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Church October 22, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — catbrogan @ 2:37 pm

Asked to write a rhyme about church

Can’t think of anything worse

A Northern Irish Catholic upbringing

Sends me running

When I hear bells ringing

Don’t get me wrong

I used to sing that song

Believed deeply

In that and the tooth fairy

Aged 8, wanted to be a priest

Because then at least

I could convey scripture

With more rapture

Than the weekly sermon

I was used to hearing

And no joke

I wrote, to the pope

That it wasn’t fair

I couldn’t be an altar girl.

Got every sacrament

Even knew what they ment

Then my friends mum died

Aged 11 I couldn’t hide

My utter dismay

That the world was this way

At confession

Deviated from the usual session

Asked Father what I could do

To help her get through

He said, ‘pray for her’

Sent me into a whurl

Cried in the graveyard

It seemed too hard

To trust in God

To hear my sob

And why was he a he

I started to see

The church hated me

Unless I made tea.

Another bless me father for I did sin

I confessed my scepticism

Father said ‘This century,

Is full of evil’, depravity

But wasn’t every century bad?

And I knew that I had

Much more than my ancestors could dream

So the priest said it would seem

‘The devil is in you’

But that seemed like an excuse.

To set me loose

From the confessional box

He didn’t take stock

Of my teenage questions

Didn’t deliver real lessons

He had better things to do

Like letting the headmistress steal from school.

So the bubble burst

It was the worst

The loss of belief

When that is your chief

Form of relief

Mum it hard

But I wasn’t a coward

Refused to go to mass

Except for Christmas

Still taught Sunday School

Told kids it was cool

To love your neighbour

Didn’t just do god a favour

Helped at a religious group for the disabled

In Omagh everything is labelled

With the sign of the cross

Couldn’t help a cause

Without Jesus, somewhere is the sauce

Nearly had a panic attack at a school service

Thought, what have I done to deserve this?

Sitting in a church

That my ancestors worked

To pay for,

Despite wolves and the door

And church still wanted more

My uncle sent to seminary

Aged 14,

Or the missionary

Only way to glean

Food for his hand

Church and England,

Owned the land.

How this church, this steeple

Broke the backs of my people

This throne room

Where they boom

Words of doom

From an unseen king

And woman only sing.

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Reasons I love the Credit Crunch July 28, 2009

Filed under: poetry — catbrogan @ 5:39 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

This poem helped me to the Semi Final of the Radio 4 UK Slam, I’m representing London

Reasons I love the Credit Crunch

No.1
I just find it more fun To be really tight,
Decide what I like,
By how cheap it is,
I like cheap thrills,
I’ve always been no frills,
And now everyone is,
And its cool to be a miser,
Its deemed much wiser,
And now we swop tips
On how to mend zips.

No. 2
Redundancy can be cool,
Gets you out of a hole,
Straight on to the dole,
And you can reassess,
What you do best,
What makes you feel blessed.
Instead of stuck,
In that shit job rut.
That’s too good to leave,
But too crap to like,
Think of all the extra time for your bike.
And its not even your fault,
Practically every adult,
Could become unemployed,
So be overjoyed,
That its totally accepted,
Parents won’t question it.

No. 3
Everything is actually cheaper,
Yet here’s the sweetener,
Fantastically, we live simply,
So that others can simply live,
Find a way to sieve,
The dust from the gold,
Treasure what is old,
Reuse and use again,
Make do and mend.

No. 4
I live in a squat,
And the water’s not hot,
Yet its deemed very prudent
Though I’m not a student.
Its allowed,
Even while employed.
For me, a permanent contract,
Seems further than the sack,
Its like Santa Claus,
It seemed there were laws
That guaranteed he existed
When really the grownups just fixed it,
To make us be brave,
Help us behave,
A stability incentive
to stop us being inventive.
So lets embrace insability,
In its ubiquity.

 

My Mum July 22, 2009

Filed under: poetry — catbrogan @ 5:25 pm

Met Edwyn Collins (never met a girl like you before – mid 90s song, you know it, who has a similar condition as my mum) and his partner Grace Maxwell at Latitude Festival. Just blogged on their site and this is what I said

hi, I’m the woman who went off on one about my mum and her head injury, thank you so much for the book, i’m really enjoying it. Would love to send you my mum’s book, can I get an address to send it too. Also, as a poet I have found writing about my mums condition one of the best ways to deal with it and celebrate her as a person and how she inspires others by being such a positive loving person despite all the difficulties she faces. Here’s a poem I have written about her, hope you enjoy and hope to see you both and even your son, again sometime, I live in London. I think a forum for people with similar disabilities and for families and friends of people with disabilites would be very useful. I got an email from my mum today, it read, I am practising my key board email skills.Love Dympna. Its 36 years since her accident but shes still learning.

