Irish Writers in Support of Jobstown Not Guilty

In an era where white collar criminals who steal millions and destroy the economy meet gardai by appointment with their team of solicitors, a 16 year old had 10 gardai bang on his door and arrest him before school over a protest at which nobody was even injured. There is no longer a single accountant in this state dedicated to tackling crime in the banking and financial services sectors, yet 20 gardai were assigned to collect evidence against people from one of the most disadvantaged areas in the country for engaging in the type of protest that Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and many senior members of the Labour Party employed in the past. This is an unprecedented attack on the right to protest. Civil disobedience is our last line of defence against being further defrauded by this corrupt state. If civil disobedience is criminalised the average citizen have no protection against whatever the state wants to do to them. These people are facing an attack from the full force of the state, we all need to support them as they courageously resist this sinister development, because they are doing this on behalf of every citizen.

Frankie Gaffney

Éire 2016

Bhí dream ann a rinne dia beag den ampla
‘s a chreid sa Tíogar Cheilteach mhiotasach,
a thóg na heastáit thréigthe ar fud na tíre,
‘s a bhain na bonnaí as nuair a tháinig an crais.

Tá na heastáit fágtha inniu mar iarsmaí
‘s na súmairí á nochtadh achan lá,
na mílte daoine ar leacacha na sráide
‘s ní chaomhnaíonn an stát a clanna uilig go cothrom.

Éire 2016

There were those who worshipped mammon,
and believed in the mythological Celtic Tiger.
They built ghost estates thoughout the land
and disappeared when the crash happened.

The estates are now left in ruins,
Swallow holes appearing every day.
Thousands are sleeping on the streets
and the children are not all cherished equally.

Both by Máire Dinny Wren

I support and stand with Jobstown Not Guilty, because I fully believe in the right of the citizen to oppose the state through civil disobedience, we must be always be able to use protest as a means to let our governments know when we want change, when we are against unjust laws or charges or decisions taken by government which we see to be made not for the good of the citizens or only made for the good of the few against the many. As in the case of the water charges. Water is life, literally. Those who wish to control and own OUR water, seek to control and own life, OUR life. The statement being made by the ruling class is don’t fuck with us, don’t oppose us or you will be punished by us. Is this a government or a Mafia? But we are winning the right to water, and when we do, why stop there, lets come for the gas and electricity next, WE the people own that too!!

Karl Parkinson

In an era where white collar criminals who steal millions and destroy the economy meet gardai by appointment with their team of solicitors, a 16 year old had 10 gardai bang on his door and arrest him before school over a protest at which nobody was even injured. There is no longer a single accountant in this state dedicated to tackling crime in the banking and financial services sectors, yet 20 gardai were assigned to collect evidence against people from one of the most disadvantaged areas in the country for engaging in the type of protest that Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and many senior members of the Labour Party employed in the past. This is an unprecedented attack on the right to protest. Civil disobedience is our last line of defence against being further defrauded by this corrupt state. If civil disobedience is criminalised the average citizen have no protection against whatever the state wants to do to them. These people are facing an attack from the full force of the state, we all need to support them as they courageously resist this sinister development, because they are doing this on behalf of every citizen.

Frankie Gaffney

There’s a war being waged by the governing classes in this country against equality, democracy and basic rights. Whether in education, housing, healthcare, or natural resources (including water and gas) this war is designed to benefit the richest and most corrupt sectors of Irish society – the rotten apples we’ve all been paying for. The Jobstown activists represent the communities of people who have been fighting back and taking a stand for all of our rights. They have my full solidarity.”

Ciaran O Rourke

It’s hard for me to find the words…working class people are routinely demonized, ignored. They’re the bad guys on cop shows, Jeremy Kyle punchlines. They’re supposed to die quietly of overdoses or spousal abuse. They’re not supposed to speak, to organise, to recognise injustice and peacefully protest against it. They’re not supposed to be brave or smart or know what they need. Or don’t.

The Jobstown protestors did not hurt anyone. The outrageous thing they did was to argue back against a government that has quietly bled them dry. They found their words. I’m finding mine. Not guilty.

