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TO THE PARTY No matter what we do, we are going, sometimes in spite of ourselves, toward a happiness of which our mind can form no idea. What good is it to regret the shadows of this earth. We must think of death with hope and firmness of the great shining country that lives beyond the black gate. —Julian Green, 8 December 1937 I am in a car being driven by Fintan. We are on our way to the party down on Poolbeg Street. Stan and Arthur have the place and will always have the place. They are locked into it. I could drag in a whole bunch of other situations of how people are always attached to certain places. There is music on the car stereo. Somewhere I have a record plugged into my brain. I am sitting in the back with Jocelyn and Liam who did show up after all. Liddy, because of age and all the rest of it, got the front seat. The death seat, I tell him, and he says he is not afraid to meet his Maker but would prefer to delay the accounting. A lot of interference from CB radios, Radio Luxembourg with the hot dates fromAbingdon Road with the most modern method of meeting the one true and only love of your life after so many botched attempts— Through streets of Dublin. Downtown, further downtown. I had forgotten to say we had each picked up our sacks of clicking bottles. Because I was the American my bags did not click as mightily as some because I had filled them with as many bottles as I thirst—as I thought my thirst would demand and of how many hours I thought to be still alive until the morning hit me over the head with the idea: I was still in Dublin. This is called building of tension, this has been St. Patrick’s Day and of all the usual thoughts Ireland, and Dublin, and being born in Brooklyn, stamped on the face with the map of Ireland, as some said, thinking instead they stamped some ghetto from east of Warsaw on my nose: or this could be just a New York City thought, the most Jewish of all cities . . . Toll Rises to 49 Dead, 129 Injured In Blaze at Dance Hall in Dublin St. Patrick’s Day ———— Do you know the people at the party, Liddy asks. They’re Americans, been here for years. Art is doing a graduate degree at Trinity and Stan is doing something. I’ve never understood what kept him going. More Americans, yes, Liddy says. Yes, Fintan says with all the melodrama his yes is supposed to echo for all who have been with us so far. I need a cup of coffee, Jocelyn says. I am sure they have it, Liddy says. Americans keep a pot of coffee on the stove with the same faith that our dear old peasants of yore kept the pot stirring center stage in the Abbey of memory. I saw Mrs. Yeats once in the Abbey, I said, back when the Abbey was in that theatre behind Trinity. It made all of Dublin seem a very small place. Did you ever think otherwise? In the beginning you always think a city is larger than it is and then there comes a moment when you think it’s a pretty small place. Small potatoes, Jocelyn interjected. That’s right: small potatoes. I hope you’re not taking the national symbol in vain, Liam said. I am not. I thought it was the shamrock. Only for export and then only on greeting cards or the tails of jet planes . . . Potatoes, always keep them close to the heart, Liddy is saying. Like that Russian saint who kept a jar of apples rotting in his drawer— You got the wrong saint and the wrong country, I say. I don’t know who the guy was but he wasn’t a Russian and he wasn’t a saint, the one with the rotting apples . . . the Russian you’re thinking about, if it is a Russian, kept jars of his spent ejaculate and baptized each one of them. But it can only be baptized if it is a person and cum ain’t fertilized, Jocelyn says. Back to the potato—it is a decent—what is it?—fruit or vegetable? Well it is a tuber or tumor—whatever it is, it is a decent something that saw the...


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MARC Record
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