excitement any longer, as she sat there, up straight at her desk, reading through my file. I guess she thought today was going to be the same old story or excuse, as I had missed all of the last week. But little did she know. I could not stand the silence in the room any longer. And with that, I handed her back my script. I was so happy but also terrified.


NIAmH

AUSTRALIA Ok LORRAINE

bLINdNESS Leaving Dublin airport, I can hear planes going off and landing. People shouting, taxis, buses moving, people talking and shouting. I called for a taxi. “Twenty euro into O’Connell Street,” he says. Along the journey I can smell cow shit. A while later I can hear traffic and smell fumes. “Are we there yet?” I say to the taxi driver. “Five more minutes.” Taking a sharp turn to the left, the taxi driver says, “We’re here.” Knowing that I am a foreigner and blind, he stops the taxi and pats me on the shoulder. Something like “O’Connell Street,” he says. On getting out of the taxi, I hear a lot of noise and pollution. I go walking, and people started pushing into me. I am afraid. Too much noise, people shouting, cars and buses moving. With my suitcase in one hand and my walking stick in the other, I keep walking. I smell coffee, popcorn, burgers, chips. People are drunk. “Heritage bus, here at this stop,” I hear a voice say. I come to the kerb. Standing there, people are pushing into me. I wait. “Do you want to cross the road?” I feel a hand on my shoulder. It was the soft voice of a woman. I held her hand and slowly crossed the road, waving my stick. I got to the other side. The hand slid out of my grasp. I was on the other side of the road.

Plane lands in ten minutes. The crackling of static fills the gaps between his words. The man in the seat beside me starts to stir. I can feel the seats vibrate as he yawns and stretches. I know he has stretched his hand in front of my face as I felt the air move as he pushed his hands out from his sides. He thinks I can’t see him because he sees my white stick. He is a young man. I know this by the sound of his carefree banter and high pitch tone. I do not need to be looking out the window to know that the plane is descending. My stomach is still above the clouds. I grip my seat as the wheels come down. The plane shudders with the impact of hitting the ground. I relax my grip on the chair. Welcome to Australia. I can feel the heat of the sun before I get off the plane. I feel like I’ve been trapped on a flying oven for fourteen hours and would be glad of the cold, familiar weather at home. I gather my thoughts and my bags and step into the unknown. As we drive to Sydney, we pass through farmland in Australia. No matter where in the world you are, cow shite smells the same. I think I’m going to be ok here.

mARY

NOISE When I was in this place, I’d wake up to the noise of trolleys going in and out of rooms. People walking, talking with folders in their hands, going in and out of doors that would bang behind them. I’d go back to my room, sit on the hard chair. The noise of the clock ticking and ticking would make me scream even louder and louder. The four walls would come in on top of me, making me curl up in the hard chair. Still screaming loudly, I’d think this is the end of my life. The time I was leaving that dark place, the smiles on my kids’ faces. The sun was shining, the birds were singing. It was a really lovely day, that day.


PATRICk mC

JENNA

fROm mEmORIES

RIdING

My BMX bike, man, what a machine! I could go over nails and still not get a puncture. Many bikes since then, but none like it. I’d love to know who nicked it, because that person owes me a lot of fun.

The alarm is not necessary on Sunday mornings. My mind is at its sharpest. I dress in silence, careful not to wake my daughter. I open the kitchen and the warmth hits me. The smell of my step-father’s morning coffee mingles with the garlic from last night’s dinner. That is the smell of home. We climb into the van. Sometimes there is conversation about my week, sometimes a comfortable silence. I put my head back and close my eyes. I know we’ve arrived when I feel the jeep’s tyres stumble over the cobblestones. I let my body sway left and right. I take off my runners and pull on my leather boots. They hug my calf and rest below my knee. My step-dad takes out a book to read as I open the door. There is the familiar smell of hay and manure. I know he is waiting faithfully. I open his door. I run my hand down his broad neck. His ears spike forward as he nuzzles into me. A mixed scent of grass and molasses rises from his warm breath. He can smell the polo mints in my pocket. Dressed in oiled leather, him not me, I lead him to the sand.

NIAmH

dEAR ENId How I wish I could have met you. So I could have thanked you for the countless hours, days, weeks, months and years of happy reading you gave to me. You drowned out sounds I did not want to hear. You made me forget how sad I was. When Da would come in drunk and start on my Ma, I could count on the Secret Seven to bring me on an adventure, or run away to the Faraway Tree where Moonhead would be waiting with magical sweets, or Polly training the lions in Mister Galliano’s circus. I hope you realise how great you were, even though you suffered greatly in your life. Labelled a loony because grown-ups could not understand. But you didn’t write books for them. You wrote for us, the children. Millions of us will be forever grateful to you for allowing us to escape our world and enter yours. For this, Enid, I send you all my love, respect and thank you for my childhood happiness.

JANINE

THE mOAT The crowing crows gather in the tree tops late evening. The air blowing cold to the touch. My dog Bracken smelling and marking along the ground as he gets one of his walks. I can smell the wild honeysuckle and night air.

GERALdINE

mY bEdROOm I love sitting in my chair. I squirm around in it for about ten seconds until it’s almost moulded around me. I open the hot-press door on purpose, to let out the aroma of the freshly washed sheets and towels. I take deep breaths to awaken my senses. I open the curtains wide so’s to let the sun shine in. Its brightness flows in from dawn till dusk. I sit here all day and relax. I feel warm and safe. I am made aware of this from the little noises from the pipes when the heating is on full. I can almost taste the heat. I’m sleepy and safe. I’m home.


GERRY

WOUNdEd WARRIOR He stood under Merchant’s Arch with his sign, “Any money for booze?” People would read it, stop, drop in coins and remark, “At least you’re honest.” Some people would laugh as he shouted his anthem, “Any money for booze? God will love you, my liver will hug you!” They were welcome to laugh as long as they paid for the privilege. A girl sat to my right on the Ha’penny Bridge, too precious to ignore. All hunched up, cup in hand, with pain instead of eyes. A girl without. I went over during my break and gave her a smoke. Christ, how does she do it? The polar wind thundering through the railings, scourging her back. “I have to,” came the reply from the wounded warrior. Sometimes our spirits are so low and our need so great that we don’t care if we live or die. Spartacus once said, “When a Roman dies, he loses the pleasure of life; when a slave dies, he loses the pain of life.” She would warn me when Guards were on the Quay, out of my view. I would warn her when they came through the Arch. Symbiotic is my favorite word. The Guards would pass me, not wanting all the hassle. Although on Saturday I got arrested and charged with vagrancy by the same Ban Garda. Finally, on the sixth time, they gave me a guitar at the station and told me to pretend I was busking. What did I know about a guitar? For the first two weeks I was blowing into it. No, I was going back to my sign business – no taxes and I could drink on the job. Hell, I had to drink on the job. There were many battles. I found by taking E’s and cider I became untouchable. I could enter people’s brains. The money poured in. €200 in three hours. No, this was too easy, supply outstripped demand. The challenge

was gone. I changed the sign: “Any money for a new car?” Pretty soon I could afford one. Finally, I changed the sign to: “Fuck off”. I wasn’t tapping for money or booze. I wanted someone to tell me what was wrong. Why couldn’t I fit in and find the peace I craved? Nobody did. I glanced at the girl on the bridge. Where was her mother or her brothers? They should sweep her up in their arms and keep her warm. Gone now are the Christmas lights that sparkled brightly. Replaced by vultures, waiting, waiting, waiting for their feed on the old, the weak and the lame. Sometimes death is a saviour, coloured with the fear of the next level. Could it be worse? Surely not. Even hell is warm. Last I heard she was doing really well. Another sits in her place on the bridge of hell. He scoops up his money as the light grows dim. She broke free. What will become of him? Alcohol tricked him with his broken face. I never saw her again, as I sit shivering in the warrior’s place.

