She plays Farmville and pokes friends
on Facebook most of the day.
She scans a few sites for celebrity gossip-
the photos and headlines-
scrolling up and down independent.ie
every quarter of an hour or so.
At 15.10 she takes a break and lounges
for half an hour
with the other women on the scheme
eating brown soda with orange-and-duck-liver pate.
Then they sample black pudding
reheated from yesterday,
chomping fat and gut and gristle
over CSI, Dragon’s Den, American Idol.
Each has something well worked-out
to say about the royal wedding.
Later on, closing in on 5pm- the goal-
she rises and jacks up the Korean office stereo
for Shakira, almost dancing
the way back to her chair.
She leaves max vol on
for the jingles and pitches
in the advertisements
for The Sound of Music in the Grand Canal Theatre,
for cut-price bananas,
for less-than-half-price toys,
three mince-meats for a tenner,
for closing-down firesales
of repossessed furniture.
Some of these ads she has
the dubbing of,
and when the DJ’s billion-kilometre tongue flicks
through the speaker
and into the room
to put a question to his nation:
whether it is right to cut the benefits
of those who refuse a reasonable
offer of employment?
she damn near leaps from her desk with her very soul giving answer,
damn near levitates in an ecstasy with her arms and legs spread out,
damn near crashes through the roof, ascending
to the satellites
and the space debris
Yes, Yes, of course it is Yes,
Yes, of course it is, Yes.
for Helen Lindstrom
Silence is talking.
Silence is driving the car.
She is neutral and she disapproves of all the gloom.
What have you got to be so angry about?
Would you just shut-up about the budget?
Nice things, why can’t we just talk about nice things: The lovely hedgerows and lawns hereabouts. Caring for double incontinent mothers. Butterflies. Our far flung children,
high achievers all. Old country recipes. Recent sporting victories. Weddings we have
been to. Other public ceremonies. Our childhood in terms of its thoroughbred horses.
The good local weather. Which is not strange.
Stunned and fuming in the backseat, you and I being placed and viewed and spoken
through like archaeology.
We are fragments in a carton. Ashes in an urn.
I wish that my container keeps a coiled snake and a curse-bearing hieroglyph and that
yours is truly an aboriginal wand.
Silence is priming her lashes, flinting her smile, cocking her teeth in the rear-view mirror.
They ricochet and crack us both mid-forehead, fester in our brainwaves like eyes, like
thrones and sceptres, like all the stations of the radio.
We are monsters now.
But this is not what silence calls a crisis.
She would like to know exactly what our real problem is?
Are you workshy? Or perhaps it’s S.A.D?
Deal with it. Get a goddamn job like the rest of us.
Go and sit under a stone-apple tree or swallow a Halogen lamp for yourself.
Go get electrocuted. Go piss on electric wire.
Didn’t you hear about Berlin?
Don’t you know how much much worse it gets a thousand years ago?
Silence takes her holidays in surgical resorts and has also the world’s most incredible
dentist, a true dambuilder.
Silence is only just paring the obvious:
Detrital, byproducted hope is foam and it is cornerless. It boils away with heat and age
like alcohol, like milk. Get doom, solidify, welcome to the real world, get a fucking grip.
Silence floats about the sixties seeing it all before and whatever you think is going on
back then it doesn’t happen. It never ever.
Silence do solemnly declare:
I am the national peaceful unity co-operation thingy.
I am fog on the lough, erasing shapes, maps, directions, memory.
I am the calm that has settled after all hope has died.
I am the broken promises factory
skirting every Irish town.
I am the Hotel Empty.
My rating is five black-holes.
I host the most magnificent cobwebs, prestigious cracks, glittering slug-trails, draughts of international importance.
You are very welcome to attend my International Emptiness Conference.
I am a warehouse of the unrequired. Defective mannequins.
I am the vastest hangar in all of limbo, that one for the unexamined.
I am the cage that traps the song, unbeknownst to the singer.
I am the code and the guard and the museum of the future.
Silence is driving us down to the pier.
Silence is dragging us onto the yacht.
Silence is taking us out on the lake.
Silence is packing us up in a jar,
diving us down
to her black uninhabited realm,
roots that throttle us in wrecks,
grey silt-weeds and the drifting, boneless dead,
their softening shells.
Dave Lordan is the current holder of the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary Award and a previous winner of the Kavanagh and Strong Awards. His collections The Boy in the Ring (2007) and Invitation to a Sacrifice (2010) are published by Salmon Poetry. A new collection, Discover Ireland is forthcoming in 2013, also from Salmon. Wurm Press will publish his first collection of short stories, The Underground, in Spring 2012. His website is www.davelordanwriter.com