Poetry

A performance poem in response to an invitation from the Flat Lake Festival 2011 to write on the theme: ‘The typewriter is dead – long live the typewriter!’

Cronin and his Cronies: Tony and friends celebrate the first Bloomsday formally to be marked, having travelled from The Palace Bar  to Sandymount by typewriter.,

* The title is taken from Anthony Cronin’s memoir in which he recalls his early days associating with the writers named in this poem.  The book includes a memory of being broke on Christmas day and dining on an egg boiled in Patrick Kavanagh’s teapot. Two lines here are lifted directly from Kavanagh’s poem ‘Shancoduff’.

–       –       –      

DEAD AS DOORNAILS  *

The typewriter’s dead

And gone with it

Flann O’Brien

Brendan Behan,

And Paddy Kavanagh from Iniskeen

The glass of whiskey

Waft of Woodbine

Wads of foolscap

Crumpled, torn,

lying the garret floor.

The unwashed laundry

The egg in the teapot

Fitting Christmas dinner that

For non-conforming

Self-destroying, hard-drinking,

Heartsore, lonely old bohemians…

The nod and the wink

In the Pearl or the Palace

The promised slot from Louis Marcus,

Smyllie, The Irish Times, The Bell,

The Irish Press – that’s gone as well.

The early deaths from emphysema,

Liver failure, lung diseases.

The infamy, the penury,

The respect accorded posthumously.

Iconic books like Tarry Flynn,

The Green Fool

The Borstal Boy

At-Swim-Two-Birds.

And epic pomes: “Who owns

Them hungry hills

That the water hen and snipe

Must have forsaken?

A poet, then by Heavens

He – must -be – poor!”

–       –       –

Now we have Unesco Cities,

Artist retreats and bursaries,

Longlists, shortlists, residencies,

Listowel, Cuirt, Galway Arts,

Electric Picnic, Flat Lake,

Blogs and online magazines

Published on your own PC.

The typewriter is dead.

You can view it in the Writer’s Museum

Admission Free.

Long live the clickety-clck,

The key of C and D and E,

The roll, the scroll, the dramatic

Whack as the bar goes back

To start another line, another poem,

Another book.

But as for me?

–       –       –

When I was twenty-two,

I wanted to be like you,

Patrick Kavanagh.  I lived

On Lower Baggott Street,

I smoked and drank and drank

Some more, stumbled in my bedsit door

To sit beside an empty typewriter.

I couldn’t write a single word

For all my heavy drinking.

It took me years and years to find MY way,

Through drama groups, cabaret,

Community arts, a writers course

At TCD.  But here I’m standing

Now, today

Without the smokes.

My tipple’s wine, I took my time

Settled down, had kids,

I walk a dog!

I couldn’t do bohemian, but learned instead

To simply love the words,

Love the lines, love the sights,

Love the sounds of modern Ireland,

And write them down.

And live in thrall of no dead writer,

But love them all.

–       –       –

The typewriter’s dead

And good luck to it.

Lay a wreath upon its tomb

Go into a room, open Windows

On your screen, select text,

Cut and paste, backspace,

Spell check, find and replace,

source your classic quotes online.

Google, Youtube, Wikipedia

Alta Vista, indy-media

Change the font, do whatever you want

In the age of the paperless writer.

That’s the way it is in modern times.

The feather quill, the ink pen,

The typewriter

Dead as doornails.

The typewriter’s dead?

Long live the poet.

–       –       –

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s