Music Art Party – Chicken or The Egg? – 26 Nov @ The Factory

1 Nov

Welcome to our first night, it’s going to be a wicked! Be part of it at Jamestown Studios, Dublin
– 25 ARTISTS on the factory floor exhibition space

– LIVE BANDS & DJ in the Electric Room

– Spoken word & acoustic music on The Factory Floor

– BRING YOUR OWN BOOZE & picnics!

– ADMISSION ONLY 8 EURO

Ticket proceeds donated to Irish Youth Foundation
For tickets, msg us or call 087 9332862
Limited capacity 300 – so tickets will sell out.

– Exhibits will be for sale.. perfect opportunity to buy special Xmas pressies & you’ll be supporting an artist. Bring your pressie money 🙂

– Festival atmosphere

– Artists include graphic designers, painters, photography, written word, film, musicians, singers & dance

Laura MacCauley

13 Nov

Thank you the mucher….

8 Nov

 

The morning was drawing to a close while an afternoon of pallid greys shut its eyes on activity, awaiting the touch of night. We stood at the wooden counter on tip-toe rubbing our chins against its softened edge, curious of what treats lay hidden out of sight. Upon the shelves plastic jars caught the light in the softened grey displaying various tooth crunching delights, Apple Drops and Cola Cubes being my favourites. Behind the Penny specials we watched him through a smoked stained window, his silhouette at rest, his breath undulating with self content. Whether he was asleep or not we couldn’t tell but regular visits told us that his shop keeping revolved around his chair.

“He could be asleep” whispered Frankie, his eyes popping with suggestion from his bony little face as he pointed at the Kimberley Macado stacked beside us.

At that moment with innate sensitivity he moved from his seat sending a flutter of butterflies through the group as each of us tried to conceal our guilt, innocent little boys that we were and Frankie stuffing a packet of biscuits into his jeans. Sounding his age with the shuffling of his feet on the cardboard strewn floor he entered the shop, the waxy shine from his head resembling a new two penny piece. Dressed in his usual attire, dark trousers (well you couldn’t be sure of the colour), a greyish brown waist coat and a fading colourless shirt, its dirty neckline on show each time he bent down to hand over the penny bags. He looked more like an undertaker in the saturnine haze of his pokey abode.

Watching our eyes as he leaned on the counter asserting his position he scanned the group in a single glance.

“Well boys” he said with a wry smile, the softness in his features offset by sternness in his voice. His small blue eyes like everything in the shop captured the grey like moonlight in a muddy pool.

“How much are the Fizzy Colas?” asked Murt, his hands rummaging in his pockets for evasive coppers.

“A penny each,” said Willy with a smile. His amusement at Murt’s flustered movements as he counted and re counted on his fingers emanated from his pudgey face that rippled at the neck like a folded towel.

I stood in-between Frankie (who by this time was keeping his back to the wall and his mouth shut) and the shop counter with it’s variety of collection boxes. One in particular that caught my eye had St. Martin emblazoned on a red background and reminded me that God had seen everything. As I wondered what retribution I’d receive and how I’d phrase this sin for Fr. Kirwin, a man of few words and severe eyes, the noise of Murt’s coins dropping on the counter with a handful of Fizzy Cola’s brought me back to the land of the living.

Like a gambler cashing in his chips he counted his two p’s into stacks of five while Willy counted the sweets into a small brown paper bag, his hands round and soft, the passage of age only evident in his darkened veins and yellow cuticles. Dropping an extra sweet into the bag for good luck and with a nod of his head he tucked the corners and with a swivel the exchange was

complete.

“Thank you the mucher said Jerry to the butcher,” he said as we left the shop. It was a catchphrase that always puzzled.

Red Hands, False Teeth and Pubic Hair

8 Nov

 

The morning light warmed the back of his head as John sat watching with relief that it wasn’t him. Heffernan stood at the top of the class his eyes bulging over the thin rimmed spectacles that perched on the end of his large crooked nose. A large wart wedged the glasses in place. He stood with his arms behind his back and pursed his narrow lips, relishing the collective intake of breath. Slowly, like a conductor with a deft flick of the wrist he produced his cane.  He could make a different kind of music but he always struck the right notes.

Joseph was rooted to his seat. His face was a glow. The tears could not be seen yet but the levee was about to break. He dared not raise his head but looked confusedly at the book in front of him. Twenty-four pairs of eyes consumed the action but dared not show any sign of enjoyment for fear of receiving the same punishment. Four other boys sat with their hands cradled between their thighs, the skin raw and maddened. Their heads were bowed with shame and pain.

