A Reconstructed Memory

 My home country, several years ago (or more), pre-COVID era (feels like a lifetime or two ago, I don’t dare trust my memory anymore). A local 4-piece band is performing at a hipster-like venue at a small-scale alternative rock festival in the capital city. Their sound is a mixture of surf rock, rockabilly and the 1960s psychedelia, with contrasting distorted guitars. They play their own tracks only. The musicians are graced by bright white lights growing dimmer as you move further away from the stage, where they darken, dissolve and evaporate, mixed with clouds of smoke.
The crowd is demographically mixed, small, but enthusiastic; the people (drunk and sober alike), are dancing and swaying to the music they by all means have never heard before. Alcohol and other stimulants are helping everyone leave their real-life tension behind, but I chose the hard way out: being sober (as I always am). The friend I came with (a very fine guitarist himself) took a few shots of our fabled local alcohol prior to the gig, guaranteed to keep him cheerful, although he’s perfectly capable of maintaining his happiness on his own.

The band is going through the set as planned, then all of a sudden, right after the intro to the 5th or 6th track for the night  -  the power on the stage is out. All electric instruments, guitar pedals, microphones etc. fall silent. The music stops. The crowd, undeterred, starts cheering, empathizing with the musicians’ predicament, as the bass player is walking off stage in an attempt to solve the issue.Devoid of (functional) microphones, the lead singer and the guitarist do their best to apologize to the crowd and even crack a joke while waiting on the bass player or anyone else to get back to them with (good) news. The drummer sits in silence. My friend, myself and everyone around us starts chatting to fill the gap brought on by the sudden lack of music.
Without any intro, the guitarist starts playing a bare, slo-mo version of Del Shannon’s “Runaway“ on his electric guitar, now turned acoustic, and the lead singer starts singing along, his mellow voice reverberating through the venue, with no microphone. The drummer is still silent. After a few bars, my friend and the people around us start joining in. I sing along too, instinctively, surprised; how come I know some of the lyrics, despite having paid next to no attention to this song, until now?
My chest trembles softly. My head is buzzing. A tear or two hangs in the corner of my eye. Time stops. The whole universe condenses into that tiny venue, a pack of people in it, and the unrehearsed, on-the-spot, minimalist, ethereal version of “Runaway“. A missing piece of my heart falls into place.

In my loneliest, darkest hours, when time stops, I pull this memory out from the depths of my brain, wrapping it around myself, like a soft blanket. The way I listen to “Runaway“ completely changed after that.

To my daughter

I won’t shove a needle and a thread 

Into your hands and bind you with lead 

Nor will I extradite you 

To strangers, mountebanks and egotists

To force their shackles onto your wrists;

The ways of women, ways of men

Passed on from hen to hen

Drake to drake.

What I’m hoping to give you is

The ways to fill the canvas, the possibilities

To point you to the source

Teach you how to swim

Follow every stream

For you are what you dream.

I trust you will learn

How to discern

A weed from a rose

I won’t impose, but bear in mind

A weed isn’t always unkind

And every rose has its thorns.

And please, look for beauty

In whatever you may undertake

Wherever you may awake.

I will, I will

Instill the beauty in you

Long before you are conceived

(I am your mother even as we speak)

I will not let my sorrows shriek

Your face I seek across the present-future.

And I beseech you, forgive

Your father and myself

For our love will outlive our faults;

Love is the sole fuel to my will

To predict and to kill

The future errors of my ways

But so many are eluding me still.

And whatever I can’t fathom

Solve or foresee

I hope I’d learn it from thee

As much as you’ll learn from me.

I close my eyes, I see you sleeping

A druid in the wee body newborn

A beautiful alien in a skin unworn

I wonder what you’re dreaming of.

