I have seen my corpse. I saw it today Reflecting back at me As I stared out Into the darkness. It wore the ashen Grey bone mix Almost regal against the night, the rain, And the glass window pane. I have seen my corpse I saw it today Not prostrate to the tempting tomb But erect And rigid Almost alive- And it peered at me Through darkened eyes Down all my days And I surrendered. I have seen my corpse I saw it today And it told me of my future And not some dainty priestly tale Of death nor immortality- It showed me all the treasures In its ragged decomposing, The leathered skin In binding me My winding sheet becoming.
A perch , a woollen brow
Set on the hills above me now.
The weather’s turned
The sun gone in
The darkness comes and with it rain.
A fresh beginning, a wash of sins,
Trickling away… Into nothing.
The silver curlew alone and wondering
Perched to thinking
Dreams across an expanse of water
Beyond the dawn
Beyond the dreamer.
In the haste to strike repose
In the shuffling prelight
The songbirds echo faraway in the mind
Hidden in the memory
Sometimes eroding hope.
In the shallow almost emptiness
The glean of struggle reflects
Till rolling ripples rain distortion.
Giving new interpretation
Giving wing to recent silence.
In the morning light after dawn-glow purchase
The taste of chill as winter rises.
The dew residual dampens the ground
And sends sunshine sparkles a-dazzling round.
Footsteps plod and skip, all fall,
With weary minds and a child adventure.
The cursing klaxons, the red lights looming.
Urbania rising through the silence booming.
Lines of passengers all set to be
Like chaste and bridal tainted reverie.
The smiles, however, abstain- upended
As morning’s gloom quells caffeine pretensions.
Stray dogs and pigeons plot their day
In bays and coups, the best plans laid.
The beast in shuffle settles then
As noon day flow comes threatening.
This Thursday morning holds the mind entombed in the low hung clouds
Filtered through the grey blue visor into traffic noise and city chatter.
Around about the scent of them: perfumed, shampooed, and after-shaven
A smell of food as breakfast downed on buses, trams to anywhere.
Amidst the motion, a pin-point picture, inside the mind, shrine-like, protected.
A vision as an angel- twee , allowed to flourish beyond the misery.
A dirt encrusted man does roam among the people waiting on.
From up a perch, across cut grass, the writer-watcher makes his cast(e)
And in the mold of pen and paper erects a notion of this day.
On a grey May day
beyond the storm for now
in the lurking mucky derivative
we march forth.
The flashes of the night
the fork, the sheet
the rumble, clatter, bang
scaring up the ghosts of primitive man.
I would have made my god right then
exposed within the horrid beauty
but instead I swaddled in progression.
The morning brought the picture
and the birds in fury screamed their prolonged existence.
The storm had passed, a new day come.
Waiting in the rain, one bus missed, another five minutes off, darkness in full swing, the dirty yellow light no good for reading, the smoking habit knocked on the head some time ago, the bar too far away for a quick pint- shots not being his thing- Paul was forced to wait unaided. No desirable distractions.
In this biting cold there would be no parade of leggy ladies to while away the minutes. In fact, in the hollow that was this side street the only company was the occasional lumbering bus, none his, as they climbed around the corner above him and fell down onto the road below. Their engines strained, roared; their fumes filled his lungs.
Others waited too and all seemed to have that homogenous expression, perhaps a prerequisite stuck in this misery. He smiled as he wondered if every single person here was of the same opinion of each other as he was. He was no better, he knew this.
A couple arrived just then, that kind of couple. Not only are they in love but they want everybody to know it, and by tumbling about while in full embrace, bumping into those in close proximity, they were also trying to include innocent bystanders in their torrid love affair. An old man muttered a reproach,they sniggered, and continued to whisper, casting accusing glances at the reproacher. He eyed them with suspicion. Paul himself felt a pang of anger though he allowed that it could have been jealousy. He’d never been that free in love. Too cautious, much too cautious.
Another bus finally tumbled around the corner and pulled up to a halt before them, the waiters. Still minutes off deparute but nearly time, he thought. The driver would surely leave them on board to step in out of the drizzle, that persistent reminder that everything wasn’t alright. The engine suddenly died and the people dared not look around in wonder, for fear of seeing the same worry etched on the others’ faces as they could only imagine was blantantly apparent on theirs.
