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, July 28, 2007

winds of destiny

Bouncing around Dublin in the rain.
The royal tour of book shops and cafes.
Betimes brooding darkly on the nature of existence.
Betimes scribbling feverishly in my notebook.
Slowly the great Irish novel is taking shape.
It is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying...
But I don't want to give too much away.
In the book store on Grafton street a blue haired punkish girl flirted outrageously. She was all impish grin and lissom limbs.
I thought the universe somehow favoured her.
Outside Trinity College, Paddy the poet sold me a Big Issue. He told me he'd be reciting tonight at a pub in Rathmines.
"Will you be singing?" I asked him.
He shook his head.
"I don't sing," he said. "I can't be good at everything, you know."
Down to the Henry Street library to check the emails.
Hindu Babe had sent one about her Rudigore situation.
I wrote back advising her to become a nun.
Ah Rudigore(s).
From hell's black heart I stab at thee(s).
Home to the Chateau de Healy.
The nephews were running riot.
During a quiet moment I took the Mammy to one side.
"For crying out loud," sez I. "Tell me I was never as clingy as they are."
The Mammy grinned.
"Son," sez she, "if life was Star Trek you'd have been a Klingon."

Friday, July 27, 2007


in the pool of evening
quick silver
ripples widening

cold water thing
risen to exult
in some unthinking imagining
ordinary is wonder enough

