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, March 21, 2009

spring guest at the chateau de healy

Bushy Squirrel raiding the bird table.

Friday, March 20, 2009

from the heelers emails

Hey James.
Sorry I shocked you with my views on abortion.
Miss Hungary

Gentle Miss Hungary.
Hey. You don't have to be sorry about discussing the abortion issue with me. You were honest with me and you were also very fair minded in the way you discussed matters.
I'm happier when people know how I think about the unborn child. It's a sort of duty to let them know.
Yes, you can tell from The Heelers Diaries. I'm always trying to save the world.
Who saves a single soul saves the world entire.
Counting the moments.

Szia James.
That is great that you always try to save the world. You remind me of my father, who is 56 but still has never given up.
I have not mentioned before that I graduated a few years ago as a psychologist. All I can recall from my studies is that you cannot save everybody and whatever happens you always have to remember that "the other person's problems are not yours." This is the sentence I have been hearing for five years and it is very difficult to forget about it. Of course I had to swear an oath to help people whenever I can, but I also had to promise not to convince Anybody about Anything. I have been socialised to be an A.I.I. which means an Absolutely Independent Individual. Maybe that is why I thought I need the possibility of deciding what to do with my own body. But on the other hand, you are also right, because of course an unborn baby should be given the choice (of deciding) as well as he or she is also a living creature... My God, these are very tough questions I think, but I really enjoyed discussing the issue with you, because it is always very interesting how differently people can think about the same matters and I am happy to get to know your ideas about it a little bit better.
Miss Hungary

Dear Miss Hungary.
It's about 2.30 in the morning. The time when I do most of my writing! I am getting ready to put something on The Heelers Diaries. But I decided I'd much rather write to you.
So you are a psychologist. I should have known. You are so measured and reasonable and understanding in your arguments. I thought you were just a nice person!
You are aware of course that Irish people are terrified of psychologists. We're suspicious that you'll be able to take one look in our eyes and know exactly what we're thinking.
Next time we meet I'll be wearing dark glasses and a trench coat.
Freud would have a field day.
You mentioned that you were an Abolutely Independent Individual, an A.I.I.
But is that possible in the absolute sense? Aren't we all somehow gifts to each other from God? Don't we in some way complete each other? Don't we have responsibilities to each other?
I agree that you're an A.I.I. in the sense that you are a completely unique individual, and no one should oppress or mistreat you or diminish you.
But imagine this.
If a girl told me she was going to kill someone else I would do anything to try to stop her.
If a girl told me she was going to kill her unborn child I would do anything to try to stop her.
If a girl told me she was going to kill herself I would do anything to try to stop her.
At least I hope I would.
In these three cases I don't agree that any of us are A.I.I.s.
Life is sacred.
The child will save the world.
And you are just wonderful.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

the poetic manifesto

half heard melodies at dawn
dreams or the traces of dreaming
a woman's name said soft like breathing
memories of faces gone
footsteps in the hall on winter nights
sadness in the heart where love has been
softness on the fields after a storm
shadows bright with remembering

we will go
through cowardice to bravery
into the timeless eye of mind
across the ungovernable sea
to where all poems have their end
and their beginnings naturally
come with me

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

goutman rising

Evening in the kitchen at the Chateau de Healy.
Just me and Doctor Barn.
One of the Dad's friends has recently been diagnosed with gout.
The Doc has been recommending a course of treatment.
As some of you are aware, I am the super hero formerly known as Goutman.
I know a thing or two about gout.
I cannot understand why people don't come to me for treatment.
Tonight I am pooh poohing the medical approach as is my wont, in favour of a strange mix of cherry juice, salt water foot baths, sugar free tea, brisk morning walks, and throwing cats over an unmarked grave at midnight.
(The cat one is for warts. - Barry Egan note.)
It's a strange mix folks because I don't even stick to it myself.
(Except for the cats. - Arf Arf note.)
"You guys," I tell Doctor Barn, "are rushing to put the chap on some pharmaceutical product. I cured my gout simply by making a few life style choices."
My brother allows himself a whimsical little chuckle.
"There's a touch of hubris about this Heelers," says the not so good Doctor. "You cured your gout, indeed. If I had a penny for every time I've heard that."
"You think it's going to come back?" sez I.
Daktari gives his darkest smile.
"I think you're going down," he intones.
It sounds just like a gypsy curse.
Before I can respond with some suitably defiant remark, Business woman Nessa Dunlea enters stage left.
She is a friend of my mothers.
A dark presentiment crosses my mind.
"Hello Nessa," quoth me, "you're not playing Bridge here tonight are you?"
Nessa responds with a warm affirmative.
My pallor whitens.
"You needn't worry," she adds. "After the last time when we kicked you out of the kitchen and you wrote about us on your blog, we decided to play from now on in the other room."
She leaves us in search of card players.
The noble Heelers' handsome preraphaelite jaw sags handsomely.
He turns to his brother.
"The TV room," I murmur aghast. "They're abandoning the kitchen and taking over the TV room. Why, it's.. it's... it's unholy."
The Doctor has little sympathy.
His concerns in life do not relate to missing the best ever episode of Star Trek Next Generation.
(The one where a hologram of the Sherlock Holmes villain Moriarity comes alive. - Jean Luc Picard note.)
The Doc has more down to earth concerns.
He departs from the Chateau de Healy to spend some quality time with his wife and wee Doctor Bairns.
I am alone in the kitchen.
Presently the laughter of card women rises up from the adjoining TV room.
I stick my head around the door for old time's sake.
No point in letting them have it all their own way.
"Don't mind me," I tell em. "I'm just coming in to watch a few porn movies. You can keep playing your game. I won't disturb you. But if it looks like I'm getting a bit excited, try to keep your eyes on the cards."
They reply with a range of stimulating and provocative comments which will never be published unless they set up blogs of their own.
I close the door on them gently and call Paddy Pup for his night walk.
If you had seen me at the moment gentle travellers of the internet you might have thought me an oddly gallant faintly heroic figure.
The last poet superhero.
A man always at odds with the modern world and forever in defiance of it.
I stand framed in the front doorway looking at the rain sleeting through the darkness.
Justice now.
Truth always.
Goutman forever.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

