- Sandymount Strand, Nocturne, and: Dublin, 1989, and: From Santiago Sketches, and: Poem for Frances
Distant pee-wit of waders, winter nightson the strand for an answer.The city a shimmer of yellow pointsthe tide a mile out, lighthouses sweepingahead of you, walking out to seaclean of the question.
There must have been more than just one of us,But we never met.… My youth was as privateas the bank at midnight.“The Friendship of Young Poets,” Douglas Dunn
See them standing in tribe outside the Central Bank,hair desecrated, dark purple like rum and blackor thirsting straw—see them drinking snake bitein Bartley Dunnes, earrings eyeleted as if fishing-lined,he leaning on the arm of Siouxsie, keeping the half-lifescent of Teddy Boys in rouge with great quiffs alive.
Imagine a Dad saying to a Curehead: “you go there?In ’67 it was a bar for queers. We thought they glueda 50 pence piece to the toilet floorto grope you when you reached for it.”“Well, now it’s us. Just as long as I don’t seea Smiths fan, I don’t care”—and Bartley’s is still marginal, tradition
mangled—white paint over old wood:to mirror their makeup and white russians?(“to deliberately look shite, more like”)—but the shell still intact, to house boys in mascara,and me, maybe. See me as I dip briefly in at 16, [End Page 316]
following a girl pale like sick Victorian, brushing among,disappearing through the shoulders of older punks, their battle dressso tarnished and true—via many campaigns—I was in lovewith their variation on a theme called masculinity,their hair like weapon, or monstrance. See medisappear from view.
It would be nostalgia, if this was remembering—“that weird cross sectionof scumpunks, goths, hippies, acid heads? Straights, lesbians, gays…anything “liberal” and narcotic, you name it.—Sure, I was part of that scene.”
The only eyeliner was Katie S., and she wasn’t really a goth: DocMartens, of course, but baby ones, and long pre-’90s dresses out of DanteGabriel Rossetti paintings. We weren’t even kissing. She was my exgirlfriend’s sister, and I never learnt to backcomb to the point wherethe thing would achieve accretion, or spike lineage.
From Santiago Sketches
Two elderly women in buffalo fur coats—like the campaign coats of centurions—stand at the zinc counterof the male-dominated bar, talking ateach other: small, gesticulating upwards.Old men frown, slapping down dominoes.
Everyone going out in different directionspassing the old men in black beretson park benches,talking in increasing darkness. [End Page 317]
Mist hides the bell tower.An old lady hobbles down the steps.Fountains in rain.
Poem for Frances
(In Memory of Pearse Hutchinson)
“David, que es Tír na nÓg?” you ask me,hesitant, mispronouncing Irishthrough a Spanish lens—“what is Tear Na Nog-gay?”—and I already start falling in love with you, a little.We were 21 when you asked me that.They call the café Rúa Novabecause of the street it’s on: our veined whitemarble table on cast-iron legs,the café that doesn’t have a name. [End Page 318]
David McLoghlin (b. 1972) is from south Dublin, and lives in Brooklyn, New York. A graduate of UCD and NYU, he was awarded an Arts Council Bursary in 2006. His first collection, Waiting for Saint Brendan and Other Poems (Salmon, 2012), won 2nd prize in the Patrick Kavanagh Awards. He is currently completing Santiago Sketches, and editing an anthology of young American poets.