Month: July 2015

Born in Modernity: David O’Sullivan Reviews ‘A Vicious Example’ by Michael Aiken

Born in Modernity: David O’Sullivan Reviews ‘A Vicious Example’ by Michael Aiken.

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Hard earth covered in stones

Bring them all back

bring them all back

I am sorry I let them go

They were young and new

and now buried in the mud of sorrow.

Like misspelled words

I have no chance of correcting

Snapshot of

He holds the letter she sent him

he folds it carefully and puts it back in the envelope

he puts it to his nose, but there is no scent

and shuts it into the drawer of his desk.

She stands on the boat

and looked out at the ocean

the waves leap like lazy fish

and she dreams of a country covered in green forests

They sit in their car and cry

their daughter died last night

today the clouds gather

and it rains

He stands in the busy city street

and looks at all the faces

he cannot stand to face the world today

but in bed his fears control his mind.

The last video store

About a year ago I would go swimming at lunch time as often as I could, I had a year pass. The road past the pool is busy and you have to wait at the traffic lights most times. On the corner opposite where I would wait stood the last video store in town. It was amazing to see it go to battle against the 21st century powers. The building, (which has housed the video store for over twenty years) has deteriorated over the years. The sign filled with dead bugs, lights had blown and never been replaced.

I remember when it first opened, I was a child and it was a place full of excitement. Televisions in three corners of the store would blast out the new releases, you had to go through two doors to enter, there was a dedicated in and out, they sold toys and chocolate near the exit, the staff all wore nice uniforms and smiled, it was like visiting heaven, where everything you could ever want to see was available. I remember the new carpet smell, the shiny video cassette covers, the excitement when the video was there to rent, the disappointment when it was out. In a corner was a children’s play area, there was an in store magazine you could take home and read. Posters on the walls smiled out at you with images of hollywood’s greats, a life sized cardboard cutout of James Dean stood by the classics isle, his fingers cocked in a strange gang sign. There was a dedicated horror section with skulls on the shelves, there was an adult section which I would accidentally walk by.

The store closed down six months ago.

It was, as I have said, the last one. I looked in the window just before it went. A fat man stood behind the counter, he did not wear a uniform, just a shapeless track suit top. He had an unkempt beard and just stared out to the back wall. No one in the store. I felt so sad for him. I watched through two cycles of the traffic lights. A woman and two small children came in, at least he had someone.

The televisions were gone, except one that was playing but it was mistuned and the picture would scratch and jump. Nothing was clean, the windows were vandalized. The return chute had something sticky smeared all over it. The business was dying dragging itself on, afraid of death.

I remember being in a video store when I was three, I remember I had my mother rent ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ for me. I was in love with video stores all my life.

During the last few years I could not stand going into them. I felt so self-indulgent, I felt ashamed. It was like masturbating in public. I stopped going, I would rather watch what I wanted in other ways, if I really wanted a DVD I would buy it online.

The death of video stores to me, was the end of the 20th century.

James Dean was long gone.

The last time I looked inside the video store, all the shelves, counters, everything was removed. The carpet was pulled up and there were strange stains on the ground. The roof had been damaged, something had knocked a hole through and the plasterboard was falling down. They covered the windows up last week.

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THE BOMBER is out now

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The day of the cold sun

I came home, walking past the bank

a man stopped me, he is the local holy man, nut, sage, lunatic, thief, pervert

depending on who you ask.

He pointed to the bricks in the old bank

(off North Street)

and said;

‘Following the guns and bombs, will come the trees and vines,

they will grow here and knock the buildings down. We are in the middle of a great forest.’

I passed him, nodding. I understood.

I sit in my room. My house (second floor anyway)

looks out over Mount Mary

and on top of that is the holy Church of Our Lady.

I watch the people go to church

the mass is held midday

and at night they have an old fashioned latin mass

(to which I want to go one day just to hear the latin)

The people come, wearing their best clothes

and it’s not just old people and immigrants

The church is on top of the hill and commands a great view, to its north is the city and to the south is the train tracks and

poor houses.

When it rains I close my windows tight

but dream of letting them stay open

counting the rain drops as they soak my carpet

leaving me sad

and soggy socked

for weeks afterwards.

Step into the shower and

let the water run down your back

and listen to the bells, the bells

calling.

The alleyway kittens

The kittens ran through the streets together
like small tigers
an image of fear in a jungle.
hopping a puddle
tagging each other with a paw
the furry and flashing animation
of two kittens
completely & hopelessly in love,
dashing through a giants city
fearing noises but drawn by the scents
never certain which way to turn
even after their alleyway has come to an end
when at last they stop to rest,
a meow snagged in their tiny mouths
they felt released from the troubles of those around them
to be together and happy
and to always have the memories of being free.