Dedalus… the knife
circling this timeless tower
shut your eyes and see
this scrotum tightening sea swallowing,
then spitting up algaed foam of shoreline
for all Ireland is washed clean by the gulfstream musing,
am I walking into eternity along Sandymount Strand?
Peer down from Martello’s storied heights
gaze past this cracked looking-glass of a servant
weary old symbol of fork-tongued Irish art
with nods to Hamlet’s father’s ghost
and mother’s bated breath
giving a faint odour of wetted ashes
as she vainly waits for him to kneel at this emerald cross.
“O, rocks, tell us in plain words,”
then a creak and a dark whirr
old bells of George’s church,
they tolled the hour: loud dark iron
for Bloom, limp father of thousands,
a languid floating flower approaches the tomb reading,
“Abandon all hope…”
laud we the gods
and let our crooked smokes
climb to their nostrils
from our bless’d altars…
in the silence you feel you hear,
vibrations… now silent air.
Sinn Fein! says the monstrous, eye-patched citizen
as he giant bouldered them off
while Mrs. Breen smiles,
“Mr. Bloom down here in the haunts of sin!”
Accidents at sea,
ships lost in a fog,
they doubled the cape a few odd times
and weathered a monsoon of questions
then up to Molly’s adulterous bed in 7 Eccles Street
Written for Bloomsday – June 16th 2021
Old Music of Words (Now Lost in Translation)
Old songs paint white sorrows
blown cold along that windy shore
pricked ears recount blue heron’s call.
Gone are the days when Marcher Lords
still heaved their brawny chests
through ancient castles dank and hushed
which drank dead catholic rains till quenched,
till Harri’s son knit England’s lion with threads drawn taut
where battle-weary Welsh wolfhound once did flame.
Dead tongues still flutter there
from fam to heir through time-tattered centuries
thin threaded by grey mockingbird’s winged climb
soar west now cross their craggy mountain heights,
beyond shire valleys deep and green
ever yearning for never frozen salt heavy air
off Irish Sea and Bristol Channel’s pass.
Old songs whose lyrics
echo hollow in seashell translation
now lay tethered to a second caste accent
forever distilled in whisky hardened casks
dead drunk and dizzy in tall towered foreign peaks
though their music of words
rings full with eternity’s sea foam rhythms
now swept through by chapel sainted iron foundry bells
black mockingbird eyes vainly search still
past grey concrete spires for a western mountain perch
their tired talons soar ever skyward
beyond grey fog of the dying town.
Listen through blares of their lorry horn emptiness
still they sing these blood rich madrigals
of their inmost tongues hard wail,
are they lost in translation?
Or merely searching for that high hill
as the years turn and their bones grow white with truth.
Lex – 4, 5
Bleak dawn rises through cold, green painted iron entry gates
I rush the stairs,
move down eastern edges of timeworn subterranean transits,
past a local raggy, dead-eyed nomad
close enough to hear his barbed wheezings,
nervous jaw twitchings as he shoves dirt-stained palm out from the dark,
Prep for the inevitable animal danger vibes to shoot through
everything twists to ultrafocus
dank, grimy stink of the tracks welcomes me back to the Lex 4,5.
Muscle through the flood of bodies,
hard claw for a breathable transit spot,
grab hold of the greasy metal meathook
steady ‘gainst sudden ugly snakings of the line
quick lurch of the Lex (a downtown 5 train)
flings a zombied blue-collar hard into my side
works a deep piercing hate stare onto me.
Gaze off through reflectives of window
outwardly ignore his venomed whisperings
while simultaneously checking him
’til that grey brain mercifully shifts
refocusing onto blonde skirtends cross the car.
Train mouths roll open
sparks new avalanchings of bodies (out-in)
halting screech of metal to metal jellies my knees.
Vise up on the meathook
again the doors jar
a patch of gray plastic seat yields beneath me
lunge for it
open the notebook to begin a frenzied rush of word paint
now entranced in altered air of creativity until my stop
until I again flow with the wash of bodies
this is my curse,
Other stories begin when the train stops,
when riders achieve destination
my destination is the journey
is the story.
From “Lex 4,5” (2000) which is an experimental novel exploring the Droste effect where the narrator writes of a writer (Nonesuch) who writes about writing.