Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fucking Reply to Fucking Prole's Fucking Poetry Editor

Originally a response to a s/m FB photo-update prefaced by the words above it, reprinted below; from the mind of Prole poetry and prose magazine's co-founder, publisher, and Poetry Editor, Brett Evans, writing from Abergele, on the North Wales coast.

Only for the fuckwits - you know who you are: those sharing Britain First posts and banging on about if foreigners want to be in the UK they should 'learn the fucking language' - well, it's a fucking school day.
Not that I expect you to have read this far. Well done if you have - yes, that was meant as patronising as it reads.


The most inventive repetitive use of the word fuck that I ever witnessed was at the National Student Drama Festival, Spring 2003, to the background of the Iraq invasion, watching tellies of 'us' going all in on the major invasion and diet of smart-bombs. Shock and Awe.

Khalid Abdalla and Cressida Trew in the Cambridge Footlights version of Bedbound, by Dublin playwright, Enda Walsh. Abdalla was truly mesmeric in the role of the father of a paralysed girl. The set was a cube, that when the audience was seated, wondering what was going on - a cube onstage - the wall facing the audience fell down. And this ingenious use of cramped bed-set of a girl and her dad sitting on it, with both taking turns doing their monologues, was a key element in the successful telling of a story by nothing but the use of hyper-real prose-poetic lingo. 

The father recounting his past as a ruthless furniture salesman who conquered Cork, at the expense of his daughter and her health.

Abdalla is such a brilliant actor, as his starring roles in the film of the book, The Kite Runner, and his debut Hollywood critical smash and classic thriller, United 93, attest - that I wondered if he was an Irish actor. For thirty or so seconds until it became apparent it was not an authentic Irish voice. By which time it did not matter a jot because the language was so gorgeously earthy, and everything one associates with the corporeal elementary and profoundly poetic Irish voice - we'd been grabbed hold of and were on a magic carpet journey powered by unadulterated linguistic joy alone. With nowt but creative faery dust and artistic verbal twinkle.

He had an animal magnetism and it was no surprise he got nominated for an Academy Award, and such was his acting, I was surprised to discover his parents are Egyptian dissidents, and Abdallah, eight years later, became one of the central English language media figures documenting from Tahir Square; living in Cairo and bringing his gifts as a filmmaker to the process of the Egyptian Revolution. At the time, watching him onstage, such was his natural physical ability I thought i was watching an actor as Celtic/Irish/Scot/Welsh as myself, to look at.

The opening. A man on a bed, in it is his daughter:

fuking hell fucking hell fuck fuck fuck Jesus fuck!!!

fucking hell!!


On the bed. I can feel that blanket wrapped around me like a sea; and me a little shrimpways underneath.

Feel them wrapped around me bony body ribs making me stay in bed.

Squeeze me lungs out of me gob and making me shout: 'Fucking hell Maxie, get out of bed, you're late!'

I swing me legs out of the bed already running I run inta tha jacks.

There's me big brother Jerry on the jacks having an early morning crap! I smack him a left hook!! Shamck!!

He hits the ground like the sack of shit he is! 'I'll deal with you later kiddo!'

Splish splash run the tap get scrubbing me face!

Look in the miror at the fifteen year-old me looking back! 'Gotta get to work, Maxie! only fifteen minutes to save planet Earth, Flash!' Spin back to the bedroom and into a suit!! A bit of damp from washing it last night but fuck it! Isn't it always damp from the late night wash!?

Have ta be clean! Gotta get going! Inta the wet shirt! On with the damp suit! Jesus I'm the smart one! Sharp is what I am!!

Outta my smelly hole gaffe, the stink of the hot sweet milk in the air, a breakfast puke! A family of lazy fucks huddled around the electric heater like laboratory rats, I leave the fucks behind. Shame shame!! Fucking shame!! I'm at the bus-stop! Bus stops and I'm on! The usual faces stuck in their morning sleep! 'Great workers of Ireland! Is it not time to drag our priest-ridden, second-rate, potato-peopled country of ours into the twenty-first century before we're spat into the next shagging hundred years?'

