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, January 26, 2008

the lifting of the veil

Friday afternoon coffee with Marriedski in the Muse cafe above Easons bookshop on O'Connell Street, Dublin.
Outside, rush hour and the rain.
Inside, a luminous Russian girl, golden hair, green eyes, lissom perfection.
I looked at her.
I thought: Who am I fooling? This wasn't ever going to be friendship.
There was a moment of surreptitious contact between us.
Our eyes met.
I saw worlds in her eyes.
The coffees arrived.
Our conversation meandered until...
Marriedski said: "James I had a nightmare last night. It was terrible. I don't know what it means."
I told her that my brothers believe I can read dreams.
She asked me would I read this one.
I gave her the formal cautionary warning: "You know that Christians do not accept the lordship of dream readers, or fortune tellers, or gurus, or tarot cards, or spirits, or fate. We have only one lord and he ended our servitude to any of these. I can talk to you about your dream. But you must not think I'm telling your future, or that I'm somehow an expert, or that I have authority over you. Listen Natassia. Don't take me too seriously. Really I'm just an egomaniacal storyteller who likes the idea that I can read dreams, and wants it to be true. I won't speak about your dream unless I know you feel free to say: Ah James you're talking rubbish."
She grinned and said: "James I always feel that."
I sat back in my chair.
She began to talk about her dream.
The words washed over me.
After a moment I knew.
Absolute gibberish.
She was talking gibberish.
I could hear everything.
I could understand nothing.
I knew why too.
The moment when I had contemplated betrayal by allowing a romantic liaison with her, at that very instant, any spiritual gift I have, or think I have, at that moment, it was gone.
Blocked channels.
Nothing coming through.
A holy gift cannot work through a liar.
She kept talking.
I thought to myself: Okay I'll just make something up. A good entertaining interpretation that will give her a smile.
I listened.
Not even the smidgin of a whiff of an iota of such an interpretation came to me.
I consulted briefly with the Deity.
In my heart I said: "Lord I know I'm blocked. I know if you want me to read the dream, I will. I can't really expect to get the gift back right away. But if it comes I'll say whatever you want me to say."
The lights came on.
It was like in Star Trek Next Generation when the engines on the space ship had failed and they were about to sucked into a black hole, and at the last minute Mr Worf reconfigured the Zorgotron beams to fire directly into the dilithium crystals reigniting the engines and...
Well, you know.
The channels unblocked.
Marriedski's words were in my ears. At the same time I was aware of something else.
It was like listening to French and being able to translate.
I was conscious of the early part's of her story, even the bits she'd said while I prayed, and I could feel the meanings dovetailing with what she was saying now.
Presently I asked God did he really want me to say what I was thinking.
I told him it might be simpler just to give her the solid old "pray and conquer" advice.
This is what Marriedski had said about her dream: "I had an argument with my husband last night. I went to bed and had this nightmare. The dream upset me but I didn't understand it. The dream was in three parts. In the first part I was in a labour ward. It was a hospital room. Just one bed. I was a young girl, about twenty years old. Innocent and fresh. There was a woman there. There was a man there also. The man was a bad man. I felt in danger. It was sexual danger. He looked like a monster. I was terrified, threatened. I said the Our Father in Russian and the bad man went away."
"In the second part of the dream, the woman took me to another room. Now I was older. A little older than you see me today. I was beautiful. Stylishly dressed. Confident in myself. There was another man with me. He was older than me. He was a nice man. I knew I could depend on him. I felt safe with him. It was like I was married to him. I said to him: Get me a washing machine. He said he would. I didn't say it nicely though. I just told him to do it. Dismissively. I felt safe with him but I wasn't nice to him."
