I want to laugh at death
But I can’t
But I can laugh at myself long enough to love you
~Ariana Reines [buy]
The New Day (1876) (Henry Marsh)
“Living Among the Dead”
There is another world,
but it is in this one.
First there were those who died
before I was born.
It was as if they had just left
and their shadows would
slip out after them
under the door so recently closed
the air in its path was still
swirling to rest.
Some of the furniture came from them,
I was told, and one day
I opened two chests
of drawers to learn what the dead kept.
But it was when I learned to read
that I began always
to live among the dead.
I remember Rapunzel,
the improved animals
in the Just-So Stories, and a flock
of birds that saved themselves
from a hunter by flying in place
in the shape of a tree,
their wings imitating the whisk
of wind in the leaves.
My sons and I are like some wine
the dead have already bottled.
They wish us well, but there is nothing
they can do for us.
Sebastian cries in his sleep,
I bring him into my bed,
talk to him, rub his back.
To help his sons live easily
among the dead is a father´s great work.
Now Sebastian drifts, soon he´ll sleep.
We can almost hear the dead
breathing. They sound like water
under a ship at sea.
To love the dead is easy.
They are final, perfect.
But to love a child
is sometimes to fail at love
while the dead look on
with their abstract sorrow.
To love a child is to turn
away from the patient dead.
It is to sleep carefully
in case he cries.
Later, when my sons are grown
among their own dead, I can
dive easily into sleep and loll
among the coral of my dreams
growing on themselves
until at the end
I almost never dream of anyone,
except my sons,
who is still alive.
~William Matthews [buy]
Where Are We Now? (2013) (David Bowie) [Tony Oursler, director]
“Carjack victim recounts his harrowing night”
The 26-year-old Chinese entrepreneur had just pulled his new Mercedes to the curb on Brighton Avenue to answer a text when an old sedan swerved behind him, slamming on the brakes. A man in dark clothes got out and approached the passenger window. It was nearly 11 p.m. last Thursday.
The man rapped on the glass, speaking quickly. Danny, unable to hear him, lowered the window — and the man reached an arm through, unlocked the door, and climbed in, brandishing a silver handgun.
‘Don’t be stupid,’ he told Danny. He asked if he had followed the news about Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings. Danny had, down to the release of the grainy suspect photos less than six hours earlier.
‘I did that,’ said the man, who would later be identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev. ‘And I just killed a policeman in Cambridge.’
He ordered Danny to drive — right on Fordham Road, right again on Commonwealth Avenue — the beginning of an achingly slow odyssey last Thursday night and Friday morning in which Danny felt the possibility of death pressing on him like a vise.
In an exclusive interview with the Globe on Thursday, Danny — the victim of the Tsarnaev brothers’ much-discussed but previously little-understood carjacking — filled in some of the last missing pieces in the timeline between the murder of MIT police officer Sean Collier, just before 10:30 p.m. on April 18, and the Watertown shootout that ended just before 1 a.m. Danny asked that he be identified only by his American nickname.
The story of that night unfolds like a Tarantino movie, bursts of harrowing action laced with dark humor and dialogue absurd for its ordinariness, reminders of just how young the men in the car were. Girls, credit limits for students, the marvels of the Mercedes ML 350 and the iPhone 5, whether anyone still listens to CDs — all were discussed by the two 26-year-olds and the 19-year-old driving around on a Thursday night.
Danny described 90 harrowing minutes, first with the younger brother following in a second car, then with both brothers in the Mercedes, where they openly discussed driving to New York, though Danny could not make out if they were planning another attack. Throughout the ordeal, he did as they asked while silently analyzing every threatened command, every overheard snatch of dialogue for clues about where and when they might kill him.
‘Death is so close to me,’ Danny recalled thinking. His life had until that moment seemed ascendant, from a province in central China to graduate school at Northeastern University to a Kendall Square start-up.
‘I don’t want to die,’ he thought. ‘I have a lot of dreams that haven’t come true yet.’
After a zigzagging trek through Brighton, Watertown, and back to Cambridge, Danny would seize his chance for escape at the Shell Station on Memorial Drive, his break turning on two words — ‘cash only’ — that had rarely seemed so welcome.
