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, June 30, 2007


Strolling through the nursing home where Mrs Walshe lived for the past three years.
I spent the three years asking for a miracle for her.
I never stopped asking.
What's the point in being on first name terms with the creator of the universe if you don't ask him for things.
That's my motto.
But he said no.
Tonight I'm with Mrs Walshe's daughter Jackie.
Jackie is a high flying business executive and married to my brother Tom.
She has an energy unlike anything I've ever seen.
Let's just say she is a strong woman and she gets things done.
I am not always at ease in her company.
As we walk through the nursing home I see a new side of her.
Residents of the home appear from nowhere to take her arm.
The elderly. The ailing. The alone.
They hug her. Or ask her for a favour. Or thank her for something.
She has time for them all.
They all know her.
It's extraordinary the rapport, the love, she has for them.
I didn't get my miracle.
But these all got miracles.
For the past three years, because her mother was here, Jackie was here. Her energy, which so oft and heretofore had been channelled to excellence in the business world, had for the past three years touched these people and brought light and laughter to their lives.
She was the miracle God gave to them.
In fact she was a thousand miracles to them.
Jackie of the thousand days.
I stand in the corridor where I'd presumed to claim my prayer was unanswered.
In the heart of the tragedy I see... majesty, glory, victory.

Friday, June 29, 2007


Sitting on a bench in the Stephens Green Centre.
Laura from Rome has just texted me that she is with child.
A moment later the Mammy rings to say that our friend Mrs Walsh has died.
I sit amid the cacaphony of a Dublin evening.
One has been called.
Another has been sent.
I am sensing the eternity that lies just a heartbeat beyond the ordinary.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

this morning

Early morning flumped in front of the television.
I am watching a Catholic satelite channel called EWTN.
Occasionally I flick up and down to the Protestant channels which have buckets more oomph for your dollar.
The worst Protestant broadcaster is about a hundred times more televisual than the best Catholic one.
I return rather chastened to the channel God watches.
EWTN is showing a most curious film from the 1960s.
It's part of some lost series called Father Peyton's Theatre.
No other television station on the planet earth would dream of broadcasting it now.
I've tuned in late and am rather stunned by the symbolism of this week's episode.
A blonde boy and a blonde girl are wandering through sand dunes searching for meaning.
No really.
They are luminously beautiful children.
The sea is rolling white topped in a glorious sun.
Everything is very Californian.
And maybe a little bit third reich.
And lo!
The kids have come upon two rocking horses on the beach.
They are sitting on them now.
Their faces suffused with joy.
Their hair streaming.
The sea a magnificent mythic backdrop.
Presently the kids get off the horses and stroll back among the sand dunes.
They find Raymond Burr sitting looking out to sea.
The Raymond Burr.
Raymond Burr must have made a killing doing Catholic television films in the 1960s.
A few days ago I was watching this same channel and he showed up as Saint Peter in a most quaint and surrealistic telling of the gospel story.
He must have been doing this sort of stuff before he became famous as the wheelchair bound detective in the old cop show Ironside.
But I digress.
The Californian kids searching for meaning have found Raymond Burr.
He takes their hands.
The three stroll off along the beach.
No words at all.
We are left contemplating the wild mystic ocean.
The ocean of truth?
The credits roll.
Most extraordinary.
I watched this thing with my jaw dropped. I couldn't make up my mind what the hell I'd just seen.
Still the credits rolled.
Names blurring into names.
Aside from the venerable Burr, I didn't recognise any of them. But I could imagine that for each of them working on this film had been a thrill, possibly the thrill of a lifetime.
A final credit appeared.
Typical of the Catholics.
They give a credit to everybody.
The final credit began: Assistant to the Cameraman...
Now this guy hadn't been Assistant Cameraman.
This guy was Assistant to the Cameraman.
An important distinction.
He didn't get to work the apparatus when the main man was chatting to Father Peyton.
What he did get to do was fetch the cameraman's sandwiches.
The Assistant to the Cameraman was George Lucas.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

a child is born

the drunk and the drug dealer
from the ashes of their lives
have brought forth this jewel
shining like the centuries
their own and others ruined by what they are
but their blood will know the future
curse them
curse them as they writhe
i am sick of their riddle
a buffoon and a criminal
between them can make a miracle
what idiot tortured destiny is this
how i envy it
envy beyond saying or sensation
for as the child's face lit up with sweetness
never was a smile so like redemption
proof positive there is majesty in the universe
and i must learn to live again

Sunday, June 24, 2007

the labours of Heelules

Evening at the chateau de Healy.
Ireland's greatest living poet is posited in an armchair in front of the television.
He is at peace with the world.
His phone rings.
He answers it.
The voice of a certain renowned American harridan summons him to a new adventure.
Ah yes.
It is she who knows not kismet.
It is she who knows not fate.
It is Big Hair. It is Fiddlybits. It is Hoddlebun at the gate.
Well you know what I mean.
"Jamie," says Calamity Annie pleasantly.
A shiver runs down my preraphaelite spine.
Pleasantly is not good bold readers.
For I do fear her pleasantness more than anything else.
No seriously.
It means she wants something.
So it transpires.
"Would you be able to store some luggage for me this Summer?" she asks sweetly as though steinervortzels wouldn't melt in her mouth.
Now by an odd accident of nature, she has timed her question perfectly.
For I've been watching the Southpark episode where Santa Claus goes to Iraq.
This is the funniest thing I've ever disapproved of.
Hence I am relaxed and happy.
In a moment of weakness I agree to take her luggage.
We bid our farewells and she rings off.
The Mammy sticks her head around the door.
"Who was it?" quoth she.
"Hodders," sez I.
"What did she want?" wonders the Mammy.
"More luggage," sez I.
The Mammy grins.
"That girl," she murmurs, "will have you driving up and down the road to Dublin with her luggage for the rest of your life."