Jeremiah’s Journal August September 2017 The house is done, done and dusted. Like any project you’ve been hard at work on for so long even meals had become an inconvenient chore, you miss it when it’s gone. You have to trust your instincts, you have to know when you’re finished, finishing touches included. You have to know what too much is. If you think you can by constant practice make perfect sense of life then you are perfectly deluded. So what is the difference then between a vase and an ashtray, an ashtray is a vase that has not been rescued in time from the potter’s perfectionism. You have to know when to take your hands away from the clay. You have to know when to rinse the brushes and rollers and call it a day. The floors are sanded and sealed. The cracks in the walls are filled and the walls are painted, Pure Fennel, Subtle Fennel, Sage, Duckegg, Dog Kennel and Dark Beige, Fuck Me Pink, Inspired Lilac. The ceilings are painted white to bounce the light back into the yard through the clean and brilliant windows, once again disappointing the hens with a false dawn.
When from the jaws of the death of memory, bless her, and the shed, from the shoe boxes in the attic and drawers of the kitchen dresser your wife has snatched and filled three bags of rubbish you thought would come in useful someday then you know you are not living in the present.
We know now that we have way too much, too much stuff and not enough space. I love boxes, boxes are the new currency not what is in them. And empty boxes are even better. You cannot have enough empty boxes. I love being taken by surprise when having braced myself against the weight of the box, the box full of empty flies up into my arms, the arms of a man who does not know his own strength again and has never had a bad back. This is something you could try at home.
You will always need a box or two to stuff rubbish like bank statements, receipts, invoices and time sheets into, though it is a shame to waste a perfectly empty box on it, it is true, I am afraid, that business is business, also you will need a box for precious memories once they have been carefully categorised, in chronological order and labelled and arranged alphabetically, of course, I jest, of course, if only memory was like that, like books on library shelves or stamps or coins with the date they were minted.
Chronological is a hard to word to say. You, by you I mean one, one could as easily have read as the writer or heard as the reader instead of the word “chronological” words paired and fused by the swollen tongue of the poet trying in vain to say what he means and mean what he says like “chronic illogical…” or “chronically logical…” but I digress…
My wife has looked in every nook and cranny of her hubby’s cubby holes for things I may be allowed to keep, if any, things I will have to donate to charity, of which there are very, very many and things she should have skipped the day after we brought our first born home with us, never mind now, these twenty odd years later when our first born has brought his first born home with him. Yes, for all of this is of course in preparation for the coming in all her glory in the autumn of two thousand and seventeen, of a Princess, a future queen who has a brand new palace of her own to live in, in the suburbs and a choice of two palatial city summer residences to visit.
Below is the last apple of the year left on the Cox’s Orange Pippin we bought and planted twenty odd years ago to mark the day our first born son received his First Holy Communion…
Catharsis…the process of releasing and thereby providing relief from strong or repressed emotions. That’s not what this is, this feels more like a making way, making space, creating space for a new project, a new idea you don’t want to risk ruining by thinking about it even, by talking about it to anybody, by anybody I mean everybody, and anybody, even those whose sensibilities are as delicate as my own, at least not until it is fully realised, until it is finished…you can see it when it’s finished…
I have cleared my desk for a new project, a new book of words with pictures. The pictures are drawn with a wide selection of pencils, sketching pencils, Faber Castell mostly Columbus, Corporate 4H, 2H, H, HB, F, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B and 8B on a high white background, dual purpose copy paper, 219 x 297mm, A4 landscape. The words are written with a BIC Crystal ballpoint Pen, Medium Point, Black always Black, I wouldn’t even trust notes I had scrawled in Blue, Blue is insipid, my writing is in a particular style I try to stick to faithfully through all my words and pictures work.
I don’t know yet what I want to do with these but my wife felt they would be better in colour. She is thinking of the children again. I want my books to be read not chewed. Anyway see below some pictures of the work to be worked on, looking forward to listening to music with headphones on while I work, something I cannot do when I am straight forward writing.
Speaking of works of art and artists, I stayed up late on a work night, 11th October 2017, I’m not the better of it today, to watch The Guardian’s live texted updates of Argentina’s last gasp attempt to make the World Cup Finals in Russia. In spite of a horrific start when Ecuador in their first attack caught the Albiceleste’s defence napping with the opening goal in the first minute The Flea or La Pulga, La Pulga Atomica, El Mudo, The Little Man,
Messi did not disappoint and responded at impossibly high altitude, on a pitch that at three in the afternoon had been waterlogged, with a magnificent hat trick of goals to ensure qualification.