what do fishes dream

Thursday, July 26, 2007

bend it like tailybum

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

racial tensions

Even so the brightest of angels fell.
Yes, gentle readers.
When the mighty Heelers encounters evil in himself it's not likenable to the struggles of other mortal souls.
No. It's more reminiscent of that which brought down proud Lucifer himself.
Egomaniacal, moi?
The occasion was this.
I had been sitting in Bewleys cafe quaffing a brew.
I glanced upwards and beheld Ahmed the Arab waiter leaning over the top balcony. And lo. He was making limp wristed hand gestures. Ahmed's persistence in these gestures when he caught my eye, gave me to understand that he considered his motions had some specific relevance to my good self.
Ah yes noble readers.
The man who comes in to the cafe every night with a different girl on his arm is considered as camp as a row of tents down Arabia way.
Either that or Arab waiters are so terrified at even the merest possibility of sexual variance in themselves that they become consumed by a juvenile nay cretinous desire to project their fears outwards onto other people.
Well, it would explain a lot.
So there I sat.
Ahmed still waving cheerily. Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Sexual Insecurity to give him his full name.
A peculiarly infuriating insouciant grin transfixing his features.
I felt the stirrings of darkness within my own heart.
My bee stung ruby red lips quivered tremulously.
Here was a darkness I hadn't suspected before.
It was perhaps the merest shadow of racial hatred.
And suddenly and of an instant I wanted to shout: "You Arabs. You come all the way to our country from your own miserable twelfth century holes. And you can't even conduct yourselves with a modicum of politeness to the people who have allowed you to live here. Go home. Go back to your own country. Go and be a rude waiter in the Gaza Strip."
Instead of shouting this I left Bewleys cafe.
A day later I was back, sitting at the same table quaffing as before.
I glanced up.
Ahmed was in situ on the bacony.
He had been joined by the fat African waiter, Mbutu.
For crying out loud.
They were both of them making the most prodigious limp wristed hand gestures in the history of the sport.
Our two great heros of the enlightenment.
Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Sexual Insecurity and his partner in intellectualism Mbutu McGroarity. (Definitely her Nigerian cousin.)
What a privilege to be an object of scorn for two such fine fellows.
You know bold readers, I've always felt that the worst crimes are the crimes against human dignity.
Particularly those against my own human dignity.
If only I could think of some suitably cutting riposte to repudiate this callous waiterly disrespect.
My gossamer lidded eyes attained a translucent hue.
I longed for the erudition and perspicacity of the great wits of the Renaissance.
My mind raced feverishly searching for inspiration.
What would Benny Hill have said in these circumstances?
Inspiration did not come.
I slunk to the door.
The darkness within me stirred and grew stronger.
Just a tad.
I left the cafe.
But the next night I was back again.
Same table. Same beverage. Same Kodak moment.
I looked up.
On the balcony there were now no less than three foreign national waiters favouring me with their attentions.
Ahmed Bin Mohamad Al Sexual Insecurity, his old pal Mbutu McGroarity, and last but by no means least a rather pathetic little Portuguese chap, clearly trying to curry favour with the others, whom we shall call Ponce De Leon.
Now I have nothing bad to say about the Portuguese chap. I do not need to project my sexual fears onto anyone.
I just mean he was a soft fearful little fellow whose masculinity was not his most outstanding characteristic.
I had been kind to him in recent weeks.
At this moment he was doing limp wristed hand gestures with Ahmed and Mbutu like they were going out of fashion.
What tremendously impressive fellows, I thought wearily.
The three great heteros of the Islamic revolution.
Ahmed Bin Mohamad Al Sexual Insecurity, Mbutu McGroarity and recent convert Rodrigo the Lionheart.
(Ze joke is over, - Ed note.)
I allowed a groan to escape my full sensual lips. My gossamer lidded eyes fluttered like humming birds wings. My opaque skin became flushed with the pallor of the musk rose.
When I spoke it was with the wounded dignity of a young Oscar Wilde in the dock.
"Ah Jasus," I said, "even the little effeminate Portuguese guy is doing it now."
I stood up.
Heading for the door, I decided to give them my cool assessive stare. Just to let them know I wasn't afraid of them.
I stared.
I wished I hadn't.
For when they beheld my cool assessive stare it provoked such mirth in them that I had to desist. I feared they might shake their limp wristed hands off.
An objective observer might have thought they were having orgasms.
Feeling thoroughly unmanned I hurried outside.
I left Bewleys cafe that night for the last time.
The darkness within me was alive and pulsing. I hated the Arab. I hated the Nigerian. I hated them profoundly.
The other lad didn't worry me.
He was just the eternal toady.
A weak man hoping to ingratiate himself with the supposedly hard men.
I felt sorry for him.
The other two I hated indeed. It was a hatred that would not prove so easy to control.
All this happened five years ago.
In the intervening time the seeds of darkness within me have waxed and waned. Sometimes strong. Sometimes almost defeated.
Other times subtly extending a devilish power over my spirit.
And yea my very soul.
For it is not such a huge leap from hating one Arab and one Nigerian to hating them all.
Of course I fought this.
I have had a passing acquaintance with the ancient religion. (Hint: Not the one set up by Henry The Eighth.)
This meant I knew that my soul was in play. Hatred is death to the soul.
I never told you about this battle, oh my most noble friends of the internet, because I did not know how it would end.
There were unfathomable changes taking place in me.
I had always considered Dublin to be my Jerusalem. The conflicts and tragedies that permeate the city seemed to wash past me unheeded.
All I saw was glory.
Now for the first time I began to notice the racial tensions in Dublin.
A year after the Bewleys incident I came upon a six year old boy shouting in thick Dublinese at an African street musician on Grafton street. The six year old Irish child was shouting racial pejoratives at the musician.
