Was that you at the airport?
The back of your head,
the model’s walk of nonchalance and
the designer suitcase –
compliments of Mastercard?
Or maybe your were the one with
the Rayban glasses and the new hairdo?
You always liked your style,
to be the girl about town,
your blonde hair straight,
your ass causing whiplash and
your eyes so blue, they
could knock half the price from
a pair of leather boots.
Why does your ghost haunt me now?
Is it some significant date?
Like when we first made love,
or had a coffee, or when you
ordered the de-café cappuccino
with skimmed milk, and I
laughed until you got angry?
I tried to tell you that coffee’s coffee
but you accused me of being too
black and white.
And our fathers were alike.
We spent our childhood in bars,
eating crisps and drinking coke on
long Sunday afternoons.
It was where I perfected my pool skills,
and you, your loyalty to the old Galway,
and how we both learned to recognise
one of our own.
We saw men destroy themselves with drink
and hit their wives and beat
their children into submission
and fear and eventually love.
Yes, love for what we knew,
and the only ritual we came to understand;
the same thing we would one day search for
and try to change.
Was that you and I, in our college guise,
playing the middle class game with
the smell of cheese and onion
hardly gone from our breath?
We shared our dreams over Vodka
and orange and planned our future in
the back of the library and when
the porter told us to shut up,
or get out, even
your long eyelashes didn’t win
I love you, whatever it means now.
If it breaks the rules, who cares?
You once said the same to me and
I know you meant it.
The sun’s going down in Madrid,
It’ll be dark in an hour at home,
We should be here together.
Mick Donnellan (2006)
– *The Flight Back was the winner of a competition I can’t remember the name of. Got a few pound anyway. I remember that much.
*It was also published in Cunga Magazine, Cong, Co.Mayo in 2008.