I wash my hands now and walk away from the fake debate. The Portugese Prima Donna can keep this years Balon D’Or, the Balon D’Or as far as I can see has become a popularity contest. Business and politics all play a part, with the truth being the first casualty of sport and facts merely promotional fodder for mass media, fake rivalry paraded out in front of real fanaticism, a dangerous game to play in a world without a soul, fetid merchandising at the loveless heart of the matter.
When I was a Schoolboy Football coach, The Player of The Year Award should have gone to the same boy every year, but it didn’t, his nickname was “Magic” you know who you are. I would have expected him to take the corner and then to try to get in and on the end of it. It wouldn’t go to him and couldn’t go to him every year because of all of the other vested interests, the other parents, and coaches, and players, and a number of fatuous reasons and factors throughout the season and even more spuriously, in the interests of “fair play” and “honest competition”etc. etc.
The award I hated the most was “The Most Improved Player of The Year Award”, invariably the dubious honour went not to the most improved player of the year but to the player who had never missed training but would seldom make an appearance even as a substitute, except when the result was beyond doubt. If this is your boy take him home, he would be better off on X-Box, believe me, than being lied to and being used to make up the numbers and to pay the referee. Life is no better for the player of the year who is carrying the hopes and unfulfilled dreams of some of the fattest, saddest bastards who ever told a referee to go to Specsavers on his shoulders, you will be cursed and cajoled in turn, and abused but only because they say they know you can play so much better. I have been both players, both sides of the coin still spinning as I write, as I bitch, as I feel old scars I thought had healed start to itch. I was lucky I had nobody to push me so whenever I had enough I walked away and came back when I felt like it. It is a wonder I still love the game. The emergence of great players or great teams or even ordinary teams who have tried to play the game without fear have always rekindled the flame in me, have brought me back to the couch to shout with passion and without prejudice at the television screen.
So what is my point, my point is Sky Sports lie to us and we lie to kids, to keep them from telling us to shove our football up our arses, to keep them coming back, to our club colours, to our club house or the shipping container in my day, to serve our inglorious agenda. Roy was right when he said players are pieces of meat and so are we… the public…football is too serious and not serious enough to allow the corporates to destroy the game we love, to see the way the pundits struggled to swallow their own lies describing the Irish result against Wales as great and as courageous, courageous is an interesting choice of words from the same men who said courage was composure under pressure, putting your foot on the ball when all around you have lost the plot. Did they not see our centre backs failing to make any sort of meaningful contact with the ball even on their farmer’s clearances from our box thereby putting pressure on their own team by concession of corner after corner, never mind what any of the players did or failed to do once the ball came to their feet. Brought me back again to the schoolboy days, with the throws down the line…
Maybe I missed my calling. Maybe I should be thinking about getting involved again, of going into management. I am too old though to serve an apprenticeship, to carry the bag of footballs for some bully with two left feet himself till my time is served. After all, I did see what all three pundits on the panel failed to notice, that what actually happened was Joe Allen once he was taken off with suspected concussion, a fact the usually, sickeningly, politically correct pundits found funny, forced Ramsey back into a deeper midfield role so Wales lost a player with some measure of creativity, capable of ghosting in to our box without being picked up, to score and to make us pay for sitting so deep.
How can results be all that matters to us, to the journalists and the drunks, it’s living to fight another day, another day out but to us, it’s not like we are going anywhere…
To the victor go the spoils…so cut out the Pele shit and as for the football, get rid…get rid of it…
I used to love to watch the Cork hurlers with my father in law. He had seen it all. He’d seen Christy Ring in the flesh. He could see what he was looking at on the television screen “Too many wides,” he would say or “They’ll have to start driving it in low along the ground to Joe,” or words to that effect, that he might have needed the meat cut up for him in manageable pieces by the pundits was tantamount to an insult to his intelligence. So he would not dream of entertaining the hurlers on the ditch and he’d demonstrate his utter contempt for them by waiting till half time to go to the toilet.
And so as I say I wash my hands of the fake debate and dry them on the towel hanging in my bathroom at half past two in the morning…happy now I know I will see Messi in Russia…
See Below: The serviette he was signed on by FCB at thirteen years old…and the rest is history…
“I, Charly Rexach, in my capacity as technical secretary for FC Barcelona, and despite the existence of some opinions against it, commit to signing Lionel Messi as long as the conditions agreed are met.”
The interesting line is… “and despite the existence of some opinions against it…”
See Below: A little poem on opinions entitled… Black Beetle
Oh! Where in the world, would I hide my black beetle?
My tiny black beetle, my shiny black beetle,
Oh! Where, where at all would I hide my black beetle?
If words were boots and opinions were people.
