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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Gurgles of Outflow

Round here it’s real and it matters. All my life I’ve wanted to come here, behind the sorting office on the industrial estate, and stand on this corner, blinking. Round here it hurts. Name a gland and that’s where the pain is, bending you double or leaving you numb: either will do, neither will do. Here a man can grow old among the allotments and give thanks, or freeze over slowly, cursing himself, as the preference takes him. When I consider the horrors of life back at home, the patina of dust closing my eyelids, I wish that I’d stayed there. Then when I think of the good things I’m glad that I came, glad I escaped them. I’m funny like that. I used to hang from the strap as the train emerged from the tunnel and look for the island out in the bay, the whitewashed jetty, the tower and the church – oh every time, most times, sometimes, never, delete as applicable. Trailing my hand in the water on the boat ride and hiding the sunlight I trapped in my pocket. I have it there still. Miss the last boat, secrete yourself among the rabbit warrens and goat droppings, and be again among the druid remains: plague refugee, king of Dalkey, duke of Muglins and sovereign of the illustrious order of the lobster and periwinkle. The island is a Cyclops, a Cyclops called Noman, Noman is an island, the tower is his eye, omen est nomen, omen est Noman, and far from losing his one good eye the maimed Cyclops will grow a second, and quite a view he’ll have from it too. Of it all, of the whole shebang. Dad wants to climb Killiney Hill again for our Sunday excursion: that must be him you see on the summit, piling up stones, one on top of the other and waving. Tell him you’re busy but expect to be home by teatime. It’ll probably be what, corned beef and cabbage, my favourite. The jellyfish dance in formation, the skeletal pirates shake in their cages on the outlying rocks and teatime finds you flat on your back in the gorse, with maybe a goat licking your face or chewing your beard, the bashi-bazouk. I never did like my favourite much anyway, truth be told. I trot round the corner to the sorting office and slide my apology under the door.

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