Veracity and Other Stories, poems by Sarah Clancy

Thanks For Nothing Hippies, 2012

Thanks For Nothing Hippies, 2012. Sarah Clancy

The following two poems are by Sarah Clancy  from a forthcoming collection of prose and poetry, called Friction.


Veracity and other stories

 
for Alice Kennelly
 
I’ve lived in four different decades today
stepped onto three continents
I took no visas no tickets no passports
I wrote my own bill of passage I forged it
and what of my fraud if it served us?
 
I inhabited flesh that wasn’t my own
I scratched it kneaded stiff shoulders
with hands that emerged from some other wrists
some forearms some oxters then I left it
 
I walked from it and encountered new bones
new ligaments new eyes with which I saw
what I wanted I decided you were an abstraction
so I tried to walk through you but couldn’t
I put my palm on your chest but it met
with resistance I got caught in your substance
 
then fuck it I lied about it said you meant nothing
that your whole existence was a blip a pot-hole
that no-one was fixing and I burst a tyre or might have
I buckled my wheel rims in it didn’t I?
but then I gunned it and drove on
 
I read my old diaries as page turners with no idea
what might happen from one page to the next
I took guesses blind stabs at historic events
to see if it seemed like they’d happened me
then whatever I remembered what I wanted
even if I had to invent it I swore it as fact
rose to my feet to defend it
 
it was my truth in that moment and there wasn’t
a chance I’d let it be rebutted and as a result
I found myself heartless my past cast off
all reinvented and I liked it I was made light by it
 
and as to the future all those futures I’m writing
I’m telling you I’ll inhabit several actions at once
and believe what I want
I’ll pay no dues to this fiction
this tyrant
this actual bastard
reality?
I’m over it.
 
©Sarah Clancy January 2013
 


Gullible.
 
I met the take-it back man down in the shopping centre
where he was soap boxing, waxing lyrical and I drank his potion.
It was said that it could cure the worst of all the words
you’d ever spewed out in fury or in disappointment
and if a cure was beyond the bounds of either language or elixirs
it could reclaim the offending utterances and put them in storage
so long as you swallowed and didn’t spit that is. It could make
happenstances fall from their standing, go over old ground
and make it new sown, it could undo the damage sharp tongues
had inflicted on the unsuspecting, the suspicious and the blameless.
It could pale the blushes from stupid outbursts, cool them
before they ever hit your cheekbones – if that is you took
just two small mouthfuls and vowed to stay quiet for the duration
of its troubled ingestion. It could banish shame before it ever
caught your tonsils and traipsed its way down your resistant gullet
I know it sounds far-fetched but I for one swallowed it.
 
©Sarah Clancy November 2012
 


Bloomsday ; a Celebration of Irish Women Poets 2012

Nuala Ní Chonchúir

is a writer and poet, who has contributed poems and translations to the blog over sometime. I am linking here to her poetry collections page 

La Pucelle

 
In the hush of my father’s house,
before dusk rustles over the horizon,
I take off the dress my mother made
-it’s as ruby red as St Michael’s cloak-
and with a stitch of linen, bind my breasts.
 
By the greasy light of a candle,
I shear my hair to the style of a boy,
in the looking glass I see my girlhood
swallowed up in a tunic and pants,
I lace them tightly to safeguard myself.
 
My soldiers call me ‘Pucelle’, maiden,
they cleave the suit of armour to my body,
and know when following my banner
over ramparts into Orléans, that
there will only ever be one like me.
 
When the pyre flames fly up my legs,
I do not think of the Dauphin,
or my trial as a heretical pretender,
but see my mother, head bent low,
sewing a red dress for her daughter to wear.
 
As Tatú, le Nuala Ní Chonchuir, Arlen House, 2007.

http://poethead.wordpress.com/2009/06/13/la-pucelle-by-ni-chonchuir/


Eithne Strong

“(née Eithne O’Connell) (1923-1999), poet and writer of  fiction. Born in Glensharrold, Co. Limerick, she was educated at TCD. She worked  in the Civil Service, 1942-3. Her first collection, Songs of Living  (1961), was followed by Sarah in Passing (1974), Flesh-the Greatest  Sin (1980), Cirt Oibre (1980), Fuil agus Fallaí (1983), My  Darling Neighbour (1985), Aoife Faoi Ghlas (1990), An Sagart  Pinc (1990), Spatial Nosing (1993) and Nobel (1999). The  Love Riddle (1993) was a novel.”

from http://www.answers.com/topic/eithne-strong#ixzz1xr4mc0lx

Strip-Tease.