When the younger brother, Dzhokhar, was forced to go inside the Shell Food Mart to pay, older brother Tamerlan put his gun in the door pocket to fiddle with a navigation device — letting his guard down briefly after a night on the run. Danny then did what he had been rehearsing in his head. In a flash, he unbuckled his seat belt, opened the door, stepped through, slammed it behind, and sprinted off at an angle that would be a hard shot for any marksman.
‘F—-!’ he heard Tamerlan say, feeling the rush of a near-miss grab at his back, but the man did not follow. Danny reached the haven of a Mobil station across the street, seeking cover in the supply room, shouting for the clerk to call 911.
His quick-thinking escape, authorities say, allowed police to swiftly track down the Mercedes, abating a possible attack by the brothers on New York City and precipitating a wild shootout in Watertown that would seriously wound one officer, kill Tamerlan, and leave a severely injured Dzhokhar hiding in the neighborhood. He was caught the following night, ending a harrowing week across Greater Boston.
Danny spoke softly but steadily in a 2 1/2 hour interview at his Cambridge apartment with a Globe reporter and a Northeastern criminology professor, James Alan Fox, who had counseled Danny after the former graduate student approached his engineering adviser at Northeastern.
Danny, who offered his account only on the condition that the Globe not reveal his Chinese name, said he does not want attention. But he suspects his full name may come out if and when he testifies against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
‘I don’t want to be a famous person talking on the TV,’ Danny said, kneading his hands, uncomfortable with the praise he has received from the few friends he has shared the story with, some of whom encouraged him to go public. ‘I don’t feel like a hero. … I was trying to save myself.’
Danny, trained as an engineer, made scrupulous mental notes of street signs and passing details, even as he abided the older Tsarnaev’s command not to study his face.
‘Don’t look at me!’ Tamerlan shouted at one point. ‘Do you remember my face?’
‘No, no, I don’t remember anything,’ he said.
Tamerlan laughed. ‘It’s like white guys, they look at black guys and think all black guys look the same,’ he said. ‘And maybe you think all white guys look the same.’
‘Exactly,’ Danny said, though he thought nothing of the sort. It was one of many moments in their mental chess match, Danny playing up his outsider status in America and playing down his wealth — he claimed the car was older than it was, and he understated his lease payments — in a desperate hope of extending his life.
Danny had come to the US in 2009 for a master’s degree, graduated in January 2012, and returned to China to await a work visa. He came back two months ago, leasing a Mercedes and moving into a high-rise with two Chinese friends while diving into a startup. But he told Tamerlan he was still a student, and that he had been here barely a year. It seemed to help that Tamerlan had trouble understanding even Danny’s pronunciation of the word ‘China.’
‘Oh, that’s why your English is not very good,’ the brother replied, finally figuring it out. ‘OK, you’re Chinese … I’m a Muslim.’
‘Chinese are very friendly to Muslims!’ Danny said. ‘We are so friendly to Muslims.’
When the ordeal had started, Danny prayed it would be a quick robbery. Tamerlan demanded money, but Danny had just $45 in cash — kept in the armrest — and a wallet full of plastic. Evidently disappointed to get so little out of holding up a $50,000 car, he told Danny to drive. The old sedan followed.
‘Relax,’ Tamerlan said, when Danny’s nerves made it hard for him to stay in the lane. Danny, recalling the moment, said ‘my heart is pounding so fast.’
They lapped Brighton and crossed the Charles River into Watertown, following Arsenal Street. Looking through Danny’s wallet, Tamerlan asked for his ATM code — a friend’s birthdate.
Directed to a quiet neighborhood in East Watertown, Danny pulled up as told on an unfamiliar side street. The sedan stopped behind him. A man approached — the skinnier, floppy-haired ‘Suspect No. 2’ in the photos and videos released by investigators earlier that evening — and Tamerlan got out, ordering Danny into the passenger seat, making it clear if he tried anything he would shoot him. For several minutes, the brothers transferred heavy objects from the smaller car into Danny’s SUV. ‘Luggage,’ Danny thought.
With Tamerlan driving now, Danny in the passenger seat, and Dzhokhar behind Danny, they stopped in Watertown Center so Dzhokhar could withdraw money from the Bank of America ATM using Danny’s card. Danny, shivering from fear but claiming to be cold, asked for his jacket. Guarded by just one brother, Danny wondered if this was his chance, but he saw around him only locked storefronts. A police car drove by, lights off.