Reading intently, antennae all a quiver, trying in vain to decipher my writing?
Don’t flatter yourself, my friend. Keep writing but don’t flatter yourself that’s what I’m saying and that’s all that I am saying. Thank God, the beetle has better things to do.
“Friend, my enemy, I call you out. You, you, you there with a bad thorn in your side. You there, my friend, with a winning air. Who pawned the lie on me when he looked brassly at my shyest secret. With my whole heart under your hammer. That though I loved him for his faults as much as for his good. My friend were an enemy upon stilts with his head in a cunning cloud.”
– Dylan Thomas
So you want to keep your secret a secret. Your precious sorrow like the fleeting glimpse of the sweet boy of ten you lost for twenty years or more to a couple of Flagons of Cider and the fear of tomorrow. Your precious rage even like a zombie dream you tried to kill again and again but couldn’t because it was already dead. And then there is always that something that has crossed your mind and back so many times you still have to look behind you to see if you are being followed, that something that you must yet, lest you forget, take your own word for what you thought you saw…that something that looked for all the brand new world like the smile on the face of a first time father’s baby girl, a smile the nurses and the midwife would’ve told you was wind which you in your precious ignorance chose wisely to dismiss, as blindness on their part, or as coldness, or as the old world simply being jealous of your bliss…
Don’t you just love the homeless? Sorry did I say homeless fuck, first rule of writing from now on, turn the television off. So, don’t you just love Nasturtiums? No? And you’d be right not to, not if you want them to thrive. Don’t love them, be nasty to them, be nasty to Nasturtiums. This is how you will cultivate gratitude in them. Treat them mean and keep them keen and they will show you how grateful they are, by bringing with them when they visit, a rich abundance of leaves and buds, and buds and blossoms. Like the children of broken homes their eyes will light up and they will come alive at last when they hear voices rising in anger or see danger loom like a silhouette through the front door’s frosted glass. See
Below: A secret kept by the gardener from the world but not from the hens…
Same old…Same old…
Scratching a living…
Contempt prior to investigation is not something the hens out our back suffer from…
How long have I been sitting in the shed. I have always been afraid to leave the shed. The shed is my sanctuary, my home from home. I have been found hiding in there by the other nasty street urchins, nasty urchins or Nasturtiums, all of the other children of broken homes. Broken home children are incredible, and edible unfortunately, tasty nasty urchins are we, once I came across a mother eating the heads off her two young sons, young and tender, they say, when picked, they’re at their best. Strange how the sight of it, though it should have, did not make me sick. I was jealous, you could say I was green with envy. They have a slightly peppery bite to them quite similar to watercress, their mother said.
I am going back inside, once inside I am staying in there, in the shed. Either let me back in or eat me now, eat me and do me a favour because the older I am then the bolder I am and the spicier will be my flavour.
I live off the scraps. I can live well off of what is thrown away. In my mind I’m climbing in and out of bins in the city where the bigger population has rendered the rubbish more interesting. Sometimes while passing I will see something shining in there and I tell myself if I have to dive in and start swimming through all the shit to get to it…I will. And so where would you say you get your inspiration from Jeremiah?
Here is a poem about Autumn, about not having a goat being good for the garden, about the garden and a little bit about the goat…entitled…
Autumn and I Thought I Ought To Turn My Coat
Autumn and I thought I ought to turn my coat, though
Not having a goat is good for the garden,
Not having a garden is good for the goat,
Begging my pardon but what am I talking about, about
My not being too hard on myself, with good reason.
While rhyme for rhyme’s sake these days I take it, though
It be “by the by, say, what time do you make
It, it is nine or as near as does not matter by mine,”
In time with time though essentially out of season
And paralysed by analysis while possibilities were
Legion, the breeze played musical trees but cheated “And cheaters, cheaters never win.” the stone, tone deaf
Remaining seated, was oblivious to all but the beat
Within things, to the terribly affected applause of wings,
The back slapping…and the slow handclapping…and
The Jerry gone wrong, merry gone wrong, merry gone
Round of roundabouts and swings, and my wall eyed
Poet with the wooden tongue who had had enough of
Stuffed words, though well hung, worked by strings, to
His apology for singing while bringing in the sheaves,
The falling birds and the little leaves for green and dear
Life all and ever clinging.