A few months after that, again on Grafton Street, an Algerian man beat an Irish teenager to death with a baseball bat. He found other Algerians who testified in court that the Irish teenager had made racial remarks to him. Judge Liberal let the Algerian go. Apparently it is not a crime for Algerians to beat Irish teenagers to death with baseball bats if they can find other Algerians to say the teenagers made racial remarks to them.
On yet another occasion just last year, I was walking down Henry Street beside two West Indian ladies. An Irish woman possibly about twenty years old, walked up out of the crowd and physically struck one of the West Indian ladies before running away. There was no reason for it.
About the same time I read in the papers that an African man had driven a car into a crowd of fifteen people on Henry Street. At least no one died.
Another day on O'Connell street I myself saw two policemen on foot collide with two Nigerians. The Nigerians and the police strode into each other deliberately with no quarter asked or given. An aggressive jostling of shoulders, then both groups moved on. You couldn't say who was to blame but it was all deliberate. This can't be good I thought.
I moved like a ghost through the city as all this was going on.
I was aware of what was happening. Sometimes I shook my head and wondered what should be done. But I remained more or less wrapped up in my own spiritual battle.
Until today.
Today I had an epiphany.
(You wot? - Ed note.)
I was sitting in the Dublin City Centre Library browsing over a CS Lewis tome.
(The danger of reading these is I start thinking I'm CS Lewis. - Heelers note.)
There was a pulse in the universe.
A Spanish girl in a short short skirt sat at my table. She favoured me with a most delicious smile as she settled herself down.
A moment passed.
I glanced at her in order to record any salient details for my files.
Our eyes met.
Again the dangerous smile.
Then she... positively... jiggled.
It was most remarkable.
Here's larks, thinks I. It's going to be a pleasant afternoon at the library.
A sudden flurry to my left disabused me of the notion.
From the corner of my eye I saw a Yuppy suited Dubliner bearing down on our table. I didn't look up. Still from the corner of my eye I had an instant of appraisal. Loud. Overbearing. Pseudo middle class. Newly graduated from college.
He sat down with as much scraping of chair and dumping of laptop as possible.
There were other chairs free and other tables. But he sat right there with Spanishy and me.
And in a moment he began to make little noises.
First a cough. Then a scratch. Then a persistent clicking of the tongue. Then a snigger.
It was all terribly amusing for him.
I kept my eyes on Surprised By Joy.
The little noises continued.
Clearly directed at me and Spanishy.
She played a blinder ould Senorita McSanchez. She was a gem.
She never for a second gave the impression that the guy had cost her a thought.
She remained in a little pool of stillness.
She still favoured me with an occasional surreptitious jiggle.
And now and again that superb smile.
But the mood was spoiled.
A half hour went by.
The Yuppy chap continued his entertainment. His laptop was on but not muted, so it made a beep or squeak noise whenever he clicked a button.
The cough, sniff, click, snigger continued the whole time.
It really did.
Quite extraordinary.
I wouldn't mind him making a move on ould Spanishy himself if he had the guts. But this was a bit much.
I felt a sliver of rage rise within.
From somewhere far away I asked myself: What would a Christian do?
It seemed I heard an answer.
"A man who masters himself is worth ten thousand who take a city."
I opened my mind.
The following meditation unfolded.
"If I am saved as I think I will be, I shall spend all eternity in paradise. If this annoying chap presently trying to start a fight, is also saved by the grace of God, then he too will be in paradise for all eternity and we will in all probability be great friends. So what does it matter these few moments of irritation when weighed against an eternity of friendship?"
(Hey Heelers, that sounds a bit like one of mine. - Saint Thomas Moore note.)
My spirit became very still.
I became aware that I was on the edge of a great grace.
I sensed that in this moment I might win the other battle I had fought for so long.
I looked around the library.
There was a tough looking black teenager sitting at an adjoining table. He was wearing gangsta clothes with gold jewelry and a tracksuit top with red and blue stripes and patches of a whiteness brighter than you'd see on a cricket pitch.
"Look at him," I thought to myself. "That man could beat up anyone in the place. And he's behaving like a perfect gentleman. Not hassling anybody. Ignoring the hassle that's going on nearby. The only person causing trouble here today is a middle class Dublin man. There's no Africans causing trouble. No Arabs are causing trouble. The only trouble here is coming from a white white white Irish Irish Irish man."
I glanced at another table where a tired looking Chinese lad was poring over a maths book.
I thought: "You are welcome here sir."
The action of grace upon my spirit was palpable to me.
I allowed the moral of the lesson to flood through me.
"There's no foreign national causing any trouble here. The only problem is coming from the Honkie. My countryman. There's no Arab. There's no African. It's Mr Whitey, Mr Whitey, Mr Whitey who is acting as if he can't control himself."
Suddenly I found that the chap beside me no longer seemed even vaguely annoying.
I could contemplate him with complete indifference.
Then I was alone.
I spoke deep in the core of my inmost being.
"Be gone Satan.
You have lost.
You are nothing.
Racism will find no purchase in me.
I will never hate another human being.
You can do nothing about it.
Be gone.
Go to the place that is prepared for you.
Jesus is perfect love and perfect love casts out fear.
Vivat Jesu Domine.
Long live Jesus Christ the King."
I felt the most gentle sense of liberation.
For a moment I could contemplate my spirit as an ocean. Serene and clear. No place for even a speck of hatred to hide in it.
One more thing was necessary.
I wanted to look Whitey White MacWhite in the eyes.
I wanted to look on him with detachment regardless of any scorn or mockery that he might attempt.
Just to let him know I wasn't afraid of him.
(Male staring rituals are as old as history though this doesn't make them any less cretinous. Albert Speer says he had them with Hitler in the bunker. Speer claims he used to win them. Not many people know that. - Michael Caine note.)
I turned.
For the first time I looked directly at my irritating neighbour.
My eyes widened.
I nearly fell off the chair.
Somehow I had been mistaken in my impression when he sat down.
He was not Irish.
He was a bloody Arab.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