Tamerlan agreed to retrieve Danny’s jacket from the back seat. Danny unbuckled, put on the jacket, then tried to buckle the seatbelt behind him to make an escape easier.
‘Don’t do that,’ Tamerlan said, studying him. ‘Don’t be stupid.’
Danny thought about his burgeoning startup and about a girl he secretly liked in New York. ‘I think, ‘Oh my god, I have no chance to meet you again,’ ’ he recalled.
Dzhokhar was back now. ‘We both have guns,’ Tamerlan said, though Danny had not seen a second weapon.
He overheard them speak in a foreign language — ‘Manhattan’ the only intelligible word to him — and then ask in English if Danny’s car could be driven out of state. ‘What do you mean?’ Danny said, confused. ‘Like New York,’ one of the brothers said.
They continued west on Route 20, in the direction of Waltham and Interstate 95, passing a police station. Danny tried to send telepathic messages to the officers inside, imagined dropping and rolling from the moving car.
Tamerlan asked him to turn on and demonstrate the radio. The older brother then quickly flipped through stations, seemingly avoiding the news. He asked if Danny had any CDs. No, he replied, he listens to music on his phone. The tank nearly empty, they stopped at a gas station, but the pumps were closed.
Doubling back, they returned to the Watertown neighborhood — ‘Fairfield Street,’ Danny saw on the sign this time — and grabbed a few more things from the parked car, but nothing from the trunk. They put on an instrumental CD that sounded to Danny like a call to prayer.
Suddenly, Danny’s iPhone buzzed. A text from his roommate, wondering in Chinese where he was. Barking at Danny for instructions, Tamerlan used an English-to-Chinese app to text a clunky reply. ‘I am sick. I am sleeping in a friend’s place tonight.’ In a moment, another text, then a call. No one answered. Seconds later, the phone rang again.
‘If you say a single word in Chinese, I will kill you right now,’ Tamerlan said. Danny understood. His roommate’s boyfriend was on the other end, speaking Mandarin. ‘I’m sleeping in my friend’s home tonight,’ Danny replied in English. ‘I have to go.’
‘Good boy,’ Tamerlan said. ‘Good job.’
The SUV headed for the lights of Soldiers Field Road, banking across River Street to the two open gas stations. Dzhokhar went to fill up using Danny’s credit card, but quickly knocked on the window. ‘Cash only,’ he said, at least at that hour. Tamerlan peeled off $50.
Danny watched Dzhokhar head to the store, struggling to decide if this was his moment — until he stopped thinking about it, and let reflexes kick in.
‘I was thinking I must do two things: unfasten my seatbelt and open the door and jump out as quick as I can. If I didn’t make it, he would kill me right out, he would kill me right away,’ Danny said. ‘I just did it. I did it very fast, using my left hand and right hand simultaneously to open the door, unfasten my seatbelt, jump out…and go.’
The car faced west, upriver. Danny sprinted between the passenger side of the Mercedes and the pumps and darted into the street, not looking back, drawn to the lights of the Mobil.
‘I didn’t know if it was open or not,’ he said. ‘In that moment, I prayed.’
The brothers took off. The clerk, after brief confusion, dialed 911 on a portable phone, bringing it to Danny in the storeroom. The dispatcher told him to take a deep breath. The officers, arriving in minutes, took his story — with Danny noting that the car could be tracked by his iPhone and by a two-way Mercedes satellite system known as mbrace. The clerk gave him a bottled water.
After an hour or more talking to authorities — as the shootout and manhunt erupted in Watertown — police brought Danny out to East Watertown for a ‘drive-by lineup,’ studying faces of detained suspects in the street from the safety of a cruiser. He recognized none of them. He spent the night talking to local and state police and the FBI, appreciating the kindness of a state trooper who gave him a bagel and coffee. At 3 the next afternoon, they dropped Danny back in Cambridge.
‘I think, Tamerlan is dead, I feel good, obviously safer. But the younger brother — I don’t know,’ Danny recalled thinking, wondering if Dzhokhar had discovered his address and would come looking for him. But the police knew the wallet and registration were still in the bullet-riddled Mercedes, and that a wounded Dzhokhar had likely not gotten very far. That night, they found him in a boat.
When news of the capture broke last Friday, Danny’s roommate called out to him from in front of the living room television. Danny was on the phone at the time, talking to the girl in New York.
