Peter O’ Neill

 

 

 

(Ireland)

 

 

Andrea Camilleri

 

Picture, if you will, the image of a fuse box

positioned on a concrete wall in an open field

exposed to the elements, so that every time it

rains, or there is inclement weather, the fuse

blows and all of the televisions in the

neighbouring apartments spontaneously go out.

 

And, some moments later, a resident, dressed

in his pyjamas or track suit, is seen to be running

out, sometimes in the middle of the night, with

his mobile phone borne aloft as a torch, and

muttering to himself like some Roman all

of the obscenities specific to the appropriate God.

 

Like Ovid in Constanta cursing his demise,

the said resident, now out in a deluge attempting,

in the dark, to flick the appropriate switch, which

is faulty, so that he may return post- haste to the comfort

of his two-bedroom apartment which he bought

in the Winter of 2010, just before the banks

 

raised the level on the amount of the deposit

needed to comply with the terms of a mortgage,

two years after the financial abyss was created

by unscrupulous banking practices which went

unchecked by any Government body either

here at home, or indeed abroad…

 

The self same bank which he was only,

that very self same morning, in contact

with, for the purposes of resolving if
he were, or if he were not, to have his

mortgage interest payments rise,

to such an extent that he would have

 

to pay back the additional interest, on

top of the existing, over an additional

ten years, which would bring the calculated

time when he had managed to completely

pay off the bank for his property, to 35 years!

35 more years of further repayments, he thought,

 

as he stood there in the dark, bearing his phone

aloft, in the incessant rain, as he attempted to flick

the fuse switch back up, which had been

ill advisedly placed in an open field,

exposed to the said elements, so that he was

obliged to go out, in his pyjamas or track suit,

 

in the inclement weather, cursing the Gods

like some Roman, while the incessant rain

came down on him, soaking him to the skin,

as he tried and tried to flick the switch, cursing

now as he did the company of contractors

who had so ill advisedly thought of

placing a fuse box behind a concrete wall

in an open field so that it was exposed to

all the elements, forcing him, whenever

the fuse blew, to put on his coat and shoes

and venture forth into the dark night,

braving the elements, while he attempted

 

to switch the “Fucking thing!”…as he now

thought screamed, as the rain came down
while his arm ached bearing aloft the phone

as a torch, so that the added physical discomfort

now considerably added to his already mounting

problems, so that he now started to look

up skyward, into the great insurmountable edifice

above, as indeed had countless thousands, nay,

millions before, had done, and to seriously
ask himself, or the one, if indeed any at all,

what in the name of Jupiter was to be done

in such a situation which was but, however

 

apparently trite, but symptomatic of the

whole abhorrent universe which was as if

created there, such was his utter condemnation,

so that it left one wondering, for possibly the

millionth time in his own short life span,

what in the name of Jesus, Socrates and

 

all of the other related crew he was doing there,

or any of them for that matter, turning about,

howsoever defiantly, on a planet spinning

relentlessly in infinite concordance with

the nebula and further strata of long ago
distantly related galaxies and onward into

 

the vast stretch of recorded time, from

Constanta to beyond the sleeve of his

night robe, still clinging in the rain, the
light from his phone momentarily
illuminating the aqueous arrow like
shafts still penetrating to his skin.

 

Finally, leaving him to think that he had

better fix this thing quickly now if he
wanted to get in under cover out of
the rain so that he might avail of the
sweet comfort of his home, the home

that was now his thanks to unscrupulous bankers

 

who had lent him 150 000 Euros which he had

signed an agreement to pay off over a course

of the next 25 years, –ad infinitum…

 

 

The Transvestite

 

He pulls on the corset upon his pale white torso.

It’s floral bird of paradise pattern in deep peach, amber and apricot

Transforming him, so that his ribs appear now

To be no longer the bone structure of an empty, loveless cell-

Where not even a door mouse goes,

But a wild primitive forest of abundance.

How his nipples glow beneath the sulphurous rose.

And, from his thighs and calves, encased within the envelope

Of opaque gauze, the electro charge of a sudden, yet certain vibrancy,

Bears him forward now, encased within the vertiginous heels,

His newly appointed towering elevation,

To where he hopefully meets the playful Amazon,

Who have always acknowledged within him

The sacred feminine, as he too in they the eternally masculine.

 

 

Upon Reading an Anthology of American Poetry

 

And from out which tumbled, upon opening it;

Venus mounds, vaginal lips, clitorises,

Cocks, scrotal sacks and testicles,

And various sphincters of both sexes.

They lay there like that like a bag of all sorts

Upon the monastic table of the public library,

And with them came the purple coloured winds

Of a continent filled with a hysterical passion,

A passion which produced, quicker than anyone,

The splitting of the atom.

While, from between the Corinthian column

The carapace of self righteous indignation scuffled

To the rhythm of a strange yet unalterable syncopation.

 

 

The Irish Times

 

               I

 

Every weekend I see them and every weekend it is the same,

Those lovely articles in the weekend supplement

So full of admiration for our leading academics and poets.

I must confess, I am left bemused. For, how can such wonderful

Praiseworthy men write about life,

When they are so calm? so precise? so wise?

When they seem to be so beyond the day to day shit?

They remind me of the plumbing in this rented accommodation;

The words drip from the pipes ever so sweetly,

And after a couple of days the mould and the pestilence, I know, will set in.

 

               II

 

Outside the Pro-Cathedral someone had tied up hundreds

Of different coloured children’s shoes up on the railings.

The beauty and force of the gesture brought me to a halt.

The colours of the shoes were predominantly violet and mauve,

Colours one would normally associate with bruising,

Or,  possibly some other form of dermatological disorder.

The Pope’s letter of apology had expulsed many, the night before

It was reported, read out as it was like some bad poem.

 

               III

 

I can see an image now of a coffee table

And upon it lies the naked body of a young child.

Caravaggio’s medallion. The mouth is gagged with duct tape,

And around the table one can hear the barely audible chatter

Of men and women.

Could I have a little more sugar?

Could I have a little more sugar?

Could I have just a little more sugar, please?

The sound of the teaspoon impacting upon the mound is now deafening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

____________________________________________

 

Peter O’ Neill was born in Cork in 1967. He lived in France for the majority of the nineties and returned to live in Dublin after almost a decade, and has been living there ever since. His debut collection of poems ‘Antiope’ was published by Stonesthrow  Press to critical acclaim in February 2013. “Certainly a voice to be reckoned with.” wrote Dr. Brigitte Le Juez (Beckett avant la lettre 2007). He has had poems published in The Galway Review, A New Ulster, Abridged 0-29 Primal, The Scum Gentry (IRL), Danse Macabre, Poetic Diversity, The Original Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology (USA), The Tenement Block Review, and Angle (UK).

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