Susan Millar DuMars

Working class activists are having their lives destroyed because they peacefully protested against their own impoverishment. It’s an old story. The Jobstown trial has been a cruel and unusual use of the state’s apparently limited resources to hammer home that all collectivity is a punishable offence. The idea that people in Jobstown ‘imprisoned’ Joan Burton is a joke, a laughable and weaponised distortion of the very definition of the word, and yet another clear example of political policing and political law meant to terrify all of us into never protesting again.

The first trial, where a former Tánaiste testified against a minor in the children’s court, was a farce and should stand as a glaring and lasting testimony to the enormous failure of the state to protect its children from the onslaught of austerity.

Oisin O Faogaoin

“The Jobstown protesters are standing up for every Irish citizen’s right to take part in protest and to engage in free expression without fear of arrest, imprisonment or persecution by the state. We must all support each other by supporting them.” –

Dr Deaglán Ó Donghaile, Liverpool John Moores University

For an opportunistic and cynical politician to milk a spurious legal case out of an act of protest is not only a waste of the courts’ time, it sets a dangerous precedent in a democracy. The bullies always pick on the young. But the people know who belongs in the dock. No amount of media smokescreening will change that. –

Peter Murphy, writer.

“The treatment of the Jobstown protesters is proof positive of Ireland’s war against the working class. It’s a war that manifests itself in every aspect of our lives, quietly, but this very public intimidation of, and brutality against, working class protestors is far from quiet. It’s a thundering, brutish reminder from the powers that powers-that-be that legitimate emotion is prohibited and resistance will be dismantled. It is our responsibility as activists to steer the narrative away from a troubling line of thinking that protest equals criminality. It is our responsibility to support our friends who find themselves flung mercilessly into the firing line.

Love and solidarity to Jobstown Not Guilty

Eoin O Faogain

The trial of the Jobstown protesters is an attempt by the establishment to exact some small revenge for the humiliation they suffered at the hands of the Anti-Water Charges movement. The amazing thing is not that Joan Burton was delayed in her car that day but that it took so long for such a thing to happen. Joan Burton should give Paul Murphy a nice big kiss for negotiating her departure from Tallaght that day; Katherine Zappone should probably be prosecuted for having invited her in the first place; and all of those charged should be given awards, perhaps honorary degrees from Trinity or NUI Galway. Back in 2014 the event – and the crazed reaction to of many so called ‘liberals’- inspired this poem http://www.rabble.ie/2014/11/23/irish-liberal-foresees-own-enduring-relevance/

Kevin Higgins

Water dampens dust. The Jobstown 23 and their fellow critics of privatisation may resemble impersonal grey sludge to Joan Burton but a closer study reveals cement and the greater the pressure, the stronger it holds. People will not be stifled by airborne particles of toxic decisions made by politicians that float and find their way into every home, poisoning minds into accepting metered allocations of daylight robbery. Protest built this country and only protest can preserve what’s left before land and lakes are sold away for private gain. Grey sludge perhaps, the people, but we shall not be moved.

Naomi Neu

“I nominate the Jobstown protest for next’s year’s Nobel prize for literature. No Irish writer in history has expressed him/her/itself so creatively and succinctly as in their current work-in-progress the ending of which the establishment want written by lazy, unelected, elite-schooled judges sitting on warm wads of austerity-proofed 50 euro notes – or their personally hand-slapped ‘juries’. Defend your right to protest and in the process help to collectively finish an important piece of world literature. Support the Jobstown Protestors.”

Camillus John.

I think Kathleen Lynn is being remembered a lot recently, with that nostalgic sepia that comes when you can discuss rebels in the parlor, though most not parlor inclined kind of people. “The bullets fell like rain. The firing came from all sides and continued till after darkness fell.”

Seems, it is nice to be rebellious of spirit, but not rebellious. Seems, the position you’re in, is perhaps the one best suited to you, and although we “Irish” do not appear to advocate a “caste system” we nonetheless have a wonderful instinctive ability to know “your place” for you.

You too should know your place.

The middle merchant classes are comfortable in the knowledge that their ability to talk best, and talk most, with the best and most protected places to talk in, almost automatically entitles them to a different seat at the National table.

The irony of the 1916 celebrations is more disgraceful in light of Jobstown, and the hypocritical treatment a century on of the state of cap wearers to the cap doffers, and cap sellers to the cap sewers.

