Posted by: patti | June 16, 2009

Happy Bloomsday

Dear, dirty Dublin, your marks tell your story.  You have ruts and dips and chips all over your streets and bridges.  You have your names carved into your sidewalks, into your buildings, into your walls.  I wonder: did it hurt more when they took down your street signs for scrap metal or when they branded your concrete with new, Irish, names?  Nothing could have hurt as much as that Easter week, when your dear buildings, your grand post office, proud courts, and stony pillars were open and torn, broken and lit, by fire and blood.  The bullets that ripped through your rebel leaders and bit into your castle stone left terrible scars.

New marks are on your face, on your weary body, now.  Your waters run clearer.  Women tip-tap heels on your sidewalks, their staccato stilettos carrying them to jobs of power and privilege.  Have you gotten used to those points of change?  Have you learned to accept the creak of briefcase handles instead of the creak of prams full of babies, junk to sell, and food for tea?  Where have you hidden these rickety prams?  They do not clog your river as they once did.

From my room at the top of the hill on your North side, I sit and watch you grow and change.  I watch the fires on your hills go out, one by one, as farmers stop burning the gorse in their fields and sell their land to feed you as you grow.  Before the last one disappears, let me reach from here and touch this gorse, feel its rough spikes before it turns to smooth stone.

You smell different now, dear Dublin.  The mark of your streets has changed from piss and fresh baked bread to French perfume and chlorine.  Your Guinness, my dear, tastes a bit off now that you’ve fixed your waters.

From this room, I want to reach over your wooden gates with carved names, past your church spires with saints of stone, past your monuments to saints and sinners alike, and reach and touch the gold numbers on your blue clock face.  I will resist the urge to take those hands and turn them back, my city of hieroglyphs.


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