Shane Blackman’s father, John, is an Irish citizen who’s taken the family to Ireland often. Shane received a BA in History and Literature from Wabash College and an MA in History from Indiana University. At Wabash, Shane won the Walter Fertig Prize for Excellence in Writing and a coveted Distinction on the college’s comprehensive examinations. He has been Lecturer in History at Indiana University and a Research Fellow with Yale University and Princeton University. Shane has taught Creative Writing in Arizona’s high schools, and his poems have appeared in The Mythic Circle and The Galway Review. When the Irish writer and Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney was Professor of Poetry at Oxford University, Shane was a Visiting Scholar at Oxford.
Maureen O’Hara and the Movies
1920 was the year of her birth
In the province of Leinster in Ireland.
She played football with the boys and the girls,
Until the sun went down and the lights went on.
Maureen traded soccer for theater
And film, for music and gold cinema,
For the signals “lights, camera, action”.
O’Hara shined like a bright sky’s stardom.
Hollywood was safe haven and harbour,
Which inspirited “passion, warmth and strength”:
The motion pictures gave her an Oscar,
An Academy Award well-deserved.
In 2020, The Irish Times ranked
Ranelagh’s native daughter as supreme.
At late-night diners, I heard war stories
From my great uncles and my grandfather.
They weren’t tall tales or exaggeration.
They were true stories, spoken at rare hours.
Inspired, at 18, I rode my motor
Cycle to the Naval Air Station in
Miramar, California, and raced the
Blue Angels and other fighter jets, who
Showed a willingness to advance their speeds
And engines to crazy heat at midnight.
That’s what Tom Cruise did in the flick Top Gun.
I went faster than Mav, just for a while.
Adrenaline is what stamps memories
Into the mind for good and forever.
Proverbs 31 says it’s fine to have
A cold brew every now and again, to give
Hope and healing for the broken-hearted,
Strong drink for people in bitter distress.
Jesus issued a liquor license when
He turned the water into wine and beer.
Christ clarified that moderation is
Good for a worn body and a torn soul.
At an Irish pub in east Saint Louis,
I drank the best strawberry cider on
This god-damn planet and God’s green-like earth.
I read novels and listened to the bands.
From ancient times to the bliss of modern
Times, alcohol has found the truths and lies.