finding my nietzche

Sitting in my chambers.
With the weight of the world on my shoulders.
From the window I see long shadows of evening stretching towards night.
The Shadow's force seems so great.
What purpose even to struggle.
The ghost of Nietzsche appears beside me, silently stroking his beard.
I turn.
"I don't like you Nietzsche," I tell him. "You're too much of a Nazi. A Nazi with good one liners. But you tried to stop that guy beating the horse to death. So I won't send you away."
Nietzsche didn't speak.
"I've been thinking about my attempts to beard Independent Newspapers in its den," I muse aloud. "How could I have presumed to oppose such people? Why did I dare to think my modest integrity could stand against their high octane power brokerage? What possible expectation of success could I have had in attempting to expose their anti Catholic pagan hedonism? What on earth was I hoping to achieve? Do I seriously think this is my role in life? To speak truth to power? To tilt perpetually like Don Quixote at liberal windmills? To endlessly engage in futile jousts with idiots I'll never meet? It's all vanity Nietzche. A chasing after wind."
Nietzsche still spake not a word.
"I've been thinking about that article by Emer O'Kelly ," I went on darkly. "Could she have been right about the Catholic church? Could I have been wrong? I feel in my heart that she is ojectively wrong. But can I know this? My every instinct is that she is absolutely wrong in everything she writes. Utterly, mendaciously, manipulatively and crassly wrong. I feel in my heart that she is a vomitous Nazi bitch who needs to live in a Muslim country for a few years just to help her figure out what oppression of women and children really is."
Nietzsche held up a hand.
"Heelers," he said softly. "If you would struggle with monsters, you must beware, lest you become a monster. For when you stare into the abyss, the abyss itself looks back into you."
I nodded grimly.
I reached across my table and handed Nietzsche a copy of the Sunday Independent.
"Here Nietzsche," sez I. "Have a look at this. This is the sort of crudd I have to put up with. Read the Barry Egan column. Can you see the underlined phrases? But I digress, Au contraire, etc etc. You know where he got those? I gotta tell you Nietzsche. When Barry Egan lifts catch phrases from Ireland's greatest living poet he should beware lest he get a kick in the bawls from Ireland's greatest living poet. And when you stare into The Heelers Diaries, The Heelers Diaries stares right back into you."