Water charges are wrong. And protests are justified. A protest isn’t a chat in the local City Hall. Historically, protests are not been pretty. Just look at the Cochabamba Water War (maybe the Roman Catholic Church would like to involve themselves in this trial also, as in Bolivia, they have a good record of out smarting the main stream legal system.)

There is a long wrong-list I could write, but we go back to what we do best, blaming the message bringers. The message bringers for not bringing the right message in the right way with the right language, until enough time has passed to write a ballad for them, or name a bridge.

Elaine Feeney

As a member of the working class, I see every day, often at quarters all too close, the rift between the middle and upper class establishment, and the working class this establishment claims to serve. As this rift expands, we need to feel we can arm ourselves with the right to stand against our government, through peaceful means, for the protection of our values and ourselves. Jobstown Not Guilty, you have represented this right of the working class admirably. Continue to fight the good fight. We are all fighting this war together.

Nathasha Helen Crudden

This year the electorate decimated Joan Burton’s Labour Party: a democratic verdict on the policies that forced the Jobstown demonstrators to engage in legitimate civil disobedience. In suing them, the state is disguising an anti-democratic attempt to deter protest as a defence of democracy. This persecution must fail.

Raymond Deane (Composer, author, activist)

That the people in charge of our state have no more imagination than to prosecute a 15 year old for his part in a popular public protest should come as no surprise to us, they also can’t seem to imagine any alternatives to neo-liberal asset stripping for our country’s resources. That now even when the day is won they are still attempting to prosecute others who participated in a protest in Jobstown is even less surprising. Without a doubt the people who marched and boycotted and demonstrated against water charges have won a rare victory (although we will have to be vigilant not to have it snatched away from us in the future). That this victory was won without violence and without injury is yet another thing to celebrate. It will be up to us now though to make sure that the stories we tell ourselves about this time remind us of exactly how it came about because it will and is already being warped and distorted. The right to water campaign was and is a movement with solidarity and human rights front and centre and we need to show more solidarity now for all those still facing trial for their part in the Jobstown protest.

Sarah Clancy

The aim of these show trials is obvious: to raise the cost of protest in the minds of an angry populace, to price us out of the market with fear of what we might face. So the duty of solidarity is equally obvious: to keep fighting, on all fronts, in defiance of fear.

Harry Browne, lecturer and journalist

Jobstown is indicative of Ireland as a whole. A gilded numpty has the system wrapped around her finger and uses it to prosecute a peaceful protest.

At worst, the jobstown protest got a little out of hand and it required a few minutes of calming down before everything was fine and no one was hurt.

Imagine if we could say the same for the governments policies: everything was fine and no one was hurt.

Tell that to the 6,000 homeless bracing -6 cold, the 23 year old who has to live on 100 quid a week because the social welfare considers him a child, the 40 year old working his third year of a slave labour scheme.

When one thinks about the double Irish Dutch sandwich, the galway tents, the triple Bertie pensions and the lies, the damned lies, of austerity uber alles, it’s a miracle the jobstown protest was peaceful.

If this is how we treat peace, perhaps it’s a fine year for a centenary after all.

Shane Vaughan

Castro died three days ago. Since then I have not read an Irish newspaper or listened to Irish radio. I gave up the TV years ago. The reason is that I know exactly what they will say. They will wheel the enablers of billionaires out to tell us that Castro was a bad thing, to make fun of his country, to point to the great superiority of ‘our system’ over communism – as if having the best health service in the world and 100% literacy were not something Ireland could only dream about. As if having the richest country in the world with the biggest weapons industry on your doorstep, blockading you, invading you, attempting to assassinate your leader and conducting a continuous propaganda war were some wort of minor irritation.

Ireland is a country where a child is jailed for detaining a politician for two hours in a variety of police cars, protected by armed police officers. Where a coalition of men priests and men politicians tell a woman what to do with her womb. Where a coalition of men priests and men doctors let a woman die in childbirth because she couldn’t have and abortion, force-rehydrate a woman who had been raped because she couldn’t have an abortion. This is a country where it takes almost two years for a child to get an appointment to see a specialist if they’re suffering from a crippling disease. This is a country where a ‘recovery’ involves shipping 80,000 young people a year to other countries, cutting payments to disabled people, while at the same time paying politicians a wage increase. This is a country where there is legal and illegal corruption at every level of the the state.

