Friday, November 26, 2004


thought weather trouble
blue house stand fast
last luck lord engaged
wife, she remained
respect finished
they point
surely part class drop
likely raised offer
fancy share afterwards
stayed period

millions had used
need among class

quick sound
nine ears hear longer
disappoint reason

court pale day
handwriting towards perfect passion
ladies ache
watched colour lying fallen
cannot lose afternoon knowledge

children fear gray
grandfather turning
walk round accident
nice spot

except   sooner
nobody down fool
ah says sake her,
took matter
four  close

repetition wonderful by not years shut,
luckily where rhythm grandfather
forget earth opportunity

wear once around
desire played lead
equipped full
awhile lightning scarcely allowed

fathers suddenly note their education
know continue passing early exercise,
speak ah note
strong writing start
ight he
laughter moved
height position shoulder
spirit field
doctor act god
line comfort obliged
stop following companion
comfort knew
lie any progress
fit continuous find.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004



’T’was the day before Thanksgiving
and all through the houses
plump turkeys were thawing, not petit grouses!
Though the cupboards were groaning
all the tables were laid bare. What? No carousing?
My birthday comes but once a year.
"We forgot," cried relatives and spouses
to friends and neighbors moaning in thin air.
They scolded their watches & their PDAs too,
"it's not that we don't care. Really, we do.
Forgive us. We really forgot. It wasn't a plot.
Forgive us, our memory's got dry rot. Or ergot.
We'll make it up to you at Christmas. Never fear."
Lest I complain, "let them eat crow," (or cake)
one year, even my mom forgot, alas, heartbreak!
I don't hold my breath lightly, nor do I lend an ear,
for tomorrow will come when pigs learn to fly
by all those pumpkin and mince pies in the sky
without gobbling them up, none for the throngs.
So much for the promises of yesteryear—
or even next year. Now, don't get me wrong.
Indeed I long for that glutton of a beast
with all the trimmings of a glorious feast.
I dispense fowl blessings reiterated with grace.
Hope springs eternal, so I save a small place
for dessert — because it might be a bit of cake.
OK, I’m quirky if I confuse turkeys with candles.
And tomorrow when we dismantle the big bird
I’ll blow out the drumstick with a wing and a prayer.
I won’t let this bailiwick of a pilgrim’s parlance,
betrayer of fowlish deeds, with dissonance absurd
occlude my birthday with a yam dance. Not a chance!
Conclude your fawning and hemming and hawing.
Pass the blasted dressing. For next year, never fear
my birthday will reappear on Thanksgiving Day. OK?
Pity my poor cousin born on Christmas Eve
and not to grieve on such a moveable feast.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

In North Beach awaiting Neil Jordan and Roddy Doyle

11/17/ 2004

Myles O'Reilly's pub at 622 Green St. in North Beach awaiting Neil Jordan and Roddy Doyle. Ha, ha, ha, we're all drinking somebody's open swill – Pinot Noir for breakfast. Ugh. I was hoping for food. The Jazz club band brings us in with a little swing, some Maria Callas, and the Tarantella and the Godfather meets the Irish in North Beach.

Nearly an hour later, Roddy Doyle saunters in and steps up to the microphone, says he's now a Yank, having been in nine cities in 10 days. We laugh.

Doyle is bald as a skinhead, it takes some getting used to. He read from Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, and a bit on Henry Smart, an IRA volunteer, from A Star Called Henry, and some stray bits from a play he's been working on, and then he thanked Elgie Gillespie for making this so. We're all fairly toasted.

Neil Jordan, looking upscale thuggish, wearing shades, returns from a TV interview, he's a rare bit of gloom, despite it being sunny, midday. Maybe the alcohol's wearing off. 

He begins with: I know when I died, May 1950. It was a rare whinge, the perspective is written from that woman. He ended on an upbeat note: George killed me... He reads from The Dream of a Beast, with a segue into Interview with the Vampire.

After they were finished reading, there was a Q&A. Someone asks: Would you like to write The Commitments today?

Roddy Doyle said, Well, I'd need to express the conditions along similar lines. The Irish, the blacks of Europe would figure into it.

Jordan said the USA has been good to me, re: The Crying Game

Unconventional sexual relationships seem to be a major attraction. I went into shock after seeing the movie—even though someone told me the ending beforehand. Perhaps the American audience needs that to hang onto as the intricacies of the Provisional IRA would be above their heads.

Doyle said, Yeah, the audience and booksellers and films here are great. The Commitments was successful which was a mystery to me. He repeats himself: As to why they read my books, it's a bit of a mystery to me.

Question: did you write for the stage, was it a goal? Doyle answered, No, I wrote The Commitments as a story. It was not a natural play. The joy was in watching the actors take it and then make it their own. A learning experience.

Jordan says: Money changes everything so quickly, the refusal to live in the real world was central in The Crying Game.

Sue Fry says to Jordan: it's a dark film and the US was shocked by it. North Dublin is dark. Are there cross-cultural differences?

He said: The American audience didn't get it. Movies have no nationality. The Americans certainly didn't get The Butcher Boy, because the accent made it difficult. And there are specific issues versus generic issues, so the nationality of the film interfered. 

She asks: What about Michael Collins?

Roddy Doyle says the distribution was underestimated. It was not tailored for an American audience. Doyle's Dublin street slang is not directly transferrable. The Snapper for example, Miramax had 17 pages of changes in the dialogue to make it more accessible to American audiences. They didn't know what a gobshite was. Readers like the Irishness of the books and then the media controls what's made. Now it's all about stars, not the story.

Jordan said most filmmakers did something else before they became filmmakers. I wrote short stories first.

If you're interested in film, write it as a short story first.

Then we celebrated Myles' birthday, and the party spilled out into the street until dusk fell.