Mali or Somewhere
They were discussing the international significance of the forthcoming Irish revolution, the two revolutionaries, in a bar overlooking Dublin Bay. One was doubtful. In fact, not really listening at all but instead staring out the window at the Irish Sea, at the calm and dull enclosure of it. It was fit for nothing, he was thinking, this minor sea. Not for myths or voyaging or warfare. Not even for drowning. It went hardly deep enough to drown in. Though fishermen drowned in it, occasionally, and drunks out swimming, and suicides. Mostly suicides.
The idea of drowning himself in the little grey-green piddle of the Irish Sea was insulting. He would have to have drama, majesty, the clamour of high winds and waves, thousands of gigantic white steeds of foam rushing towards him, rushing towards him and his death. He would have to have the Atlantic, the merciless, thundering king of the seas.
His comrade was elucidating: It’s a result of our geo-political situation. Our position midway, ideologically and economically and somehow metaphysically midway between Boston and Berlin. What happens here has knock on effects on the two decisive imperialist blocs. Also, now, because we’re a Trojan horse for the entry of rampant neo-liberal capitalism into the social-democratic citadel of old Europe. A weather-vane for the future. An experimental proving ground for the new order of privatisation, deregulation, and securitisation. I’m telling you, if we defeated neo-liberalism here, if we overthrew it, it could set the entire hemisphere aflame with revolt.
The speaker took a sip from his pint of Carlsberg and continued after a brief reflective pause: I mean it’s not as if Ireland is like Mali or somewhere. If there was a revolution in Mali no-one would take any notice. Ireland is important.
The other, the mental drifter, who enjoyed very much confounding and contradicting his comrade, hit back wackily: But what if right now, in another planet, far more important on the galactic-historical scale, two interplanetary revolutionaries are having a similar discussion, different only in scale, in which one of them says ‘I mean it’s not as if our planet is like somewhere totally insignificant like planet earth or something. If there was a revolution on Planet Earth it wouldn’t even make the In Brief column’…
His comrade rolled his eyed and smiled an unamused, slightly contemptuous smile.
Ah C’mon, said he, I’m trying to be serious.
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. His website is www.davelordanwriter.com