"In the third part I was at a big castle. There was a celebration going on there. I was in the hall. The nice man from the second part was there. He was a security man at the castle. He was in charge of the other security men. I went to walk down some steps. I couldn't walk down them and came back. Queen Elizabeth the Second of England was in the hall. There was light everywhere. Bright light like diamonds or chandeliers. I woke up. James what does it mean?"
I sat back and took a breath.
I still wasn't sure how much I should say.
I said: "Natassia we are not meant to be ruled by fear. If you're regularly getting dreams that make you afraid, then you may need to do something about it. Fear has no authority from Jesus. Jesus is perfect love, and perfect love casts out fear. I had problems with dreams for thirty years. Stretching back into early childhood. Upsetting things. Deranging things. I overcame them. You can start by meditating, even for a minute, or five minutes, every day, on an image of Jesus or an icon. I used a Catholic image called the Divine Mercy. Turn your mind to God and ask him for the victory. Remember the dream and bring the image of God into what you remember. Remember what frightened you and tell it that you give it no authority, that Jesus is the only authority. Also once a day read something from the Bible. The good bits with the Lord in them. Allow these things into your mind and heart. You were not given life by God to be held in thrall by any fear or any oppressor, earthly or spiritual. No one else was either. We are made for freedom and fulfilment and completion in God. The fears are not our masters. Knowing this is the first step."
She eyed me most keenly.
"What does it mean?" she said softly.
I nodded.
"Okay," I told her. "But remember you must feel free to say I'm talking rubbish. This is what I'm thinking. The guy in the first part of the dream is your vision of your husband, of how you might see him when you're angry. Maybe a part of you sometimes feels that you have given your youth and innocence to the wrong man. This is why you might see him as a monster. Or think there was nothing between you except sex. The man in the second part of the dream is me."
Natassia sat bolt upright.
"Do you think?"
"Just listen."
She relaxed.
"The man in the second part is me," I repeated. "You see me as a safe person. A nice person. A person who could give you security. A house. Some part of you might be thinking: If I go with him, he will provide for me. I can tell you now Natassia, if you asked me to get you a washing machine I probably would. But you can see that in those circumstances you do not respect this man even though he's nice. In the third part this nice man has provided you with a castle. And now there is no trace of love. He's just the security man."
Natassia reached across and touched my arm.
"But is the dream telling me what to do?" she wondered.
I held her gaze.
There was a certain poignancy in the air.
"It's telling you," I said, "not to give up what you have for a fantasy. Don't give up a man that loves you and a child that loves you, for some ideal notion of security. The other man, the nice man, might genuinely give you security. He might build you a castle. But you will never belong there. That's why Queen Elizabeth arrives. What you have with the nice man can never be love. In the third part he's not even a husband anymore. He's just a security man. Think about it. You will never really love him and whatever castle he gives you will never really feel like your castle."
Natassia left soon after that.
She kissed me before she went.
Then I was alone.
Alone in a dowdy Dublin cafe with the rain falling outside.
The Brazilian waitress who hates me walked by, scowling pleasantly.
I shook my head at the memory of what had just taken place.
Can such things be?
It's a rum world.
Natassia doesn't even know that I refer to the Healy house as a chateau or that my mother's name is Elizabeth.
Around me the cafe clattered to its own rhythm.
I sat quietly.
An odd unexpected joy surged through me.
What on earth was I feeling?
It was this.
For once in my life I'd been on the side of the angels.
A phrase from the Bible came into my mind.
It was the bit where the lord had sent out some of his followers and given them authority over spirits.
The disciples came back to him having cast out a few demons and they were over the moon.
They thought this stuff was just the bees knees.
Jesus said to them: "Rejoice not because the spirits submit to you. Rejoice because your names are written in heaven."

