Ink Sweat and Tears
'Jennifer Horgan and Noel Monahan write heartrendingly about the Tuam babies, or, as Patrick Bolger, about clerical abuse'
'Prejudice of different kinds are explored, be it middle-class aloofness by Jennifer Horgan (Their Daughter’s Bib), and Michael Casey (Fadings), or chauvinism towards Travellers in Alan O’Brien’s Culture. '
Coverage of O Captain: https://www.echolive.ie/wow/arid-40368296.html
Weekly column in The Irish Examiner
Features in The Irish Times
Local Features in The Evening Echo
Work from my collection Care
My parents sent me on a sailing course when I was thirteen
I think they wanted me to socialise with a certain type
One of the biggest guys there saw me jumping off the jetty
and did the same, in the exact spot, a moment later -
a cannonball I think we used to call it
So, when I was coming back up, he kept me under - blocked
The shock of his hold on me underwater has stayed
The feeling of his legs around my neck, his immovable weight
Being held there, gulping in my own hair,
My skinny arms grasping scraps of sky
A few times since, the same sort of thing has happened
Men reading an invitation when I’d written only joy
I’m on a beach and my son is asking again and again
if they’ll still be here tomorrow – his oozing lakes, his wet volcanoes.
He doesn’t see the lines of tides as stretch marks,
that he’s drilling through my skin.
This will never go to print.
I was nowhere near your printing press
Pinned between hot coal, irons
I printed my own sweat on cotton sheets for men like you
devouring books on wars we battled through
in quiet places, without windows or a view.
Dismiss this howling sound from a leaking crowd
Our blood that monthly drips
Don’t trust what sifts through gauze
Erect your see-through walls
Line stampedes of myths inside our brains
So tall, we feel we cannot sit
Those who sit after standing in queues
bladders hammered by years of old dears and children
Perhaps we should bleed faster
Not keep sitting, missing the final act
when recognition might come at last.
I’ve nothing left to say
I’m unenlightened in every way
My seventeenth century never happened
I’m the earth beneath the margareets
the dip in the mountained sea
I am cleaner, carer, washer, cook
I left you off the hook.
I know the smell of death
trapped in cracks of tiled unviable toilets
Not right for men, or for the sons of them
I’m the half the renaissance missed
who never got reborn
too busy birthing children I adored.
Suspend me in this water fresh with mountain run-off
This cool expanse of sacred copper
Keep me here where the sun can’t find me. Where I’m blind
to what might move beneath. Held above the fearful slug of things
All of this, good for me. Uncomfortably free, I breathe.
Motionless, I breathe. Until the day rolls over
like a wet dog waiting to be scratched
His sand-peppered nose, a frantic light catcher.
Tomorrow, I’ll react again,
fold life in my hands in the pale dough of morning.
Now and even now, again, there’s no wind inside this calm.
Nothing to control, hold together,
Distant talk of Storm Ellen seems a fiction
as summer does, once the winter grey has settled.