(October 2019)

Photo taken from: https://www.facebook.com/artofsurrealism/photos/a.554324937922591/2599008610120870

Séamus (as it happened in a dream, 2012)

They intercepted me in a forest outside Corkey, Co. Antrim, one afternoon, with torches, one by one, although I was doing nothing other than minding my own business. She was the first to emerge, Fiona. A white dress, male-short black hair, a fist of redness on her cheeks, acute anger. She said she was looking for James and she asked me where he was, as it obviously was expected of me to know that. Then the others appeared as well. Delicate pasts, three sisters, two brothers. Michael was the eldest, a twenty-year-old. Freshly out of prison. Then Moyra, Daniel and Brigid, there it was again, the same incurable cobweb of darkness. When they turned their backs on me for a minute, on a leaf-covered slope, there weren’t a lot of trees in that spot and the sun suddenly shone more brightly, unveiling an ash-haired boy, with a slightly dirty face and a torn black jacket, and the eyes as ancient and as hard as Knocklayde. He just looked at me, then disappeared. I knew I should keep my mouth shut. In the town outside, a wooden box to be put in the ground was already underway. The people around were buzzing like tangled bees. They were angry with me. As if I’m the one who had lost James. They didn’t understand that it wasn’t him anymore for whom a cow should be taken to the shore to have her blood drawn. I started crying, but not out of sorrow.
(English translation, July 2020)

                                                                                   An Encounter, July 2020


Lay still, my child, go back to sleep
Raise your head and I’ll push you down, don’t weep
Don’t toss and turn, even if the bed should burn
Don’t dream, for dreams induce hope
Hope breeds a desire to wake up and go
But most of all - don’t grow
Remain as feeble and frail as can be
Somebody may love you someday, but today it’s not me.

Wake up, my child, open your eyes
You’ve been sleeping for far too long
Why are you walking away, are you shy?
Have I made you sad? Have I done you wrong?
How can you sleep so deep and not dream at my command?
How can you be so small so as to fit on the palm of my hand?
I tell myself I’ll feed you, yet days after I find you dead
I could tell you I love you, but it’s just my guilt talking instead.

Grow, my child, flourish, giggle and smile
Give love, be loved, dream with your eyes open wide
Soak up the world’s wonders, let songs in, let tears out
And gently I’ll lead and feed you seeds for you to sprout.
You’re already as big as a mountain, you’ll outgrow my belly soon
My womb’s too small for you, you ’re reaching for the moon
I give birth to you, arise from the blood-bedding, free to fly
And be sure that nobody can love you better than I.

"Blade Runner 2049 - St Rachel" by Lucy Færy
Image taken from http://lucyfaery.com/homages


What a hole is to a mole
Is a field to a foal
But in the hole the foal would die
And the sun-washed field hurts the mole's eyes.

What a shell is to a pearl
Is a tree branch to a bird
But in the shell the bird would smother
And the branch can't be the pearl's mother.

What a palace is to a duke
Is the ether to a spook
But the palace to the spook is a cage
And in the ether the duke can't engage.

The breast is the heart's nest
The skull is the mind's hull
But the heart keeps so many mysteries bold
More than the mind ever could fathom and hold.

Image taken from http://www.alchemywebsite.com/bookshop/herm_studies8.html

The King is Dead

The King is dead
Long live the King!
We've cut off his head
Torn out his limbs!
Plucked out his eyes
That finally he may see
So when he should cry
He'll cry inwardly.

We tore out his arms
That finally he may touch
Riches 'yond earthly charms
He once cared for too much.
We hacked off his legs
That finally he may walk
Put them on the pegs
Of the cosmic beanstalk.

We smashed his throat, burned his tongue
That finally he may converse
With the dead, from where they're hung
For his whims, devoid of a hearse.
We took out his heart
That finally he may love
We took it apart
And gave it to doves.

And in the end we chopped off his head
His body bled and bled
Fed the rivers with blood so well
But no tear for him was shed
He now is free, for we gave him wings
His flesh is now the earth's bread
(So sing:) The King is dead!
(So sing:) Long live the King!

the word

this is the word
this is the word
the word
the word.
this is the word.
this is the word.
this is
this is
the word.
this is the word.
could've been better
could've been better
could have been better
but in the beginning there was
the word
'cause in the beginning
there was the word
could've been better but
in the beginning there was the word.

this is the word.
this is the word. the word.
this is the word the word the word.
could've been better but
in the beginning there was the word.
this is the word
this is the word.
could've been better but in the beginning
there was the word
and the word it it sounded like

this is the word
the word this is the word
could've been better but in the beginning there was the word.
this is the word the word the word the word could've been better but in the beginning there was the word
this is the word.
could've been better but
in the beginning there was the word
and it sounded like

Listen to the The word on SoundCloud.