But this is also a country that is learning to fight back. We’re getting up off our knees. These prosecutions are the clearest sign that Power is trembling. Why else would they go to so much time and expense to prosecute people for such a non-crime as protesting?

The politicians see what’s happening. They see parties of the Left providing a more hopeful future, a way of thinking about politics which doesn’t involve bribing county councillors or paying off media billionaires. They know that once the idea takes hold that THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE and that alternative is socialism, then they will see their cosy little arrangements go up in smoke. No more retiring from politics to take up seats on various boards of directors. No more being paid for speeches. No more handing rich contracts to your friends and relations. And no more criminalising protest.

The future, to use James Connolly’s words, will see ‘the Irish nation as the supreme ruler and owner of itself, and all things necessary to its people’.

William Wall

Burton, you claim to have been trapped in a car, but have you ever been trapped in poverty or a ghetto of unemployment? ever felt trapped by hopelessness in a system you have no control of? where are those court cases – oh no, we can’t afford them.

Jessamine O Connor

This year the electorate decimated Joan Burton’s Labour Party: a democratic verdict on the policies that forced the Jobstown demonstrators to engage in legitimate civil disobedience. In suing them, the state is disguising an anti-democratic attempt to deter protest as a defence of democracy. This persecution must fail.

Raymond Deane (Composer, author, activist)
‘Slovenia adds water to constitution as fundamental right for all, to protect it from future privatisation’, November 2016.

Jobstown Water Protectors will be remembered in history as those that made a stand against water privatisation.

Those that have stated ‘they can’t expect to get everything for free’ crowd, will be remembered in history something like this

‘Later, middle class protesters, aggrieved by the Rising, gathered outside the Coombe hospital when Mallin’s wife, Agnes, gave birth to Maura Constance’. 1916

Solidarity is the way forward, we have many human rights battles to win. We all have a choice to be on the right side of history or not, the story will be told.

We can make Ireland the best little country in the world together.
I inherently believe we are good people.

Gillian Brien, Intersectional Human Rights Activist, Manager Youth Service

It’s a no-brainer, if the water charges have been dropped, so should the jobstown charges be dropped at once.

Adam Wyeth

“When a woman gives birth to her son/…..she would storm the world,/ punch armies aside/ to reach him, hold him, comfort him.” When ten gardaí haul a child from his bed, stop him from going to school and accuse him of being a ringleader of a legal protest, it is time to storm the world. As a peaceful water protector I saw similar state bullying and assault at Woodburn Forest this year: heavy-handed unjust arrests, point-blank tear-gassing of an assault victim; police protection for a private company whilst intimidating the citizens they are supposed to protect. More power to your elbow Jobstown 23.

Judith Lowan’s Thurley

I wonder how Joan Burton would like it if the Jobstown protesters busted into her house at 4am, all Irish riot gear, Hurley and Sliotar, and stole her out into the night in front of friends and family to falsely put her on trial. Except she’s done much more to “disturb the peace” than innocent water protectors from Jobstown.

Niall Donnelly

If the State can rest easy knowing it can wrongfully imprison members of the populace, especially its young men and women, for quite justifiably exerting their democratic right to protest oppressive governmental policies that seem designed purely to hurt the most vulnerable, then it makes one seriously worried about the state of democracy of modern Ireland.

Daniel Wade

Smashing the Mirror – William Wall’s Foreword to The Word In Flames, by Dave Lordan

“Ireland suffers from a surfeit of embedded intellectuals. Approximately the equivalent of the embedded journalist reporting from the ‘front line’ during the Iraq war, they report that all is well with the regime and that the class war is proceeding exactly as planned; they suggest adjustments—a little more empathy here, a little less there, fewer people on trolleys in hospitals (but still trolleys), better policing of protests (but still the police), remember the dead of both sides, and so on. Their well-placed articles and interviews pass as the true voice of the critic. These are the intellectuals that Gramsci calls the ‘organisers of culture’. On the other hand, Gramsci tells us, all classes, including the working class produce their own ‘organic intellectuals’, though working class intellectuals are rarely recognised as such. Every once in a while, though, such an organic intellectual pushes through, by sheer strength of will and intellectual capability, the dense network of disciplinary and punitive systems that are designed to control the working class. Such a person is rare in Ireland, because public life works to hedge around and make precarious the voice of the outsider who has not been to the right school or played the right games. Dave Lordan is one such voice….

