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, December 22, 2007

toilet humour

President Ahmed Ahamdinejad was sitting on the golden throne reserved for his use in cubicle number one of the communal toilets at the Presidential palace in Teheran.
The door of his cubicle burst open.
"Excellency, Excellency," exclaimed Defence Minister Hashemi Snotbosca. "Wondrous news."
The President was mildly nonplussed by the intrusion.
"Hashemi," he intoned with some asperity. "How often must I tell you not to burst in on me when I'm dropping bombs?"
The Defence Minister babbled an apology.
"I thought you'd want to see this," he said sheepishly, thrusting a sheaf of documents into the hands of the great leader.
Ahmadinejad read with slowly widening eyes.
"So," he mused. "The CIA believes we've abandoned our attempts to develop atomic weapons."
He flashed his famous cheeky chappy grin.
"Well if we have," he said, "it's news to me."
Hashemi scratched his head thoughtfully.
"What do you make of it Excellency?"
"You ask too many questions," chuckled his boss. "Let's just say, thank heavens for all those Clinton era appointees in the American secret service. Continually trying to wrongfoot President Bush. Where would we be without them?"
"Losing the war on terror?" ventured his second in command.
"I wasn't looking for an answer to that question," admonished the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. "I was speaking rhetorically."

Friday, December 21, 2007

sic transit gloria monty baines

Mid afternoon in Brambles cafe.
My mobile phone beeps.
It is a newsmaker called Clifford T Reid.
A few years ago he became the youngest ever elected councillor in the South Kildare town of Athy. Shortly after that he stood for the European parliament on a slogan that ran: "Stop The Paedophiles." Last Autumn he took part in an expedition to cross South Georgia island in the Antarctic.
He is indeed a newsmaker.
But I no longer write the news.
Before I can say anything he begins.
"James," quoth he. "I'm putting together a book. It's about what famous people think of Kildare. I want to know what they love about the place and what it means to them to live here. I'm thinking maybe of getting each one to write a page of their own personal insights. What do you think?"
"It sounds like a good idea Cliff," I mumble noncommittally.
But really I'm getting ready to preen.
I'm thinking: Ah, recognition at last.
You know gentle travellers of the internet, even in the hour of defeat comes the glimmer of triumph.
Clifford T Reid continues.
"I'm wondering," sez he, "if you can suggest a few people I might ask to contribute."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

in time's eye

Morning phone call to the Department of Social Welfare with a view to claiming unemployment benefit.
Ah, it's good for what ails ye.
I gave a few details.
Humbling enough.
The girl on the phone said: "You're not the James Healy?"
She said it with a most appealing emphasis.
I thought it was the Department of Social Welfare's finest hour.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

among the americans

Boston.
A temperamental journey.
Bright clear fresh New England day.
Morning coffee with Aunty Eileen and Uncle Joe at the Wellesley Starbucks. Chubby college girl smiled at me most winningly. She was in her shining days. I suppose all of twenty years old. Time thou hast cheated me.
Afternoon on my own in the city. Hollywood film crew had taken over half of the Boston Public Library in a welter of self importance. Some of the extras sat chattering at one end of my table. Another chap dressed in army fatigues sat in a little world of his own at the other end. Nobody messed with him.
I guessed he was the star.
Two black security guards ambled by chatting about the general shenanigans.
"That guy was in the X Men," said one.
"Who did he play?" wondered his friend.
"He was the guy with the nails and shit."
Overhearing this exchange made my day.
Wandered outside to the Old South church, an Episcopalian structure located nowhere near South Boston. I reckoned I'd been led to it so I went inside.
Old South is a beautiful church with a high vaulted ceiling and dark wood panelling that positively reeks of Yankee prosperity.
It was empty.
I sat in a pew. The silence flowed softly around me.
Abruptly a bob haired woman emerged from a side door, strode onto the altar and began pounding the ivories of an ornate pipe organ.
She was totally into it.
Or out of it.
I mean her playing did not lack commitment.
Like an episcopalian phantom of the opera.
My God how that woman could play.
Her swelling theme lifted my spirit to the very heavens.
I let the music take me and prayed without words.
It was a magnificent sensation.
Truly if the Lord wills it the churches will be one.
She was still clattering away goodo when I emerged a half hour later into the winter night.
In the darkness the John Hancock skyscraper looked like a stately Spanish galleon sailing up Main Street to Copley Square.
I caught a tube train out to Government Centre and wandered from there by my usual route to Boarders bookshop.
The horrendous Paddy Whackery of a monument to the Irish famine of 1847 greeted me like a lost son near the door.
The bloody famine.
Memo to the world: Only half wits like Sinead O'Connor and parvenu corporate pseuds like Tony O'Reilly, and gormless posturing politicians like our entire government, only these I say, identify Irishness with the famine.
The rest of us have moved on.
Pleasant hours in Boarders surrounded by the Americans.
A Mexican girl in the cafe slapped her thighs when our eyes met. I thought this was very nice of her.
At closing time I walked outside and stood for a moment.
Tree branches waving against the street lights sent shadows flitting among the statues of the starving family of famine victims. The shadows danced across the path towards a second group of statues representing the same family now strong and vital having built a new life in Boston.
Time stood still.
It occurred to me that the famine monument has been very much misunderstood.
Mainly by me.
Train to Riverside and a lovely night walk back to the Fagan house. Aunty Eileen served up a dinner. Not one of her best.
Aunty Eileen has about six recipes she prepares which are warmly redolent of the food served in heaven.
Tonight there were no celestial viands.
Tonight it was recipe number seven, something she calls Mrs Johnon's casserole.
Mrs Johnson was not a renaissance woman.
Well, they say what does not kill us will make us stronger.
We shall see.
Tomorrow God willing, I'll fly home safe, sound and alive, to an Ireland starved for my presence.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

president ahmadinejad recommends

President Ahamdinejad recommends you all read the Heelers blog posting entitled Moments, which was published on 31st October 2006. It's in the archives. The Prez and his associates logged on from Teheran on Sunday and spent ten minutes browsing through this post. Really you have to admire their taste. You can also have a look at the evidence of an Iranian fan club for the Heelers Diaries yourselves by clicking on the stat counter at the bottom of this page. The Iranians appear on page two of the stat counter by the way. When will these spooks learn to mask their log ons? The CIA and M15 are always much more cautious. And the UN only ever gets caught because one of its own works for me.

Monday, December 17, 2007

a scientist's prayer

meteors
bright the sky
the god of miracles
and molecules
sits on his throne tonight
that the humble
and the mighty
may rejoice

Sunday, December 16, 2007

message from the immortals

Driving to Dublin in the bleak midwinter.
The ghost of CS Lewis appears beside me in the passenger seat.
"You know Heelers," he says, "some of us who seem quite nice people may, in fact, have made so little use of a good heredity and a good upbringing that we are really worse than those we regard as fiends."
I drove on in silence.
"You mean my attitude to the Arab and Muslim terrorists, don't you?" sez I presently.
"I do," sez he.