Back Home from Home

So I am just over a week back from my writing travels in England. I have the beginnings of a short story to show for it, some wonderful recipes and new FB friends (also some delicious amaretto drinking chocolate). It doesn’t seem too much took place while I was away. The politicians are still arguing over the police commissioner and who should say or do what when.

However, in my absence I received good news from the Cavan Arts Office. We have been given some funding towards a new venture: At The Edge in Cavan…a bi-monthly reading evening in the Johnston library followed by an Open Mic session (it starts on Tuesday 6 May). I am currently sending off requests to all sorts of authors and poets to take the opportunity to come read to us. And I hope the Open Mic session will encourage our many local aspiring writers and poets to read their own material. We are working in association with the Galway Over The Edge team, Kevin Higgins and Susan Millar du Mars, so we can network and share ideas! So watch this space!

Also, while away, I discovered that my 15 minute play, My Rings for a Cushion, which was shortlisted in the Claremorris Theatre Fringe Festival is being performed on Wednesday 9 April, in case anyone wants to hike to Mayo for the production. I am of course, thanks to my lovely workshop of poets who once again have agreed to move the workshop to accommodate me. I can’t wait.

I am really enjoying the Cana Poetry workshops that I am facilitating. People write such amazing material: the ideas, the themes, the concoction of words is always so thrilling. I really hope my workshop participants, past and present, avail of the At The Edge, Cavan Open Mic evening to come and read their poems and prose. Reading the work in public is half the battle for many.

You may be wondering about the photo.  My other welcome back event of the week was a colonoscopy. I leave you with poem detailing the experience…for your delectation!


Distorted Gut

 I am in the end bed, by the window,

next to the nurses’ station.

Bright sun light pours in

I sit on the  iron cot, waiting.

The nurses wear green scrubs, black trousers

What happened to white striped dresses with black stockings?

I wonder.

Nurse comes and pulls the curtain

sizzling and crackling along its rail

hooks missing, like gaps in teeth.

She grips a clamp on my little finger,

wraps a strap around my arm,

pumps it up. I think I might explode.

On the contrary, my blood pressure is low.

97 over 26

I am sick. Deliberately so. In preparation.

Nurse tells me to strip from the waist down,

hands me a pair of green paper shorts,

‘Put these on. Hole goes at the back’

I imagine my white arse exposed.

I blink slowly to change my train of thought.

Nurse returns to tap my vein

insert a line, wire me up

‘to keep a check on your heart’

I lay back, like a film star and smile.

Bed knobs and broom sticks come to mind

as they wheel me off, flying

through medical wards, long corridors

to surgical One, dark, filled with lit machines.

They park me in the middle bay,

which whirrs and burrs.

He stands waiting. A tubby Asian man,

thick black specs. He looks like a stock broker

from London suburbia.

‘Turn on your side, raise your knees high’

I close my eyes.

Nurse plugs me in to the monitor

so he can see.

Picadilly Circus on a crowded Saturday night

is how it feels:

knocking and banging

pushing and shoving

beeping and bleeping

That last is me.

‘Do you want me to stop?’ he asked.

‘Go on,’ I bravely whisper.

Once again, I feel pressure

Banging, clanging,

up, down, pushed around,

skirting, hurting

That last is me


He pulled it out, disappointed.

Later, I look at my notes

to see what he wrote

‘incomplete …a distorted gut.’


One thought on “Back Home from Home

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