Friday, January 25, 2008

strange days

On Wednesday around 34 people were killed in an explosion in northern Iraq.
The Associated Press reportage of this incident occasioned one of my classic letters of complaint.
I was chagrined by the uncritical presentation of remarks attributed by the Associated Press to Brigadier General Saleh Al Jubouri, supposedly a senior Iraqi police chief.
He remarked of the explosion that killed 34 people: "It wasn't the insurgents. They usually telephone a warning."
This seemed to fly in the face of the carnage we've been witnessing for the past few years.
My complaint went to Fox News which used the Associated Press version of the incident. I didn't bother complaining to CNN who used the same material. CNN make it so difficult to send an email of complaint that clearly there's no one listening.
On Thursday Brigadier General Saleh Al Jubouri was murdered by an Al Qaeda suicide bomber.
He was murdered at the scene of Wednesday's bombing which killed 34 people.
Perhaps he missed the warning phonecall.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

mannah from the department of social welfare

Careening along the open road through the heartland of South Kildare.
The Mammy is beside me trying to be patient.
My car Esmerelda rattles cheerfully around us as we drive.
I have had some good news.
I am singing.
I am singing a parody of the theme tune to the Harold Lloyd Half Hour, a television programme from the 1970's.
This was a show which featured clips from silent movie star Harold Lloyd's hugely funny comedy films. They used the original cinema footage actually dating from the 1920's.
The television producers had revitalised Harold's material and made it accessible to a whole new generation simply by coming up with the best theme tune ever.
I mean it was only brilliant.
It went:
"Say hello to Harold Lloyd.
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo.
What a guy.
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo.
Five feet high.
He's just a pair of glasses and a smile."
I'm telling you folks it was impossible to hear this without smiling.
The version I'm singing today which is proving pure purgatory for the Mammy's soul goes as follows.
"Thank God for Karl Marx.
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo.
So left wing.
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo.
Money for nothing,
He's just a social conscience and a beard.
Yes, thank God for free money.
Bleeding heart liberals,
The Sandinistas,
And especially Guardian reading pseudo intellectual political thinkers.
Thank heavens God wasn't listening to me when I scorned them over the last twenty years.
Yap daba dabba dabba dap dap."

Truly my sweet and gentle friends of the internet, truly, if you live long enough, truly, you'll see everything.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

television detectives and the end of childhood innocence

in calm contentment we could review
shootouts bank robberies all the rest
secure in the knowledge that the hero would come through
that rationo legalism is the best

then one day in the late 70's
kojak was shooting at some thugs
i was relaxed in all my certainties
until kojak went over like a sack of spuds

and here's the rub he did survive
to keep the streets of new york free of human vermin
my sensibilities died that night
i could never put my faith in pop culture again

Monday, January 21, 2008

la revolution en velours

Sunday, January 20, 2008

fortunes of war

A press group reports that last year in Afghanistan 6500 people were killed.
Here is the news.
6500 people were not killed last year in Afghanistan.
A grand total of 5800 Taliban Al Qaeda terrorists were killed last year in Afghanistan while trying to commit mass murder.
These are not people in the sense that the press group is pretending, and should not be counted as such.
They are people only in the sense that the Nazi SS were people.
While the 5800 recently deceased Taliban Al Qaeda terrorists were attempting to commit mass murder in Afghanistan, some 500 Taliban Al Qaeda Wives and Girlfriends also got themselves killed.
They did this by sitting in prominent positions on Taliban Al Qaeda convoys proceeding to commit mass murder, or outside Taliban Al Qaeda hideouts where their heroic warrior husbands and boyfriends were devising new and grandiose plans to murder air hostesses.
They're good against air hostesses.
Not so hot against the American or British armies.
But I digress.
The 500 dead Taliban Al Qaeda Wives and Girlfriends were being used by the Taliban and Al Qaeda as human shields in the belief that the Taliban and Al Qaeda would not be attacked whilst hiding behind their Wives and Girlfriends on their way to commit mass murder.
The Taliban Al Qaeda Wives and Girlfriends Club was not, as some of the more cretinous media groups pretend, composed of civilians.
The members of the Taliban Al Qaeda Wives and Girlfriends Club might only be considered civilians in the same way that Magda Goebbels and her eight kids were civilians as they crouched next to Hitler in the Fuhrer bunker at the end of World War Two.
That is to say: Not Quite Civilian Enough To Recall The Bombers And Let Hitler Win.
(Thankfully we didn't have CNN or the Associated Press confusing the Nazis as to who actually were the good guys in World War Two.
Or Michael Moore or Robert Fisk calling for the impeachment of Winston Churchill.
But of course we had Tokyo Rose and Lord Haw Haw.
So no change there.
Casualties in Afghanistan last year.
The real total is 200 people dead.
That is 200 Afghan civilians.
The only place the Taliban and Al Qaeda are winning is on television.