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 19, 2008

pardon me but your sense of humour is in my soup

"How would you like your coffee?" asks the beautiful model girl Polka waitress in Brambles cafe. "With milk or cream?"
I flash my famous fleeting grin.
"I like my coffee the way I like my women," I inform her. "Hot and black."
That old gag.
You know bold readers, it is remarks like this which have ensured that for many years now I remain very much a man alone.
No, seriously.
When is something funny and when is it offensive?
Basil Fawlty whispering in the presence of his German guests, "Don't mention the war," was wickedly hiliarious.
Unless you were German.
Or perhaps especially if you were German.
Some say the secret of humour is to say the unsayable.
But there has to be more to it than that.
Many happy years ago my insane brother Raymond gave me some advice about women.
"There are three golden rules," he explained. "One, they all want it. Two, no means yes. Three, whatever you do, never ever mention sex."
God help me I believed him.
Which brings us to political correctness.
Or the lack thereof.
An Irish civil rights group launched a campaign in Britain some years ago against a product in the shops which they said was demeaning to people from Ireland.
The object in question was a paperweight containing a potato, and labelled: "Irish paperweight, break open in case of famine."
I thought it was a howl.
Not funny for potatoes of course.
But what can you do?
I remember during my days at Trinity College in Dublin seeing a most dramatic placard at a student rag week rally.
The placard related to an IRA terrorist who had died on hunger strike.
It ran:
"Free Bobby Sands... With Every Packet Of Kelloggs Cornflakes."
Another banner at the same gathering read:
"We Will Never Forget You Billy Sands."
Typical undergraduate student humour.
How would you mind them?
I recall thinking at the time that the students holding those placards had a very low life expectancy, ie that they wouldn't live long.
However my days among the politically incorrect university types of Dublin were short lived bold readers.
For I was expelled from Trinity College in a sex scandal.
I wasn't getting any.
And they take a particularly dim view of that at Trinners.
Ah memories.
Like the moon on the water and all that.
But we're talking about comedy not tragedy.
Polka is back with a refill.
And I have delighted you enough for one evening.
Keep well noble travellers of the internet.
Someday we shall laugh again.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A BIT IRISH (by Medbh Gillard)

"Never mind, Mr Healy, they say balds have more fun!"

Thursday, July 17, 2008

to the overthrow

the worm things from the soft earth
in the rainfall night crawl forth
onto pavement doorstep or road
into the concrete certainty of death
they do not think but they know
that in a darkness yet to fall
there will be an overthrow
and those who rule will crawl

and those who crawl will rule
though tonight in their impossible thousands they die
crushed under wheel
trampled under foot
conquered by a nation
that knows them not

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

the all nighter

Up all night.
Walked Paddy Pup in the dawn.
Gospel shiver through the trees on the avenue.
Birdsong everywhere.
Conscious of graces I've received.
The memories come flooding back.
Things I'd prayed for, touches of the eternal on my life.
A friend giving up drugs, returning safely from busking around Europe, and getting to know Jesus.
Marie finding Tedwardo Del Garcia and marrying him.
My brother businessman Tom and his wife Jackie and their kids.
Doctor Barn and Fiona and their kids.
Diana coming back to me.
The incomparable Hoddlebun.
Aunty Marie bringing miracles on her deathbed when suddenly I realised I wasn't there to help her but that she was there to help me.
Finding Jess in the graveyard two miles out the road in pitch darkness after she bolted from the Halloween fireworks.
Uncle Jim's story about the visionary who told him his guardian angel's name was Stephen, the same name as Jim's son who died in infancy.
Uncle Jim saying he saw Jesus as the bread of life in the dancing sun at Medjugorje.
Judith James' face lighting up with love when she looked at me in San Giovanni Rotondo.
The robins, the wood pigeons, the chaffinches, the magpies and Scaldy Pants. (The scaldcrow.)
The international brigade.
Finding a lost family heirloom painting at Christmas in the attic and feeling I'd been guided to it and it was a present to me.
Looking at a battered photo of a sunset I'd taken years ago, and suddenly walking to the bookcase and pulling out a pristine version of the same photo without consciously knowing it had been placed there.
The back pain at Christmas, and then the gout, and then the shoulder, and then the ankle, and then the intuition that these were spiritual afflictions arising from my hatred of Arab and Muslim terrorists.
The realisation that hatred is a sickness.
The understanding that every affliction becomes a liberating gift from God when it is understood.
Saint Father Slavko's intercession freeing me from pornography.
Saint Therese sending me flowers.
Guidance from the Bible.
Seeing shooting stars when I was praying about my work situation and knowing that my employers too were accountable to a higher power.
Memory of my blood praising God one night in my teenage years.

The savour of these and other graces have come to me with the morning.