‘Get up here at once,’ he boomed.

Each syllable widened and focused his eyes. Like a vulture swooping on a carcass he reached out and visually tore him from his seat. Joseph rose slowly and shuffled from behind the desk. His large black leather shoes scrapped across the old wooden floor. Swaths of dust seemed confused in the sunlight that sent shafts of light into the room. He walked with hunched shoulders, his chin resting on his chest. His bulbous lower lip quivered as tears broke free and lined his reddened cheeks. His large blue eyes which pooled with pain and confusion could not soften Heffernan’s conviction.

‘Put out your hand.’

This command was met with no response as bums edged on seats and heads bobbed and weaved for a better vantage.

‘Put out your hand.’

Joseph stood with his shoulders folded in on himself, shuddering with each staccato breath.

‘Right.’

Heffernan grabbed his arm and wrenched it outwards. It did not refuse as Joseph watched his finger unfurl like a spring fern. Heffernan held his wrist and brought the cane down in a smooth arc of precision. The whoosh and slap of bamboo on skin made even the most sadistic boy wince. The fingers clenched tight around the thin band of pain that stung his palm. Heffernan held onto the wrist, his bamboo hungry for more.

‘Open up your hand.’

Joseph stood with his eyes closed, his body crumpled to the side of the injured hand. The cane came down slowly and tapped the knuckles like a dog catching a scent. Once he found an opening the cane came down quickly. A broken cry fractured the open-mouthed silence as the impact burned his palm. Before he had a chance to close the hand again the cane lashed out at the previous injury with venom. As was customary Joseph was given a few minutes to compose himself before the remaining three of the ‘six of the best.’

He cupped his injured right hand close to his chest. He stood in quivering silence, his head downcast.

‘Right lets go,’ Heffernan ordered.

Joseph rubbed his right hand against his thigh in an attempt to rub away the pain. It was a ritual he had seen the other boys complete as they received the venomous cane. Rub the hand against the trousers and then present it for the lash. Joseph bent low over his leg rubbing vigorously, his eyes set in earnest determination. He raised himself and stretched out his left hand. The cane did not allow the hand to linger and sent it scampering for refuge. Joseph rubbed his right hand against his leg blowing heavily now, crying without tears. He could not cry as his body managed the shards of pain. Whispers and nudges rippled throughout the classroom. Eyes widened with devilment and snorts of sniggers were driven into sleeves of jumpers.

‘Settle down boys if you know what is good for you,’ bellowed Heffernan.

Joseph rubbed desperately at his right hand and on command stretched out his left. Heffernan raised himself on his toes while Joseph stared vacantly at the map of Ireland over his right shoulder. The arm arched and came down with destructive force, Heffernan’s whole body behind it, his eyes relishing the consumption of the hand. A short high pitched cry wrenched from Joseph’s contorting body that crumpled under the pain. He stumbled back to his seat with  his hand cupped under his armpit. Heffernan flexed his cane and opened his press. He placed the cane on the top shelf methodically. He turned and walked to his desk, sat down and opened a book.

‘Where were we, ah page 45 of your Geography books?’

Joseph sat with his head burrowed into the desk. The boys focused on the text but caught brief glances of Joseph’s suffering. He stayed buckled in the seat, red eyed, confused, ashamed and fearful.

The bell rang out in the corridor. Chairs scraped against the floor and bodies jostled towards the door. Heffernan stood ready to inflict injury for any misbehaviour. They forced themselves through the small door as the school emptied itself on to the yard. Heads huddled together and whispers betrayed themselves and became boisterous as boys mimicked Joseph’s torment.

‘Jesus he fuckin wore it off him.’

‘Did you see Joseph rubbing his hand and then giving the other one?’

This was met with a burst of raucous laughter and jostling. In the moments between the laughter each boy felt guilty and sorry for Joseph. He was a nice fellow, not the brightest but kind and soft. They knew it was cruel what Heffernan did to give him six of the best, it just wasn’t right.

