#fridayflash Anywhere but Ireland

On this singular morning, the birdsong drills and pins the world by the scruff of it’s neck.

It is easy to flee with the dawn, all impetus. The brine of the sea smells good.

The ferry cuts through the water. The land retreats.

I feel no nostalgia for round hills diminishing.

There are children’s entertainers on the boat. They are woeful. Their sing song shenanigans get me by the throat. I drink whiskey in the bar. One, two, three. I love you, you love me.

There’s always one who tries to talk, to tell a story, to make a connection. He was on the streets, made good for a while, went back to the drink, a bum in London. He couldn’t resist a look see at what the boom made of his old country but he’s happier now it’s back to the old days, the comfort grumblings of ruination, the fist in the direction of the ubiquitous oppressor, the head bent towards the snuffle shuffling of Italian-Irish handmade shoes.

I have no time for old men, looking back.

I feel no nostalgia for the faces of my children in photographs.

The hydrofoil makes good time.

When I came home – from the airport in those days – they would dance around my pockets for treats, they were always wanting something, always at me.

Deborah would be there with her mouth tight, her cheek flat against my cursory kiss, saying all the right things, an excess of manners. Had she ever writhed under my hand?

In the lap dancing club I threw fifties.

On the golf club I lowered my handicap while plámásing gombeens.

I raked it in while my gardener raked leaves in Dublin 4.

I walked away from the fella in the bar while he was still talking. Now disembarking, he’s lost in the crowd.

No matter how the plebs in the bank sing they’ll pin nothing on me.

I have a caseful of money, pocketfuls of excuses.

Like the pope they just beatified, (that was a moment of glory before the last economic fall, his visit, 1979, even I remember!)  like him, I kiss the ground when I make it in to land. Anywhere but Ireland.

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15 comments

  1. This is great writing, It is tight and every word counts. It feels heartfelt and honest. So many good lines, hard to pick one, but I loved “the head bent towards the snuffle shuffling of Italian-Irish handmade shoes.”

  2. ‘It is easy to flee with the dawn…’ That line that reveals so much.
    (and reminds me of the time – as a child – I went to bed, determined to run away from home at dawn – and I did… for 2 hours)
    The whole thing is superb read aloud, of course. As always.

  3. As always, meaningful and insightful writing, Alison. These two lines, at least for me, tell the tale of a very sad and lost man.
    “I have no time for old men, looking back.”
    “I feel no nostalgia for the faces of my children in photographs.”
    Your words are so concise and full of story. Bravo!

  4. I echo what everyone else has said, (including the favorite lines – I like them all)! As always Alison, your work astounds!

  5. If birdsong ever did that while I was trying to sleep at dawn, I might finally take up hunting birds. However it works very nicely as the peeling open for this piece, Alison.

  6. Thanks all. One thing I did enjoy about writing this piece was the short sentences. They were originally followed by other sentences that then fell under the Delete key. More to be done on it but I appreciate your feedback.

  7. I think this is the best line: I feel no nostalgia for the faces of my children in photographs.

    It’s really good. So, I guess he stole money from his work and he is leaving with it?

  8. I like this style of writing, it suits my inner ear.

    This was well-crafted right from the very first line. Bravo.

    (I did smile at John’s comment regarding bird hunting though 🙂 )

  9. A life well lived and damn regrets. I’m left wondering if he is a refugee as so many are today or someone more culpable in Ireland’s financial collapse? Either way this piece oozed literary class and I’m humbled.

  10. I’d put your short pieces right up there with the best writing I’ve ever read, anywhere, including this one, which is moving, wise and flawless, even as it reads like a chapter of a larger work. And I’m sorry to say it, too. Praise doesn’t get us anywhere. It isn’t useful, but it is, in your case, necessary.

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