PATRICk mC

mOdE IS THE TONE Feeling like I want to break someone up. Then I open the door. I sit down. Cramped area We’re sitting too close, his leg better not touch. My man, how are we today? Like a red bull. If you were meant to be a red bull that’s what God would have made you. So, come on, tell me who put pebbles in your shoes?


GARY

THE PILL GERRY

mY fAVOURITE CHRISTmAS I arrived in the living room, the tree sparkling with multicoloured lights, too many presents for one person. I quietly opened my presents: a torch, just what I needed. Batteries included. A child’s bicycle, someone is having a laugh. Socks! A selection box, I’ll have a Twirl. A computer lap-top, great – people really shouldn’t have. I rummage through the carefully wrapped presents – this is the best Christmas ever. So many presents I leave behind as I exit through the window quietly, thanking the family and making sure I didn’t leave a mess. After all, even burglars have standards.

dARREN C

THROUGH THE EYES Of A HAWk Through the eyes of a hawk I’m flying through the sky. I spread my wings and glide I spot some birds that would go down well But the seagulls are fighting me off I fly to a nearby field and hover I spot a mouse in the grass I put my claws out and go for it Yes, I caught it I go back to the sky, toss it to Mummy hawk So she can feed our chicks And I go back off looking for prey.

Bright yellow as the sun. As perfectly round as the moon With this I can live Without it I feel lost in my own head Full of haze and worry The object I talk of is Valium DS or two Under my tongue is where it goes Until it dissolves, runs away into my soul And sparks me to life My shaking stops and I can deal with life for one more day.

GERRY

I’LL mAkE A PLAN The ra-ta-ta, rat-tat-tat of a magpie wakes me up. It wasn’t a cold night. The rain held off. Last night, I noticed the lights on in the houses, people watching TV and playing their computers. I staggered into the park and unfurled my sleeping bag. I search for my family. Found them. Four cans of Budweiser. I swapped one family for another. To think this time last year I had a warm bed, all the food I could eat. But they have no whiskey in Mountjoy Prison. This is day five sleeping out. It may be time to fake a heart attack, to get into hospital for the night. Although it’s so hard to sleep as the doctors and nurses do their tests and the lights stay on. I shuffle down the street. I see faces I know from that other time, that other world. I pretend to talk to myself, so they won’t ask me how I’m doing. Please God, no one attacks me today. One punch and I’d be dead. Why can’t I do things? I’ll make a plan. I’ll have a beer first, then I’ll make a plan. The rat-tat-tat of a magpie wakes me up. Today I’ll make a plan after a beer.


mARTIN

LIfE IS GOOd Couldn’t wait till I got home, kettle on, got the skins together in record time, put the fag in, now the important part – the hash, a lovely golden tan colour, the spread was lovely, nice and fluffy, really packed it. Rolled it, held it up, admiring my handiwork, lovely and straight, cylindrical, a joy to behold, I spark up, take a deep pull, I can feel the lovely warm tasting hash flowing, swirling, down my throat, making its way into my lungs. I take another pull, longer this time, the feeling is more intense, cascading through my body, a nice dizzy buzz. I can feel my lungs expanding, bursting. I hold my breath, my face is going red, I finally breathe out. Not much smoke came out, that’s good, life’s not too bad!

JOHN

mEALTImES Sunday afternoon, and the family all start to gather in the front room. The table is set with all the best delph, and a nice crystal glass for the wine. My mother has spent hours preparing all the food. It is my favourite – roast beef, roast potatoes, parsnips, peas, beans, mash and lashings of gravy. My plate is piled high, but not for long, as I shovel the food into me. I belch loudly. “Don’t be so rude,” says my sister, chastising me. “It’s a compliment in some countries,” I say. Everybody laughs at my juvenile wit before concentrating on finishing their platefuls. My mother disappears back down to the kitchen to fetch her latest amazing dessert creation. My mouth drools in anticipation. Peach brulee, my favourite. I hope my sisters are on diets so there is more for me, but it’s not to be. No second helpings. Oh well, maybe next Sunday!

GERALdINE

HEAdPHONES I remember one Christmas, 15 years old, I asked my Mam for a pair of headphones. Christmas morning, I opened my present and there they were. I was delighted. My friend came down to me and I showed her my present. I was so happy. When we went up to her house, I could see presents under the tree that were not even open yet. She was showing me a gold ring and bracelet her Mam got her for Christmas, but my eyes were still on the presents, especially one, a big box. I asked my friend what it was, and she said, “Oh, that’s a TV that I also got.” I felt so envious. One day, as usual, we were down in my house. As we were heading out the door, I shouted, “Going out!” Mam called me in. We both walked into the sitting room, my da in his chair and me ma in hers. “What Ma?” “Be safe, and I love you.” And she gave me a hug or a kiss, it was always one or the other. “Ok, love you too.” And out the door we went. When we got outside, Ann said to me, “You’re so lucky, Ger.” “Why?” I asked. “Because your mam and dad love you.” “But Ann, your mam loves you also. She buys you loads of lovely things.” “I would swap all those things in a heartbeat if my mam just once told me she loved me, or even hugged me.”


JENNA

VIOLET PICkLES

mARY

dEAR bERNIE It is your brown-eyed Mary. I’m just writing a few lines to you. I wanted to talk about the day you came up to visit me in hospital. I know it took a lot for you to come up there, because it brings up a lot of memories for you of the time you were here. When you walked in, you just broke your heart laughing and said, “Fuck this, you’re in my old bed! But, Mary, think of it, you’re in my old bed. You will get better!” “I fucking hope so!” And you and me went down for a smoke. When I came back to the bed, I started to cry. You grabbed my hand and said, “Don’t be crying. Think of them two kids, what they would do without you? You do what the doctors tell you to do, because you don’t want to end up in here all the time. You are better than this place.” Then Victoria came in and you gave us a big hug and said, “Look at that little angel. Before you think of doing something to yourself, look at that angel.” Then you said, “See you later.” I know I said “Thank you.”