The boys had spread out all over the yard. Each section was designated for the different class groups. 6th class boys had the rule of the school and could go anywhere they wished. This territorial segregation was not the idea of the teachers but was tradition. The field beside the yard was 6th class territory. It was the amphitheatre, where the boys tested each others strength and ability to inflict and receive pain. The bell mourned the end of break before they felt it had begun. The yard emptied like a sink of muddy water. Only a couple of dregs clung to the sides and were ushered in by Mr. Heffernan’s bellicose voice. This sound sent the last few remaining boys into a panic as they sprinted to get into line before Heffernan mounted the steps leading up to the yard. If he caught you in the yard, your hand would beg for mercy. The 6th class boys were usually the last to obey the bell. Some were determined to finish off a game of handball in the bicycle shed where knuckles bled and shed skin with reptilian ease. John and the boys upon hearing the voice sprinted every boy for himself down the sloping unkempt field, jumping tufts of twisted grass, dips and holes, dodging stray briars and hawthorn branches. The field gave way to a steep bank of twenty yards its boundary was a two inch border that surrounded the tarmac yard. Timing was crucial as feet slapped against the bank and bodies strained backwards to deny gravity and a certain injury. He could see Heffernan’s head slowing rising like a periscope as he mounted the steps. His foot clipped the border and sent him sliding onto the tarmac. Old wounds re-opened as he felt the sting in his hands and knees. He hobbled to the steps just as Heffernan was about to enter the yard.

‘Phelan, what have I told you about being on time? Show me your hands.’

He opened his palms to reveal a blood bubble on each hand slowly secreting its contents. It was a common occurrence for John who never seemed to be able to manage his limbs. He had grown accustomed to the stigmata but his Mam had grown less acceptant of the ragged holes that ventilated his knee caps.

‘Get inside quick if you know what’s good for you.’

John scampered down the steps, fearing the cane’s effect on his stinging injuries.

A tempting afternoon breeze lulled concentration away from percentages as eyes glazed and heads nestled into cradled palms. John sat focused on the digits being chalked on the board. He struggled to follow the meaning. Fractions furrowed his brow and sapped his energy to think. With the tenacity of a race horse on the final stretch heads bobbed from copy page to the board and back. Over the scratching pencils came a loud sonorous snort. A ripple of sniggers flowed toward the source as heads turned. Pete was nestled in his forearm. The warm afternoon breeze was flowing over him through the half opened sash window, caressing his shoulders and head. He did not stir even though the class had erupted into hushed mania.

‘Brennan,’ Heffernan roared.

Pete moved slowly but failed to raise his head.

‘Brennan.’

Heffernan was moving quickly stepping with deft precision over school bags in long purposeful strides. Before Pete had a chance to fully waken he could feel himself being lifted from his seat. A long shaft of drool reached for the sanctuary of the table-top and dangled haplessly. Pete stumbled drunkenly, his lidded eyes blinking offence. Heffernan’s strong white knuckled hand raised him onto his toes and landed him at the top of the room. As they moved through the class Heffernan repeated,

‘You lazy little pup, you lazy good for nothing pup, how dare you? How dare you fall asleep in my class? You lazy little pup!’

Each phrase was accentuated with a tug and shake on Pete’s reddened neck. ‘Explain yourself.’

Pete stood silent staring at the floor.

‘Look at me when I am speaking to you.’

Heffernan towered over Pete who stood composed but silent with his eyes fixed on the floor. They shared a mutual hatred and desire to undo and overpower each other. Over the past five years both had been the bane of each others existence.

‘Look at me when I am talking to you.’

Pete slowly raised his head and Heffernan’s blood pressure. The vein on the side of his head throbbed blue like a torrential river. Pete just stared. The class was transfixed in the clam before the storm. Each boy knew there was going to be fireworks. They loved these showdowns. Very few boys had the stubbornness and disregard for Heffernan which prevented them from buckling in fear. Disbelief and rage enveloped Heffernan as he glared at Pete.

‘How dare you? You are a waste of time,’ he roared.

Flecks of spittle leapt for freedom like parachutists.

‘I am sick of your ….’

His false teeth followed the spittle’s lead and jumped free and wrestled with his gums and lips. Heffernan’s hand forced them back into place. The class erupted into convulsions of laughter. A broad grin spread across Pete’s face. Heffernan grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, opened the door and shunted him into the corridor. The door slammed fast behind them. The brute force caused one of the small aged panes of glass in the panel of six to smash into pieces.

‘He’s goin to fuckin kill him.’ He’s fuckin lost it.’

Mutterings and predictions were exchanged with a mixture of excitement and fear. Only one voice could be heard in the corridor. Heffernan was screaming at the top of his voice. It was rapid, ferocious and incomprehensible. Neither Mr. Heffernan nor Pete returned for the remaining 30 minutes of the day. The boys sat answering questions from their English books under the vulture like pose of Mrs. Kelly, the Second class teacher who was kind and viscous in equal measure.

