Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Galway 3

July 19, 2017

The Galway Art Club’s annual show is crap. I think I remember this from before. The other art venues are moving and spectacular. Went to one on Middle Street where the attendant was having her lunch, and between bites of sandwich told me how some Asian woman wants to marry her son to get a Eurozone passport, while he wants to marry an American to get an American passport. Went to the Galway City Museum. Saw fierce spearheads dredged out of the Corrib. Walked the streets. Stopped at some of the old places, Taafee’s and the King’s Head. God-like bartenders. Napped heroic naps. In the evening went to Nun’s Island to see a play called Pumpgirl. Again, impeccable Irish acting glazes over whatever flaws there might have been. Powerful language, powerful situation– the problem is that it wasn’t actually a play, but three monologues–eventually revealed to be related-- delivered by people who sat on stage and never spoke to or acknowledged one another. I think that must be much easier for a playwright than actually to have dialog and interaction. But, I was mesmerized, and impressed with what it did accomplish. Every play I have seen out of Northern Ireland has dealt with the abject squalor of life. Sat next to the President of the Eugene O’Neill Society, and who is in town for an O’Neill conference at NUIG. At one time he was #2 attorney in the State Department (I think he said) and chief of the EPA for the western US. He and his wife are fans of Thomas Wolfe, and had been to Asheville to take in all that.  I have the best luck with theater neighbors. Drank my way back home. Lisa Hannigan at Roisin Dubh. At the bar on the corner, the name of which is not coming to me, I was propositioned by Jim, a restaurant worker having a few drinks before the last bus from Eyre Square.  Whatever else was happening, I thanked Ireland for still seeing me as a sexual being. I might have said yes but for the whole midnight bus ride into the boondocks thing. Rain last night, drizzle now. I fooled the gods by remembering to pack my big yellow slicker.

Went to inquire at the Laundrette, and found it filled with Amazons, with Valkyries, tall, strong women with blond hair to their shoulders. I don’t think it is actually a laundrette.

Ate lunch under an awning in Quay Street in the rain. Five women at the table behind me were complaining about how much Irish women complain.

I’m reminded how I know I’m Irish: they and I can find a smart retort for nearly everything that’s said. Here they appreciate it, like it; at home it’s smart-alecky.

Monday, July 17, 2017


July 17, 2017

Number 21, The Sea Road, Crescent Close, Galway. Turns out I have rented an apartment, with two bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room. The livingroom window looks out on the big gray Catholic church where Pat Jourdan used to exhibit her devotions. The bedroom window looks over a neighborhood, where a few minutes ago a brother and sister were playing basketball in a back yard. The flight from JFK was not very eventful, because I was asleep nearly every second of it. My legs were in pain–so swollen my pant legs cut into them-- and the angle of the First Class seats was blessed and soporific relief. Drowsed off nevertheless on the bus between here and Shannon. The land between Shannon and Galway is known to me. Even the shapes of trees were familiar, and the distant gray of the Burren, and the little shops in Ennis and Gort. My left foot sole is blistered for some reason, and my legs are engorged, so going around the town was hard this afternoon, but go I did, until I almost literally could not take another step. And then there were the several narrow flights of stairs leading to my room. . . but I DID make it, and napped, and think I am ready to set out again. .
10:30. Walked–not at all happily–to the Black Box Theater and saw Woyzeck in Winter , a remarkable conflation of Die Winterreise and Woyzeck. It was quite wonderful in every aspect of concept and realization, as one has come to expect from Irish participants in the Arts Festival. I kept thinking, “who would have THOUGHT of this?” Boys slept spread-eagled behind the hedges I passed on my way to the theater, at peace in their own environment.

Stopped at the bar that was the Pump House fifteen years ago, where I had joyful nights. This night was joyful enough.
Legs, hip, foot in agony. Will I make it through tis adventure?

Sunday, July 16, 2017


July 16, 2017

JFK  International, New York. An El Al jet is parked beneath the window where I write, in the Delta Sly Club, whose exclusivity is marred tonight by being crowded with travelers. Sat for a while with a distinguished Russian gentleman who hails from Archangel and who’s on his way to DC for a conference on global warming. He remarks on the variety of human faces, says, “you are a nation of many nations.” I want to say, “tell that to our leader.”  A little angling discovers that he is proud of Putin, thinks him a great man and a patriot. At one point in the flight between Atlanta and New York (after two white wines) I was overcome with gratitude at being on my way to Galway, a place which always brings me joy, and which, for some reason, I seem to have been denying myself. The Place Where I Missed Finding Love has become The Place Where I Might Have Found Love, which is, somehow, sweeter. Block long Kuwait Airlines jet. I still don’t understand how these things get into the air, or stay there once they’re launched. The man on one side of me is instructing his wife how to put air in the tires. The man on the other talks about opening the skate park he runs (or ran) at 1 in the morning for Dave Chappelle.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

July 15, 2017

Illness continues, low-grade, necessitating many naps and several pills. Preparation for travel slowed-down, but it will probably be sufficient. The kind of travel I will be doing for the next 24 hours is mostly napping, anyway. Thunderstorms, the garden afterwards glittering with afternoon light. It would be nice if somebody surprised me by saying goodbye.

July 14, 2017

Vive la France.

Gold light came at evening upon the garden, and I thought if I were asked to paint paradise, that would be it.  Most of the afternoon thunder rumbled almost constantly at the far edges of the horizon. Long, sweet rain here, with blue lightning blazing overhead.

I woke this morning for the first time in months alone in my body. Only those who have been through it understand. But, the dissolution of the demon spread toxins through my body. Have been fighting the infection with antibiotics, achy and tired, which has lost me a whole day in my preparation for departure. It just means tomorrow will be chock full.

Reading a biography of John Berryman, stalled for the same reason as I stalled with Crane. Is he good enough? What secrets, what skills could one conceivably learn?

Played La Marseilles on You Tube in honor of the day.

Friday, July 14, 2017

July 13, 2017

Z pushed toxins into my bloodstream this AM, and I have spent most of the day achy and sleepy, though I did get writing and submitting done. I wouldn’t have been able to lift a shovel. I usually get done more in a day than I record here, and think, “I should really write about that,” and then I don’t. My ancient theory is that what needs to be remembered, will be remembered.

The native hibiscus bursts into scarlet flower eight feet above the front yard. Two years ago a storm beat it down before it bloomed. Last year it was the maniac gardeners claiming to take it for a peony. But this time, all is well, scarlet stars in due time, at the eye level of giants, delights to my heart.

It is possible that the demon is defeated.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

July 12, 2017

As I write, arborists are dismantling the great sweet gum at 62, in whose shade I lived for 24 years. I went to snap a few pictures, but sadness overcame me. There is no single way in which the property will not be better for the loss of that monstrosity, and yet, turning my back and walking home, I could barely endure it.  Bereavement is not rational. I’ll let it go at that.

3 PM: re the above, astonishing hole in the tree line to the west.