Open Mic 26th October.
It all started off quietly at the October Last Wednesday event, with people gathering slowly in a miraculously dry basement.
First up was Eamonn Lynskey with ‘All the things that troubled you a lifetime have troubled me’ and the heartbreaking ‘Conversations I might have had with my father’ – about conversations he might have had with the father who spent much of his life down the mines in England, and who, aged 58, returned to die in the James Connolly memorial Hospital that he had originally helped to build; heart breaking personal history in a poem, and the history of a generation of Irish people too. After Eamonn, it was the turn of Sandra Harris with Close Encounters of the D4 Type with one of those little green liens who have been studying the Ross O’Carroll Kelly guides to D4 living. After Sandra it was Noel O’Briain returning after a short gap, reading ‘Bundesbank’ from his book Scattering Day, a poem about an earlier property crash, that is relevant again, although it may have been a difficult poem to write this time – with the poetic rhythm being disturbed by there being only one currency! He followed this with an extended version 9director’s cut?) Of his poem about Marylin Monroe reading Ulysses and ended with a poem in honour of Sile (Sheela) Na Gigs and the Dingle, Co Kerry bases Sicilian sculptor Antonio Fasci. Next up was Phil Lynch reprising his poem about he fall of the Berlin Wall ‘The Other Side of the Wall’ in light of approaching anniversary; this was followed by ‘Splendour of Trees’ and with ‘Listen’, not quite about the presidential election, but could fit – as ‘no-one is saying the right thing/everyone is sure about that’. He finished up with a currently untitled work in progress.
After the break Oran Ryan took to the mic – well the space where the mic would normally have been, the last Wed having returned to being the mic-less open mic. Oran read from a new short story The Kiss about, well, the kiss – and a few other things, like bullets, and metal plates in heads, and having drinks with friends! As he only read an excerpt though, we never did get to that kiss. Next up was Steve Conway reading from his currently being edited second book about what men do when they go into the woods together. Let’s just say it involves a broom handle, a catapult, some fishing wire and some lead weight, oh and a car battery. He ended with a short poem, to cheer Oran p after his recent flooding experience – Fore(four)play with Oran’. After Steve it was the turn of Roger Hudson returning after an absence. Roger read ‘Silent Family’, ‘Life as a Gangster Movie’, about the trauma of ‘meeting the parents’ and ‘To War or not to War’, about the Cuban missile crisis – and Trojans (the ancient Greek kind). He also read ‘San Francisco Dreaming’ about a recent passport losing nightmare, based on a real experience in San Francisco, a work in progress based on some of the characters from his murder mystery novel set in ancient Greece, ‘Biopsy’ and ended with ‘Great God Kafka’ and ‘Is the Beard Essential’. After Roger it was the turn of Mark Carroll making his Last Wednesday debut reading his work in progress set in Tokyo – currently unfinished – the story, of course, not Tokyo.
After the second break, it was the turn of Anne Tannam who read some new work – a long poem called ‘She’ about not writing poems about her mother, in writing a poem about her mother – also overcoming adversity and life journeys. After Anne Liz McSkeane read a newly revised short story (revised after the Dublin Writers’ Forum workshop which meets in the Twisted Pepper every Thursday night) about jolting and lurching and too much forced intimacy on a train carriage and a brief look inside the thoughts accompanying a trauma. After Liz it was the turn of Delta O’Hara with some songs and some phone sex – well a excerpt from her work in progress about working on a phone sex line, and some songs! After Delta it was the turn of Helen Dempsey who read ‘Washing the Crystal’ about the pear shapes crystal in her kitchen window that spreads prism rainbows around the room when the sun shines – and that needed to be washed; she followed this with a poem about accidental eavesdropping oon overheard mobile phone calls on a bus trip. Her final poem, picking up on the Ulysses theme of Noel O Briain earlier was 15 June 2011, eclipse on the eve of Blooomsday. After Helen it was the turn of Dave Woods making his last Wednesday debut with ‘Birds’ about over exposure, ‘Rut’ about being stuck in an overcrowded train carriage – an epilogue to Liz’ story perhaps; ‘Stars’ about the manufactured ones on reality shows, rather than the ones in the sky; ‘Bastards’ about the corporate ladder, and the rung by rung dung!. He ended with December 2010, about the crash of Ireland.
After the break it was the turnoff Sean Ruane who, in honour of Declan’s ongoing subtle announcements that he had a new iPhone – oh and also an iPad and a iMac – performed an iPoem! This was followed by a poem about the men shot for deserting in the First World War who were finally pardoned 90 years later; then a poem about love, and one about the class cellar covers on Dublin streets; he ended with a poem on the virtues of silence and non-involvement and a sonnet ‘Fence Post’. After Sean Chris O’Donoghue, a regular visitor to the Last Wednesday Open Mic made his performance debut – celebrating all that is Rock and Roll and all before and since, with images of Elvis, John Lennon, Hendrix, Buddy Holly, Rory Gallagher, Phil Lynott among the stars returning briefly from the dead to celebrate Live Aid, complete with his own contribution to the musical ether. He finished with a poem called ‘Magical Songs’. After Chris it was the turn of Ross Hattaway who read from his published collection The Gentle Art of Rotting – the kind of found poem, The Manhire Extensions’ followed by a sneering don’t come near me poem ‘Your favourite move’; then from the upcoming collection Pretending to be Dead he read ‘Church of the Bad Shepherd’ and one of his election manifestoes – ‘The need for Leadership’. He finished with his gift – an excerpt from Huncke by Rick Mullin, in honour of the recent release of a revised version of this in ebook format.
And we were done, Declan finishing off still doing twice the job of a hat!