Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Line of Sight

"We have no prairies," he is quoting the Nobel Laureate, "To slice a big sun at evening/Everywhere the eye concedes to/Encrouching horizon." "Yeah," I agree, "he wrote that." We have been pounding the pints for hours now. Arsenal played the early game and here the rain is slashing down and while my computer is here, is on, is wirelessly connected, and I will still claim to anyone asking that I am working on writing something that must be in Monday morning, I have added a total of seventeen words since I got to the pub five hours ago. "You grow up burnin' the peat in the stove?" he asks. "That I did, but fuck, you know us northerners, primitives all." He smiles, gets up to get more Guinness. It is his turn. I type three sentences in while the barkeep watches the ale settle, then delete two. "But you know the prairies over there in the states too." He is back, banging the glasses on the hard polished wood. "Aye, laddy," I croon, "I have crossed the Great Plains, I have sailed the Great Lakes, I have climbed the great towers." I pause, drink, whisper, "They do not know about digging up ancient swamps and burning them for warmth in America." "They have always had oil in America," he tells me conspiratorially. "They have always had everything they want in America." "But you came back." I nod. I drink. I nod again. Liverpool is winning on the telly. Outside the very air seems to have turned sea green under the downpour. "The scrotum tightening sea," I say, "Ah, Joyce," he slurs. Then, "Joyce never came back, why did you?" "You can see too far in the States," I tell him. "You can see so far ahead of you that you forget to look in back of you." "And that would be no way for an Irish lad to live," he either states or asks, I am not sure. We both take long drinks. "No, I suppose it is not."

copyright 2006 by Ira Socol
photo copyright Todd Adams 2005 poem by Seamus Heaney "Bogland"


Anonymous said...

The Irish don't want to forget their history, because they're usually not the bad guy.


Brenda said...

Mostly everything's about the exodus, the migration, the life of the ex-patriots, the effect of waves of migrants, the effects of colonization. No-one talks about a return beyond refinding roots, refinding a sense of history. Your character is re-rooting himself, at least in a drunken wash of guiness in air that's turned "sea green." It's quite raucous in its own way. :)