~Eric Moskowitz [source]
Boston Marathon Surveillance Video (2013) (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
“The More a Man Has the More a Man Wants”
At four in the morning he wakes
to the yawn of brakes,
the snore of a diesel engine.
Gone. All she left
is a froth of bra and panties.
The scum of the Seine
and the Farset.
Gallogly squats in his own pelt.
A sodium street light
has brought a new dimension
to their black taxi.
By the time they force an entry
he’ll have skedaddled
among hen runs and pigeon lofts.
The charter flight from Florida
touched down at Aldergrove
at 3.54 a.m.
Its excess baggage takes the form
of Mangas Jones, Esquire,
who is, as it turns out, Apache.
He carries only hand luggage.
‘Anything to declare?’
He opens the powder-blue attaché-
case. ‘A pebble of quartz.’
‘You’re an Apache?’ ‘Mescalero.’
He follows the corridor’s
arroyo till the signs read Hertz.
He is going to put his foot down
on a patch of waste ground
along the Stranmillis embankment
when he gets wind
of their impromptu fire.
The air above the once-sweet stream
And six, maybe seven, skinheads
have formed a quorum
round a burnt-out heavy-duty tyre.
So intent on sniffing glue
they may not notice Gallogly,
or, if they do, are so far gone.
Three miles west as the crow flies
an all-night carry-out
provides the cover
for an illegal drinking club.
While the bar man unpacks a crate
one cool customer
takes on all comers in a video game.
He grasps what his two acolytes
have failed to seize.
Don’t they know what kind of take-away
this is, the glipes?
He drops his payload of napalm.
Gallogly is wearing a candy-stripe
a little something he picked up
off a clothes line.
He is driving a milk van
he borrowed from the Belfast Co-op
while the milkman’s back
He had given the milkman a playful
When he stepped on the gas
he flooded the street
with broken glass.
He is trying to keep a low profile.
The unmarked police car draws level
with his last address.
A sergeant and eight constables
pile out of a tender
and hammer up the stairs.
The street bristles with static.
Their sniffer dog, a Labrador bitch,
bursts into the attic
like David Balfour in Kidnapped.
A constable on his first dawn swoop
leans on a shovel.
He has turned over a
new leaf in her ladyship’s herb patch.
They’ll take it back for analysis.
All a bit much after the night shift
to meet a milkman
who’s double-parked his van
closing your front door after him.
He’s sporting your
Donegal tweed suit and your
Sunday shoes and politely raises your
hat as he goes by.
You stand there with your mouth open
as he climbs into the still-warm
driving seat of your Cortina
and screeches off towards the motorway,
leaving you uncertain
of your still-warm wife’s damp tuft.
Someone on their way to early Mass
will find her hog-tied
to the chapel gates—
O Child of Prague-
The lesson for today
is pinned to her bomber jacket.
It seems to read Keep off the Grass.
Her lovely head has been chopped
For Beatrice, whose fathers
knew Louis Quinze,
to have come to this, her perruque
of tar and feathers.
He is pushing the maroon Cortina
through the sedge
on the banks of the Callan.
It took him a mere forty minutes
to skite up the Ml.
He followed the exit sign
for Loughgall and hared
among the top-heavy apple orchards.
This stretch of the Armagh/Tyrone
border was planted by Warwickshiremen
who planted in turn
their familiar quick-set damson hedges.
The Cortina goes to the bottom.
Gallogly swallows a plummy-plum-plum.
‘I’ll warrant them’s the very pair
o’ boys I seen abroad
in McParland’s bottom, though where
in under God—
for thou art so possessed with murd’rous hate—
where they come from God only knows.’
‘They were mad for a bite o’ mate,
‘I doubt so. I come across a brave dale
o’ half-chawed damsels. Wanst wun disappeared
I follied the wun as yelly as Indy male.’
‘Ye weren’t afeared?’
‘I follied him.’ ‘God save us.’
‘An’ he driv away in a van belongin’ t’Avis.’
The grass sprightly as Astroturf
in the September frost
and a mist
here where the ground is low
He seizes his own wrist
as if, as if
Blind Pew again seized Jim
at the sign of the ‘Admiral Benbow’.