 

Read the rest of the foreword over at The Stinging Fly

Read all about The Word In Flames – Essays in Literature & Revolt here

Watch the Book Trailer Here

Visit Dave Lordan’s new website here.

Laddering Tights (after Kate Bush) by Kevin Higgins

You take it out and show me,

and we roll violently around on the green

Sunday evenings when the rest of the Village

are home planning to kill their wives.

You have a temper, like my lactose intolerance,

my peanut allergy combined.
Bad tummy in the night

I thought I was going to lose

the bean chilli with chocolate and walnuts

you made me, leave my laddering, laddering,

laddering tights

behind on the bathroom floor.
You are Cliff Richard, only crueller.

Totally bald now and the top of my head’s

so cold! Let me climb back in your letter box and show you

the things I learned at art school.
It gets dark out here and the street is full of loonies,

all of whom remind me of you.

Without you I whine a lot,

whine a lot, find

the ceiling comes clattering down

covers me in fine white dust,

even when I’m outside,

wailing in your scullery air vent.
You are crueller even

than Sir Edward Heath

to leave me out here singing like this.

Yours the only face I want to see

when I tear off your gimp mask

and show the moves

I learned at the interpretive dance class

you made me take.
I’ve come home.

And it’s fucking cold out here.

Let me in your bathroom window.
Let me grab it, almost

yank it right off and put it

in a toasted rye bread sandwich.
You made me leave my laddering, laddering,

laddering tights

behind on the cruel bathroom floor

and, in the circumstances,

the least you could do

is not leave me here with my howling head

wedged in your bastard cat flap.
KEVIN HIGGINS is The Bogmans Cannon satirist-in-residence

The Word in Flames – Essays on Literature & Revolt – New E-book from Dave Lordan + book trailer

Paypal address: dlordan@hotmail.com. Suggested Donation 10 euro.

My e-book of essays on art, literature, social change & multimedia creation THE WORD IN FLAMES is ready to go.

The suggested donation is a tenner, paid through my paypal account, the address of which is dlordan@hotmail.com.

Copies of the e-book can be read on any device such as a smartphone, tablet, iPad, PC, Mac, Laptop, Desktop etc. You don’t need a paypal account to pay through paypal – any debit or credit card will do.

Smaller & larger donations than a tenner also welcome.

All proceeds will go straight to me, the writer of the book! & will go towards buying me more writing time, & upgrading my audio & video equipment. Since taking up videography in early 2016 I have voluntarily made over 100 videos for grassroots artists, community groups, & social movements. If you think what I do has any value, please do consider making a solidarity donation in exchange for the book.

But first, here’s what some deep-thinking activist heads have to say about The Word in Flames:

“The Word in Flames” confirms Dave Lordan’s stature as the most original, incendiary and impassioned voice writing in Ireland today. The combined lyricism and potency of his writing confronts the reader, forcing us, as all great writers do, to see the things we are unwilling or forbidden to know.

Dr. Sinéad Kennedy Department of English, Maynooth University & Secretary, Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment (pc)

Irish writing has not seen prose as brilliant as this since the Enlightenment. With the clarity of Orwell and an indignation reminiscent of Swift, Dave Lordan identifies the tensions and responsibilities that crystallise within great art, whenever artists are brave enough to allow them to do so. 

Dr Deaglán Ó Donghaile. Author of Blasted Literature: Victorian Political Fiction and the Shock of Modernism. Senior Lecturer in English Literature Liverpool John Moores University

If you like polemic to be scalding, defiant, revolutionary and erotic, then you’ll relish this book. By turn erudite, poetic, auto-biographical and scholarly (often all of these at once), this is an important anthology of essays by Ireland’s only literary prophet. Beware, it will make you a disciple.

Conor Kostick, Author of Revolution in Ireland (Cork University Press,) 2009

“Every once in a while an organic intellectual pushes through, by sheer strength of will and intellectual capability, the dense network of disciplinary and punitive systems that are designed to control the working class. Such a person is rare in Ireland, because public life works to hedge around and make precarious the voice of the outsider who has not been to the right school or played the right games. Dave Lordan is one such voice.”

