“In Memorium” – New Planet Cabaret


More submitting by me here (and you wonder why I’ve had so few minutes to spare). This was for RTE Radio 1’s ARENA show which has been hosting a radio based creative writing course (yes you read that right) called New Planet Cabaret, with the assistance of the very competent and energetic Dave Lordon (I’d say more but I haven’t read much of his poetry so…).

I made my entry back in January and you can read the entry requirements here. I didn’t have mine featured and forgot to listen back to find out if it was at least mentioned – when I did listen to it there were mentions of some pieces which may have been a bit long for the radio – I imagine mine was also too long, if it was at least considered good. I thought I’d share it with you here as I’m not sure what else to do with it. It’s not a poem. It’s not a story. It’s just words and my imagination. Again, fun stuff. 

In Memorium

Christened Flatus Mac an Sídhe, he called himself Flatty for short, and Flatty Sheahy to a uniform or a skirt. He was not of the Sheahys of places known for their Sheahys, as this Sheahy was made up for sure, still Flatus wasn’t the worst sort.

He was a soft but robust fella whose age you’d never tell with a look, nor would you know if he was broad or short, stout or upright. He was just there.

Flatus really wanted to be the kindred sort, happily floating about mingling in and out with all types, enjoying the outdoors, strolls by the sea. Yoga. Hiking. Meditation, that sort of thing. Indeed a hike to a yoga and meditation retreat would be ideal.

A lover of life Flatty was. One who lived for lungs full to bursting and the whistle of the exhale through his nostrils. Life was all for Flatus.

But Flatty could kill if he wanted. Deprive you of his company he would, or hail down with the fury of a million factories in his poisoned effusions, drowning your crops and rose gardens, but only a rare breed could force that. At least that used to be the case.

Flatty could be full of himself, believed he was incomparable like a superpower, him with his blusters and gusts.

Sure enough he was untouchable and, for example, with a wisp a wall he could take down to its bricks, or pass through it as if it didn’t exist. Oh ould Flatty knew how to change everything, leaving a life and death distance in the difference.

Except for these notions of grandeur and his stance on issues environmental, he went about his existence like the best; god on his conscience, the day on his breath.

And we all knew him well, our Flatty, he who always played with our hair, his moods, his patience, and the fact he was never bothered by rush-hour, or missing buses late at night, and arguing about inconsequential things. We figured him to be at least.

However, Flatus Mac an Sídhe was old before he finished being young. Those muscles he once flexed fell flaccid, and to threats he grew apathetic.

Alas Flatty grew tired with himself. Finding moments to swallow the morning and drink in the sunshine and moisture of the dew just as the sun has risen had grown sparse. His skin grew grey and lifeless. His overworked throat went dry. The ducts in his eyes could not cry.

“It is what it is”, is what Flatty would say, “isn’t learning to live the best you can in company with it a better solution than arguing against it? Sure isn’t that that the way I’ve done it and never garnered further complaint?”

He would say that. Flatty could say that. Flatty had a say in things. Because without Flatty, well let’s be honest, there is nothing.

Yes Flatus, you and your molecules, you had a say and you could have done more. You could have gotten angrier and fought for those walks you loved so much. But now you have relinquished your title. Superpower or not, yours is a sunken flagship.

And then to be sure we killed you. We curried up enough filth and fear and vehemence to counter anything you could manage to rekindle until you keeled over breathless.

There you were, writhing in a blustering and intoxicating mess with your defecations all over the place. Tearing down everything you loved. Tearing down the walls of everything you thought was built from your influence. And you did not cry.

We woke the next morning and you were not there. Not hiding or buried or burnt or vaporized or departed or extinct or emigrated or arrested. Not gone. Just nothing

And now Flatus, there is only memory to define you.

Old Man Syndrome


On Friday morning at around 6.40, while many were still in bed or still only waking up, I was standing in the delivery room of the maternity hospital in Dongtan where myself and Herself have been frequenting on and off over the past nine months. Staring right in our faces was a tiny, screaming child, whose skin was still blue and covered in quickly drying blood having just being removed from the womb of my beloved wife. I will not lie. I cried at that very moment, but I did my best not to show it.

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Our little girl, otherwise known as +1, is perfect. She is tiny, delicate, confused, but still she is part of both of us and just thinking of her makes me smile. I’m pretty sure there are plenty of parents out there who have felt exactly the same at this moment. It’s this happiness and pride which is coercing me to share this news with you today.

I think that, right now, my biggest challange is accepting the fact that the rest of the world is moving on around us, oblivious of this moment, one which is probably irrelevant to many. I think tomorrow morning when the world restarts with work and appointments to meet, we will click back into gear somewhat. but for now, I don’t really care.

I really can’t go into enough detail about much now, as I am too riddled with emotion to account for myself adequately, and even if I could it wouldn’t represent my state of mind, because it is basically just full of mesmerised questions!

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These are just some of the thoughts fleeting around my head at every second:

How can a person’s skin be this soft?
What will she actually be like?
I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.
A smile really does make one smile in return.
All communication is a language which needs to be learned.
The future has just become a whole lot more daunting.
For all that we imagined, we could never have imagined this.
It is now less of a wonder why people believe in God.
We are not the first people to have a new baby and we will not be the last.
The human body is more amazing than you think, and when you look at women you really have to appreciate this even more.
My mother, who had five sons, really is a tougher nut than she looks.
My daughter looks like my mother.
How should I react? Herself’s friends and family, as well as hospital staff have congratulated us over and over again because our daughter resembles me. If this was in Ireland I’m fairly sure people would be consoling Herself… (maybe not the hospital staff but definitely my brothers and friends).
I think that the occasions where I’ve been happier, or equally happy, have been few and far between.

And as I tweeted earlier…

Over the past three days I have turned from a skeptic and a cynic to an idealist and an optimist. We’ll see how long this lasts.

Life has changed this weekend, and I hope to be a better man because of it.