My father took the name Connors
'cause he didn't want people to know how crazy it was
being Looneys, sons of the armed Irish, that was us.
I'ma prove myself worthy of that name some day.
Already I be on my way:
Stealing shields from the police
'cause that's how we play.
I'll make us famous one day,
Or infamous, either way.
I could be anything
but I'd rather be heard.
It's not who I am but what I've become that I believe in.
A name does not define personal identity,
It is merely testimony.
As of yet, I remain
unnamed, unmade and unknown;
Identity crisis ethnically growing.
I can't chose who I want to be,
It's far too easy.
THIS YEAR 2013; IS THE YEAR OF GREAT DEATHS
Alexander K Opicho
(Eldoret, Kenya; firstname.lastname@example.org)
This year alone world society has lost more that ten great intellectual and political leaders. They have been lost to death in a deeply wounding manner. Human society has indeed been robbed. It is so sad. Three of the leaders have been Nobel laureates and the rest are leaders of intellectual, moral, political and spiritual stature in their respective capacities.
It began without any stampede in early part of the year some where March when Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian and Francis Davis Imbuga a Kenyan, both succumbed to early deaths caused by stroke. Rendering not only the citizens of world of literature, but also African society as well as global intellectual communities to the most desperate bereavement. Thereafter, within short while of the subsequent days, The Venezuelans president and Marxist intellectual, Hugo Chavez also succumbed to death caused by throat cancer. Even though the Pravda, the daily circulating paper of Russia contended that Chavez was poisoned; it is dismissible as only a Russian stand attributed to ideological hangover, because the Pravda also made similar allegations in relation to deaths of Yasser Arafat, Pablo Neruda and Frantz Omar Fanon, but it did not go a head to establish the factuality of this very allegations.
What we know is that human life is in most cases contested for by the three spiritual forces of fortune, fate and death. As decried William Shakespeare in his Romeo and Juliet. This time round in the year 2013, the angel of death has dominantly reigned with its untimely consequences in form of fangled early death of our leaders. Herman Melville will remain classical in his concern in the Moby Dick about death that; O death! O death! Why are you untimely?
Sadder is when the Al shabab terrorists killed the Ghanaian born global literary citizen Kofi Owonor. Kofi Owonor the poet and author of This world my brother was among the people killed in Nairobi during the terrorist attack at the Westgate mall. Of course he had come to Kenya to celebrate in literary festival organised by a society of publishers in Nairobi. This is an eventuality of some month ago. In September 2013, the Irish born literary Nobel prize poet; Heaney Seamus died. He died prematurely when the world society most needed his service to literature and his literary service to human society.
A couple of some weeks ago again the world loosed two prominent artists, political leaders, human rights crusaders and intellectuals. These are none other than Doris May Lessing and Tabuley Rosseuru. Lessing was a white African living in London, literature Nobel laureate and a feminist as well as an anti apartheid crusader. She is known for her firm stand against communist utopia, championing for the courses against dehumanizing human behaviors like racisms , but mostly Lessing is known for her great literary works like ;the grass is singing, Golden Note book, Dann and Mara as well as so many other works. Whereas Tabuley was an African Congolese , a musician , a businessman , once a husband to Africa’s most beautiful songstress Bellia Belle. He was the composer and the vocalist of African Rumba music. His song Bina Mudan which we in Africa always pronounce as Simbukinya was actually an artistic and cultural bombshell. Tabuley has been a politician, who enjoyed a gubernatorial position of the city of Kinshasa for ten years (two terms).
Most disastrous is the currently trial-some moment for the world community as they all commissarriate the death of Nelson Mandela.Mandella died early decemder 2013 at his home in the Johannesburg city of South Africa. The death of Mandela is an open sore to the society. It is a window for social, political, intellectual and family abyss in Africa. It is indeed a sad moment. But what can we do? For it has already happened. We can only swim in the consolation inherent the wisdom of the Babukusu people found in the western part of Kenya that; Mis-brewed wine behooves volunteer carousers. And truly, I have personally joined the world community to commit a poetical kamikaze in volunteering to drink this sour wine of humanity .May god give us and our leaders in their diverse capacities long live. Amen.
Bright windy November
with the slap of cold sun sending frowns
and the absent rain not beating down
choleric substitutes of alcohol withdrawal
and spatial omissions of home fires stoking
empty remembrances of faded potential and
misplaced amorous regret
Haunted by the lingering smell of the souls of
last night's GUINNESS intake staying swell in
the nostrils which is in reality the gulf breeze blowing
gullshit down the river Liffey giver of life.
...And here I am Dublin pillaged and funded
en route to the hour-rate slog
shiny white commerce bleaching out of
windowsills distracting from rooftop
Chiaroscuro serenading a sky
which old junkie forgotten Sons and Daughters
will die under.
