#dayinthelife

My sister’s email

I’m feeling fine, you should see the lights here. Amazing- as if the universe were sitting on Earth,

On the bus as we came in, we turned down a dark street

And on a Church wall glowed a blue neon cross.

It almost made me cry again.

I found my room, it’s in a large building in a nice spot,

I’ve met my neighbors, they all seem nice.

You should hear the sounds of the city at night,

It’s like a recording of a dream.

I started work, I’m really enjoying it.

I hope you’re feeling better, I know this change is making me feel better

But I hope I’m not here too long; you know how I get

And how much I love home. Could you call Sal and tell her I’m OK?

Do you have any news? Can you tell everyone it’s going really well for me?

It sounds silly but it’s so big here, and so far away

I sometimes wish I’d stayed.

I haven’t seen him yet, but I’m sure he’ll arrive to see me soon.

I’ve called him to tell him I’m pregnant, but he hasn’t replied,

Could you try calling him? Could you make sure he’s here in town still if you speak to him?

I hope I don’t lose my job when the baby comes- but as soon as we’re together, it’ll be fine.

Anyway, don’t worry about me and sorry I cried when I left,

I was just tired.

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A poem – God Must Be The Stars

He comes down the sidewalk

his shoes clacking on the cement

wearing a purple shirt and high heeled cowboy boots

He turns to walk across the freshly laid turf on the bright green lawn

deliberately sinking his heels into the soft grass

making huge divots as he goes.

He hits his wife at home

sometimes in front of an open window when he is drunk

once his son came home from School

and beat his father

but the son went away again

and his mother stayed.

I looked out from my window at what I think are stars

but they are the lights on top of buildings

to stop air planes flying into them.

I close my book of astronomy

and regret telling people I could see the scorpion

when all I could see was the Metro Tower.

Fly across -look around

believe that God holds all things together

the fear of forgetting all that I love on Earth

makes me walk in the woods for hours

Clouds, daisies, your hand on mine

green grass under a blue and grey sky

The old street

In the evening when the sun is low and casting the pink of days end into the sky

when the lights first come on in the street

and the lights seem bright and warm with welcome

You think how pretty everything looks bathed in the light

what a change it is after a bright day.

You walk quickly down to buy a drink

before the stores close

and you see the day go and the dark settle in comfortably.

Where are the people you thought would always be your friends?

They are a long way away, working, settling down with their families

you are still in the old neighborhood

but you know everything and where it all goes

you were happy for the first years, slowly it’s changed

now, it feels a little small, sometimes as you fall asleep

you fell the depression of everything being the same and unchanging.

You think about your job and it starts to seem boring and what will you do

in ten years time if it is all the same?

But right now

as you walk down your street

to buy a drink

and the sun is glinting the last minutes off the top of the buildings

the streets are dark

you remember when you were seventeen and every night was love

every night was fun and lights, and you remember the first time your hand explored her waist

you can still feel how soft and warm she was, just like the night

when you were seventeen.

Put the dollar across the counter and pick up the orange drink

let the cool glass fill your hand and thank old man Raheed

(he’s been working there a long time too)

and smile, walk back into the street and listen to the music as it comes down from the second floor

of the old cafe. Above the dark blue sky

fills with stars.

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My debut novel, The Bomber, is out now. GO and have a look and maybe buy a copy.

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Leaving home

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She was, I suppose is, my best friend.

She left home last week. She moved to the city.

Our last night together she made me bring over all my art books and she put on The Smiths and we listened to the music and we went through the art together. My favorite was a picture of Icarus (see pic) her favorite was a Van Gogh but I am not going to tell you which one because that is my special memory and I feel it would make it worth less if I shared it. (not worthless but of less worth).

We were in her room and she told me all the things she would do in the city, she was so excited. She would be studying art and going to the theatre and working part time in a place that sends out a lot of internet orders and she would be in the office doing the paper work.

She asked me if I would come and see her, I will of course, but I don’t know when. I said I would send her a copy of my novel when it comes out next week. (I haven’t any hard copies yet) and I told her I would come up and see King Lear at the theatre in December with her.

She cried a little and put on an old Neil Young album called Harvest and we sat in the dark and spoke about life and literature.

“I think I’ll pack it in and buy a pick up, take it down to LA…”

The next day I came early and helped her to the train station. We sat on the platform and waited and it was a grey dark day. The clouds came rushing over like a tempest being born. We sat side by side, looking out at the birds in the farms nearby. The track was long and cold, we spoke little but there was a peace over us. Her bag beside me, separating our legs. I looked down at her poor little knees, she wore a yellow dress and a denim jacket.

“How do I look?” she asked.