The school was silent apart from the voices of the few lingering boys who waited for parents or friends. John grimaced and squeezed but nothing happened. He knew he had to make a lodgement but could not complete the transaction. He sat crouched with his arse hovering over the pee stained bowl. He propped one hand onto the toilet roll holder to keep him from sitting on the seat. The toilet stank of stale urine. Disregard and lack of aim were the main culprits. The pressure reddened his cheeks as his eyes bulged and he became light headed. He let out a desperate gasp as the door opened and voices and footsteps stopped any progress as his sphincter clenched shut.

‘If he says anything to me I’ll punch his head in.’

‘He’s only a little bollix, just thinks he’s great because of his brother.’

I’d fuckin love to break his nose.’

‘Yea he’s got one of those heads alright.’

The words could not drown out the hissing and drumming of urine against the metal trough. It hammered like rain on the galvanizing shed at the back of his house. He stayed crouched and did not want to attract any attention. He was in a vulnerable position. Murph and Smithy were two of the toughest and easily angered boys in the school. What they lacked in brain power they were compensated in muscle mass and ferocity. He was in their favourite hunting ground, where underpants ripped and severed testicles. He breathed lightly and slowly. He let his backside rest on the urine spattered seat. His legs quivered with thanks.

‘When did you start getting you start getting hair on your balls?’

‘Ages ago, got fuckin loads of it.’

John’s forehead scrunched in confusion as he cocked his ear and winced at the images in his mind. Murph stood with his hand covering his cock and balls beside Smithy who was doing the same. They both talked to each other and looked and the tufts of hair that rested below their navels. They spoke like men bent over the engine of a car.

‘Yea me too, I think I started getting it in fifth class,’

‘I heard girls fuckin love it.’

‘Gemma Devlin would love it’

‘Sure she’d show you her tits for a bag of Meanies and will let you see her fanny for a Mars bar and a can of Coke.’

John heard the boisterous laughing and the footsteps go towards the door. He stood up and wiped the wetness from his arse with some toilet roll. He stood with his trousers resting at his ankles and his underpants just above the knee and looked down. His chin rested on his chest and with furrowed brow and an inquisitive hand he rummaged for evidence of growth. He could only strain to see soft downy blonde hairs similar to those on his arm.

This is hardly what they were talking about. What were they talking about? Why did he not have hair? A barrage of questions unnerved him as he searched again. He bent over and lifted his trousers and underpants.

He walked as if under a cloud through the toilets, out the door and up the street to his house. Numbed  by confusion and foreboding self doubt  he plodded towards his house. It was all too much for him to comprehend.

‘John, How was school?’ his mam chirped as he opened the door.

He shook himself together, ‘Grand,’ and gave her his usual smile and nod. The smile subsided as he walked to his room.

Companion

8 Nov

 

They have etched a path,

I follow without knowing the destination.

Uncertainty dances with excitement

As fear stands as a muted onlooker,

The tracks fade as the grass cowers beneath

The nagging rain and garrulous wind.

I stand besieged by cloud, water dripping down my cheeks,

The ravine cuts its way through dark hillocks of ankle sucking peat,

Crested with crowns of copper and lilac.

Water tumbles and giggles beneath the cavernous soil,

I catch glimpses of its playfulness.

I follow its fleeting suggestions,

It leads me,

It accompanies me,

I bid farewell,

It sings its celebration and

glides to thunderous applause.

Age and Innocence

8 Nov

My reflection pauses for recognition,

Blood blossoms below my chin,

I cradle this moment to embrace,

Crows feet and peppered hair.

His delicate hands gripped the armrests.

I stood tracing tributaries to the knuckles edge,

While I set my implements,

With the deftness of a novice.

He raised his chin with furrowed brow,

Reassurance and warning whispered,

From shallow pools of crystalline blue,

‘Make sure to wet the blade’

I stood clutching doubt,

Mapping the silver bristles,

On his sagging jowls,

‘Put a bit of foam on first with the brush.’

The first stroke glided and crackled,

Gathering debris to his lower jaw.

I dipped the blade,

To create an island.

Deep ravines marked the borders between

Cheek and mouth,

The blade stumbled

My hand retreated knowing he knew.

Grandfather,

Namesake to a 12 year old boy,

A 33 year old man,

I towel my face and turn away.

Nenook

5 Nov

Mixed Meds

5 Nov