Monday, March 16, 2009

an open letter to tony o'reilly proprietor of independent newspapers

You will be aware the Bishop of Cloyne is attracting opprobrium in your newspapers.
You will be aware also that he is effectively standing aside from his position as Bishop.
Your publications more than the others who have clamoured against him, have brought about what amounts to his downfall.
O'Reilly I have been reading the copious coverage of the Bishop of Cloyne in your newspapers.
I have been reading the coverage searching for a smoking gun.
That is to say, searching for a single salient charge that would justify your newspapers' deliberate attempts to ruin the Bishop of Cloyne.
But in all your copious coverage I have not found a single charge against the Bishop that justifies the present vilification of his life, witness and career.
In fact I have found no charges at all.
No direct allegations of wrong doing.
Barely anything specific.
Just a generalised wall to wall condemnation.
And an assumption of guilt.
Read the article in your Sunday Independent by Emer O'Kelly.
Read it O'Reilly.
You pay Emer O'Kelly to write this drivel.
You profit from Emer O'Kelly's manipulation of the situation.
You O'Reilly are responsible for what Emer O'Kelly writes.
Tell me O'Reilly.
Do you in good conscience stand over what Emer O'Kelly wrote in your newspaper today about the Bishop of Cloyne?
Don't claim that you give editorial independence to your journalists.
Because it's not true O'Reilly.
Three decades ago you brought the young fire brand Marxist Gene Kerrigan onto the staff of the Sunday Independent.
You adjudged that it would be better to have a conflict theory socialist atheist revolutionary like Gene Kerrigan in your tent pissing out, rather than a conflict theory socialist atheist revolutionary like Gene Kerrigan outside your tent pissing in.
For thirty years in your newspaper Gene Kerrigan has demeaned the Catholic Church, Irish society, Christian values, the free world, democracy, and all that jazz.
But Gene Kerrigan ain't never breathed a word about the exponential powers devolving to you O'Reilly and to your family in Irish public life.
Gene Kerrigan has never analysed the neo feudal influence you have been accruing to yourself O'Reilly.
He's never even mentioned it.
The great anti establishmentarian Gene Kerrigan falls strangely silent when it comes to such matters.
He has never so much as whispered about the emergence of your new dynastic power brokerage, the appalling aglomeration of wealth and privelege centred around you and your offspring O'Reilly.
The untameable Gene Kerrigan has become the ultimate conformist.
But at least he gives the lie to the notion that there's editorial freedom at Independent Newspapers.
Doesn't he O'Reilly?
In this regard, we may say, his silence speaks volumes.
So tell me.
Do you stand over what Emer O'Kelly wrote about the Bishop of Cloyne?
I gotta tell you O'Reilly.
Some day you will account to God for what she has written.
As I will account for what I write.
You know, as far as I can honestly ascertain O'Reilly, your copious newspaper coverage of the Bishop of Cloyne amounts to little more than a psychoticised bout of synchronised sneering on the part of some of the most talentless writers in the English speaking world.
My God O'Reilly.
This can't be right.
There are vague suggestions that in his twenty year career as Bishop of Cloyne the man in question failed to take sufficient action on accusations relating to sex abuse.
But the suggestions are very generally stated.
Nothing too precise.
And the assumptions underlying those suggestions seem very much the stuff of hindsight.
It's as though the standard of what amounts to appropriate action has been arbitrarily delineated in order to wrongfoot anyone who has ever held a position of priestly responsibility.
Where will it end O'Reilly?
I mean how will you switch it off?
Will you hound every single school principal, hospital administrator, and social worker from office along with the Bishops?
How about the Judges and legal professionals who know sex abuse is going on in family homes across Ireland but who leave the children where they are because they deem that policy to be best practice at the moment?
Will you come after them in a few years?
What will you replace them with?
Journalists from Independent Newspapers?
The allegations about the Bishop's stewardship of his office, as presented in your publications are almost completely composed of generalities and innuendos.
It all looks fairly nebulous O'Reilly.
I've been looking through your copious coverage for some evidence that the Bishop of Cloyne actually deserves what your newspapers have done to him.
I genuinely cannot find it.
I say more.
I think some of your writers, and some of the writers and broadcasters working for other media groups, have grown a little bit afraid of what they've done to the Bishop of Cloyne.
They've been hinting that it was the Pope who forced him to stand aside.
It's almost as though your writers don't want to take responsibility for what they have done.
They're not comfortable O'Reilly with the victory they have won and the defeat they have inflicted.
Why would this be O'Reilly?
Could it be they suspect that what they have done will be easier to start than to stop?
If the Bishop of Cloyne can be brought down in the circumstances you have used to bring him down, who O'Reilly, I say who, will be safe?
No man in Ireland could stand against a pack of Independent Newspapers hounds in full cry.
Is this healthy for the country?
For the truth?
For anyone?
O'Reilly I am writing to you now without access to the full facts.
If I knew for sure you had behaved unjustly towards the Bishop of Cloyne, I would have fought you to the gates of hell on his behalf.
But all I have is a vague suspicion.
I suspect you and your newspapers are out of control and have brought down a decent man.
Someday we shall know.
James Healy

Sunday, March 15, 2009

old photograph

lil murphy and kathleen keogh
stood outside a farm house in knocknadruce
one day in 1940 long ago
for some photographs
nations were at war far away
the wind whipped kathleen's hair
she smiled and was as beautiful as the day
when summer shadow drank the summer's fire
so that even after the tumbling of fifty years
in this cold electric kitchen where i sit
i wish i'd known her
and feel the grief of it


(our weekly chess puzzle)

Igor Stravinsky versus Vladinear Shotitoff
Moscow, June 1989.
White to move has lost some material but he found a neat way to gain victory. Can you see how he did it?
Solution: Stravinsky took out his violin and Shotitoff instantly conceded.