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  • The Illustrator, and: Date, and: Clytemnestra, and: The International Balloon Fiestafor Chloé Regan

Blackberry gin on a Friday night.Dietrich cheekbones up-lit by a lone tea-light.

She led the way, drew me down Bath Stone alleys,marking out good bakeries and galleries,

through the centre’s binge-drunk hysteria,striking, in her chartreuse pashmina,

with a glint of gray in the parting of her hair.A Rothko-black sky, stars everywhere.


Not at the gates of Thebesto the smell of incense.

Not on the blood red carpetafter Troy.

And not in the woodsnear Elsinore,

at the castle at Dunsinane,nor on the steps of the capitol.

Not on Mount Kaukasosunder the circling eagle.

How aboutthe underworld, [End Page 313]

or the portals of Hades,where Orpheus looked back

and lost the girl of his dreamsfor good? No.

An underground baron a Saturday night

where mojitosare mainly rum

and the gin is dryand comes with a twirl

of cucumber,where the music is loud

and strangeand the simple passing of time—

the kissing of kissesand holding of hands—

is tragedyenough.


Clytemnestra doesn’t love you, Agamemnon.It’s all a hoax, this homecoming gig she’s laid on.

All lip service: the flowers, the kisses, the banquet.Even this is a boobytrap, the red carpet

beneath your feet; she wants you to piss off Zeus.For the last ten years she’s been screwing Aegisthus.

While you’ve been slogging your guts out at Troy,she’s been going hard at it with her toy-boy. [End Page 314]

But, remember how you sacrificed your daughterto make the wind die down, to calm the water?

You said Iphigenia would marry Achillesbut you slit her throat, struck a deal with Artemis.

Your wife’s hated you, to this very day.Want some advice? Clear out of Mycenae.

The International Balloon Fiesta

The International Balloon Fiestahas been on my mind—hot air hobbyistsin their hundreds, firing themselves skyward:What for? Who are they trying to impressat the International Balloon Fiesta?This airborne pageant, this peculiar paradeof past-timers, this throwback to patchwork,to basket, balloon and wind direction,this Blytonesque thrill of boyish buoyancy,this bird-like dependence on thermal rise and fall.The International Balloon Fiestahas still been on my mind, despite the newsof its postponement due to bad weather,despite the news of the mess in the middle eastand the shootings of a psycho in the States.Despite the news, someone has organisedan International Balloon Fiestaand invited the world and his wife.At the end of days please let there bean International Balloon Fiestaone last hurrah before it goes tits up,a rise in the face of the rising sea. [End Page 315]

Andrew Jamison

Andrew Jamison was born in County Down in 1986. He was educated at the universities of London and St. Andrews. His Northern Ireland Arts Council Awards include the New York Residency and the ACES award. Happy Hour, his first collection, was published by Gallery Press in 2012.



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