"On Leaving Dublin - Bloomsday plus one"
(this is one of my earlier pomes - written last year on the 17th June - I'll set about licking it into shape)
With a morning to kill
before the ferry,
and nothing to do,
it was decided,
well, I decided,
to introduce my squeeze to Irish literature.
I told her, "Nothing wrong with a bit of culture".
A subject I knew all about
after reading it at university
and all but landing a first class honours degree.
There’s Joyce and Joyce and err Joyce,
“Dubliners” is readable.
"The Portrait?" I suppose, passable.
Finnegan and Ulysses?
but great when you want to impress.
Beckett has his moments:
And there’s always Synge...
We were told that Heaney is worth reading,
but I didn’t want to delve so deep
into the world of peat...
My final thesis,
a piece on the controversial,
in the titling of Finnegan – caused ructions.
My seismic viva voce rent the faculty.
Tempers were raised, fists and voices too,
and, with abrasions ensuing, blood and gore,
the examination folded in disarray
My degree? Second division (no honours)
A dead liberty.
Every single damned one of them?
Or was Finnegan just a singular man,
deceased but his mates were waking,
his memory, drinking,
and the fiddler’s elbow achin’?
Who gives a quark?
Nobody ever made it past page four.
We rode a cab to Sandy Cove
To stately plump Buck Mulligan’s tower
It’s a museum now.
Cazzie was lowbrow but teachable.
I told her she’d enjoy it.
I hoped she might.
I reckoned she wouldn’t.
I was going anyway.
She would have preferred a coffee,
a Starbucks skinny latte at a pavement table
nearby the Ha'penny Bridge.
(Only Starbucks weren’t around back then
And lattes weren’t invented.)
Entry was just a quid per person,
Poundshop culture sine qua non.
We knocked on the door
And knocked again.
No answer came.
I curved down to the open letter slit
yelling, "Kinch Ahoy!!"
And smirking back at my blinking blank
none the wiser girlfriend
shrinking in the shadows.
Muttering, “Knock, knock, knock! Who's there?”
And sniffing at a runaway dewdrop
A bleary eyed chin obscured with
stubble beard appeared.
“No Kinch here. What would you be wanting?” beard chin asked,
Carolyn sighed as, trying to evoke literary fraternity,
I lied, “Have a look around inside, to get a feel for Joyce –
I’m doin’ a dissertation, me.”
The beard and chin, with shoulders, shrugged.
“Suit yourself…there’s nothin’ much to see.
It’s feckin’ shite.”
With benefit of hindsight,
The beard, or was it the chin?
Was 'feckin' right.
In frames, on walls, two portraits of yer man himself to see
and a blown up replica of a kinema ticket
front stalls threepence halfpenny
like Nora Barnacle ripped in two;
if she had nothing better to do
than splicing herself to the clientele.
“What about the staircase that Buck Mulligan descends?”
(I had not read through to chapter two)
The stubbly chin was stroked
It went, “Well, yes, that’s still there.
Rusty though. Could handle a paint job, to be fair.”
Excitement rising, eyes aglow
I pushed the envelope,
“And Buck Mulligan's shaving brush and bowl?!?”
The doorkeeper stood and shared
a silent stare
with Carolyn standing there.
Her arms folded. Bored.
I sighed within
Wondering how long our flingette could survive,
once the lust wore off – it couldn’t thrive.
I handed the beard two punts.
It shook side to side
and handed them back.
“G’wan up wi y'sels,
I won’t tell yer no loys
You couldn't like it, you couldn’t…
And after d'em feckin gobshite
eejits here yesterday,
the dump is still filled full of floys.”