I am that man…I am that itinerant man travelling around town. A rag and bone man “Any old iron, any old iron.” I am a scrap merchant, a scrap dealer in things of small value to others, otherwise why would they part with them as easily as they have done in the past and will again, in spite of having come across their own words quoted back to them in poetry for the tidiest of tiny profits… Speaking of the tiniest of tidy profits, there is now a shop on my website www.jerrytwomey.com where you can buy stuff like “The Pearls from The Poundshop” and “High are The Waters, Heaven Sent” books of poetry as well as a book I created in the spring of the year with the help of Blurb.co.uk and their ingenious Bookwright App and will soon start flagging for Christmas called Christmas Conundrum. Have a look: www.jerrytwomey.com/shop/
When I was getting sober they told me to trust God, clean house and help others, help others? How in the name of God do you do that…now that you would go out of your way to try to not harm others makes sense. I can just about manage that, that’s where I draw the line though for the want on the part of my personality, of a reliable moral compass, giving when called upon, readings of undeniable accuracy in matters of conscience.
Below is a sort of parable probably for that truth that says the road to hell is paved with good intentions…
Once upon a Saturday afternoon, I must have been twelve or thirteen, covered in mud, back home, after a classic football battle against Cork Hill in the Barracks Field, looking forward to my mam’s fried egg and chips, before running water for a bath I spied an itinerant Earwig. Earwigs have been known in the summer to come in with the clean and dry clothes from the line. I watched him struggle against the treacherously smooth, steep, slopes of the bath knowing he would either starve or drown if I did not intervene, for “intervene” read “interfere” now, to my mind, in hindsight, all of these years later. I watched my six legged friend’s endeavours. Ours were not too disimilar against Cork Hill. All morning long we had struggled on a muddy and poorly lined football pitch, in winter, with no referee. I watched until I found myself, unable to bear witness to the futility of his struggle any longer, leaning forward to try to grasp with the great tact I am famous for and all the delicacy I could muster, what I think I’m right in calling the thorax and the head of the beast, or both, or indeed any other appendage of that invertebrate that would lend itself to being grasped by simply exerting what I thought was the required pressure upon the thorax or the head, without the head coming away in this protagonist’s thumb and fingers. That appendage that would lend itself best to being grasped without becoming detached by accident turned out to be the characteristic cerci, a formidable pair of pincers or forceps on the abdomen used for defence.
Startled by the little creature’s courage in the face of adversity if not death, in a reflex action, reflex being an involuntary and sudden response to a stimulus and most common reflexes being responses to an accumulated knowledge of caution, I could not help, upon feeling a sudden if innocuous pinch, in my fright, flinging the poor fellow as hard and as far as I could away from me across the floor to where the toilet brush holder was bound to the U-bend by a web, a web of deceit, the intricacy and subtle strength of which would have confounded all but the Spider, the Spider, like all good liars, still faithfully tied to the first lie she had woven and certainly not forgotten…who then immediately set to work to try to convince the Earwig to stay…and so you know how the story ends…the Spider and the Earwig become fast friends…and I learn or you could be forgiven for thinking I do, a valuable lesson for life.
No, I have not framed his work for posterity though he poses like any artist would in front of his most recent installation. Yes, these holes are all his own work. Now he is waiting like any artist would, who is not accustomed to his pieces appearing monthly in the Jeremiah’s Journals for the interviewer to stop asking more and more stupid questions like where he gets his inspiration from and to stop hopping the ball and start throwing it, throwing it even further than the last time for him to fetch.
The results of immediate remedial work done on the lawn are good though the dog and the hens are only waiting till I take away the frames I made. Trouble is I’ve been here before but they have too, my move.
On the Monday morning of the storm while the tea was brewing in the kitchen, leaves of course, I can wait, I can do my bit for mindfulness, a decision had to be made whether or not to let the hens out. The hens borne by Ophelia across the sky thinking their dreams had come true and they could now fly was the last thing I wanted. That hope, that not unlike Hamlet’s Ophelia the storm would die by water before she reached our shores had faded by eleven o clock when I went to the window to watch the trees kick off and the green plastic patio table and chairs rearrange themselves over and over again till the grief crazed Ophelia was happy. Nowhere to be seen were the hens. I feared the worst. I donned my oilskins and braved the elements. I searched everywhere, in the old dog kennel where they sometimes sheltered from the rain, back of the shed where they’d lay out in summer, under the trees, the bird brains, have they no sense. I will never forgive myself, if anything has happened to them, I heard myself tell myself as I walked towards their house and bent down, knelt down to see if I could see in and saw them, the two of them tucked up in a warm bed of straw, wings folded, frowning, slightly put out I would say at being disturbed, why wouldn’t they be, having given this Monday up, this bloody Monday of all Mondays in particular, as a bad job.
All that at last was left for me to do was to lock the door on my way out, for fear it would become unhinged by the wind, like me, a latter day Hamlet who had wondered long and hard in a yard littered with fallen leaves and feathers, whether it was nobler in the mind to not put out the bins.