Tuesday, 28 October 2014

These Are my People

These Are my People
 2011- 2013

His elongated arms swung heavy from his shoulders sockets, like pendulum swaying alongside some distant, giant mountain. He waltzed with a skin head kind of swagger, a cock sure sort of gait that worried me. The Liffey board walk creaked under each pounding footstep, as the river poured herself out to sea. And then from the most absent corner of my wonky eye. I noticed a hypodermic needle sticking like a pencil from his only functioning ear, and from his lips poured fluid streams of gammon, traveler tainted language.
It was the night of the evening he met me. The vacant lack of airplanes felt awkward on the mind; planes that on every other day would rumble, intermittently like clockwork overhead, marking their route temporarily with a thin silver veil that slowly devoured the sky. After a fashion, like time itself, the veil would disappear. The type of autumn night-sky that guaranteed you’d spot a shooting star. Both our eyes fixed on the light cloud cover, both our bodies tucked neatly underneath the earth’s navy blanket.
Suddenly the sound of hurried footsteps and the faint murmur of a conversation seeped underneath the underpass.
- ‘Wait…’ He whispered through gritted teeth.
- ‘Hold on a minute’ He added.
 Placing a thick finger against his lips and cutting me off mid-sentence, with a long and lingering

- ‘Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh’

He cocked an ear in the direction of the stars, as a chorus of rambling teenage voices reflected on the rivers surface and wrapped around the humid air. His enormous hands pushed on my chest directing me to a corner. And with a cautionary tone he uttered with emphasis.


Before I could contemplate who my people were and what exactly he had meant, three adolescent gypsy boys broke the hazy horizon, like desert heroes emerging from a lazy mist.

- ‘I’ll do all the talking’

He said pushing me harder until my spine concaved into the shape of the corner. The three boys passed us, white socks engulfed their ankles where trouser cuff would normally be, and each one of them all the while with their hands firmly down their trousers. The boys passed, acknowledging the man, a way of showing they too knew he was their people. They ignored my huddled frame completely. He replied to them through “Cant”, I could sort of understand it, but the speed and rhythm was different, so I can’t be sure what he said. But it sounded like some kind of code.

-          ‘What would you call an Indian summer’ he asked… ‘If it fell in early march?’ 

Was I the Indian summer? I couldn’t help but wonder. When the boys spoke to him they didn’t use gammon, they joked and laughed as they fell into the distance. The older boy slower than the other two, lingered behind a little as if still thinking of a reply.

   - ‘A Pakistani winter maybe’

He said with a clap and rub of his open palms. As though signaling he had won the interaction.

-           ‘What would they do if they knew?’

I asked after a time, as I shook my spine free from its angled position.

-          ‘God only knows’ he replied with a sigh

-          ‘If I ever got caught I’d have to top myself, or move across the water

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