My dad first placed her gangly, dangly body in my arms when I was three. And it was love at first sight. Her woollen hair platted into big pig-tails, and her freckles and glasses painted brightly on her face. I didn’t know it then but she would be around a lot more than the man who gave her to me. All my childhood, I took her everywhere. People always asked me why she was called Violet Pickles. To the little girl in me, that was the silliest of questions. Why is anyone called anything? She never left my side, day or night. Never wanting to show my weakness by crying in front of my Da or brothers, I would bury my own freckled tear-stained face in her hair, finding solace and security in her scent. As the years passed, she got more tatty, her hair now short and uneven after my first hairdressing attempt. I knew, thanks to her bald spot, to cut hair was not my calling. I remember the many times I panicked when finding my bed empty, knowing straightaway where to look. I would gallop down the stairs, close to tears. My Nana’s guilty face would tell me I was right. I would run to the kitchen, plonking myself in front of the washing machine. My little heart aching as I watched my best friend go round and round, engulfed in soapy suds. My concern was not only for her, but for myself too, knowing she would smell wrong. Nana would justify her actions by cuddling me and explaining that Violet was getting smelly. God, grown-ups were stupid! That was the smell of safety, and it would take weeks of love to get that smell back. By thirteen, she only stayed in bed. Not ashamed, as such, but by then her arms had been stitched and re-stitched. Now she is 24, an OAP in raggy-doll years, stitched and sewed at every limb. She has travelled the world with me, every holiday and adventure. She has earned a well deserved rest. During the week. But at the weekend, when I go to my Ma’s, there she is waiting on me. Faithful as always, comforting and kind.


WOOd CUTS


LORRAINE

THE mORNING AfTER “My head is killing me.” “Keep walking till we get to North Great George’s Street.” “Look,” says John to Paul. “The milkman.” “Hey Mister, can we buy a few cartons of milk? The thirst of God is on us.” They grabbed three cartons of milk and sat down by a Georgian door on North Great George’s Street. They found croissants and a newspaper. “Let’s have this as a cure.” ”What a night we had last night. Those birds were gorgeous,” says John. “We spent a bomb on them.” “What time is it?” says Paul. “Around six.” “We have to wait until 7am for a bus. How much money have you got?” John says to Paul. “Only one euro.” “Looks like it’s a long walk home.” “Just read the newspapers, someone might throw us a few quid.” “Let’s head down to Brother Luke’s dinner house for a few sausages,” says John. “Someone there might give us our bus fare home. Pick up those cartons, don’t leave a mess behind you.”

JOHN

HAIkU The sun’s beams Burn me like boiled lobster Ready to eat

dARREN C

SUPERfROG His name is John but everyone called him Froggie because of his eyes. He got bullied a lot in school. One day there was a hold-up in a post office. John was there. I was there as well in the queue. Next thing, two masked men ran in pointing shotguns. John ran at one of them without warning. He got blasted, but, surprisingly, green goo splattered out of him, covering everyone, including the gunmen. John was still standing with a hole in him the size of a football. Everyone started screaming. Next thing Froggie’s tongue flung out of his mouth, disarming the gunmen.

dERmOT

WHO Am I? Name that animal Here I am, large and round I take up more space Than is sound People squeeze by me To find a seat but find no comfort No room, just heat I block the PC and the telly Nobody can eat near me I am so smelly My memory is long and I always remind those near me Of the fact that I am the elephant in the room


GERALdINE

“dO YOU WANT THAT TO GO, mISS?”

mARY

HORSE mAN Heading to work on Monday morning, I’m getting onto the bus, and all of the people on the bus were looking out the window at this horse. It looked like a man. I paid no interest to him. Got to work, getting stuck into my Tai Chi, when the door opened and in walks a man, dressed all in black, white face and funny-looking teeth. I said to myself, that’s the man I saw out the bus window. Then we all said welcome. He did not talk to anybody, just kept to himself all day. He sat with his jacket and hood up. People started to be frightened of him because of the way he would look at them. Every time someone would go out the door, he’d follow them. He’d come back, but they wouldn’t. I was getting really afraid at this stage. I said it to the boss, but he said I was imagining things. So I went out the door, and he was behind me. I knew I was not imagining things. I got to the end of the stairs and ran into the room. It was in darkness. I put on the light and everybody shouted, “Surprise!” I looked around and there was one of my workmates taking off the black jacket and funny teeth. I shouted, “You fucking pigs!” I was really shitting. I thought he was really a killer.

The first thing that I noticed was a god-awful stench. It was a very sweet – too sweet – musky smell, I thought to myself. Oh God, she’s wearing way too much perfume and it’s cheap as well. I was a bit surprised, cause when I looked up there were no girls, just the young man behind the counter and an old guy sitting in the corner with a weird grin on his face. Creeped me out altogether. As I ordered my coffee, I was battling with my mind whether to sit down or to just go. I looked into my purse for money. The old guy started to laugh. I was like, “What’s up with him?” I just didn’t like the whole scenario. With that, I felt a tap on my shoulder, more like a poke. I turned on my heel to find, or smell more like, this fella with the grin, still grinning but this time showing teeth. He was practically in my face. He indicated around at my back. I quickly looked around to see what he was looking at. Then he touched my lower back. I was freaked. Then I realised. I was mortified. The end of my skirt was caught up in my underwear. Oh my God, I thought. “Do you want that to go, Miss?”

dARREN b

HAIkU a child playing swinging in the sun in the green park the heat rising up through the concrete buildings reaching to the sky the orange glow dancing in the flames in the burning fire


JANINE

LISA

PAIN

TRAVELLER

I pedalled down my nanny’s hill. Up and down for hours one Sunday after lunch. Then I fell off the bike. I could not walk. A neighbour gave me a lift. I had a terrible pain in my right leg. I was twelve at the time, and I missed my summer school trip to Mosney. For a couple of days my family did not believe the pain was so bad, because there was only a small cut on my knee. On my third day of agony, I told my mam and dad that I could not bend my leg. Dad was home from work and finally decided to bring me to hospital. Straightaway, I was rushed to a hospital bed. I had kneecapped myself when I had fallen so fast from the bike. I was in Temple Street Children’s Hospital for two weeks.

We had an hour and a half to pass in the airport, so we had plenty of time before we had to queue up and board the plane. Myself, my partner and his family were off to Lanzarote. It was my first time to travel abroad. There were so many people with their suitcases. We went for breakfast, then decided we’d go and have a look in the shopping area to see if there was anything in the duty-free that we’d like to buy. I had told my mother I’d get her some cigarettes. The non-smoking ban had come into the country, so we couldn’t smoke inside the airport. There was a man playing his guitar, so we sat and listened to him play. There was a crowd building up around him. He was very good, and his voice travelled around.

TERRY

SUNNY dAY dERmOT

IN A fLASH Tim stood on the edge of the skyscraper. He bent his knees, put out his arms and jumped off. Time stood still, as he hurtled downwards. He felt a gale on his body, as he accelerated downwards. The force of the air on his face made his cheeks flap, as in a hurricane of updraft. Tim began to feel the fear as he struggled to remember the reason why he was there. Had he forgotten to take his lithium again? What was going on? Then he remembered. He pulled the cord. The parachute opened and he glided his feet to the ground. It was all over in five seconds.