As if Jim Hawkins led Blind Pew
to Billy Bones
and they were all one and the same,
he stares in disbelief
at an aspirin-white spot he pressed
into his own palm.
Gallogly’s thorn-proof tweed jacket
is now several sizes too big.
He has flopped
down in a hay shed
to ram a wad of hay into the toe
of each of his ill-fitting
brogues, when he gets the drift
of ham and eggs.
Now he’s led by his own wet nose
to the hacienda-style
farmhouse, a baggy-kneed animated
bear drawn out of the woods
by an apple pie
left to cool on a windowsill.
She was standing at the picture window
with a glass of water
and a Valium
when she caught your man
in the reflection of her face.
shaping past the milking parlour
as if he owned the place.
Such is the integrity
of their quarrel
that she immediately took down
the legally held shotgun
and let him have both barrels.
She had wanted only to clear the air.
Half a mile away across the valley
her husband’s U.D.R. patrol
is mounting a check-point.
He pricks up his ears
at the crack
of her prematurely arthritic hip-
and commandeers one of the jeeps.
There now, only a powder burn
as if her mascara had run.
The bloody puddle
in the yard, and the shilly-shally
of blood like a command wire
petering out behind a milk churn.
A hole in the heart, an ovarian
Coming up the Bann
in a bubble.
Disappearing up his own bum.
Or, running on the spot
with all the minor aplomb
of a trick-cyclist.
So thin, side-on, you could spit
His six foot of pump water
in agony or laughter.
Keeping down-wind of everything.
White Annetts. Gillyflowers. Angel Bites.
When he names the forgotten names
he has them all off pat.
His eye like the eye of a travelling rat
lights on the studied negligence
of these scraws of turf.
A tarpaulin. A waterlogged pit.
He will take stock of the Kalashnikov’s
filed-down serial number,
seven sticks of unstable
that have already begun to weep.
Red Strokes. Sugar Sweet. Widows Whelps.
Buy him a drink and he’ll regale you
with how he came in for a cure
one morning after the night before
to the Las Vegas Lounge and Cabaret.
He was crossing the bar’s
eternity of parquet floor
when his eagle eye
saw something move on the horizon.
If it wasn’t an Indian.
A Sioux. An ugly Sioux.
He means, of course, an Oglala
Sioux busily tracing the family tree
of an Ulsterman who had some hand
in the massacre at Wounded Knee.
He will answer the hedge-sparrow’s
with a whole bunch
of freshly picked watercress,
a bulb of garlic,
with many-faceted blackberries.
Gallogly is out to lunch.
When his cock rattles its sabre
he takes it in his dab
hand, plants one chaste kiss
on its forelock,
and then, with a birl and a skirl,
tosses it off like a caber.
The U.D.R. corporal had come off duty
to be with his wife
while the others set about
a follow-up search.
When he tramped out just before twelve
to exercise the greyhound
he was hit by a single high-velocity
You could, if you like, put your fist
in the exit wound
in his chest.
in the spume of his own arterial blood
like an overturned paraffin lamp.
Gallogly lies down in the sheugh
through a Beauty of
Bath. He repeats himself, Bath,
under his garlic-breath.
Sheugh, he says. Sheugh.
He is finding that first ‘sh’
increasingly difficult to manage.
Sh-leeps. A milkmaid sinks
her bare foot
to the ankle
in a simmering dung hill
and fills the slot
with beastlings for him to drink.
In Ovid’s conspicuously tongue-in-cheek
account of an eyeball
between the goddess Leto
and a shower of Lycian reed cutters
who refuse her a cup of cloudy
from their churned-up lake,
Live then forever in that lake of yours,
she cries, and has them
and plonk themselves down as bullfrogs
In their icy jissom.
A country man kneels on his cap
beside his neighbour’s fresh
as Gallogly kneels to lap
The knees of his hand-me-down duds
A pernickety seven-
parades in her mother’s trousseau
and mumbles a primrose
to make sure her lipstick’s even.
Gallogly has only to part the veil
of its stomach wall
to get right under the skin,
the spluttering heart
and collapsed lung,
of the horse in Guernica.
He flees the Museum of Modern Art
with its bit between his teeth.
When he began to cough
blood, Hamsun rode the Minneapolis/
New York night train
on top of the dining-car.
One long, inward howl.
A porter-drinker without a thrapple.