Boots tapping mock-goosestep to the ground
past a girl who speaks on her IPHONE to someone
who presumably not only wants to be seen speaking
to someone on their IPHONE but who also cares enough
to listen as the girl announces to all-and-sundry
human dodging on Bachelors Walk this fateful morn
that "I realised what my problem is Now! People
think i'm saying N when I'm really saying M!"
.....quite an existential crisis you got there, EH DOC?
("This girl's SITUATION belongs in a scenario in the TV show GIRLS which young
Woman Europe-wide have embraced as their spiritual saviour in an era of Consumer
impulse control. By placing the mundane generalities and perceived social failings
interpreted by young American female comediennes as instead representing a means and
self-forgiveness and attempted new-wave soft-core feminist self-celebration young American
actresses are inspiring a new generation of young woman to speak openly in a more in-depth level about everything that usually happens to themselves or some girl they know"-From "The Post-New Male Gaze: Interpreting Critiques of Stereotypically Feminized Pop Culture in Westley Barnes's "Notes on a Rant: The "Took Me Up To Dublin Where It's Famous" Notebook
This is the new white noise.
White Irish Male Critiques perceived socially-announced problems of White Irish Female over White Technology on a white morning in a grey city.
A grey city which subliminally stinks of shame and left-over guilt and of spending too much money on tecno-toys and new-improved nullifying debauchery and even rent during a significantly rough stretch of fiscal years. After a lot of years of white nonsense, really.
But this is where I took myself, and this is what happens once you take yourself here and this is where its famous for it.
Once Monto-based FUNDERLAND for the rich and royal turned over-waxie infested tenement slum district and second city of an industrialised economy waiting for the rest of the world to pay its way.
capital of green and squeaky saviours of the third-world who made some money and forgot about everyone else they used to know back home. Mr Poverty, Mr Humbleness, Mr Sense of Catholic Shame.
Until the rents got too high and they had to move home again.
no matters what it achieves, always putting itself down.
But I can adapt.
I've lived in Rathmines and Portobello before living in either was a
really hip decision to make.
I can find somewhere else before its gets gentrified
(after I find some job that's not worth complaining about
or I eventually leap into becoming to middle-class
to complain about it.)
enough that its a headache living there, too many men wearing the same winter
jackets. Too many packed restaurants and your local actually preparing the tables
in the run-up to the Rugby game on Saturday.
The less of all that, the better for me.
I used to day dream about all of the above, honestly, but I
somehow managed to regain my innocence by living through it.
As for the girl who discovered self-realisation on her (through her?) IPHONE?
She'll be alright. If that's how she starts wading through the floodwaters of relating
herself to the world, misunderstood syllables, name-fails and all, this time in twenty
years, she'll be laughing. Don't worry yourselves, she'll adapt with the times.
Sure, Dublin's famous for it.
It's a very merry time of the year
sez the Irish Rovers.
And I have to agree,
magical about the fiddle,
it sounds so joyous,
but I do ponder
the deeper meanings
of such cheer.
I see holiday packages
and cases of beer
stuffed in the windows of cars.
people seem robotic,
like it's a chore
to be so giving.
One guy just flipped me off
for not using my blinker,
he must have been drunk,
that's the spirit!
Smoke is filling my bones
The carcinogenic ghosts of an irish ancestory
At war with my german temper
Fueling the fire
To a heart that beats for belonging
Keeping me in step with the frostbitten sidewalks
Of a December morning
Lips moist from french vanilla cappuccino
And your chapstick
Smoke is filling my bones
I'm rolling through my own fingertips
Losing touch with my own reality
Wondering if my knuckles are white from clenched fists
Or the grip around your palm
Smoke is filling my bones
You don't smoke
Yet you fill your lungs with my exhale
Breathe me in
I'll house myself in your capillary beds
Where I'll tuck myself in for the night
Listening to what makes your heart tick
If Father Mychal Judge gave you a hug, it was something you would not soon forget. It was not a burly bone crushing sort of bear hug that you could get from anybody. It was a delicate gentle hug as if he knew he was dealing with someone exquisitely fragile.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Mychal Judge had felt called to a Priestly vocation since his days as an altar boy. He was also a celibate gay man and a recovering alcoholic. He attended A.A. meetings in the basement of Good Sheppard Episcopal Church and was as an apostle to the gay community when elements of the mainstream church often turned their backs upon them. The Franciscan priest had a special care for the New York City fire department and was one of five Catholic Chaplains assigned to the Fire Department.
His frame was small but wiry. He had a shock of white hair that stood out in a room and a lovely tenor voice that would bust into a favorite Irish air at the drop of a hat. A member of the New York Irish diaspora, he loved to spend his spare time listening to Irish and Irish American folk music in the clubs and dives of Manhattan.