William Wall, Author of This is The Country.

Donate to Dave Lordan’s Community Funding Appeal at paypal address dlordan@hotmail.com, & receive a copy of e-book The Word In Flames.

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I Am Pleased To Congratulate On Behalf Of The People Of Ireland by Kevin Higgins

anti-trump

after Enda Kenny

Donald J. Duck on his election
as forty fifth, and possibly final,
President of that great entity
traditionally known as the United
States which, admittedly,
by the time he’s finished with it,
will likely be called something else.

In the heat of battle President-elect
Duck has said things
which have left him with bridges to build
with certain people, such as Mexican
transsexuals, and women
who don’t want him,
or anyone politically
associated with him even thinking
about grabbing their
vaginas, or the vaginas of their
friends, mothers-in-law, or
as yet unborn children.

We think today in particular of
Secretary of State Clinton,
though only very briefly,
for eaten parsnips are quickly
digested, and we must move on.
Democracy (and, for that matter,
dictatorship) have their own outcomes.
This being the case, if President-elect
Duck wants to build a crazy golf course
in every front garden on this island,
I will work closely with compliant
urban district councils, sympathetic
journalists, and members of the judiciary
to have the necessary planning
fast-tracked.

And rest assured, every opportunity
that presents itself, either
I or one of my Ministers will be there
to shake his hand,
or any other part of his anatomy
President-elect, Donald J.
Duck, wants shaken.

 

 

Kevin Higgins is The Bogman’s Cannon Satirist-in-Residence

What They Don’t Know Is, by Kevin Higgins

after Dennis O’Driscoll
That this cannot be avoided by everyone wearing protective glasses.

That the contents of their half-full cups are about to evaporate.

That the University will remain closed until further notice.

That Kim Kardashian’s arse has been abolished.

That the idea of tomorrow is suddenly quaint as a dinner plate made in West Germany.

That the price of house insurance just went up ten thousand per cent.

That the lack of reception on their mobile phones isn’t because they’re going through a tunnel.

That even the hairstyle of the Fox News anchor woman is no longer perfect.

That Adolf is now the second most hated politician in history.

That the station at which this train terminates no longer exists.

That the priest who’ll give them last rites is just a guy in an outfit

his brother recently wore to a fancy dress.

That God is a skeleton who knows everything and will one day talk.

 
KEVIN HIGGINS is The Bogman’s Cannon satirist-in-residence.

The Pirate Show with Dave Lordan Standing Rock Special available now on Mixcloud

Edition 2 of the Pirate Show featuring Voices From Standing Rock, The Blackfoot Confederacy, Zona Marginal, Lillian Allen, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Benjamin Zephaniah, Olive Groove , King Mob, Andrea Gibson, Pyschic TV, David ‘the rabbi’ Lawrence, Thomas McCarthy, Christy Hennessy, Johnny Darko, The 5th Dimension, Jinx Lennon….Hip-Hop, pow-wow, Dub, Spoken Word, Acappella, Folk, Soul, Hybrid, Cult….broadcast on Dublin Digital Radio Sat Nov 5th at 4pm & Clonline Radio on Sat Nov 12th at 8pm. Show will also be uploaded to Dublin Digital Radio’s mixcloud.

PRETENDING TO BE TAOISEACH – THE UNOFFICIAL Biography of Brian Cowen, by Dave Lordan

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(poem commissioned in 2009 by Irish left Review to honour our then Taoiseach Brian Cowen, who has just released his official autobiography. This is the unofficial biography.)

Nearly all politicians are

dummies and mimics,

as are most junkies and drunks,

Just as in nature

victims & predators

learn off their roles

by long-settled rote

Dissent is a kind of seeing deformity

that shows a way out.

This much I’m used to and sure of.

Last night I strolled

the Liffeyside boardwalk

being reminded, as usual,

by every new scene of cackling debauch,

of the clear-sighted canvas upheld

to the hellish medieval grotesque,

(That triptych of self-mutiliation,

passed-on oppression, interior rot.)

by artists like Brueghel and Bosch.
I wasn’t all that affected

by the scores of drunk addicts,

some of them children,

reciprocally miming sewer-pipe mouths,

canine grimaces, anteater snouts.