Arriving home from work on Monday, the sun was still shining. It had been a wonderful day. I had had a good bit of crack in work, and the sun made everyone feel good about themselves. My wife was out in the garden, weeding the flowers and cutting the lawn. The kids were playing on the swing that we had made the previous summer, and with the little tree house that we were still putting together, when they seen me come through the gate. Some of the boys came running to me, asking would I take them fishing. There was no dinner ready, so I put a few sandwiches together and got the fishing gear ready, and off we went. The river was lovely and cool, and there was a gentle breeze blowing just nice. We stayed for a few hours. We had something to eat, and then headed home. We got no fish but it was a good day.


kEITH

AH, mA! “Ah, Ma!” said Johnno. “Everyone else will be at the party and I’ll be the only one on the street not there. Please Ma, please, please, please!” Eventually Johnno’s Ma gave in, on one condition: “You be home before midnight, and no bleedin’ drinking.” “Thanks Ma, you’re the best,” said Johnno, giving his ma a big hug, squeezing her in the process. “Alright, alright, just remember what I said...” Johnno was really excited, as he was going to his first rave. He was seventeen and still a virgin. Tommy, Anto, Razor and all the other lads had been on a trip to the flats to get their E’s, smack and anything else they thought they may need, as well as a few extras. Johnno was all dolled up and was wondering if the lads had thought of him while scoring the drugs, but first he had to get his bag out of the house without his Ma catching him. He did it. He was out and free at last. He grabbed his bag, ran down through the field, where all the lads were just burning out a stolen car from the night before. Tommy was handing out all the smarties, and Razor said he’d hold the gear until after. Johnno ran up and said, “Did you remember mine?” Tommy handed him two E’s. “Nice one. I’ll sort ye out tomorrow, mate.” So off they all went to the underground rave in the old coal mines. They popped their E’s and went into the pits, had a blast and ended back at Razor’s gaff to bring in the next day. Johnno was so unaware of time that he had forgot his mother had told him to be home by midnight.

dERmOT

HAIkU I awoke blinded April morning reflections Room full of bottles

PATRICk mC

HERO LOVERS Something cheerful Running and singing a tune People looking at me like I’m a loon It’s Christmas and I ain’t feeling blue To meet my girl for the day Where, where, where will we stay Together alone and off with the phone Good food and drink Come on, come on, give me the wink Evening time now and a bit tipsy And I say how about some sugar baby? Follow me and you shall see The gift you always wanted from me So get into your batman briefs And stand on the sheets I see a hand turn on the light To my amazement, what a sight It’s Cat woman with her whip Hey man, is this a dream or my ship Couldn’t care less this Chris will be the best, it starts as always with a gentle caress


mARTIN

TERRY

SLEEPING IT Off

TImmY

Last Sunday I made dinner for my new lodger. The full works: roast chicken, golden-brown crispy skin; mashed potatoes, lovely and creamy; roast potatoes, cooked in the chicken oil; broccoli, carrots and cauliflower and, of course, gravy, which I made using the boiling vegetable water and a drop of chicken fat. I served it all up – it looked lovely and well presented. She was over the moon, especially when I served up a dessert of strawberries and double cream. Then, to my delight, she suggested going to bed. Well, boys being boys, especially with an active mind, I was over the moon. Well worth the dinner, I thought. My delight and anticipation soon turned sour and, to say the least, my elation was fairly dampened when she said she just wanted to go to lie down to sleep it off. Next time she’s just getting toast!

Nobody knew how old Timmy was. Some say he was in his early thirties, some say he was more into his forties. He never went to school in the local area, that’s why nobody was sure of his age. His father used to take him to school in some other town. He was a nice guy to talk to, if you got the chance to talk to him. He was quiet and shy, and never dressed with the times. His hair was always long and dirty, and never had any style to it. And his clothes looked like they were handed down from his father. Being an only child and having no friends, no one ever told him how he looked. Timmy always got a hard time off all the other kids. Everyone would always slag him. They would kick the ball at him, hit him on the back of the head, call him “Thick Head” and say he was afraid of himself.

GERRY

UNLUCkY IN LOVE One of my first loves was Anne, a UCD student. I met her in the college bar. That was as close as I got to college. She was a beauty. Studying Astronomy. All she ever talked about was planets, comets and stars. After two weeks I wanted to … you know … She told me she wouldn’t allow herself to have sex with me until Jupiter had circled the satellite of Hebron. I asked her when that would be. “2056,” she said. Not bad. I’d be ninety, approaching my sexual peak. I told her to call me. I didn’t want to come across as being too desperate.

JOHN

PAIN For the last seven years I have been taking methadone so that I would not be in pain and go through withdrawal symptoms. But now I am frightened to come off it, as it has become a crutch to me. It is like an anaesthetic, numbing me to everything in life. I also take anti-depressants every night, but that is for a different type of pain. It is a more insidious pain, as I feel that I am inflicting it on myself because of my internal critic telling me that everything I do is shit, that I am useless, a waste of space, and that my family hates me. Sometimes my medication does block some of the pain; but when it doesn’t, that is when I am in danger of relapsing.


JOHN

SONNET

GERALdINE

I CHOSE I’m the youngest of four children born into addiction. Both my parents were addicts. I say in the past tense, because they are no longer with me. This disease took them in the end, when they were both only 50. I myself am an addict. I don’t blame anybody for this, especially Mam and Dad, who I love with all my heart. It’s been said to me that I never really did have a chance. I resent that. I don’t accept it either – maybe because, in my mind, I feel I would be letting myself think that it was my parents’ fault. No. I chose. I wanted.

Standing on the strand Taking in the sunrise Alive to the beauty around me Rejoicing in being alive Touching the earth, the sea the sky Intoxicated by beauty instead of drugs Never again, I say, never again Gear is not for me. Tablets are not for me A bird cries out breaking the tranquillity Forlorn it sounds. Has it lost its mate? Reality snaps back Emotions return. Inner critics. Hateful people How can I hope to cope?

JANINE

JOHN

HOmE

SANdYmOUNT STRANd

Standing only three feet tall, I am barely tall enough to see out the kitchen window. I can hear the howling of the wind and the rain lashing down. The kitchen door looks like it’s going to blow from its hinges. I’m glad I’m sitting safe, cuddled up with my nanny around the table, eating supper, telling stories, indoors on a cold and wet night like this. I hate to cook in the kitchen with no central heating. Dishes dirty from the day before. No one could be bothered to rinse them and place them in the dishwasher. I rather eat biscuits and drink tea, curled up in my bed, watching TV, with my electric blow heater, and with one or two of my cats curled up on my legs for warmth and comfort.

A panorama of the city every way you look: the sea and the mountains, ships disappearing over the horizon. Traffic roaring by waves crashing on the shore. In summer, children shouting as they play. Dogs running by, no need for a leash. Adults laughing and chattering as they soak up the sun. The tangy taste of salt on my lips, blown in from the east. Cold, refreshing ice cream, bought from the tower shop. The pungent odour of rotten seaweed baked in the sun. The lingering scent of sewage from the old processing plant. Sand scratching between my toes. Shrimp nibbling at my feet, as the water flows around my ankles. The tide taking hours to fill up the miles of sand all around me.


TERRY

SLOGAN A rolling stone grows good grass

JOHN

SLOGANS Make drugs, not war Follow me, I’m right behind you

HERO Walking through town last week, and I walked straight in front of a real life superhero. I couldn’t believe it. I started to jump around him, swinging out of him as I do. To this day, I can’t get him out of my head because of what he wore and done. Well, he wore a black, tight allin-one and, over that, just a chain-like g-string, boots up to his knees and a mask around his eyes. Through that, you saw a bright blue eye and a dark brown eye. It was a bit funny looking, but nice in a weird way. He had jet black hair, and you would know he put gel or hairspray in it, because it was like a rock. The wind blew, but his hair didn’t. Sitting in the pub one night, it was so dead, no one was talking, when all of a sudden in comes my superhero. He put the sounds on, stuck a pole between the floor and the ceiling, and started to dance around the pole like I never seen before. So after that, there isn’t one pub safe from the brown-and-blueeyed pole dancer.