Tuesday, September 11, 2001, dawned as beautiful of a fall day in New York as any would ever see. Father Mychal was up early and went to vote in the primary, then briefly stopped back at the Franciscan friary for a morning cup of coffee with the brothers. There was a radio on in the background and that was when he first heard news of a commercial jet crashing into the North tower of the world trade center. Father Mychal knew that his boys would be going in harm’s way to fight those flames and he immediately rose from the table and set out to the scene.
Even before he arrived, a second commercial jetliner came crashing into to the south tower. The flames on the upper floors were so intense that many trapped office workers chose to leap to their deaths below rather than be consumed alive by the flames like some latter day heretics.
One of Father Mychal’s firemen had been mortally injured just outside North tower by one of the leapers. Oblivious to his own safety Father Mychal knelt down beside the dying man and gave him the last rites of the church. Father then got to his feet and, in the company of several firemen, entered the lobby of the North tower. They were heading for the emergency command center on the floor above the lobby when there was an unearthly roar as the stricken south tower collapse upon the streets of Manhattan. The world inside the North tower grew dark with smoke, soot and debris. Fearful that the North tower was coming down the men scrambled for shelter in a stairwell, all except for Father Mychal. A flying shard of metal stuck the Padre just after he had been heard by some to say “Sweet Jesus, make it end now!”
In the dark and flaming ruins of the North tower command center, it was difficult to breath and impossible to see clearly. The survivors of the group emerged from the stairwell where they had taken refuge and stumble across the beloved Padre’s body on the steps. Not wanting to abandon him in death, they placed him in a plastic chair and fire strong men lifted him up and carried him out of the dying North Tower, mere minutes before it too would collapse.
On the sidewalk of Church and Vesey streets, two catholic firemen said prayers over the body of their fallen companion, for no Priest was available to give Father Mychal the last rites of the church. Then he was brought to Old Saint Peter’s church and laid upon the Altar, his fireman’s helmet placed upon his chest.
They sent an ambulance into the devastated streets to retrieve the body of their fallen comrade. They bought him back to the house at Engine 1 Ladder 24 and placed his remains in the first of over two thousand body bags that would be used in the days and weeks that followed. That is how a humble priest who never put himself first in life came to be victim 0001 of the Twin towers disaster.
Hundreds of brave firemen and police gave their lives on that tragic day, the toll in the firehouse of lower Manhattan was especially heavy as you would expect. Time passes, lives end, and eventually there will only be the films the photos and the artifacts to remind the children of our children of that beautiful, terrible day in September.
There was a war in old Ireland and the headmistress of Dublin was a very rich woman indeed with her husband General Dunkirk. It was once again the potato famine and so her family she often told of were made up of the finest musicians with violins and pianos, she went out to Scotland to see how the war and the plague were and to track down her family.
Earlier two springs ago....Her maidens loved her so and one day, she found one of thee old queen's daughters saying "You rarely talk about them much. Why don't you go and visit?" Just then the duchess, or the head mistress as they'd call her in Ireland was troubled for there was a great plague in Scotland and soon to be a war trade in Dublin for slaves. General Dunkirk it seemed had went against Ireland and its nation for Irish slaves, and the poverty never vanquished.
Now there was a fine young man and woman who had a daughter. Her name, was Gloria Hardt. They were the finest in all the land before the mexican slave trade for the potato famine. Dunkirk the first had finally told all the Mexicans to go home. Thus the famine.
There was a big pounding on their door and the duchess of Dublin, Ireland was knocking. The moment he saw who it was he took a great violin and thrust it upon her head after screaming after her and so she left.
She was dressed as an old maiden. Yes, poorly dressed and soon the old man who took up the broken violin looked out the window and saw her giving the poor round pieces of gold. So he took his violin, threw it out the window and never played it again. Ever....
When I hear those Bagpipes roar,
My heart begins to soar.
Frozen in my tracks,
My mind wanders back.
To a piper I once knew
Whose heart was pure and true.
He played those pipes like angels sing,
I often wondered, "Where are his wings?"
Those bagpipes casted a spell on me,
And that Irish lad's face is all I could see.
I used to weep when those pipes would sound,
Because for the moment my lost heart felt found.
See, that piper is the strongest man I ever met,
But because my heart was immature, I was'nt ready for him yet.
As years pass by, this broken heart has begun to heal.
Yet as soon as I hear those faithful pipes, my heart starts to feel.
Time has a way of putting our mistakes far in the past,
But I have to accept that Celtic sound will forever last.
So when you see that kilt and bearskin come marching in the room,
Do as I do 'listen' and soon your heart will bloom.
