'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Thursday, October 26, 2006
Dreams of Fame
They live for their love of the days in the sun,
And then in the dark of the short summer nights.
They shimmer and glow until each day is done.
Ignore the sad lows and highlight delights.
The streets of a small rural town are so quiet,
But Dave is kept busy till each long day ends.
Drinking and looking at Jill in moonlight
Perform with the girlband she formed with her friends.
One of the band always struggles and strives
To win in a staring match with a stray cat.
In terms of careers and their long future lives
They've little desire to be this or be that.
They only aspire to be whispering words
And laughing and running and drinking and falling,
To run with the dogs or be off with the birds.
A man with the chance of a lifetime comes calling.
A manager offers to manage the band.
It's more than just fun with the promise of fame.
He tells them he's great at creating a brand.
Millions of people will know them by name.
A chance to be famous provided a mission.
They practised in sheds or in halls or on hills.
They'd outshine the town's most famous musician,
A drummer who set things on fire for the thrills.
A walk in the woods to talk to the birds,
And listen to them -- they have all the news.
Bare facts from their beaks in their song-lyric words.
Stories untainted by rose-tinted hues.
They line up in rows on telephone wires
And listen to calls, faint fuzzy voices.
They hear all the stories of cheaters and liars,
Of someone's closed eyes and of ill-advised choices.
They feel it's their duty to make Dave aware
Of a story they heard that could leave him alone.
Jill's with their manager. Her feeling's are clear.
It's love and he bought her a gold-plated phone.
One day it's August, and then it's late October.
With Christmas encroaching, approaching next year.
The distant summer days seem like skittles now knocked over.
He stands alone, surrounded by the four bare walls of here.
It's all a hazy memory, banished to the past.
Slow motion in the heather in the summer's scented ether.
Days without a notion that all this will never last.
The future held long summer days of going out to meet her.
Soon the clocks go back, a slow descent to winter.
We're deep in Mother Nature's haute couture on heather dales,
And leaves that fall in Autumn sales. Someday soon we'll enter
A time to hibernate in holes we've dug in search of grails.
She's floating away to a shiny new place.
He's stuck in his job in a pub in this town.
The further she floats away from her base,
The more he feels stuck, the more he looks down.
Electric-lit evenings and flickering lights.
There's nothing to light up the room in his mind.
No place to plug in his head on long nights.
In the pub at least some diversion he'll find.
Watching the customers racing their rats.
They all blame the drug tests for racings' delay.
The gangsta rap kids hide their youth beneath hats,
And hide from the fact that their not in LA.
Watching the rats hating their owners.
The schemers observe with their devious grin.
In dimly-lit corners the dreamers and loners
Imagine the day when they finally win.
He'd rather be blind to the bland days ahead,
Or have the real world delayed for a while,
Deluding himself with day-dreaming instead,
Like the sad loners who live in denial.
But then she returns. The band are no more.
The previous months are a brightly-lit blur.
She's lost the sparkling smile she once wore.
She tells him about all that happened to her,
Living in the clouds high above the land below,
Unable to delineate the line between the real
And the make-believe of life in the sky where a crow
Plays the role of a peacock with a great recording deal.
They all returned to earth, a sudden painful fall.
Their manager's attentions were diverted to a singer
Who only eats on weekends and she thinks her name is Paul.
She enjoys hallucinations that the lack of food can bring her.
He's sorry for her but he's glad that she's back.
He's still feeling stuck in a world that's too small.
But the place doesn't look quite as bleak or as black.
With her the day's engine won't struggle and stall.
He's glad to have someone around as he walks
The lonely by-roads on the cold afternoons.
It's not that important if neither one talks.
They listen to birds, who sing their sad tunes.
And bring to the world their stories of woe,
Tales of sad failures that all end in tears.
People who pointlessly fight with a foe.
They add year-by-year to their own store of fears.
Cheating hearts and lying heads
Meeting airborne frying pans.
Mating time in marriage beds
With strangers, or in Transit vans.
These songs seem more alive and real
Than summer songs they used to sing.
Safe and re-assured, they feel.
These tales of hurt and hardship bring
A certain warmth, a little flame
That lights their heads as day departs.
A song of shattered dreams of fame
Will speak of life and warm some hearts.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Gavin found he felt quite bored
With being dull and bland.
