The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Saturday, September 16, 2006

apologia pro egotismus mea

The day is going down.
I walk out the door of Starbucks cafe and stand for a moment amid the bustle and swirl of Dame Street.
Car lights sweep by in the gathering dark. Orange street lamps hover.
This year's girls cluster round the gates of Trinity College.
Revellers stroll along the pavement.
In the throng I am alone.
They pass me without heed. City folk. The very ones who will soon part with amazement and applaud my approach.
I smile.
Each man must be a legend to himself.

Friday, September 15, 2006

morning becomes the world

I let Paddy Pup out of his shed.
The swallows who live with him rush past me into the open air. They circle overhead giving little cries.
"Glory," they say. "Glory to God."
I answer them in like spirit.
We are creatures in the creation praising the creator.
Paddy Pup sidles forth blinkily and shoots me a fond glance.
"Still talking to the swallows," he seems to say. "You're absolutely nuts you know."
This from a dog who eats handkerchiefs.
The tang of Autumn is everywhere.
I savour it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

when worlds collide

Afternoon at the Chateau de Healy.
A gentle September sun is playing through the great bay windows on the face of Ireland's greatest living poet.
There I sit in an armchair flicking through the pages of a book called Watership Down, a veritable treasure of literature that I have read many times before.
Abruptly the front door swings open.
A whirlwind in vaguely human form enters the hall, twists about a bit and then joins me in the living room.
And lo!
When the dust settles we see...
Tis my feminist cousin Pauline and none other.
"Watcha reading?" sez she in that tone she adopts when she's not particularly looking for trouble but might happily accept trouble should any happen to come along.
Wordlessly I incline the greatest book in the English language in her general direction.
Pauline unleashes a delighted squeal.
"Watered Down Shite," she crows. "You're reading Watered Down Shite."
Whereupon, her work with me complete, she whirlwinded off towards the kitchen.
It would not do to let Pauline have the last word.
"E Annie Prolix," I shouted after her. "E Annie Prolix."
And I meant it to sting.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Vampires Of Dublin (or how I came to stop worrying and love the living dead)

Xenith Films presents
James Healy's Vampires Of Dublin.
Shooting schedule: June to August 2007.
Producer: Giovanna Rampazzo.
Enquiries to:


two lovers walk the claddagh
ruffed and ragged by the winter breeze

they're as much a part of galway
as the wildern wintern seas

their laughter echoes gleaming
like the verses of a song

their spirits turn and bid me
scorn the wealth of solomon

Monday, September 11, 2006

A BIT IRISH (by Medbh Gillard and James Healy)

"Never mind Mr Healy. They say balds have more fun!"

Sunday, September 10, 2006

the hoddlebun identity

Coffee with Lu Yi in the Stephen's Green Centre.
At least one of us is having some fun.
"Do you want to be alone all your life?" Lu Yi asks fixing me with a most penetrating stare.
"Umm, it depends if I find the right person," I reply.
"Have you met her yet?" persists she.
"I don't know," sez I.
"When will you know?" wonders she.
"At exactly five o'clock this evening," I answer bemusedly.
(All this was my own fault because earlier I'd told Lu Yi she could ask me about anything. Sheer madness. What was I thinking of? Of course she'd set me up with a few "Oooh I don't know what questions I can ask Westerners because of the cultural differences," type remarks. And I'd fallen right into her trap with a few "Don't worry about that sort of thing with me," style gormless remarks of my own. Now I was paying for it.)
Around us the cafe was buzzing with life. Herself returned to the chase.
"Why don't you settle down?" she murmured.
This was too much.
"You don't understand Lu Yi," I cried warmly. "Every woman that meets me falls in love with me. And they all want one thing. It's sex, sex, sex. You get tired of that. They're only into me for my good looks. None of them know the real me. None of them care."
China girl seemed a bit taken aback by this revelation. But now I was starting to enjoy myself.
"Women find me something of a fantasy figure," I told her frankly. "But it's all down to my physical appearance. They don't care about anything else. It doesn't mean anything. It's totally superficial. Just once I wish I could meet a girl who would be interested in me for myself."
To her credit Lu Yi was still finding it difficult to come up with a suitable comment. I wasn't finished though.
"They all look at me and immediately think they're in love with me," I moaned. "I'm telling you it's a living hell. Just by an accident of birth I look this way. It seems to be what every woman wants. Western women at least. For a start they're obsessed with pot bellies. They see mine and they want to run their fingers over it. They want to see it undulate it in the evening sun. And as for the speed bumps I have on my face from the mobile phone. They love those. It's always: Oh James, let us touch your spots, let us rub them, please. And they go absolutely nuts for my bald patch. Don't talk to me about bald patches Lu Yi. Maybe it's different in China. But over here the bald patch is considered an erogenous zone.I'm sick of these sex crazed young ones wanting to tickle it. Just sick."
Lu Yi was staring at me with a strange fascination.
But I couldn't keep a straight face any longer.
Abruptly my world dissolved into a sea of laughter.
I laughed long and loud and hearty.
For as many of you have come to know I am my own biggest fan.
I wiped the tears from my eyes and was dimly aware of Lu Yi laughing too.
I'd say we made quite a picture.
After a while we stopped laughing. There was a pleasant lull in the conversation. Mid the agreeable silence my mobile phone beeped.
I answered it full of the joys of living.
The optimistic mood altered quickly.
"Yes, yes alright, I understand."
A few terse phrases and I rang off.
A great change had come over my handsome features. My face was drawn and haggard. My skin had turned pale beneath the perma tan.
Lu Yi looked frightened.
"What is it?" she said placing a hand on my arm.
"She's back," I muttered aghast. "Big Hair has returned. Hoddlebun is back in Dublin."
It was a moment not unlike a scene from the Robert Ludlum book The Bourne Supremacy, where a CIA agent comes upon a cafe full of dead mobsters and exclaims: "The assassin has returned. Jason Bourne is back in Hong Kong."
Yes, it was a real Robert Ludlum moment.
I said goodbye to China girl and headed home.
Later this evening when I was recounting this anecdote to my cousin Yankee Joe in Boston, I discarded the Ludlum metaphor in favour of one from The Terminator films.
"She's back Joe," I told him. "She can't be stopped. Nothing can turn her aside. She goes on until her mission is complete."
And so on.
And much later still, when I was recounting the same anecdote to the Mammy I used a line from an old Irish stage melodrama based on a short story by Frank O'Connor.
"She's come again," I told the Mammy. "Like the sky above our heads. She's come back. Back to Farancreesht."
The Mammy at least, knew exactly what I meant.