GERRY MC DONNELL was born and lives in Dublin. He was educated in Trinity College, Dublin where he edited ICARUS, the college literary magazine; and at Dublin City University. He has had four collections of poetry published by Lapwing Publications, Belfast. He has also written for stage, radio and television. His play Making It Home, a two-hander father and son relationship, was first performed at the Crypt Theatre at Dublin Castle in 2001. A radio adaptation of this play was broadcast on RTE Radio 1 in 2008 starring the acclaimed Irish actor David Kelly as the father and Mark Lambert as the son. It has been translated into Breton. His play Whose Veins Ran Lightning, based on the life and work of the Irish poet James Clarence Mangan (1803-1849), was performed at The New Theatre in Dublin in 2003. His libretto for a chamber opera, The Poet and the Muse, (music by composer John Byrne) also deals with Mangan. He has written for the Irish television series Fair City. His interest in Irish Jewry has resulted in the chapbook; Jewish Influences in Ulysses and a collection of monologues, Mud Island Elegy, in which Jews of 19th century Ireland speak about their lives from beyond the grave. Lost and Found concerns a homeless Jewish man living in the Phoenix Park in Dublin. His stage play Song of Solomon, set on the Royal canal in Dublin, has a Jewish theme. Mud Island Anthology, concerning ‘ordinary’ Dublin gentiles who lived in the latter half of the 20th century was published in 2009 and is a companion collection to the ‘Elegy’ poems. His latest collection of poetry, Ragged Star, was published in 2011 by Lapwing. In 2013 his Novella Martin Incidentally was published. He is a member of the Irish Playwrights’ and Screenwriters’ Guild and the Irish Writers’ Union.
By Gerry Mc Donnell
These rashers are nearly done. Where’s the sliced pan? This is the life! A rasher sandwich, a mug of tea and a lovely aspect from me bench here on the grassy breast looking across the valley at the other breast sprouting silver hairs of beech. A reassuring tinkle in my breast pocket! My own knife and fork! A cut above the others at the free dinners! On my circumlocutions around the city, pushing my tireless bike, the scream of traffic sometimes unleashes a blizzard of words! I can’t catch them. I’m blinded, spittin’. Then there’s nothin’ again. Only the grey ground! I try the alphabet to jog my memory! M is a good letter. Mother, murder, did I? Mayhem, malarkey, moment! I’ve had my moments I’m sure, maybe magisterial, a monarch or mouldy drunk? Mnemosyne, goddess of memory help me; rise up from the dust! Enough of Ms. I used to talk properly I’m sure, not dropping the g at the end of the verb. I am educated or an autodidact. I think that’s established, as long as I don’t forget it! Words and names skim across the ice into the darkness. No traction! I get the scent of flowers in a train station. I am driven to distraction by the ringing of bells. I press the silk of tulips. I dream of a man sitting on a bench waiting for the boat train. He is holding a bunch of red roses. His fiancée alights from the last carriage and introduces her brand new husband. He sits back down on the bench. He is still there that night holding his conflagration of roses. A porter sees him. He doesn’t remember anything. Not his name or where he lives. The dream stops there, always there! I don’t know if he recovers and resumes a normal life. But how could you resume anything after that? What has me frying rashers behind a bench in the Phoenix Park? If only I could remember what happened I could get on with my life. Would you listen to me! Get on with my life! Don’t make me laugh! The dream always stops short! It all always ends here!