For those bagpipes serve a bigger role then i ever knew, That thunderous sound can only come from a select few.
And behind one of those pipes, stands a beautiful man, but he never notices I'm his biggest fan.
in a big straw cottage there lived an little pig
he loved to play a fiddle and do an irish jig
he would dance all day as happy as can be
while playing on his fiddle an irish melody
people came see to him and listen to him play
and watched the little pig as he danced away
then when he got tired he took a rest and then
underneath the moon he would play and dance again
I have always been one to distance myself from my origins and cling to some exotic ideas and ways of life as if they would rip out my simple roots and fill me with spice and integrity
I have always been one to look outside of my native home and wish for a protest in Israel, a tuk tuk in Nepal, a history lesson in Myanmar, a tent pitched in Yellowknife
And I have always been one to think that I was NOT ENOUGH because my skin was pale, my ancestors may or may not have been some kind of monsters, and because being upper-middle class was viewed as some kind of sin I was born in.
I remember had this French teacher in elementary school who hated my guts because I was a total smartass. I remember she used to make us watch her daughter's figure skating videos and I hated her for it... because that's what ten year olds do, I guess. But she made me hate being French and so I denied it for years. I'd be lying if I said I don't sometimes go around saying, "I'm German and Irish"
Because somehow, those can slip by, most of the time, with a joke about alcoholics, like it isn't a chain that holds my family in a pit of darkness. After all, it's just a joke, right? And at ten, at least to them, I wasn't French.
But because my last name was German, the kids used to taunt me, "Are you Hitler's granddaughter?"
Because I was German, I was scum
To kids on the playground, being German was as good as being a madman with a chamber full of gas, death and horrors. A heartless monster's granddaughter with blonde hair and blue eyes. Just ten years old and I was responsible for mistakes I never made, I was forced to apologize for the blood that ran in my veins, to the point where I hated it more than Hitler hated the Jews, or the gays, or anyone who got in his way. The blood cells in my veins today are survivors of their own kind of holocaust.
I've always been one to hate my privileges because they gave me a head-start on these mountains of injustice. I hated the idea of that leg-up on my Pakistani friend, whose family had to fight to be doctors. I hated the upper hand I thought I was given, when I beat my black friend in the school election and the next day, I had one less friend. I fumed that my Chinese friend was followed around with the unfavourable legend of "Her parents own the Chinese place by the school". And though those parents worked hard to carry their family and give them these privileges, some people were only her friend for some half-price sweet and sour chicken.
I hated that while my friends climbed these mountains like strong-willed Sherpas, I was just a white girl, an asthmatic heap of privileges, climbing a mountain after being dropped near the top by a helicopter.
In high school, I took any World Religions and Indigenous Studies class I could manage, and each time, the public schools taught me, "Equality for all" but the bad men always had white skin, and this skin made them thoughtless. I was conditioned to believe that Europe was a host for indecency, a virus of intolerance. I don't mean to make excuses for the massacre of former generations and keepers of this land. I mean, I'm one of the million white people who are "one-sixteenth Native... I think". I remember when I would watch the news and get so worked up about the mistreatment of my Native Canadian brothers and sisters and I would yell at my mother, asking her to take responsibility as a Catholic for the sins of some twisted priests and bigots in those residential schools. But my mom never hurt anybody, she was just born in a Christian home and a white body
And when I was 16, I used to complain about the "stupid white girls". I hated their hideous UGGs and their overpriced drinks and their social media with its endless self-absorbtion
It was just recently I realized I hated this term. Calling someone a "stupid white girl" because she talks a certain way and shops at a particular store is just as self-hatred inducing, ignorant and revoltingly inhumane as calling someone any other name, because they have a certain skin tone or use a certain kind of slang. It's illegal to throw sticks and stones, but words can always hurt me. And these words find their way to the incredible online. Photo-sharing platforms chock-full of pictures of paper cups, with words like "white girl" and "dumb bitch" littering comment boxes, with just-kidding tones and winks & kiss-faces... but when was being a young white female in North America boiled down to the exact science of a few distinctive traits and a preference for pumpkin flavoured drinks?
I have always been one to think that I was NOT ENOUGH because I have this certain set of DNA, but what I am now one to believe is: we are not responsible for where we come from. We are responsible for the words we say, the paths we take, the hands we hold, the love we make, and the unworthy, ungrateful, hateful, ignorant asses we kick. We are responsible for the children we teach, the society we raise, and the doses of love we diagnose to the world in its ill state.
I believe you can't blame someone for mistakes they haven't made, and you can't push a person into an invisible box because somebody told you they needed to be shipped off to be with their own grade. I believe there is a difference between race and culture, between observance and intolerance. I believe it is time to reshape minds and reclaim the dehumanized. And for the first time, I believe I am enough