“Fine.”
“I mean for my first day in the city?”
“Good, you’ll fit right in.”
“I hope I fit in, but I hope I stay myself you know?”
“I know,” I answered but I didn’t know. “You’ll have a great experience. You’ll be seeing everything for the first time, with fresh eyes. Use it in your art.”
“I want to. I can’t wait to meet all the artists. The school I am going to is really good.”
The train came around the corner and we watched it roll in. It’s blue engine pulling quietly down the track.

“This is it,” I said.
“It is.” she hugged me, and she was warm and soft. I felt so sad.

“I have something for you,” I said. I gave her a copy of The Great Gatsby.

“Thank you,” she said. I liked her, she never overdid anything. You could give her something or say something to her and she didn’t get all mushy or fake about it.

When she climbed on I saw her only one more time out the window as she waved to me over the top of some old women. I waved back and watched the train pull away and disappear down the long straight line. She was gone and I was alone and the wind, as if knowing I was alone blew cold and the first drops of rain began to fall, I hurried home.

She called me that night, her first night in the city.

“I can access the roof and I can see right over the city,” she said. “It is a beautiful view, but I can’t see the stars.”
“No,” I said.

“I hate not seeing the stars.”
“How is the apartment.”
“It’s okay, it’s small but at least I have it to myself. There are so many people on this floor. The art school is only just down the street so I can walk there easy.”
“Be careful if you walk about at night,”
“I will be. I miss you.”
“I miss you,” I said.

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My debut novel The Bomber comes out 24th of June. Have a look at it in the links on my page.

I can’t wait to send my friend a copy.

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Shunt stone

She began to take the things off the shelf one by one,

first she took the radio and flung it against the wall and it came apart in three neat pieces, it reminded me of the time at work a fellow fell into a pressing machine and had his head split open. His body lay next to the top of his head, while the middle part, the brains and the rest, lay in a messy warm pile on the floor. The radio had three parts too, the back, the middle with all the electronics and the radio’s body. The only difference was the lack of blood. When that man died, there was blood everywhere, like wine from many smashed bottles.

Next she grabbed the children’s art they had made at school.

She flung these about, pages of paintings, clay sculptures, paddle pop stick things, all thrown and smashed.

Then there were two glass vases that went against the brick wall, they exploded with beauty and crystalline dreams. The powder floated for a moment in the air.

Last was a lamp. It was a woman holding up a light bulb with a delicate silk shade.

She held it in the air for a moment, taunting me, she knew I loved it, then she sent it to a shattering death across the room.

Breathing heavily, half naked she stood there looking at me. I looked down to her bare feet.

“Be careful you’ll step on some glass,” I said.

She raised her feet as if to stamp on the glass, she held her small well shaped foot there for a moment and I waited. But sensing it would hurt her more than me, she took it away, crossing the room carefully. She locked herself in the bathroom.

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Check out my new book on amazon at

http://www.amazon.com/Bomber-David-OSullivan-ebook/dp/B00VQHFI9E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434097535&sr=8-1&keywords=the+bomber+david+o%27sullivan

It comes out on 24th of June, then you can buy it in hard copy or e-book

The beauty of Bob Dylan- Mr. Tamborine Man

25 Jun 1966, Paris, France --- American singer and songwriter Bob Dylan on stage in Paris. --- Image by © Jacques Haillot/Apis/Sygma/Corbis

25 Jun 1966, Paris, France — American singer and songwriter Bob Dylan on stage in Paris. — Image by © Jacques Haillot/Apis/Sygma/Corbis

Today I would like to bring some lyrics to your attention.

Mr Tamborine Man by Bob Dylan.

I have heard that this song is about a man searching out his drug dealer. The dealer is Mr. Tamborine Man. ‘Playing a song for me’ is selling a drug. “He has no place to go” referring to his freedom to get high.

This is not what I think. I think it is much more than that and at the same time nothing or what ever you want it to be. The power of a great poem is that is up to you to make sense of it.

What I think it means is not a drug users search for a high, but a man seeking more than his normal life, a man seeking spiritual awakening, to travel and see the face God. I think it represents a man, tired of his normal life, seeking to transcend the universe.

A man seeking freedom from the norm, to realize that life, everything we do is abnormal. Why seek money? Why be constrained by fences? Why not let go and see the magic in nature, follow dreams and seek happiness, not goods.

It is also to me, a man seeking the truth, seeking information and trying to search out inspiration to write the next poem.

This indeed should be the anthem for all poets, who, haunted by the beauty of truth lose sleep, look out into the morning when the stars all still in flight, and see that there are a million ideas ready to be plucked and to comfort the cold and lonely.

“To dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands, with all memory and fate, driven deep beneath the waves, let me forget about today until tomorrow”. -Bob Dylan

As the old epitaph says:

What I spent, I had

what I gave, I have,

What I saved, I lost.

Mr. Tamborine man sums up Dylan’s life.