Of course I'm high as a kite on a cocktail of droooogs Doctor Barn has given me for my swollen jaw.
It's nearly 5am.
I must try to sleep before the drugs wear off.
Whatever intemperate remarks I may have made recently about political matters, I want you all to be aware of one thing.
The great issues of genesis and catastrophe fade into insignificance when I contemplate the possibility that my tooth ache will reassert itself with hours remaining before I'm permitted to take any more medication.
Goodnight gentle travellers of the internet.
Be ye well.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

an open letter to sky news channel

Dear Skybollah.
I caught one of your reports tonight from Afghanistan.
It was a most intense report.
Your journalist was well nigh babbling with excitement.
He said: "There has been a spectacular Taliban attack on an American base."
He sounded most enthusiastic.
Is it possible Sky that some of your reporters and editorial staff are actually rooting for the terrorists in this war?
It sounded that way.
Your journalist continued: "In this dramatic attack the Taliban have shown again what they are capable of."
Ah yes.
He was really excited, wasn't he?
Why, it was almost sexual.
So what exactly had happened in Afghanistan?
The Taliban in their spectacular attack had managed to kill nine American soldiers.
It's not exactly the D Day landings, is it Sky?
We lost thousands of heroes on D Day in order to defeat Nazi terror.
I've got to ask you again.
Are you people actually supporting Al Qaeda at this stage?
In your anxiety to discredit President Bush have you finally decided to throw your lot in with the Islamists?
That's what it looks like to me.
I would describe your reporting style as "Cheerleading For The Jihadi's."
You're not alone of course.
CNN and NBC and CBS and the BBC do it as well.
But it's still abysmally shameful behaviour.
Nine Americans died today and for those who listened to your Lord Haw Haw report long enough, there was eventually some vague muted mention of "heavy" Taliban losses.
The Taliban kill nine soldiers. On the same day they lose hundreds of their own terrorist killers.
And you people are ready to surrender to them?
Impeach Bush, eh Sky?
You horrendous traitorous bastards.
Yours faithfully,
James Healy

