Saturday, February 4, 2012

“Is Éireannach mise!” © Mike Absalom January 16th

Silently imputing crimes of
an unspecified nature to my accent,
a man in spectacles spoke to
me at the bar.
-So ye are not of these
There was a dark and hooded
manner on him.
He stood stiff at his drink,
balaclava black,
shielding his eyes behind his
Although he spoke, it was
clear he was closed to me
and as uninviting in his
welcome as a pub window
seen from the street of a
strange town.
I hesitate to use my hippy
word negativity,
but in his case the ayes did
not have it.
His eyes had something quite
Although vitreous, they were
still able to convey an icy cold
bundled in smouldering

Not a gunman, I could see
that at once.
Not a professional. Just a
loose provincial cannon.
A sráid bhaile dreamer.
He seemed to be a man who had
stepped out of darkness
and found only darkness.
He had tasted history at
tenth hand
and it left a bitter and
unsatisfied smack in his mouth.
I knew him well. He had been loitering
here with intent for generations

Much has been said of the
passage of time,
but there are still people
for whom time does not pass.
It stagnates only and when it
stagnates it breeds strange monsters, who do not pass.
They lurk in the back passages,
biding their time,
waiting, for what, they do
not know,
until they think this might
be it.
I think the man thought I
might be it.

I looked him up and down. He
was not one of them.
This place was too far from
the border. And anyway,
the discipline was lacking.
As long as you are not a total
eejit it’s not hard to recognise another eejit.
In him I saw myself bundled
up in a thick suit of army surplus Kevlar.

Perhaps he was not a total
Perhaps his need for
satisfaction was too great to be ignored.
Perhaps in his family the
anti-christs of slaughter were worshipped
from the earliest childhood with
incense and red smoke and candles,
as indeed they had been in

I myself have always considered
that I am a gentleman.
It is a foolish conceit but more
protective than Kevlar.
I was raised far away over ever-changing
Nobody can finger my accent
and I do not warm to finger
pointers anyway.
Certainly not without a
proper introduction.
Yet my appearance and Anglo
elocution belie me.
In the eyes of some I appear to
be a gentleman.
But I have recently come to
the conclusion that,
in spite of an earlier
squeaky clean self image,
I am not one at heart. And I was
never a gentle man.

At the age of twelve I
carried a brass knuckleduster
tucked beneath the silk
in the top pocket of my
tailored hand-me-down hunting jacket
and when it became utterly fashionable to do so
I considered sewing razor
blades into my lapel linings
and would have discharged my
anger then and there
and put an end to it
had not my teenage years been
spiced with sanctioned violence
in the CCF and the OTC and other official acronyms for genocide
where I found the smell of
and the handling of brens and
stens and two-inch mortars
both satisfyingly homicidal
and enticingly legal.

I looked at the man beside me
at the bar.
-You are mistook, I said
-Is Éireannach mise,
and I broke his glasses.

No comments:

Post a Comment