“Mr. Tambourine Man”

Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.
Though I know that evenin’s empire has returned into sand
Vanished from my hand
Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping
My weariness amazes me, I’m branded on my feet
I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming.

Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.

Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin’ ship
My senses have been stripped, my hands can’t feel to grip
My toes too numb to step, wait only for my boot heels
To be wanderin’
I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way
I promise to go under it.

Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.

Though you might hear laughin’, spinnin’ swingin’ madly across the sun
It’s not aimed at anyone, it’s just escapin’ on the run
And but for the sky there are no fences facin’
And if you hear vague traces of skippin’ reels of rhyme
To your tambourine in time, it’s just a ragged clown behind
I wouldn’t pay it any mind, it’s just a shadow you’re
Seein’ that he’s chasing.

Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.

Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.

Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.

High School

When I was thirteen I made it onto the all stars debating team. I was not good enough to be one of the four debaters, instead I was in a back up role. What they called the trust. If one of the debaters was sick I would step in, but my main role was to look up things in the dictionary and help write debates. I was on the bench.

The team was traveling to a nearby city to debate another school. I lived in Wagga Wagga, (a very small city) and we were going to Albury, (a comparably sized city) to debate their best team. We piled into the tiny bus and headed away.

The head of the debate team was someone I held in great respect. I thought he was astonishingly intelligent. I knew he was terrible at sports, I knew he was not popular with girls but, where I knew Shakespeare was a literary god, he knew and had read the actual plays, where I was aware of the world of Charles Dickens, he knew the characters intimately. It was like I was a boy in a blacking factory peering out into the cold London street of literature through a foggy pane, while he was in the globe theatre itself writing and performing the plays.

He was sixteen years old, he was over six feet tall, he commanded the debate team with a sure and decisive hand. If we were to win the debate it would be down to him.

We sat up the back of the bus, we owned the highway. The leader, I will call him Tom, began to speak.

“Lets play a game,” he said. “I will ask questions and see if you guys can get them right. First question to you Michael.”
Michael was a nice guy, same age as me. He is now a surgeon.
“What year heralded the beginning of the French Revolution?” Tom asked.

Michael thought for a moment. “1789?” he said.

“Yep.” Tom went through the players and they all answered correctly. He came to me.

“Easy one for you,” he said, “What is the capital of France?”

I knew the answer, but I was so nervous I could not get it. I just could not get the word out.

“Don’t you know?” he asked, leering at me with disdain.

“Uhh,” was all I could say.

“Anyone?” He finally said.

“Paris,” they all shouted.

Tom looked at me in disgust.

The actual debate did not go too well for me either. In the class room where it was held the teacher asked us why there were five of us.

“He’s the trust,” we answered her.

“No, we don’t do that here, that’s cheating.”

I answered quickly, “I’ll just sit and watch then.”

“No you won’t!” she bellowed. “You’ll sit outside, keep quiet and don’t wander off anywhere.”
So for the debate I sat outside and waited. Anger welling up inside me. One time I moved away and she came rushing out and telling me to stay where I was, sitting on the ground.

When the debate was finished I was so angry I did not even ask how it went. I think we lost. That teacher was a real son of a bitch.

A few months later, before Tom graduated to Senior high, we held a writers group after school where all the kids wanting to be writers came together to talk about our work.

It was held in Mr. Hall’s English classroom. (Mr. Hall being the greatest English teacher at our school).

After the last bell, we rushed down to a corner store next to the school, loaded our pockets with  candy and sugary lollies, and came back to class.

Tom called every one around and took out a huge folder.

“This is my novel,” he said, “It is almost finished.”

He opened the folder and there were hundreds of pages of writing, thousands and thousands of words, a real novel. No one could have guessed he had such a treasure. Where we were writing poems about motorbikes and army men he had written a real book.

He let us read the first lines. The penmanship was neat easy to read. It began something like:

“On the planet Grossmorss something moved about the craters. It oozed like slime, but was hard enough to move huge rocks aside like pebbles. Captain Tom Draft sat at the controls of the Space-Eagle trying to charge the batteries for lift off when he heard a noise like tearing metal coming form the base of the ship…”
“That’s enough,” he said and slapped the folder shut.

“That was great Tom,” I said.

He looked at me, I could not tell if he recognized me or not.

“I want to be a writer one day,” I said.
“What do you want to write, verse or prose?”
I was unsure, “books,” I said.

“I don’t think any one would read your stuff,” he declared. “If you ever write a book it will never be as good as this.” he slapped his hand on his folder.

Those words still haunt me. I think he is still writing, I know he is an English teacher now. I keep expecting to see his name announced in the new releases, I still expect to see his book about Captain Tom Draft in the book stores and it worries me that it will be a better book than mine.

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THE BOMBER is out 24th of June with Pen Name Publishing.

The main character is not Capt. Tom Draft but someone somewhat similar.