NICOLA

bIRTHdAY “That roast seems to be coming on – I can smell it from the back garden. Joan, did you even stick on the roast potatoes? You know that the kids and I love them crispy.” “Jimmy, Eastenders is over now in ten minutes. I’ll do it then.” “Fuck’s sake, Joan, I’m out the back, setting up all the balloons and the banners for the kids’ surprise party, and you’re there watching Eastenders? You know the grandkids always end up coming early.” Next of all, the doorbell rings. Jimmy answers the door. There in front of him stands a tall glamorous woman with long thick wavy brown hair, and the smell of J’Adore Passion perfume is overwhelming. There’s a man, six feet two, well-built, and looking very respectable. The man asks if this is where the party for Jimmy is. Jimmy says, “Yes,” and invites them in, presuming that they’re friends from work, and that Joan has invited them to their grandson’s party. Jimmy hasn’t even had time to introduce the man and lady, when the lady pushes Jimmy onto the chair and takes off her long leather jacket, revealing her almost naked body. She goes to rub herself up against Jimmy, who has a look of shock and embarrassment on his face. Joan leaps up from the armchair to stop what’s going on, only for little Jimmy, their grandchild, to run in and say, “Granddad, who’s that lady?”


JENNA

dAmIAN

SUPER HERO

SUPERHERO

The smell of stale smoke in the room was sickening. The once-white walls had, over the years, turned from yellow to a colour so horrible that no one bothered to name it. It was the build-up of tar from the constant thick spiral of smoke that rose from an ever-burning cigarette. You might not even spot the man himself, if not for the red tip of his cigarette that lit up like a little firefly each time he took a long, slow pull of his smoke. There was nothing unusual about the man himself, though his behaviour some would consider strange. He would sit crouching over a table reading a book. The only light came from a small desk lamp that glowed a low amber. The light would glaze his face and show the heavy frown lines on his forehead. He was a small man in stature, heading for the wrong side of his fifties. His skin looked tough, almost like leather, wrinkled, but strangely, if you looked long enough and past these features, you could still see slight traces of the handsome man he had once been. His blue eyes still had the sparkle that many young women had been drawn to, though their advances always went unnoticed, lost in his own thoughts and unable to turn his mind off. The price of genius. Now at fifty, his brain was a burden, a prison filled with memories of every minute of every day of his life.

It was a cold frosty day, the roads were like ice. I was in the city centre in Dublin. There were cars sliding into each other. I was getting the bus home, when all of a sudden the bus starts sliding towards the side of the bridge, knocking cars and people out of the way. I thought I was heading for death, so I just closed my eyes, because I really thought we were sliding off the bridge. All of a sudden, screeching. I looked. It was a man pushing against the bus, and it was his feet that were screeching along the ground. He just looked like a normal man in a long trench coat. But he had the strength of one hundred men. He lifted the bus back onto the road. Everybody got off the bus and applauded the man. He shot off up into the sky. I said to everybody, “That’s what you call a hero.”

PATRICk mC

fACE He’s so handsome. I look in the mirror. Yeah. Hair, blond, that covers the ears. Eyes that would light up Las Vegas. My green sweater, horrible, but hey, I’m young, I’m gorgeous, nothing can take that from you. Just so hip, just to adore, Patrick McEvoy aged four.

mARY

kING Of THE JUNGLE I wake up every morning to the sound of my pride. I get up, have a stretch, a roaring piss, and I’m set for the day. Walking to the river, I stop and look back into the long grass, because with my piercing eyesight, I can spot my dinner a mile away. And today on my menu is zebra. Them stripes are just standing out at me. One of them was taking a drink from the river. I made a run for it. The fuck had me running for a few minutes. Because of that, I just ripped into him. That will let the rest of them know they can’t get away from me. My goldcoloured, fluffy hair goes all around my head, and by the way, my teeth are like daggers. Just call me the king of the jungle.


THE bLACk mAmbA I’m twelve feet long and greyish to off-white in colour. My coffin-shaped head is the key to my success. Olive green eyes and the ability to see in the dark. And when provoked, I can raise two thirds of my body off the ground to look most humans in the eye. I slither and slide over any terrain with the ease of wind blowing through the long grass where I hunt most of my prey. I move, matching the speed of my meal. A small field mouse stops, looks around, but sees nothing as I blend into my surroundings. I am within striking range, when it stops again. I open my mouth, revealing why they call me the black death. Inside my wide open mouth, I have two pearl-white, two-centimetre-long hypodermic fangs, with which I inject my potent venom when I bite down hard. Just enough to kill my prey in a matter of seconds. I proceed to swallow the mouse whole, walking it down my neck with my fangs. The last thing that mouse seen was the pure black lining of my open mouth. At least it was fast. I am the king of all snakes in Africa. The longest and fastest, as well as being the quickest striking Mamba species on this green earth. All will rue the day they upset me.

mARY

HAIkU Cold Halloween night The fireworks light up the sky As the kids look on Her hair stood up As the wind blew through it The soldier stood The way a snowman would.

GERRY

REGULAR mAdNESS I woke up to the sound of a woman screaming. Then I started to scream. “What are you doing in my room?” she said. “This is my room,” I said. “Whoops!” she said. “Any cans in the fridge?” I checked. “This could be the start of a beautiful friendship,” I muttered, as I tossed her a Bud. “We’ll always have Paris,” she returned in her best Bogart voice. “Was I good last night?” I inquired. “I hope not,” she grinned. She turned out to have more capacity and a greater allegiance to alcohol than I, but at least she could whistle like a coyote. She informed me that my personality transcended my looks. How romantic is that? I learned she had tried to kill herself five times. I said the more times a woman has tried to kill herself, the better the chance the relationship had of being a success. We lay in bed, discussing our shared obsession with suicide. I mentioned I would like to jump off Liberty Hall – splat! It would give those lazy Corporation chaps something to clean up. She fancied opening fire on her lover, and then turning the gun on herself. She was quite educated when it came to firearms, which made me a little nervous. She had an intense interest in the pain inside herself. I told her she was a drama queen, and a broad who couldn’t love or be loved. That evening, I went to the pub. She turned on the gas cooker and, as she was waiting for death’s grip, lit up a smoke. I lost my Bee Gees collection in the resulting explosion. Some people are quite inconsiderate.


SUITS & SONGS


dERmOT

ZOmbIES As Bertie Ahern took the seal of office of Uachtarán na hÉireann, the nation was glued to their TV sets. They clapped in admiration as he delivered his inaugural speech. Then the four million citizens went back to toil their eighteen-hour days. All four million citizens except Joe. He could not believe the events of the last five years. The country he knew had crumbled before his eyes. First the economy, then the infrastructure, and finally, the people had been decimated. Everyone seemed to go along like zombies. Joe was the only one left. In his basement he had constructed a lab to find out what had happened to all the people. Then one day he made the horrifying breakthrough. It was the EU Troika. They had broken the economy with cheap credit. They had broken the infrastructure with crippling repayment conditions. And there it was: the water meter installation condition. It was a cover to introduce Pentanol D to the water system. His unique genetics were immune to it. Why even Bertie, Sarkozy and Merkel – and all the other leaders of Europe, the US and Asia too – were zombies. All zombies. The Troika was now in control. But who were the Troika?