 
A poet
must talk in riddles
if he will not risk himself
 
for fear
of public eye and tongue
blaspheming privacies :
 
a host
of leeches sucking parallels
carnivores to strip his shivering secrecies
 
wrapped
intricately. he should be
silent or speak out.
 
No one
asked for
his arbitrary offerings. 
 
from Sarah in Passing , by Eithne Strong. Dolmen Books 1974.

http://poethead.wordpress.com/2011/03/19/strip-tease-by-eithne-strong/


Sarah Clancy

Phrase Books Never Equip you for the Answers

On the morning of the fifteenth time we went through
our sleep-with-your-ex routine, I had the usual optimism
thing about mistakes is to not keep repeating the same ones
I said disregarding the government health warning
on the cigarettes I was sucking, crossing the road without
stopping speaking or looking, ignoring the red man pulsing
on the lights at the junction, I was wired direct and I said;
I know, I’ll write you the definitive user manual for me.
You said I was arrogant that we should make it up as we go,
and I said; well could I do a mind map then? With
here be dragons marked clearly in red, so we won’t flounder
like last time end up washed up dehydrated and drained
well I was, fairly wired, I said ‘in each shipwreck we’re lessened
embittered, come on, let me at least try to fix it, I can write us
a blueprint for the new improved version, and you laughed
and said well damn you for a head-wreck, go on then and do it.
 
So I wrote, but it came out all stilted, like a work in translation
see when I say, let me fix that or give it here and I’ll do it
it means I need you, and if I tell you for example how
I’ll re-arrange the universe to your liking it doesn’t mean
I’m superior in fact, translated it’s about the same as the last one-
‘can you not see, how I need you? And when I come out with all those
‘you-shoulds’ that drive you demented, there’s no disrespect in ‘em
verbatim they’re whispering I’d be desolated without you
and when you call me control freak, the tendencies you’re describing
are inherently rooted in my fear of you leaving and how I’ll react.
 
Less-wired more hopeful I brought you my phrase book
on our very next meeting but you kissed my cheek and said
let me stop you a minute and then those awful words that never
signify good outcomes, listen I’ve been thinking… I know
we’ve got this weird cyclical attraction thing going and I’m sorry
for my part in it but really I can’t see it working, the problem
for me is how you just don’t need anything and my phrase book
had nothing listed under that heading.

© Sarah Clancy
 
Thanks to Sarah Clancy for the poem, Phrase Books Never Equip you for the Answers , which is taken from Thanks for Nothing Hippies . Published Salmon Poetry 2012.


Kate Dempsey

Kate Dempsey’s poetry is widely published in Ireland and the UK including Poetry Ireland Review,The Shop, Orbis and Magma. Kate blogs at Writing.ie and Emerging Writer .

You can catch her on Twitter at PoetryDivas.

It’s What You Put Into It

For Grace
 
On the last day of term
you brought home a present,
placed it under the tree,
a light, chest-shaped mystery
wrapped in potato stamped paper
intricate with angels and stars.
 
Christmas morning
you watched as we opened it,
cautious not to tear the covering.
Inside, a margarine tub, empty.
Do you like it? eyes huge.
It’s beautiful.
What is it, sweetheart?
A box full of love, you said.

 
You should know, O my darling girl,
it’s on the dresser still
and from time to time, we open it.”
 
© Kate Dempsey, all rights reserved.


Celia De Fréine

Celia de Fréine is a poet, playwright and screenwriter who writes in Irish and English, her site is  at http://celiadefreine.com/

An Bhean Chaointe

 
Taim ag caoineadh anois chomh fada
agus is chumhin liom
ce gur dócha go raibh me óg trath-
seans fiú amháin gp mbinn ag súgradh.
Ni cuimhin liom an t-am sin
ná an ghruaim a chinn an ghairm seo dom.
 
Ni cuimhin liom ach oiread
éinne den dream
atá caointe agam-
ní dhearna mé taighde ar a saol
ná nior léigh mé cur síos orthu
i gcolún na marbh.
 
Ach is maith is eol dom
gach uair a sheas mé
taobh le huaigh bhealschoilte,
gur chomóir me gach saol
go huile is go hiomlán,
gur laoidh mé éachtaí
 
na nua-mharbh
is gur eachtaigh mé
lorg a sinsear.
Tigím anois
go bhfuil na caointe seo
tar éis dul in bhfedhim orm.
 