they saved heelers brain

Dinner with the English academic Doctor Jill Allaway, her husband Dug and my dear old Mum.
We ate at the Royal Garden in the idyllic South Kildare town of Athy.
Doctor Don't Call Me Professor Allaway presented me with one of her paintings.
"I've been working on it for two years," she murmured.
"What is it?" I asked in some wonderment.
"A picture of your mind," she replied.
"You mean a picture of the mind of whoever is looking at it?" sez I.
"No. I mean your mind." quoth she.
I fell silent.
The silence has lasted till this moment.

Monday, July 23, 2007

it is better to give than to take

To the airport with Sonia and Sondra.
I dropped 'em at the front gate.
As I hefted their luggage onto the pavement, they murmured behind me along lines suggestive that a small donation to the cause might be in the offing.
"Don't go yet," from Sonia.
"We want to give you something," from Sondra.
Ah thinks I.
A fifty spot at least, surely.
I turn.
Sonia hands Sondra a small bag of cashew nuts which she passes to me.
"What's this?" sez I.
"Nuts," they say almost in unison.
They meet my piercing blue eyed stare with innocent pale greeny grey stares of their own.
I am not for the life of me sure whether they're just giving me a bag of nuts or whether this is some exquisite bittersweet gesture of post modern irony.
They hug me and go.
As I drive away I am sure of one thing.
The merry widows have been greatly misunderstood.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

the choric song of the lotus heelers

Ah midnight.
The tired aches recede.
I've had a day with my nephews the boo hoo twins.
They are teaching me slowly the riddle of life.
It's like in Conan The Barbarian only less humane.
(Conan had to learn the riddle of steel - Ed note.)
(I still say he had it easy - Heelers note.)
I am the leavings of it.
And in a few hours I've to get up for an early morning airport run with the merry widows.
The merry widows Sonia and Sondra, are American friends of my Aunty Eileen who have been visiting us here in Ireland for the past two years.
Weeks. Two weeks. Not two years.
They've been visiting for two weeks.
But if felt like two years.
They bring new meaning to the word insufferable.
They bring the old meaning.
But new depth.
I don't know why I volunteered to drive them to the airport.
I guess I just wanted to be sure they got on the plane.
Arf arf.
A little merry widow humour there.
My feminist cousin Pauline christened them the merry widows by the way.
Of course I find this name hugely amusing and am intent on passing it off as one of my own.
The merry widows.
Two less merry women you could not meet.
I don't want to go casting no aspersions.
Come the dawn Heelers and widows will be airporting together.
A one hour drive.
We should have plenty of time to explore each other's boundaries.
If you enlist you must soldier.
And now...
Bedtime for Bonzo.