He loved traditional music
So he started his own band.
With a flute he bought in Lidl
And his best friend on guitar.
His brother played the fiddle,
And Jimmy had a car.
They played in pubs at weekends.
They impressed at every gig.
Sometimes they played to hundreds,
Or two people and a pig.
They hired a female singer
And acquired a new dimension.
Her voice brought songs to life.
Her boyfriend just brought tension.
He went to all the gigs,
Where could have drank or read,
But he tried to play the spoons
To the music in his head.
And the music in his head
Was always just one song:
'Back in Black' by AC/DC.
Its hold on him was strong.
Despite his contribution
They were doing very well.
They ignored his requests
To play 'Highway to Hell'.
But it started to go wrong.
Their audiences diminished.
They were outshone by a dog.
It looked like they were finished.
The dog could sing a song.
He wore a hat and shoes,
Which made him sound convincing,
A despairing canine blues.
The band saw only darkness,
But then a spark of light.
The singer and her boyfriend
Parted company one night.
She overheard him chatting up
A woman at a bar.
He said he's in the music biz.
He'd help her be a star.
He told her that his ancestors
Were Indians who fought
The cowboys in the West.
Their ways, he'd been taught.
He neglected to inform her
That he works in Burger King,
And the only man he fought
Was just impersonating Sting.
The singer said she dearly hoped
He'd take that road to hell,
And that Burger King or Indian ways
Would make him feel unwell.
Her bandmates were delighted,
And things got even better.
She filled the songs with swearing.
People liked it, so they let her.
She swore instead of crying,
Each F word like a tear.
She even made the singing dog
Seem very insincere.
Things were looking up.
The sun replaced the rain,
But her bandmates became worried
When the swearing seemed to wane.
Over time she broke away
From her ex's memory.
But she couldn't speak to swear
When she saw him on TV.
He started his own band.
For stardom he was bound.
He made young women faint
And the critics loved the sound
For its innovative mix
Of trad music with hard rock.
He appeared in magazines
Wearing nothing but a sock.
Gavin's band were angry,
But it didn't do them harm.
The singer's growing bitterness
Added to her charm.
She drank a lot at gigs.
There was venom in her swearing.
She gave those words more volume
For anyone hard of hearing.
And once she drank so much
That she got the words all wrong.
She rambled on regardless
For the rest of that slow song.
She got a sudden shock
When the song came to an end.
The crowd stood up and cheered
At the band's near-perfect blend
Of modern lyrics with old music.
Their simple song was bringing
Life to the tradition.
She remembered she'd been singing
About Mary Poppins spitting
At a poor defenceless cat,
Along with frequent swearing.
There was little more than that.
The song became a hit,
And they were all in fashion.
She continued with the swearing
But it lacked the drink-fuelled passion.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Lowery in the Snow
Mr. Lowery lives at the end
Of a street at the heart of a quiet neighbourhood
That's made up of people who'd happily lend
A shovel or saw or a shoe if they could.
Lowery likes to read telephone books.
Thousands of characters leap off the page.
Some are the heroes, some are just crooks.
He'd like to see it adapted for stage.
Within his own house he walks far and wide.
He needs to be walking to think and form words.
He does this indoors, not when he's outside,
Where most of his thoughts are brought by small birds.
Lowery recently visited space.
One of his friends made a ship that went up.
He saw the blue beauty of his earthly base.
He looked on in awe at his floating tea cup.
He stopped on a planet to go for a walk.
The aliens he met had a welcoming look.
All were quite eager to hear Lowery talk.
He read the O'Briens from the telephone book.
They listened with interest and awe in their eyes,
Wondering where this odd story would go.
He built up the tension and sense of surprise.
With dramatic effect he revealed the ninth Joe.
He got a warm send-off when he left for home.
His landing was aided by sliding on dirt.
He smiled at the welcome from his garden gnome.
But something was missing from his life on earth.
He missed the applause and respect that he got
From alien friends he can no longer see.
The phone book itself seemed so lifeless and not
The thrilling adventure it once used to be.
He tried to recite it outside in the sun
For birds who would have preferred to be fed.
He hoped that a crowd would re-capture the fun,
But the birds showed no interest in what Lowery said.