Night story

I live in a small apartment that looks out over the back lane and tall brick walls. At night the streets lights glow a pale yellow and I can secretly watch the strange people who walk up and down the lane. I have no need to turn my television on, my next door neighbor, a fat lonely woman who hates company but can be very kind, has her television on all he time, turned up loud. Our walls are very thin so I hear what is happening in there. I hear the news, the movies, the dramas, I hear her rise from her chair and cross to her bathroom, I hear her urinate.

Some nights are busy, some are quiet. Homeless people sleep in the rubbish and doorways below my window. I am glad to be on the high floor so they cannot come too near, but I can still see them. Sometimes, when the moon is pale in the city sky and no one moves about, cats dance on the road below, they sing and leap about. I drop food to them and they look up in thanks.

At night it is just me, my neighbor’s noise, and God. We are all in the tiny room together. I leave the lights off and sit still and breath, witnessing the city wail like a lover, watching the brick walls and on the right morning, I wait for the garbage truck that comes grumbling and screaming at six am to empty the bins and remove the trash. I wonder what the homeless people do on that day? They must know thursday morning belongs to the garbage man.

Some mornings after having sat with the darkness all night I will go to bed and sleep a few hours, but usually I like to walk down to the park, cross the bridge over the lake and visit the gardens they have built along the eastern edge. The gardens represent different places in the world. For England they have grown a Shakespearian garden and that is my favorite.

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Poetry

I went to a “Roar -raw -slam -in your face”? poetry night last night and it was extremely good. The people who were brave enough to speak were energetic and engaging. It was full of young men and women from university who all have the world at their feet and for them anything is possible. In comparison I felt old, boring and frightened. I ordered a large Earl Grey cup of tea and had to wait half an hour for it to arrive and another half an hour until it was cool enough to drink. Because the place was so busy and I had to stand my legs started to hurt. I began to wonder if they would lock the front doors to my retirement home before I manage to get home.

But enough of that.

There seems to be huge numbers of talented writers, people who can capture the world in a poem or a short story, there seems to be endless numbers of people writing novels, submitting manuscripts and telling me that ‘I must write, writing is as important to me as breathing.’ So what chance do I have at making my novel a success? Is it all luck? You face the empty pages, the blank space is infinite, and you try to fill it with words all the while you know there are thousands of people out there with more talent, who work harder and who are hungrier for success than you are.

I had a great night — the poems were amazing and the performances were incredible. Next time they hold a poetry night I told myself, I will read one of mine. I will not read it with the energy and the charisma needed to win, but I will at least have a go.

I wish I had taken a photo of the night.

I want to share a short story of Ernest Hemingway’s which, although written years ago is still relevant to what is happening in the US today.

At two o’clock in the morning two Hungarians got into a cigar store at Fifteenth Street and Grand Avenue. Drevitts and Boyle drive up from the Fifteenth Street police station in a ford. The Hungarians were backing their wagon out of an alley. Boyle shot one off the seat of the wagon and one out of the wagon box. Drevitts got frightened when he found they were both dead.

“Hell Jimmy,” he said, “you oughtn’t to have done it. There’s liable to be a hell of a lot of trouble.”

“They’re crooks ain’t they?” said Boyle. “They’re wops ain’t they? Who the hell is going to make any trouble?”

“That’s all right maybe this time,” said Drevitts, “but how did you know they were wops when you bumped them off?”

“Wops,” said Boyle, “I can tell wops a mile off.”

-Ernest Hemingway In our time.

Check out my debut novel THE BOMBER on goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24910237-the-bomber

It’s released on June 24th

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WHAT WAS SEEN

In this blog I will relate to your what was seen at a supermarket last Friday.

While innocently shopping I was moving past the cold meat delicatessen when two men, brothers aged about seventy and seventy one years, both men I found out later from a friend, had grown up on a farm together and since their parents had died, shared the running of that rural business. They had never married, never been away, always been farmers.

One of the men approached a display of donuts. The donuts, sitting on a small table, came in a packet of seven, enclosed in a plastic contained, the type where the top pops off and swings back on little plastic hinges. They were on special for about two dollars fifty.

The first brother picked up a packet, the second brother, approached the table and gave consent to the purchase. The first brother then dropped the packet of donuts, the top sprung open and all seven donuts rolled about the floor, one going slightly under the table.

The brothers are overcome with panic and a look of terror crosses their faces. Quickly they stoop and collect the seven donuts, ensuring not one is left behind and arrange them neatly in the container and close the lid. The first brother, with a firm grip this time, takes the package and carefully places the donuts back on the table with the others, and selects for himself a new packet, which they take and purchase.

I crossed to the table and looked at the display. They had put the donuts back so carefully I could not tell which one had hit the floor.

I did not buy a packet of donuts.