TONY

mY REmOTE CONTROL My remote control comes everywhere with me, as I lie on my bed changing the stations to what is on. I flitter around and around. I can never leave on one station. It’s almost like my mobile phone, black with buttons on it. I often wonder if I could change my life around, would I be able to use a remote control? My channel would be called RADE, as it stands for recovery and not discovery. I love my remote control. If only it could change me, instead of my TV.

JOHN

dR ROCk “Ah, good morning, Mr Hobson, what seems to be ailing you today?” I laugh at this bit of banter, as he knows damn well what I’m there for, but we go through this little dance of ours every month. “Well Doctor, my sleeping is still very bad, I can’t get a wink of sleep at all.” “I see,” he says. “Anything else?” “Well, it’s my nerves, Doctor. I’m still having panic attacks and I’m hearing voices in my head, and I think people are following me.” “Gosh, that’s very serious. I think I might have to refer you to a psychiatrist.” This is a new one on me. “Ya what?” I yelp. “I only want some bleedin’ valium!” “Ah, relax, John,” Dr Rock says. “I’m only buzzing with you. What is it? Ninety D5s and thirty Dalmane 30s?” “Jesus, Doc, you had me going there. You better make it D10s this month, you nearly gave me a heart attack there!” “No problemo,” he says, as I hand him fifty euro. “See you next month, John, and try not to lose your script again,” he says, winking. “At least not for two weeks anyway.” I walk out, laughing. He’s a good skin, is Dr Rock.


kEITH

ER The sirens are screaming, the blue lights flashing. It’s almost deafening when the paramedics rush through the doors of the ER. Myself and three of my colleagues rush to help this 18-year-old car-crash victim. Whoa, I thought to myself, as I’m sure the others did too, when we seen how bad this poor girl had been hurt. We got her to the OR. 1, 2, 3, and altogether transferred the girl from the gurney to the operating table. We continued to insert breathing tubes, IVs, only to see her heart go flatline. We tried everything to resuscitate her, before using the defibrillator. “Clear!” said my colleague. Three more times before we had to call time on her. She had no chance, but we had to try. After all, we are doctors. We called it at 1.34am, and we all went out with a sad heart, as another young person passed on due to a drink driver. Thank God for whiskey.

NIAmH

PLEASE fORGIVE mE As you held on to my finger With your tiny little hand A precious moment in my life I prayed would never end We lay in bed together The smell of hospital cleaner Your tiny face so wrinkled up Could this world be any meaner The cold steel bed, the matron’s head They ripped you from my arms And with every single baby’s cry I missed you in my arms.

GERALdINE

CHILdHOOd mEmORY I remember when I was younger, between nine or ten years old, Mam and Dad would have to go into Jervis Street every day. By this age, my oldest sister used to mind us. Before that, I would go everywhere with my parents. But this one day, my sister wouldn’t let me out to play. I can’t remember why, but I remember the anger I felt. I was sitting on the floor in the kitchen, screaming at the top of my lungs, so much so that my throat was hurting, but that just fuelled me further. We had an old sweeping brush. The head used to fall off it, so my Ma put a nail into it to keep it on. I was sitting on the floor, just lifting the brush right up as far as my arms would stretch, and I’d let it bang off the floor. I just kept doing this, while screaming. I don’t know why my sister was ignoring me. With that, my best sister came in the door, and she was not happy when she heard me screaming. She ran into see why. She just asked me, “What’s wrong?” And, I don’t know, because she was so nice it made me more angry. I picked up the brush, hit her on the head, and split her head open. I was really scared, because I didn’t want to hurt her. I blamed my older sister for not calming me down. We laugh about it to this day. She says redheads have a mad temper. I know.


dAmIAN

JANINE

dEAR mUm ANd dAd

PUPPY LOVE

I am writing this letter, hoping that I can put my mind at ease and take away some of the guilt I am carrying around in my head. What I put yous through. I am so sorry for any stress I put you or Mum through. I also feel part of the reason yous are not with me now. They say it takes something to trigger cancer off, and I can’t help thinking of the impact I had made by going on drugs. I feel the family put the blame on me. I was homeless from the day I saw you going down into your grave. Well, since I lost yous, I brought a new life into this crazy world, which I know yous would’ve been proud of. There has been big problems with lots of the grandkids since you’re gone. Drug selling and taking. I just can’t help thinking that they are trying to follow in my footsteps. I have tried to help.

I always thought there was life after death, that we humans would come back as some sort of animal. I thought I’d come back as a bird, and that I would be well looked after. Flying free with plenty of other birds, with lots of food, we would lay our nests high in tree tops. But not me, I came back as a dog. My new life started off with eleven other pups. The owner of my mother tried to drown us all in a huge brown sack. He had put lots of building bricks in on top of us all. He stayed until he thought we all had drowned. But I hadn’t. I was a small puppy mongrel. I was what they called a dangerous dog. A name humans gave us. I was half Pit Bull, half Staffy Bull Dog. I was only two weeks old, but I was able to climb from a hole my brothers and sisters had ripped, trying to save themselves. But they were too weak. I was the only one to survive, but now I needed help. I lay wet, cold, frightened and helpless on the river bank. I knew I would not make it much longer. Then the light was coming. I knew in my puppy heart that this was it for me. I was dying. I could feel myself again getting wet, but I felt strangely warm. As I opened my puppy eyes, I could hear barking and a young child. Her dog had found me. He was trying to revive me, and it was working. I could hear his owner calling him, “Bracken, Bracken, what have you found?” Bracken’s owner picked me up and wrapped me in her scarf and her woolly coat. I felt like I knew this person from before.

GARY

LOVING HANdS I woke this morning after two hours sleep, feeling heavy withdrawals, panicking frantically. As I was late, worried and almost in tears, I rushed around looking for my clothes, getting nowhere fast. At last I was dressed, but still worried about getting in on time. After brushing my teeth, I had a quick wash and I came back into the living room of my bedsit. “Do ye want a cup of tea?” Carol said. I was still shaking. She made me a roll-up, as I could not. Then, in front of me, was three slices of toast on a white plate. Dry toast, as I had no butter. Half way through the tea, and after my roll-up, I wolfed down one slice of dry toast, with the cup shaking in my hand. The slice of toast which I ate was enough. But I tell ye’s all, it was the nicest slice of toast I ever ate. It was made with loving hands and a warm heart. That’s why it tasted so good.