The driver climbed from his seat and manually opened the front door. Stepping out he closed the door again, and then, turning to Joe Public offered a conciliatory explanation. A groan rose. Paul didn’t understand what the driver had said but it was obvious. An old lady donned her reading glasses and checked the bus timetable. Another twenty minutes. Paul knew. The evening schedule had just begun. Time for that pint, he thought, and smiled. Finally sense prevailed.
“It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”
Why this phrase would mean anything in relation to the Hungary – Ireland football friendly would be to understand me a little better. A few years ago the Rolling Stones came to Budapest and I laboured over my decision to go, till the point of no return, i.e. the day after the concert was over! Never having had the opportunity before, unless I count my working in the Ajax Arena during their Bridges to Babylon tour where alas I was situated utterly underground, I dismissed it with fair aplomb. But if it were confined to the high and mighty the expense could be an excuse. However, I’ve done the same with free exhibitions, cultural events etc. So when presented with the prospect of seeing Ireland play here in Budapest, and let me add I’ve never been to an international football match, friendly or otherwise, I could hardly pass the chance up, except that this has often seemed to be my Modus Operandi.
Late in the day and ticketless I still had the resolve. Adventure was the name of the game when it came to arriving on the night with hand out a-begging; I was not perturbed. I thrived on the spontaneous, the unpredictable (you might say this of any Irish football fan!) and this was what the moment presented.
The first glitch came when a friend pulled out leaving me to face the beast all alone. The prospect of wandering aimlessly suddenly took on a tainted appeal. The alternative: to watch it in a pub and thereby surrendering to my nature, my track record, began to beckon. My shoulders hunched, my head dropped, and I could feel the last gasp shudder of resignation. Then suddenly; maybe it was the beer, or maybe it was the plain stubbornness, but I gallantly stepped forth (really?) and braved the oncoming storm and struck out to face my destiny. I would prevail this time. I would not let this town, and my sheer laziness propel me to another defeat. I had oft times before suffered at the hands of such excuses but tonight, I knew, would be different. Hurrah!
“Where’s Noah?” a friend I happened to have met, cried out.
I wasn’t sure he was coming but I did find encouragement in the notion that maybe I was one of two if the choices were to be made. Why me, you may ask. No other reason than like all humans I am basically ego-centric. I have my preservation instincts, and what’s more I was surrounded by a sea of people unknown to me. Even my friend was merely a pub friend. By that, I mean, he was somebody I only ever met when in the…, well you guessed it, the pub!
I had reached the Puskás Stadium and had the fortune to meet some Hungarians who offered me a ticket, at face value, and so I was on my merry way. The rain, the torrential rain, did nothing to dampen (!) my spirits. If anything, it only served to seal my ambition. Ticket-ful, I marched forward, a drenched anybody in a tide of everybodys.
Beyond the queuing and the further moistening we were soon to emerge from outside into the interior. Somewhat liberated from all the pushing and shoving we still had to contend with the wet. Soaked to the skin surely applied here but what was most troubling was that my phone was amid all that water, somewhere buried deep in a tangle of soggy tissues and sundry. It was a worry but was also nothing I could in the immediacy do anything about.
After a twenty minute delay the match was underway. The crowd roared, the chances came and went, and all wrapped itself up nicely into an experience, and that it was. It was my first international, I had had to brave the initial solitude, and I had gotten one hell of a steeping in cloud juice and, whereas, my prune-tipped fingers could be reinvigorated by a constant rubbing, the foot-stamping did little for my toes. The water-logged socks held them together, almost amniotically. I prayed that nought would creep forth from within when I finally ventured to peel those ragged bindings off.
As to my feelings on the match they could best be described as reserved. It was in truth a mediocre affair with little to entertain, or at least it would have been had I been stuck in a pub or at home. Instead in the stadium and my condition abounding I found myself peculiarly elated. So what if there had been no goals. Who cares if there wasn’t all that much action? So what! Who cares? Maybe others did but I didn’t. I had conquered the demon that was distraction, the devil that was my inner voice, the anchor that too often since moving to Budapest had weighed me down instead of spurring me on. I had done what I had set out to do. Finally (Végre), and I was none the worse for wear.