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With the permission of William Joyce                                                                         MONEY Money is the last ...

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Common Grounds

A few Saturdays ago I was sitting with a bad, bad hangover in one of my favourite bars at half ten in the morning. I always say a man should have at least three pubs he uses. The one where everyone knows you drink. The one where you go when you want to avoid people. And finally and most importantly, the one where no one knows you even know exists, but each and every person inside knows you by first name and choice of pint.

I was in the third kind. A dank and musty church that thinks it's a bar but in reality is home to men of a certain age and background. I'm of a certain age and background too, and so happy as Larry I sat watching my pint of Beamish settle while my stomach turned over and my temples tried to rehydrate themselves by squeezing liquid from my brain.

Though my head ached, emotionally I was feeling a deep sense of well being. The type which can only be experienced by a working man who has avoided a day of toil. I had avoided a day of toil by ringing in sick. And duty done I headed to John Brown's. The dark suited me. I needed some 'Me' time. That time whereby I ignore my future by blocking out the present with large amounts of a depressive substance masquerading as something that cheers you up. It 's not a bright idea or that original but it certainly seems popular in Dublin in certain circles.

It's not that common for a woman to be there in the morning. I think they have a proper sense of the place, maybe more accurate, so I hadn't noticed this person while I said hello to the regulars. She was loud though. Very loud for that time and space. Thin as a rake compared to the beer guts all around and hyper aware as opposed to sunk in drudgery of mindless indolence. Her laugh was abrasive and unforgiving and from the moment I noticed her she never shut up. She harangued, she jided, she fully partook in the whole bar. She shouted conversation down from one end of the room to the other. She wasn't funny and there was an edge to the tone she struck. Don't get me wrong, she was among people she knew and knew well but..... She was wrecking everyone's head. I could see it and I knew what effect it was having on me. And then I thought "I know this sentiment from somewhere" and so here is a new poem from William Joyce


            Three of them at a back table
            as garbagemen
            at 6 a.m.

            The one's laughter
            would curdle the blood
            of a Chinese wrestler.
            They talk about toenails,
            pricks, dogs in heat
            in voices so loud
            the other diners
            into themselves.

            This is a restaurant 
            of long tableclothes
            where diners have been taught
            at age 6.
            The manager follows
            the waitress
            into the kitchen.
            "Serve those fat girls
            right away
            and get them out of here."

            Through mounds of food
            in their mouths
            the fat girls never let up.
            They talk and chortle,
            talk and chortle.
            They are quite aware
            they are irritants.

            That's why they got fat,
            got loud, got vulgar
            to irritate 
            respectable citizenry
            wherever they go,
            to be served first
            then show their appreciation
            by burping
            in unison.