Not one of them perched on his shoulder or hat
To listen to him or to bring a new thought.
Some only looked at a sleeping stray cat.
Some fell asleep and some of them fought.
With an empty heart and nothing to think,
He went to the pub and he sat at the bar.
He met his friend Kelly who bought him a drink.
With one or two more they'd forget where they are.
Kelly could talk the hind legs off a donkey,
And depress the head off a horse without haste.
His story about a late night with the wrong key
Made human endeavour seem like such a waste.
Lowery left and stepped out in the dark.
The streets in the city were empty of people,
And silent apart from an occasional bark.
The city skyline was lit up by a steeple.
He stopped at the top of a very steep hill.
A snow flake fell on the ground at his feet.
He looked up above, and despite the cold chill,
In his mind and heart he felt only heat.
He saw all the snow flakes as aliens descending,
Each one unique with a name and a number,
Enacting the phone book's start, middle and ending,
Floating to earth and into sweet slumber.
The aliens came here to perform this great play.
He walked through the streets in a white winter world.
The aliens expressed things that no one could say.
The phone book's mysterious appeal was unfurled.
Characters emerged when snow men were made.
People looked on at the alien's design.
The streets teemed with life and attention was paid
To each twist and turn in the snow's storyline.
Lowery left on a natural high.
His love for the phone book continues to grow.
He reads it again and remembers with joy
A beautiful, magical night in the snow.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
('Bertie' is Bertie Ahern, our Taoiseach (Prime Minister), who recently admitted to receiving a 'loan' from friends in the early 90s when he was the Minister for Finance and in financial trouble. He also received 8000 pounds from a group of businessmen in Manchester, which was a 'goodwill gesture'. A 'cute hoor' is someone with a bit of cunning, someone who'll cunningly disguise their cunning behind words like 'cute' and 'hoor').
Fate and the future are lighter than air.
It's the weight of the past that we all have to bear.
There's only one thing we can certainly state
About the near-future and its good friend fate:
Their days are numbered. Neither will last.
They'll both climb the fence to be part of the past,
And add to the weight behind this present fence.
They could use the gate if they had any sense.
You can't live without the bad slips and the lapse,
The ill-advised steps and financial mis-haps.
Bertie's own past is collapsing his present,
Preventing pretense as the stout-drinking peasant.
And casting strong doubt on his future as leader.
The country's cute hoors know their all-purpose weeder
Could take out the Taoiseach and tell him to bike it,
And take out themselves if the public don't like it.
With hindsight we'd eliminate the blindspot that blots out
The light that illuminates the right path and ends doubt.
Embarrassments wouldn't be told in a fable
To warn about drinks with giant rats on the label.
I once wrote a song about people who diet,
Who eat fancy health food right after they fry it.
I sang that there's not much that's funnier than fat knees,
And compared many people to unreformed Nazis.
These uncensored lyrics and Nazi remarks
Were soon to be pounced on by cynics and sharks.
They played me a song that I wrote, and it stated
In high moral tones that I always have hated
Those people who laugh at the way people look,
And ridicule based on a mental rule book.
To laugh at the fat is to say you're a bore.
I said they were Nazis right down to the core.
But I got off the hook -- it's one of my talents.
I never said sorry but I did bring some balance.
I stood up with style and such grace when I fell.
I admitted to being a Nazi as well.
With hindsight I might not have written those songs.
Millions of people have musical wrongs.
They once pictured fortune and fame that was vast.
They got TV talent show weights in their past.
How many people regret that they did it?
Exposing their talent when they could have hid it,
Expressing a need to be known to a stranger,
As big as that kid who was born in a manger.
All politicians are now Simon Cowells.
The Sharons are harder to spot than barn owls.
Hide in the trees with your bird-watching gear,
And stay there for nine or ten months or a year.
You won't see a Sharon or Paula around,
And you might face arrest when you get to the ground.
The Simons are even more common than crows.
It's easy to see them on their TV shows.
They spend their time judging the other crow clowns,
Composing their moments of wit and put-downs.
Their past feels so light. It's full of themselves,
Making kids' toys with exuberant elves,
And not being a crow or a crook or a fool.
But this is all part of democracy's rule.
If they were all Hitlers we'd head for the door.
Though I've probably called them all Nazis before.