A weekend trip to the mountains
north of Boston
with Alice, Alice A.
and her paprika hair,
the ignition key
to her family’s Winnebago camper,
biting the leg off her.
In the oyster bar
of Grand Central Station
she gobbles a dozen Chesapeakes—
‘Oh, I’m not particular as to size’—
and, with a flourish of Tabasco,
turns to gobble him.
A brewery lorry on a routine delivery
is taking a slow,
The driver’s blethering
his code name
over the Citizens Band
when someone ambles
in front of him. Go, Johnny, go, go, go.
He’s been dry-gulched
by a sixteen-year-old numb
whose face is masked by the seamless
black stocking filched
from his mum.
When who should walk in but Beatrice,
large as life, or larger,
sipping her one glass of lager
and singing her one song.
If he had it to do all over again
he would let her shave his head
in memory of ‘98
and her own, the French, Revolution.
The son of the King of the Moy
met this child on the Roxborough
estate. Noblesse, she said. Noblesse
oblige. And her tiny nipples
were bruise-bluish, wild raspberries.
The song she sang was ‘The Croppy Boy’.
Her grand’mère was once asked to tea
by Gertrude Stein,
and her grand’mère and Gertrude
and Alice B., chère Alice B.
with her hook-nose,
the three of them sat in the nude
round the petits fours
and repeated Eros is Eros is Eros.
If he had it to do all over again
he would still be taken in
by her Alice B. Toklas
and those new words she had him learn:
hash, hashish, lo perfido assassin.
Once the local councillor straps
himself into the safety belt
of his Citroën
and skids up the ramp
from the municipal car park
he upsets the delicate balance
of a mercury-tilt
Once they collect his smithereens
he doesn’t quite add up.
They’re shy of a foot, and a calf
from his left shoe like a severely
Ten years before. The smooth-as-a
front-lawn at Queen’s
where she squats
before a psilocybin god.
The indomitable gentle-bush
that had Lanyon or Lynn
revise their elegant ground plan
for the university quad.
With calmness, with care,
with breast milk, with dew.
There’s no cure now.
There’s nothing left to do.
The mushrooms speak through her.
‘Oh, I’m not particular as to size,’
Alice hastily replied
and broke off a bit of the edge
with each hand
and set to work very carefully,
first at one
and then the other.
On the Staten Island ferry
two men are dickering
over the price
of a shipment of Armalites,
as Henry Thoreau was wont to quibble
with Ralph Waldo Emerson.
That last night in the Algonquin
he met with a flurry
the assorted shades
of Wolfe Tone, Napper Tandy,
brandishing his blackthorn.
Then Thomas Meagher
darts up from the Missouri
on a ray
of the morning star
to fiercely ask
what has become of Irish hurling.
Everyone has heard the story of
a strong and beautiful bug
which came out of the dry leaf
of an old table of apple-tree wood
in a farmer’s kitchen in Massachusetts
and which was heard gnawing out
for several weeks—
When the phone trills
he is careful not to lose his page—
Who knows what beautiful and winged life
has been buried for ages
may unexpectedly come forth? ‘Tell-tale.’
Gallogly carries a hunting bow
with a bow sight
and a quiver
of hunting arrows
belonging to her brother.
Alice has gone a little way off
to do her job.
A timber wolf,
or merely a trick of the light?
an arrow into the undergrowth.
Had you followed the river Callan’s
through the worst drought
in living memory
to the rains of early Autumn
when it scrubs its swollen,
under a bridge, the bridge you look down from,
you would be unlikely to pay much heed
to yet another old banger
no one could be bothered to tax,
or a beat-up fridge
well-stocked with gelignite,
or some five hundred yards of Cortex.
He lopes after the dribs of blood
through the pine forest
till they stop dead
in the ruins of a longhouse
Somehow, he finds his way
back to their tent.
Not so much as a whiff of her musk.
The girl behind the Aer Lingus
is wearing the same scent
and an embroidered capital letter A
on her breast.
Was she Aurora, or the goddess Flora,
Artemidora, or Venus bright,
or Helen fair beyond compare
that Priam stole from the Grecian sight?
Quite modestly she answered me
and she gave her head one fetch up
and she said I am gathering musheroons
to make my mammy ketchup.
The dunt and dunder
of a culvert-bomb
as it might have woke Leander.
And she said I am gathering musheroons
to make my mammy ketchup O.