They half-smile like I'm a fucking psycho!


I had such a great experience writing there for the daily paper, Noises Off, NOFF, where anyone was free to write and submit. Short squibs; a poem, and enough by the end of the week, to have felt a part of something uniquely British, and not only that but English as well; what with writing on that beautiful cliff-side terrace of the Spa complex overlooking the South bay. And there was a truly democratic spirit in the NOFF office, a large conference room in the complex with ten or so free-access computers. 

By the end of my first year there, with a couple of extemporized comedy reportages that got noticed, I felt grand. The following year, i was a real contender for the hack laurel. I lost to Cambridge mafia office souljah, Chris Wilkinson, a Guardian theatre section stalwart. He won. He beat me. So, what are we going to do about it?

At the following year's festival, I think it was Next Generation 2014 poet, Luke Kennard, who returned from a collaborative smash from Bristol Uni, Freudian Slip, a Monty Pythonesque surreal gold-dust of a play, that had won the previous year's 03 comedy award.

In 04 he came back with a solo effort, a radio play that had been one of the opening specials and centre-piece of pre-recorded theatre to kick the week off, and there was a lot of expectation surrounding it. His first time alone, surely the magic of Freudian Slip would be there? Alas no. It bombed. Lots of respectful bemused silence. On his own, a year later, the mojo had gone.

Desmond Swords

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Thank you Muireann, a star in Poetry Ireland.

Thanks very much Muireann, you are a star in Tara's vigorous throng of rhymers. May we all live forever and never grow up, old, or lose our way when seeking truth thru the literary thickets and spoken word woods. may Her hand guide ours on and off the page of our imagination and stage of Her reality, life, love; and letters that will bring us a path over the other side of a stream only one in a hundred will get you across.

Kookullanary (copyright John Cummins Poetician) Chuculainary. Thanks very much. This is our first time in Westport and it could well be, i suspect, the one heat that a canny slammer may well have the best shot of winning, as it being the first time, who knows how many will turn up? It may be a repeat of the 2008 Leinster final, in O'Neill's pub on Suffolk Street, booked two months in advance, on what turned out to be, the inaugural Arthur's Day.

The two poets that managed to find in the jammers madness, the snug there - in this unforeseen potential disaster - they won just by turning up and going thru the motions, doing one or two poems each. Live, to a packed room of competing social interests, low down the list of which was poetry. And judged by Fintan O'Higgins, and a kind couple of random strangers, it happened, democratic, straight and true. And two very lucky poets that won by default and just turning up, fell into the all Ireland final in Limerick 2008 - and second ever one that came perilously close to not happening on the night - by good fortune of fate/poetry/dán.

Sláinte, grá agus síocháin.

Desmond Swords, three-quarters Mayo (grandparents), and a quarter wesht Cark Macroom bae shoal, trapped in a proto-Lancashababru voice and language invented by the 14C Hiberno-Norman Poet Earl, Gerald FitzGerald, 3rd Earl of Desmond, Lord Chief Justice 1367-70, who turned the French speaking Hiberno-Norman aristocracy into Gaeic speakers, and his most famous work, composed when held hostage by an O'Brien rival in the Kingdom of Desmond, Mairg adeir olc ris na mnáibh, was traditionally translated during the Celtic Twilight:

Speak not ill of womankind,
'Tis no wisdom if you do.
You that fault in women find,
I would not be praised of you.

Sweetly speaking, witty, clear,
Tribe most lovely to my mind,
Blame of such I hate to hear.
Speak not ill of womankind.

Bloody treason, murderous act,
Not by women were designed,
Bells o'erthrown nor churches sacked,
Speak not ill of womankind.

Bishop, King upon his throne,
Primate skilled to loose and bind,
Sprung of women every one!
Speak not ill of womankind.

For a brave young fellow long
Hearts of women oft have pined.
Who would dare their love to wrong?
Speak not ill of womankind.

Paunchy greybeards never more
Hope to please a woman's mind.
Poor young chieftains they adore!
Speak not ill of womankind.