BRENDAN BEHAN STANDS UP

My Writing Life

Brendan Behan

BRENDAN BEHAN STANDS UP

By Tom O’Brien

A monologue

A bar.  Brendan is entertaining the customers. A glass of milk sits on the table.

BRENDAN:  (sings)  Oh a hungry feelin’ came oe’r me stealin’

                                    And the mice were squealin’ in my prison cell

                                    And the auld triangle went jingle jangle

 

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NIGHTS WHEN WE WERE YOUNG

NIGHTS WHEN WE WERE YOUNG

 Nights when we were young

We raced the wind;

Banshees in our wake

Dracula lying in wait.

 

We had left him oozing blood

From the stake wedged in his chest

In the Rainbow Cinema.

But with vampires you could never tell

 

Hair slicked back, stiff with Brylcreem,

Newly perched on our Raleigh three-speeds

(with dynamo)

We explored the world,

Our winkle-pickers pointing the way.

 

JOHNJO REVIEW

My Writing Life

REVIEW OF MY PLAY ‘JOHNJO’, performed recently CENTRAL ARTS, JORDAN’S LANE WATERFORD

03-08-2015 14;05;03 

A View from the Green Room.

Pat McEvoy.

Arts Correspondent..WATERFORD NEWS & STAR

DISTURBING ‘JOHNJO’ AT CENTRAL ARTS.

Johnjo McGrath enters singing ballad of The Rocks of Bawn and you just know that there is a story to be told. It was a favourite of his father who barely knew the words, or the notes, if the truth be told. A small landholder of twenty acres on the Comeraghs of which only five were arable, he carried ancient grudges around like boulders. Clearing land that was full of furze, rock and limestone, he cursed his circumstances and drank a lot of whiskey to dull the pain.

He references Crotty the highwayman and understands the shared experience of disenfranchisement. He curses the Curraghmores and their acres of lawns that would have fed the bellies of half-fed cattle. Not…

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PATRICK KAVANAGH – THE GREAT HUNGER

 

Patrick Kavanagh was, in my view, Ireland’s greatest poet. And probably its most cantankerous!  In a pub one day one woman acquaintance  hinted he should buy her a drink. ‘Can’t you see I have a mouth on me’, she said. ‘How could I miss it’, he replied, ‘and swinging between your ears like a skipping rope’. Another time a American academic asked him, ‘Have you ever tried the Alexandrine hexameter with the internal rhyming scheme?’    ‘No’, he replied, ‘but I once nailed a pigs liver to the haggard door and I shagged it!’               His greatest enemy was Brendan Behan, who detested culchies, and who often described him as ‘the fucker from mucker’, and said that the greatest thing he ever wrote was a cheque that didn’t bounce.  While Patrick maintained that the only journey Behan ever made was from being a national phoney to being an international one!

THE GREAT HUNGER  (extract)

II
Maguiire was faithful to death:
He stayed with his mother till she died
At the age of ninety-one.
She stayed too long,
Wife and mother in one.
When she died
The knuckle-bones were cutting the skin of her son’s backside
And he was sixty-five.
O he loved his mother
Above all others.
O he loved his ploughs
And he loved his  cows
And his happiest dream
Was to clean his arse
With perennial grass
On the bank of some summer stream;
To smoke his pipe
In a sheltered gripe
In the middle of July.
His face in a mist
And two stones in his fist
And an impotent worm on his thigh.
But his passion became a plague
For he grew feeble bringing the vague
Women of his mind to lust nearness,
Once a week at least flesh must make an appearance.
So Maguire got tired
Of the no-target gun fired
And returned to his headland of carrots and cabbage
To the fields once again
Where eunuchs can be men
And life is more lousy than savage.

Patrick Kavanagh.

LOS ANGELES

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LOS ANGELES

From dream factory

To nightmare landscape

Eternally self-renewing

And all but used up,

The hot LA nights

Spiked with a Santa Ana wind,

Capote, Faulkner, Mailer, Fitzgerald, et al

Haunting the many-faceted gin-mills,

Looking for characters

For the books they were soon to write,

Hockney hobbling to

The marijuana  store

To smoke away his many ailments,

Drinking Chai tea with the other lunatics,

Down Venice way

The ancient muscle men on Muscle Beach

Doing press-ups

And pull-ups that demean them,

Hollywood writ large on the hills

And a jaded sign on Santa Monica pier

Saying ‘Route 66 ends here’.

 

 

OBSERVATIONS

My Writing Life

IRON MAN 3
OBSERVATIONS
Our lives are not our own
Our cards are marked from womb to tomb
Jealousy is the art of counting
Someone else’s blessings and not your own
You will never grow big by thinking small
The life you leave behind is no big deal at all
Be strong, be brave
But most of all don’t be a slave
To fashions, to politics, or whatever is the craze
Don’t run if you’re not able
And never expect happiness to come
With a glossy buy-me-now label.

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RAFTERY THE BLIND POET

Benlevy

2 poems by Anthony Raftery the blind 18th C  Irish poet

Mise Raifteirí an File

I am Raftery, the poet,
full of hope and love
With eyes without light,
silence without torment.

Going back on my journey,
with the light of my heart
Weak and tired,
until the end of my way.

Look at me now,
facing the wall
Playing music,
for empty pockets.

Cill Aodáin

Now coming of the Spring
the day will be lengthening,
and after St. Bridget’s Day
I shall raise my sail.

Since I put it into my head
I shall never stay put
until I shall stand down
in the center of County Mayo.

In Claremorris
I will be the first night,
and in Balla just below it
I will begin to drink.

to Kiltimagh I shall go
until I shall make a month’s visit there
as close as two miles
to Ballinamore.[9]