For Mum

Let Springsteen sweep us
Around the kitchen floor
Let hugs hold forever
With love forever more

Emotion out ways, always
Your shrivelled arm
Your shrivelled head
The words you never said

The body’s just a carcass
Yours a battered one
But no agile athlete
Ever achieved your feet

No martyr on a cross
Bore your affliction
With smiling eyes determined heart,
No need to prove you’re smart

So forget the pretentious ones
Screw the upper class
I love you for your laugh
And protecting my path

Emotion out ways articulation
For you are a flawless child smith
For you hammered, honed me
Now I’m a person I can live with

 

Your Irish, you must like to drink July 14, 2009

Your Irish, you must like to drink

As if thats all that i can think

If i had a penny, if i had a pound

For everytime that one went round

I could buy my village a shot

But perhaps I’ll not

We’ve had enough of booze

It’s induce collective snooze

Excused our actions

Stimulated attractions

Dulled our reactions

Helped us to get to the end of the day

An easy way to get rid of pay.

I remember aged eleven

I didn’t have to delve in deep

To see the alcohol sleep.

My classmate Cara Meenan

Got absolutly steamin

Stomach pump, like a sucide jump

Just a right of passage,

Like learning to text message.

Going to the disco aged thirteen

I still wasn’t keen

On alcohol at all

I was following my brother Paul

We loved Jesus and pledged to him

To drink before eighteen

Would be a sin

But I’ld still go out

Still dance and shout

I was hyper, I was mental

To be drunk to would have cost more than dental.

So fully sober I’ld see my friends

And all the various ends

That drinking lead them to

How it interfered with school.

But come 16 I’d given up

Lost faith in God and all that stuff.

Surrendered to booze

Not much left to lose

Started smoking

Just like Obama, tokin.

But it wasn’t my peers,

I’d resisted them for years,

It was my older English cousins

Made drinkin, smokin, tokin,

Exotic, foreign, exciting,

But it still wasn’t really for me

Living in that Vodka sea.

So i’ld take the car as an excuse

To abstain from booze abuse.

And I’ld witness,

The after club bitchiness

The vicious violence

The deadening silence

The after club floor thud

Induced by bucky and bud.

Never saw someone get the shit kicked out of them

As when I used the beer towel to stem

The flow of blood from a young girls head.

Waiting for the ambulance

That would rarely answer us

The police wouldn’t bother to show

And I don’t blaim them you know

Because as soon as they did

As sure as I was still a kid

A full scale riot would ensue

Even though we were still in school

They’ld break CCTV

Let glass fly free.

At two O’clock at night

I’ld ask my brother to stop the fight

Tried to step in

Couldn’t take the din

Of fist on face

The blood stained trace

The sound of body thrown on tree

Literally right next to me

So I’d drive them to A&E

This poor forgotten causality

That meant nothing to me

Except I couldn’t stand back and see

The blood pouring from his head

The weeks he’ld spend in bed

So when you say your Irish drink

Please just stop and think

Of all the images in my head

of all the times I’ve head that said

Cause its not really funny

Cause even my mummy

Can’t drink

Dad’s a lightweight

We’ve got more to investigate

Than the kind of state

You’ll discover if you inebriate

 

The Cat that wasn’t drowned July 13, 2009

Her name was Cat

She lived outside

And that was that

And dad tried to hide

What happened to the siblings

Distorting the Cat’s beginnings

The stray mother cat had  a litter

And perhaps feeling bitter

At being tied down so young

She abandoned them for fun

But what a skank,

Under our oil tank!

That’s a metal container

That is a retainer

For those living too remote

The off the gas main folk.

And so the story would go

That we kept Cat

And the others,

The sisters and brothers

Were found a home

And we didn’t ever comb

The details of the story

Cause we didn’t really care

We left her food out there.

Rarely give her a pet

She would stay out in the wet

And when old, she died

Only my sister cried.

It was in the boiler room

The thing that heats the oil we consume

My sister used a shoebox as a tomb

And cried ‘you didn’t even give her a name mummy’

But mum didn’t find that funny

She’d grown up on a farm,

Animals didn’t have names and charm

Years later, my sister’s friend,

Visiting from England

Wanted to know

Where did the other Cats go?

Dad tried to lie,

Now we know why

But his pretence

Couldn’t match her persistence

And the sluth

Discovered the truth

There was no pound

No home to be found

I know it sounds harsh

Even a farce but the cats were wild

Not to be seen as a child

An animal, not a pet

So they met

The bitter end

Not destined to be a friend

But if they had been ‘put down’

Rather than drowned

It would somehow be ok

Because there was someone to pay.

I wrote this for a themed poetry slam, on Thur 9th June, which I won, Utter Cats, organised by richard tyrone jones at whitechapel Art Gallery in London, he organises quite a lot of poetry events, usually with crazy themes.
Its my homage to a Seamus Heaney poem, The Early Purges, which made a big impression on me as a teenager.
I usually don’t give poems titles put I felt I wanted to prepare the listener (because I write to be heard) for what was going to happen and so I didn’t have to be so explicit in my description of my Dad drowning Cats!