EILEEN

JOHN

THE GETAWAY

mAdSER ANd mANdY

My heart began to pound in my chest. The blood in my face drained. I was in shock. I knew that it had happened, but I couldn’t believe it was me that had done it. But I’ve got to move now and get out. I couldn’t think. As I was leaving the room, I reached for the door knob and stopped. Wait, don’t touch it. I used the bottom of my shirt, wrapped it around my hand, opened the door and shut it quietly behind me, keeping my hand covered. I put the hood of my jacket up and tightened the string to hide my face. I descended the stairs quickly, yet I was light on my feet, so as not to make any noise. The car was parked two streets away. Oh, please don’t let anyone see me. I made it out of the building. The anxiety worsened, and my hands began trembling in a noticeable way. I cut through an alleyway to avoid people. Turning the next corner onto a busy street, I kept my head down and pulled out a paper from my pocket and pretended to read. I kept my pace natural. Finally, I got to the car. Where will I go? Well, no one saw me that recognised me, so what’s the point of fleeing? I may as well just go home and stay there for a while, as if nothing happened. I drove home, took four Zanex that I had left from a year ago, when I had travelled and needed them for anxiety. An hour later, I was safe asleep in my bed. I slept for nine hours. When I woke, it was like nothing had happened. Nothing at all.

Áras an Uachtaráin bloomed in the August sun. Flowers with all the colours of the rainbow vied with each other, trying to be the tallest, leafiest, prettiest and most colourful. The house itself looked splendid with its gravel driveways and marble statues and, of course, a flag pole with the tricolour fluttering in the light breeze. “I’m goin to live in that gaff one day, when I’m the number one supplier in this city. Nah, hang on, in the whole fucking country.” “Jaysus, Madser, will you keep it down, there’s all sorts of security in this kip.” “Relax, Mandy, the President is off on some trip to deepest, darkest Africa to get some photos of her with starving babies, to show she really cares.” “Ah Mark, that’s horrible.” “Shut up, Mandy. And don’t call me that name, I fucking hate it.” “Look it, I’m gonna have a gander in one of the back windows, and then we can head back to Ballyer and get that bit of white.” “Ah come on, let’s just leg it now. We’re already after taking a load of risks just to look at a house. The only way you’ll get in is with a tour group.”

NICOLA

PRESIdENT VISIT People gathering at the doors of RADE. Eoghan, like a lunatic, sweating. Síne, re-hoovering the mat. We were all trying to get a bit of heat and get our last bit of nicotine into us before the President arrived. In he comes, Michael D Higgins himself, a small man with grey hair, accompanied by his wife and security. All attention is now on them. Eoghan has calmed and Síne has put the hoover away. Now all I see are the flashes coming from the cameras. Visitors move aside. Some stand and others take a seat. In the cold room there are big smiles coming from everyone. The President speaks soft words, like poetry. I smile as I listen to him and then we all clap.


GERRY

HARd SELL

LORRAINE

HOmEWARd bOUNd My daughter was eight years of age. My flat in Ballymun was vandalised and burnt out. Myself and my daughter, Daniella, had to go into a homeless hostel. We were moved around. They were not very nice places. I felt sorry for my daughter. My daughter took sick when I was in Haven House Hostel. An ambulance was called for, and she ended up on a drip in Temple Street, very bad. Social workers got onto our case, and I got a council flat in Ballybough. I was thrilled with myself. When I was living in my council flat in Ballybough with my daughter, I got paranoid and psychotic. Daniella was at school. I went walking and the paranoid feelings set in. I kicked a dent in a police car, and told the police to stop following me around. One look at me, and they brought me into a psychiatric hospital in Fairview. I was kept there for two years. My daughter went to live with my family in Santry. I lost my council flat after that, and I was homeless again.

Anything is better than being homeless. When you’re homeless, a person could hand you a €10 or try to knife you. You sleep with one eye open, and contemplate suicide. You have nothing to lose. In prison you have two choices: be tough and fight or be crazy and fight. If someone skips your place in the queue, you have to smash him without mercy. Cons watch you from the first moment you arrive. They pick up on weaknesses like a magnet picks up pins. In prison you don’t accept visitors, they weaken you and you miss the outside. In prison you don’t talk to or notice screws. Their job is to open and close doors. Keep neutral. In prison you try not to think of past or future. Now is your life. You don’t relax, you remain ready for action. In prison you get all your cases and fines run into your sentence, so that you leave free. You eat as much as you can and train hard, but silently. In prison you act so badly with cell mates that you get a single cell or solitary. In prison you listen to your heartbeat, you know what’s coming next, you know what’s coming next. In prison you are not you.

NICOLA

HOTEL Walking slowly down the road with my head down, texting on my mobile. Some fool had walked into me. I lift my head from my mobile phone after sending a message. As I raise my head, I see the expression on Garda Andrew O’Brien’s face. He gave me a cheeky grin, and my mouth dropped. He put his hand into his handbag, as I would call it, and cuffed me. He had a warrant. I was nicked. He escorted me to the gates of the big hotel.


GERRY

REASON I WRITE kIERON

ACTION mAN As he steps out of the armour-plated Hummer with extreme caution, he looks to the left and then to the right, with fear in his eyes, for only seven hours ago he had lost fellow soldiers by an improvised explosive device. He raises his arm to stop the tail end of the sand storm dust from going into his eyes. He treads carefully across the plains of the desert, heading into the village to look for insurgents. Acting on a tip-off that Al-Queda rebels were seen in the vicinity. Then out of nowhere, he could hear the sound of bullets whistle past his ears. He drops to his knees to take cover, and he rolls to his left to reach the corner of a wall. He peeks around the corner. A full volley of shots are fired in his direction. He orders his fellow soldiers to get to cover. He peeps around the corner one more time and sees a sniper on the rooftop of the building on the righthand side. He radios to his sergeant to advise him of the sniper’s position. His sergeant then throws a smoke grenade in the direction of the sniper, so he can get closer to the sniper’s position. When he gets close enough, he hides behind a burnt-out car. Positions his rifle carefully, so as not to be seen. Lines up his line of sight. Takes one deep breath and holds it. He squeezes the trigger, and – bang – the sniper is hit. He radios out to say that the coast is clear. They move on to the next target, still with fear in his eyes.

Sometimes I write to make the thoughts in my mind concrete. Sometimes when I get angry with someone, I write a letter rather than dismembering them. The pen is mightier than the sword, and leads to fewer court appearances. Mostly I write to reduce the constant chatter in my brain, which tends to overflow. I also like to write because phone credit is so bloody expensive. Now I like writing because I just got a free notepad and pen.

NIAmH

dEAR mINISTER I am writing to you on behalf of myself and many other recovering addicts. We have grave concerns regarding the immense and too readily available dispensing of methadone in Dublin. We, as addicts, feel that other options apart from lifetime methadone maintenances are not being given. It is all too easy for young addicts to avail of methadone, unwittingly signing their young lives away, only to realise later on that their addiction to methadone is a hundred times more agonising than the heroin addiction that led them to this place. There are people who have been on methadone for twenty years or more, for whom the very idea of coming off this poison is terrifying. The long-term affects of methadone can include heart failure. So, Minister, we implore you to try something new, as your methadone clinics are simply a way to keep tabs on addicts, and not to help them. There have been many scientific breakthroughs in the study of addiction, yet here in Dublin we have one of the world’s biggest heroin problems. I enclose with this letter, studies on: Subutex, Brain implants, Natural detox and Rehabilitation, and a study on the long-term effects of methadone use. I hope you find them helpful.


dERmOT

mARY

THE PUb IS CLOSEd

mEmORIES

I sit on a rock by the sea in Rosses Point. A cold, damp November breeze blows in from the sea. I brace myself against it. The place is empty, and a dark gloom hangs over it. The pub is closed for the winter, and the caravan park is shut up and desolate. The sailing season is over, and only a single windsurfer braves the chilling sea. A man, all wrapped up, walks his dog on the beach. I get up and walk away.