Predictable as the gift of the gab
or a drop of the craythur
he noses round the six foot deep
Oblivious to their Landrover’s
and the Burgundy berets
of a snatch-squad of Paratroopers.
Gallogly, or Gollogly,
otherwise known as Golightly,
otherwise known as Ingoldsby,
otherwise known as English,
gives forth one low cry of anguish
and agrees to come quietly.
They have bundled him into the cell
for a strip-
on the balls of his toes, my my,
with his legs spread
till both his instep arches
He holds himself at arm’s
length from the brilliantly Snowcem-ed
wall, a game bird
hung by its pinion tips
till it drops, in the fullness of time,
from the mast its colours are nailed to.
They have left him to cool his heels
after the obligatory
the mug shots, fingerprints
He plumps the thin bolster
at the slop bucket.
From the A Wing of Armagh jail
he can make out
the Angelus bell
of St Patrick’s cathedral
and a chorus of ‘For God and Ulster’.
The brewery lorry’s stood at a list
by the Las Vegas
throughout the afternoon,
its off-side rear tyres down.
As yet, no one has looked agog
at the smuts and rusts
of a girlie mag
in disarray on the passenger seat.
An almost invisible, taut
runs from the Playmate’s navel
to a pivotal
As yet, no one has risen to the bait.
I saw no mountains, no enormous spaces,
no magical growth and metamorphosis
of buildings, nothing remotely like
a drama or a parable
in which he dons these lime-green dungarees,
a green helmet of aspect terrible.
The other world to which mescalin
admitted me was not the world of visions;
it existed out there, in what I could see
with my eyes open.
He straps a chemical pack on his back
and goes in search of some Gawain.
Gallogly pads along the block
to raise his visor
at the first peep-hole.
takes in her lean piglet’s
back, the back
and boyish hams
of a girl at stool.
At last. A tiny goat’s-pill.
A stub of crayon
with which she has squiggled
a shamrock, yes,
but a shamrock after the school
of Pollock, Jackson Pollock.
I stopped and stared at her face to face
and on the spot a name came to me,
a name with a smooth, nervous sound:
When she was very close
I drew myself up straight
and said in an impressive voice,
‘Miss, you are losing your book.’
And Beatrice, for it is she, she squints
through the spy-hole
to pass him an orange,
an Outspan orange some visitor has spiked
with a syringe-ful
The more a man has the more a man wants,
the same I don’t think true.
For I never met a man with one black eye
who ever wanted two.
In the Las Vegas Lounge and Cabaret
the resident group—
pot bellies, Aran knits—
have you eating out of their hands.
Never throw a brick at a drowning man
when you’re near to a grocer’s store.
Just throw him a cake of Sunlight soap,
let him wash himself ashore.
You will act the galoot, and gallivant,
and call for another encore.
Gallogly, Gallogly, O Gallogly
his name like an orange
between his outsize baseball glove
a moon that’s just out of range
beyond the perimeter wall.
He works a gobbet of Brylcreem
into his quiff
through sand and gravel,
shrugging it off
his velveteen shoulders and arms.
Into a picture by Edward Hopper
of a gas station
in the Midwest
where Hopper takes as his theme
light, the spooky
glow of an illuminated sign
reading Esso or Mobil
into such a desolate oval
ride two youths on a motorbike.
A hand gun. Balaclavas.
The pump attendant’s grown so used
to hold-ups he calls after them:
Beannacht Dé ar an obair.
The pump attendant’s not to know
he’s being watched by a gallowglass
hot-foot from a woodcut
who skips across the forecourt
and kicks the black
they left as a memento.
Nor is the gallowglass any the wiser.
The bucket’s packed with fertilizer
and a heady brew
of sugar and Paraquat’s
relentlessly gnawing its way through
the floppy knot of a Durex.
It was this self-same pump attendant
who dragged the head and torso
and mouthed an Act of Contrition
in the frazzled ear
those already-famous last words
Moose … Indian.
‘Next of all wus the han’.’ ‘Be Japers.’
‘The sodgers cordonned-off the area
wi’ what-ye-may-call-it tape.’
‘Lunimous.’ ‘They foun’ this hairy
han’ wi’ a drowneded man’s grip
on a lunimous stone no bigger than a …’
~Paul Muldoon [buy]