Nor was I more than expectedly saddened

that each had the same

or similiar names and nicknames,

like Chloe,

Ryan, Bonzer and Jayzee

and that each had these same or similar

names and nicknames

of dead infants

and partners and friends

scribbled in prisoner’s ink

among epidemical scabs and scars

torn out of their Hep-yellow flesh

by needles and blades

on their bellies and forearms.

I didn’t find it occasion

for chuck-up or freak-out to watch,

wriggling from all of their noses,

those short, pale, corpulent worms

that lead a suspended, blissful existence

at the bottom of bottles

of tequila and absinthe.
The thought that last night surprised me

was this:

round here the brown river

muddies the sky

and carries it off

and the sun only rises

out of corporate towers

so it’s joining the dots

and stating the obvious

to say that these terminal addicts

who rot on the boardwalk

like the trays of unsellable fruit

in the tips around Smithfield

are the bottom familiars

of the contagious filth

at the top.
Last night on the boardwalk

I watched one drunkjunky pimp

pretending to be Taoiseach.

He was your absolute image

sketching you out completely

on the very edge of the Liffey,

ten yards from O Connell Bridge

on Batchelor’s Quay.

This drug-addled lunatic

mimed so precisely

the unsteady condition

that everyone’s heard

you ever so occasionally

might get yourself into

at, to take only one out of many,

a sinister off-record networking soiree,

ending-up like Amy Winehouse’s birthday

at four in the morning

in your showbander bedroom

trying to satisfy the unsatisfiable

with the remains

of a very rare steak

carried away from the banquet

beneath your wine-spattered shirt.

Well, after only two minutes

in charge of the totterer’s nation,

faith swooped in like a wrecking ball

to crush this parroting citizen

(just as the gigantic wrecking ball of time

will be slamming down sooner or later

upon the culture of apartment blocks

and shopping centres)

and the poor demented animal crumbled

into the tarflow of the nightriver

and then straightaway another one-

there is always straightaway another one,

the aping of sovereigns unstoppable here-

struggled heroically paralytically out

from under a soiled duvet

and had a go at doing you when,

four or five hours later,

you’re stranded like your own amnesiac ghost

in the plasmic aftermath

of a blackout

naked and quaking

like the smartphone’s on vibrate

and you’ve downed it like a toad,

trying to whip into line

the chaotic neuronal gloop

a-whirl in your brain

and rev-up that unreliable throat

(praying then that the rest of you will follow)

by shouting half-recollected

ancient gaelic oaths

into a cloud of steam

in the bathroom mirror

inbetween repeating

another day’s scrip

for the war on the people.

Watch out though, look!

I bet you the Easter Rising

and raise you two-thirds of the future

that it’s your hobo doppelganger

forming up in the optical mist

in that mirror.

You simply do not know

in your twisted, tormented condition

if or how, going forward

-rather than your natural

sideways or backwards-

you’re going to get it together

to last

til the one or two little sips

your handlers allow

to settle you through

the mid-afternoon

or how you’ll keep a straight face

through another ten-thousand

delirious, farcical minutes

of counted-down lies

that you are going to spend,

whether you like it or not,

in the grip of an irrational

and eventually overwhelming

goo to get totally out-of-it

like the rest of the chronics

on the Liffeyside boardwalk

whom you poisonously envy

while signing orders to persecute.
Whenever you hear

the disposable gods

of interchangeable talk-shows

blunderbussing on the airwaves

for a round-up of the scumbags

your blood cells,

like a choir of slaves in a galley-boat,

cry out in instinctual sympathy

for a fix or a shot

and while your fellow shades

upon the boardwalk

are dropping

like the flies

that are

dropping

on them

and, in your imitation,

suppering on the national scapegoats

sure you’ll struggle on

towards your cosseted downfall

but all along you’ll be nowt

but a mime and a dummy

strung out and doomed

and vainly attempting

to clear the unclearable gravels and tars

that are clogging and sliming

in the sewer of your throat

in the wasted highways of your mind

in the empty estates of your soul

in the incinerated rubbish of your heart
and pretending, always pretending
always always pretending
because there never ever was
and there never ever could be
anymore than pretending
in this pastiche of a lush we call taoiseach.