Poem of the Week |29| Alaska

Alaska
after The Day Lady Died by Frank O Hara

It is twenty to nine Saturday morning
Mary’s elbow says I should be up by now
I turn off the phone alarmed for 8.45
and see the fog and hear the dogs barking in Frank’s garden
I check the emails as I gulp down the last of the
FLAHAVANS PROGRESS OATLETS and
hear her feet hit the bedroom floor
as I grab my bag and leave by the side-door

The day is criss-crossing through my head
with the fog lifting off the brow of the KINGSCOURT ROAD
and Sanjeev is sweeping up the cans and curried chips
as I turn onto Main street like John Voight in MIDNIGHT COWBOY
AR is standing at the corner outside the solicitors
waiting for the library to open which will not be until 9.45
and given all that has gone before,
I try to avoid her

and walk straight into Martin Brady coming out of

BOYLESPORTS for a fag
I should get the INDEPENDENT in Halls
she’ll want it by lunchtime
It is 9.30 and I still have to copy the damn poems
Murtaghs is in darkness and one of Elena’s signs
has fallen off its easel- I don’t have the key
and all I can think about now is a glass of
CHATÊAU DES GILLIÈRES maybe even two glasses
and certainly a bottle by the end of the day
I might even buy a packet of Gauloises
and borrow a silk scarf from John Ed to look the part

in the Bailie Hotel
the only Alaskan I ever met
told me not to mention
the only Alaskan I’d ever heard of especially
as she had been reported as saying this week
that her thoughts were with the people of EBOLA

I go upstairs to the library for the prize-giving
and hear Mairéad and Michael announce
The Wisdom of The Origamist by Armel Dagorn
as the winner and then I indulge in more tea and buns
and it’s 4.30 in Murtagh’s before I relax into a cheeky skirmish
won by the Border Bandits and all captured
on film by Paddy Smith who manages to stir things up
causing rumblings of discontent from Ná Filí

It is almost over when Patsy and Iggy do their thing
I shine and box thirty-four glasses before heading to Foxes
where I hope someone will feed me after a few pints or I might stop breathing

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