Monday, July 14, 2008

the eagle has farted

My jaw has swollen up.
Doctor Barn thinks it's an abscess.
The refined preraphaelite features of Ireland's greatest living poet have contorted into a permanent Nazi sneer.
You almost wouldn't know me.
In fact I look like nothing so much as the evil Gestapo man from Where Eagles Dare.
The guy who shouts "Sit down Colonel," a couple of times in the film.
Doctor Barn thought it was funny when I shouted "Sit down Colonel," in his surgery today.
Although he didn't think it was quite so funny the next ten times I shouted it.
Ah I'm a howl.
At least I feel like howling.
I'm telling you noble voyagers of the internet, you must beware the old self pity.
Self pity is very debilitating.
Although not quite as debilitating as raw pain.
In the afternoon I met up with Andrea for coffee.
She's just recently brought a child into the world.
Her baby is called Lena.
A new soul standing before the altar of God.
That old gag.
Normally I'd wax poetical about the beauty of the baby, gentle readers, but I'm feeling too sorry for myself to bother.
The birth took two days by the way, and only finished when the doctors decided to do a Caesarian section.
This afternoon, Andrea and me talked about my jaw.
Ensconced in a corner table at the Cafe Noir, she listened patiently while I regaled her with tales of the pain I'm in.
Folks you gotta savour the irony.
A woman who has just given birth, listening to me complaining piteously about a tooth ache.
Welcome to my world.
Needless to say, Andrea is a lady of great depth.
Being a friend of mine, she needs to be.
Evening time saw the Mighty Heelers complete with jutting jaw and burgeoning self pity, attending a community event in the town of Kilcullen. The gathering had been organised by Nessa Dunlea who is Chairwoman of the town's Heritage Committee.
It was a sort of reunion to commemorate an archaeological dig that took place nearby at the end of the 1960's.
It was a pleasant enough little get together.
There was tea, buns, and an exhibition of memorabalia.
I was browsing, tea cup in hand, in front of a large photo of the archaeologist and his entourage.
My main concern at that moment was when, where, and if, Doctor Barn's drugs might actually take away some of the agony I was feeling.
A local businessman accosted me.
He did so in friendly manner.
These things always start in friendly manner.
"James," he said jovially, "what do you think the population of Ethiopia is?"
That's how he began the conversation.
I groaned.
I recognised the reference.
"For crying out loud," I said, "you've been reading bloody Myers and his bloody population control rubbish again, haven't you? Listen to me. The problems of Africa have never been caused by too many people. The problems of Africa are caused by too many wars, too many civil wars, too many genocidal wars, too many African fascists, too many Arab Islamist dictators, too many Marxists, and too many regimes backed by China and Russia. The problem is not, and never was, too many people."
The businessman grinned.
"So you read the Myers article too?" he wondered enthusiastically.
I grimaced.
"Not only did I read it, I inspired it," I told him grimly. "Myers took the idea for that article off my website. Two weeks ago I wrote a modest light hearted piece warning that western charities were effectively propping up African dictatorships. I had tried to put a little focus on the crimes against humanity that African governments habitually commit. Of course the first thing that happened after I wrote it, was a similar piece of analysis appeared in a national newspaper written by Ian O'Doherty. I don't care if O'Doherty is copying me or not. At least O'Doherty has something you might mistake for a sense of humour on a dark night. But a week later bloody Myers starts writing the same sort of stuff. Only Myers misses the point completely. Myers starts off with that nonsense question about the population of Ethiopia. Bloody population control rubbish. The atheists always think there's too many people. I'll tell you what. I wish there were more Africans and less bloody Myerses. Africa is a rich continent. It could feed any number of people. The problem is the dictators have been murdering their own people for the past fifty years. No one can run a business or a farm because the warfare is just continuous. It has to stop."
The businessman shrugged.
"I agree with you in part," he said. "But the real problem is the Americans."
It was a Kodak moment.
A tumbleweed blew through the packed assembly room of Kilcullen Heritage Centre.
Finally I broke the silence.
"What?" I said.
It was a "what" richly laden with incredulity and threat.
Up to now, there have been two great what's in the history of English language discourse.
The first great what occurred in an episode of Fawlty Towers when Polly told Basil that Lord Melberry was a confidence trickster.
The second great what occurred when my inimitable Uncle Scutch was discussing greyhounds with Fonsie Macclebaines and Fonsie suggested they try bribing the racing manager in Tralee to give the Uncle's dog an easy grade in a listed race.
Now a third great what has joined them.
It was a most explosive what.
"What?" I said and I meant it to sting.
I have grown used to hearing people convict the Americans of all sorts of wrongdoing.
It's been years since I've spoken in public against such nonsense.
But Africa.
He was going to blame America for the cataclysmic abysmal socialist communist Arabist Islamist fascist basket case that is Africa.
"It's the Yanks," persisted the businessman. "The Yanks have caused it all. The famines. The wars. Everything."
My eyes were out on stalks.
They were more bulbous than my jaw.
"Are you insane?" I breathed. "Are you teetotally congenitally incurably nuts? The people of Africa got cheated by their own independence movements. Every single ruler in post colonial Africa ran to Moscow. They all tried to create communist dictatorships. All of them. They all thought there was no God. And true enough. Where they ruled there was no God. Hell followed with them."
"The Arabs don't think there's no God," said the businessman.
I digested this.
"Right," said I, "they think there's a God who allows them to kill limitless numbers of human beings and call it ice cream. Funny that the deeply religious followers of the peaceloving religion of Islam had no problem becoming satelite States first of the Soviet Union and now of communist China."
"Ah James," he cried. "Your problem is you've stopped reading the papers."
"The papers read me," I roared, "they read me when they want ideas and just occasionally when they genuinely care about what the truth might be."
"You're raving," rejoined the businessman. "Africa is a basket case because the Americans have destabilised it for their own ends. It's geopolitics. They are incurable meddlers in other countries affairs. It's all they do. It's all they know how to do."
I nodded bitterly.
"Yes the Americans are meddlers," I said. "But not in Africa. They meddled in Britain, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, and all of free Europe. They meddled in the sense that they stopped the Nazis from conquering all of us. Otherwise we'd all be slaves in the Third Reich. And the Americans meddled again during the Cold War, didn't they, when they stopped the Russians from simply swallowing up our countries."
The businessman was by no means abashed by my rhetoric.
"You need to read a few people who know what they're talking about," he proclaimed shrilly. "You need to read Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Robert Fisk..."
"And Lord Haw Haw," I finished for him.
Our conversation would have continued in similar vein, only at that moment photographer Pat Fogleburg swooped on us.
"I must get a picture of this," Fogleburg exclaimed.
I held up a hand.
"No pictures," I said. "It's alright for my friend here. He's a respected businessman in the town. But I can't afford any more documentary evidence of my propensity for getting into pointless rows in public."
Whereupon I moved swiftly towards the tea and bun table at the far end of the room.
Surprisingly enough, no one tried to follow me.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

stephens green

lesser spotted yobs
spreadeagle on the lawn
a long tied businessman
chirps into his phone
golden breasted secretaries
cluster round the fountain
preening at their feathers
and cackling with abandon
whilst an elephantine matron
trumpets for her young
and a herd of student sexalopes
gambol in the sun
each creature happy
in its cacaphonic fate
save a lone jungle poet
hunting for a mate