Work was what I called it, but really it was shoplifting. Off up town I go and see this shop with no security man on the door. I said, “Lovely,” and went in. Done what I call my little bit of work, and I got half way down the road when I heard people running. I looked behind me and saw that they were running after me. I ran. Then all of sudden the security man had my hair in his hand. I shouted, “Look what you’ve done, my wig! You should be ashamed of yourself. Everybody is looking at you with my hair in your hand, you prick.” Then he said, “You come back with me now.” I said, “Can I have my wig back first like?” and laughed. He just grabbed me back to the shop and had the last laugh. I still haven’t got my wig back.

YVONNE

300 TV CHANNELS ANd NOTHING ON AS USUAL All the housework done, and every word of my CDs memorised completely. Your man on my shoulder is yapping away again. I didn’t name him because he’ll really exist then if I do. But he’s giving me the usual. “Why are you so thick? Remember when you were younger, all your dreams? Do them now!” he’d say, laughing at me. – Yeah, hold on till I jump on this time machine and go back 25 years. – Yeah, yer man says, there’s one in your bed. So off I go to my bed. Turn on the TV, roll a spliff and that’s when my ‘little friend’, your man on my shoulder, brings me back through most of my memories. The girl on my other shoulder I ignore, cause she only wants to remind me there is no time machine. I messed up all the time. She disagrees with your man, so I leave her sleeping, make-believing she doesn’t exist. Hope she falls off and breaks her neck. They’re not real, just a sleeper and a yap-yap-yapper wrecking my head. Wish I could kill them both forever.

JANINE

OffICE GIRL It’s gone 5pm. Is my boss ever going to be finished with his last client? All my work is done, just waiting for Mr Kelly, who divorced his wife beacuse of her affair. Oh lovely, here he is now. I make a new appointment for him, and he leaves the office. I leave shortly after. Bye bye to my nine-to-five job, and hello to my weekend, my fun job – not only for the freedom it gives me, but it relaxes me after listening to clients’ problems in the solicitor’s office all week long. I get to the dressing room. A few of the girls are already there, talking about what the night would bring – and the money, of course. But I don’t strip for money. I have a great-paying job already. I do it for the pleasure. I love men and women looking at me dancing and stripping off to my small tight leather pants.


TONY

WAYNE ROONEY

JOHN

CINdERELLA Cinderella, the girl’s name makes a shiver go down my spine when I think of her. The prince regent had a Grand Ball planned, to find his new wife. Well, the things that that girl stooped to would make a Satanist blush. To start my tale, I will tell you that she used to have five gorgeous stepsisters, but a bottle of arsenic, a flight of stairs and a falling piano took care of three of them, and a bottle of acid made sure the other two were called the ugly sisters for the rest of their lives. Cinderella had an ace up her sleeve. An evil fairy godmother who had it in for Cinderella’s stepmother, as she had tried to seduce Cinderella’s father and failed. But I digress. She had a killer dress, with padding in all the right places. Her hair was styled perfectly, and her perfume was the most alluring in the world. Anyway, her evil fairy godmother had cast a spell, giving all the other female guests halitosis, B.O. and hairy legs and armpits. There was just one consideration: she had to wear glass slippers, and leave one behind so the prince would chase her. But this wasn’t a problem. Of course the glass slipper was guaranteed to only fit her, because she was the only girl in town with size 14 feet.

I was doing my shopping in Dunnes, as I do every week. Nothing ever happens when I do be eagle-eyed looking for bargains, as the Vincent de Paul gave me a voucher for my shopping. As I stroll from aisle to aisle, I notice something out the side of my eye. It was him, Wayne Rooney. I thought to myself, will I, won’t I? I did not have a problem screaming, “Wayne, it’s me, it’s me,” as if he knew me. Me screaming all over the shop, “Wayne, Wayne Rooney.” I got his attention by the way I was going on. I forgot about my shopping and started walking towards him, my heart going ninety as he got closer. The beats of my heart started to slow down. He walked straight by me, and as he did, I noticed it was not him. I made a show of myself. I got my trolley and walked out without paying. Just shows where my head was, robbing my food all because of Wayne Rooney.

GERALdINE

HAIkU The dead leaves fall down Soft colours around the place Short days coming soon The blackest forest Within the river runs through The howling winds dance The north wind blowing Cuts like a knife through my coat My thoughts are still warm


EILEEN

bACHELOR bULLET Mrs O’Connor had been living in that little cottage in Mount Nugent ever since she married 47 years ago. It is a quiet, safe and friendly area, where everyone knows everyone. She had plenty of friends, and there were always people calling round for tea and chats. She took solace in the fact that her only son took up residence with her after her husband died. He had never married. He lost his job, and wanted to be a help to his mother. He helped a lot around the house. She felt after those ten years that she couldn’t live without him. On Saturday mornings he would usually be out in the field or he would be milking the cows, before she was down for breakfast. But this morning he was not out there. There was no sign of him having been in the kitchen, no cup left in the sink as he would usually do. His truck was still there in the drive. Worried, she went up to his room. He lay on his back, on the floor, with a bullet wound in the centre of his forehead. She nearly fainted in horror and shock, but she caught her wavering balance, grabbing onto the wall and just stared at him. She was a light sleeper. She always locked the door at night. She couldn’t work out how she didn’t hear the sound of the gun. Maybe it was a silent gun. She went downstairs and checked the front and back doors, which were indeed locked. The windows were all closed, but the one in the sitting room was not locked. It was so small though, it would be difficult for someone to crawl through it. How did someone get into this house? Why would anyone kill her son? Who would have wanted him dead? Still panicked and trembling, she rang her friend Paddy and asked him to call over straightaway before she rang the police.

kEITH

HAIkU Old and grey, I am full of sleep as I sit by the fire, I stare in deep and I see the flames as they twist and creep

kIERON

fEAR As I left the room, I grabbed a hanky so I could wipe down any prints on anything I touched. But when I got to the front door, I froze. Thoughts were running through my head: Did I leave a window open? Did I lock the back door? Did I move anything out of place? Surely I didn’t. I’ve been doing this for years. Why am I panicking? Then I could feel a drip on the back of my neck. I was sweating. Then I thought to myself, what is wrong with me? If I walk out, people are going to know it was me that had done this. So I wiped my forehead, bringing the hanky around the side of my face towards the back of my neck, wiping away the sweat. As I looked at the hanky, I realised it was not sweat. It was blood. I began to get lightheaded. I knew if I didn’t get out of here I might never see the light of day again. As I put my hand out to grab the door knob, I blacked out. When I woke they were all standing around me. I remember thinking to myself, who are these people? I’ve never seen them before. I was just about to speak, when suddenly I was hit over the head with a shovel, and I blacked out once more. But before the shovel hit me, I said to myself, this is the end of me, the end.


THANkS

THE CORK STREET FUND


Profile for Kieran Nolan

Rough Cuts  

Art, Writings and Drama from RADE's Programme 2011/12

Rough Cuts  

Art, Writings and Drama from RADE's Programme 2011/12