Paul McCarrick, Reeling

Lost, Looking for Baggot Street

And I can’t wait to see you after this, this drudgery of
me looking for Baggot Street in December drizzle far from
Stephen’s Green and all the other known routes to shops or shelters.

It is nearly lunchtime but not by the Rhine or the Rhône or even the Liffey,
it is nearly lunchtime beside yet another house, Doheny & Nesbitt,
by a noodle “place,” a begging beggar, nothing to write home about,

and home is still just an hour on the train so you wouldn’t write anyway,
but still it seems to take an age just to get from A to B in Dublin City.
I am hungry, lonely, truly lost so have stopped looking for the next

confusing turn to more places or streets; I am looking up from Camden Row
seeing the sky full of cranes crossed like crucifixes willing back the resurrection
of the boom times, the good times, the safe times, The Irish Times,

the times out of sight, out of mind, Time Out of Mind by Bob Dylan, a fine album,
from a completely other entire time when I find I’ve landed on Harcourt Street,
coming to my senses seeing a familiar face’s name, a plaque stating unequivocally

that this is the BIRTHPLACE OF EDWARD CARSON and I laugh.
If I never find where I am due to go, if I never eat or sleep with you again,
if I never get out of here alive and am to be forever lost, looking for Baggot Street,

I will at least know that Edward Carson was born in this house in the past
and that is something I will remember even if I can find no one who will ever ask.

Thanks to the Internet

I started the day on Molly Bloom’s soliloquy
at the end of Ulysses because Michael Harding
wrote a piece on beautiful eyes yesterday and said
that a woman caught him out in bed about it
and I made a note to learn the passage off because
I could get caught out in bed with a woman like that.
But I’m already listening to John Wesley Harding
absolutely non-stop as the monologue was neatly saved
to one side because no matter what is said it is a good
album and I already knew the whole point of it
was to counteract the psychedelic nonsense of
Sgt. Pepper’s, wasn’t it? That’s what I got from it
and this page agrees, but especially when you
can see the Fab Four up the tree on the sleeve,
like, it’s not conclusive, but people still believe
– look, I’ve zoomed in and all, see? See? Ah, forget it,
it’s boring anyway. Still, you’d be more likely
to swoon a lady singing something from Revolver
or even Either/Or than singing ‘All Along The Watchtower’
but if you want to be sure you could check COSMO
online for the tips and secrets for women on men
or the other way around, it’s what I’ve done before,
number one fidget number two smile number three
eye contact with exclamation marks number four
want her number five man up and just ask her out
and it gives you a game plan if you’re just caught up
with her in public staring
into space


Keyboard clacks
Blue-flicker glares
All to look and clack
repeat once again

You can get dizzy, lost,
fixed, sitting in one spot.
All to keep the wolves
from the door
a good half-hour walk away.

I clack out the word ASSAULT
feel a manufactured heat, once
the hum-buzz of revolutionary wonder.
If they could see minds now,
clunged with dusk, feathers and etc, etc.

I clack out the word DECEASED
brain spun just so nothing uncoils
bar vertebrae from seated stiffness.
A failing nerve twitches, remembers,
shake head, remorse, be etc, etc.

I clack out the word SNOW.
An accident, I know,
because on these sheets
I see no snow. Why is that so?
Still my hair rises, skin pricks with cold.

The window portrait shows
no fall of flakes
above or below
but sun and shore and now
I know I have to go.

Walking waving at hands until again, tomorrow,
I see revolutionary evolvings can nail down
the sunset to the second.
I pick up the pace and scan my phone
for the most perfect song.

But God has broken my headphones
because it’s one of those
believe-in-Him days
how could you not have faith
when this is what it is?

So now I am reeling,
sinking knees into the sand,
looking at the crashing dance beyond
as the sun streaks down like so
you can hear the hallelujahs

Sunken, staring out to this glorious clash,
I swear I did not notice the dark arrive,
I swear I did see lightning strike the sea,
I swear there was the howling of a wolf.

If I See Black, It’s Black
I’m Here with You to Stay

It’s half one or two and drunk and drinking between
waking and sleeping I lean on the railings behind
the place to be with a heavy unsteady head
bowing downly. I cannot see any way to end
the night, directions being beyond effort and to begin
without seeing what it all would lead to smacks of
mistakes from the faraway time or place of the past so I say
to nobody so as there is no fuss.
Just you and me, railing. Just us.

I wouldn’t have it any other way, I’m here with you to stay
to peer through you and get a great see-through view of the river
as it streams along, slight little licks of sounds, but they can still be heard
singing in the smoking area, nothing really matters, every last one of them
and him and her and them and her and him and every
last one of them without a notion of the craic being had
hanging out of you, oh, if they only knew my dear railing, oh my dear

if they only knew all the ways in which
my organs feel like they’re straining right now,
the head and beyond the heart all fully feeling
like failure by the railings in the cold in this dark.
It is not dark though, dark you can see; there are
dark red lips and dark opal eyes and dark jade dresses
but when I close my eyes and splay them wide again,
nothing, no difference can be made there is no dark black
it is black, open closed closed open same black
on the inside as the out, as black as the rails in my grip,

and if you see the black, this black, you will see
the deepest void your iris and your curved nervous smile
and your nose and your being and your soul will be shined out of,
and that is what you will be. It doesn’t matter how you arrive here;

when recognition occurs, you can
join me by the banks of the river;
the blackness is something to see.

Paul McCarrick is from Athlone, Co. Westmeath. He holds an MA in Writing from NUI Galway. His poetry can be read in the Bangor Literary Journal, Boyne Berries, Skylight 47, Crannóg, and The Stinging Fly among others, and has been longlisted for the 2018 Over the Edge New Writer competition. His novel Happy-Cry with My Brilliant Life was longlisted in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre’s Novel Fair Competition.

One thought on “Paul McCarrick, Reeling

  1. The changes in Dublin over the years has in my opinion done nothing to enhance the city I once traversed and window shopped returning from dances back in the last 60’s early 70’s – but that as they say is progress. a long winded way of congratulating you on the poem.


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