Dá mbeadh jab eile agam
ba bhreá liom bheith im scealaí-
sui le hais na tine is scéalta a insint.
D’éistfeá liom- tharraingeodh
d’Eddifon asam iad
á n-alpadh sa treo is go slanofaí mé.
 
Faoi Chabáistí is Ríonacha, Published by  Clo Iar-Chonnachta, indreabhán, 2001.


‘Phrase Books Never Equip you for the Answers’, by Sarah Clancy

Phrase Books Never Equip you for the Answers

“on the morning of the fifteenth time we went through
our sleep-with-your-ex routine, I had the usual optimism
thing about mistakes is to not keep repeating the same ones
I said disregarding the government health warning
on the cigarettes I was sucking, crossing the road without
stopping speaking or looking, ignoring the red man pulsing
on the lights at the junction, I was wired direct and I said;
I know, I’ll write you the definitive user manual for me.
You said I was arrogant that we should make it up as we go,
and I said; well could I do a mind map then? With
here be dragons marked clearly in red, so we won’t flounder
like last time end up washed up dehydrated and drained
well I was, fairly wired, I said ‘in each shipwreck we’re lessened
embittered, come on, let me at least try to fix it, I can write us
a blueprint for the new improved version, and you laughed
and said well damn you for a head-wreck, go on then and do it.

So I wrote, but it came out all stilted, like a work in translation
see when I say, let me fix that or give it here and I’ll do it
it means I need you, and if I tell you for example how
I’ll re-arrange the universe to your liking it doesn’t mean
I’m superior in fact, translated it’s about the same as the last one-
‘can you not see, how I need you? And when I come out with all those
‘you-shoulds’ that drive you demented, there’s no disrespect in ‘em
verbatim they’re whispering I’d be desolated without you
and when you call me control freak, the tendencies you’re describing
are inherently rooted in my fear of you leaving and how I’ll react.

Less-wired more hopeful I brought you my phrase book
on our very next meeting but you kissed my cheek and said
let me stop you a minute and then those awful words that never
signify good outcomes, listen I’ve been thinking… I know
we’ve got this weird cyclical attraction thing going and I’m sorry
for my part in it but really I can’t see it working, the problem
for me is how you just don’t need anything and my phrase book
had nothing listed under that heading.”

© Sarah Clancy

Thanks to Sarah Clancy  for the poem,  Phrase Books Never Equip you for the Answers , which is taken from Thanks for Nothing Hippies , which will be launched in April 2012, by Salmon Poetry. Hippy Get a Job , by Sarah Clancy, is here.

An evening of women’s literature at the Irish Writer’s Centre (06/01/2012)

The Irish Writer’s Centre,  last evening  06/01/2012,  hosted along with Dublin City Council a celebration of women’s poetry, music and literature to mark Oíche Nollaig Na mBan (Women’s Christmas). The event was presented by June Considine.

And what a night it was.

The event was bi-partite in structure, with readings by three poets and story-tellers to begin, a brief interval filled with music was quickly followed by three more readings by three more women writers. The first half was decidedly poetic, with readings in English and Irish by Celia de Fréine, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Eilis Ní Dhuibhne.

Celia De Fréine read In Relation to Each Other, Dearbhail , Celia Óg , and Ophelia. Dearbhail was indeed heart-breaking, the tale of the murder of Dearhbail by jealous women.

Eilis Ní Dhuibhne read two tales , The Man Who Had No Story and The Blind. 

Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill read from a few collections, Including from my favourite Pharaoh’s Daughter, with translations by Paul Muldoon,  Michael  Hartnett,  and Dr. Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin.  Poems read included , The Language, Dán do Melissa, and Closure.

Music flowed along with wine  as Jane Hughes on cello & Ellen Cranitch on flute played a selection from Carolan and Tchaikovsky, including the much giggled upon Fanny Power.

Interval over, the business of literature reared it’s head in the shape of Mary O Donnell ,who read from a WIP about Northern Ireland , alongside two  poems which were tremendous and indicate a wonderful talent in two quite distinct areas of writerly discipline.

Sarah Clancy charmed the crowd with her Argument Poems , which included Ringing in Sick  To Go Mermaid-Hunting,  Cinderella Backwards , and Riot Act. 

Mia Gallagher topped the evening off with some reading from her upcoming book.

This should not have been a unique evening in the calendar. There  are hints of more such evenings being planned, the audience was mixed  between the sexes and they were always interested. It was utterly charming, eclectic and beautifully balanced. I expect that people who wish more detail on the music and books can contact the Irish Writer’s Centre directly. Kudos to the board, volunteers and organisers for a great evening.

Pic by Stephanie Joy