There has been certain images that have been rotating and repeating and spinning and spiralling, through my mind recently (enough). So for fear of allowing them to escape I’ll stick them down here, in no particular order for your eyes to glance over….
Remember what the hand felt as it grazed over the grainy bar-top ?
The sticky smells in the air, the fustiness and the stuffiness,
Yer man in the corner, head bowed and speaking in a Death rattle with eyes like Olives, reading the proclamation of the dammed,
“Beat back them flames, that stung the righteous names of them that filled their early graves ! Risking every single, shred of soul… to leave their mark upon this world”
I told him to give over.
A ragged old suit sits on haggard worn shoulders,
A flick of the fingers, the Zippo erupts.
The burst of white light stabs and cuts through the darkness,
I exhale with a grimace and burst into song.
During my time on the Damien Dempsey tour last month (November 2015) I had the pleasure of soaking up the beauty of many place we past through. It was towards the end of the tour, Kerry and Listowel awaited.
The venue owner was kind enough to show us around town the following morning and brought us to The Seanchaí, Kerry’s writer’s Museum.
A few rooms made up the Museum, dedicated to John B Keane among others, but it was the second room dedicated to a man who’s name I’d never heard before that had the biggest impact on me.
Entering the room I was greeted with a blast of bitterly cold air that complimented the atmosphere of the place. It was a replica of the bedsit in Harcourt St, Dublin that was George Fitzmaurice’s last abode in 1963.
A Kerry dramatist and writer of short stories who developed Neurasthenia (Fear of crowds) after fighting in WW1. The room was bare but in the far left hand corner a drawing of the man on the wall hit me like a kick in the chest. It was one of Fitzmaurice but was Identical to the image of the man in The Groundskeeper dream I had, resulting in the song (see videos).
He’s been on my mind ever since….
As I walk down Harcourt Street, my eyes they unwillingly meet the shadow of a broken man who’s presence has been shrunken, wilting under the weight of creativity.
His back is sloped like a malnourished Rose, betrayed by his beloved prose. The lampposts creak their winding necks and pity us both without a Rex between us but we are content, to ramble on in search of what God sent.
The two bit, dimly lit bed sit welcomes him home.
I pause wiping my feet awaiting gesture, I’m ushered into the humble, hallowed hovel, littered with paranoia and scepticism.
Fitzmaurice sits in Harcourt Street his eyes shut tight like the curtains.
He’s conscious of every creak from every door and every squeak from every floorboard in the two bit, bed sit.
An Artist who’s life’s work rests in a brown leather box.
His last SOS will remain undelivered, his words immortal, Awaiting discovery.
All words by David Keenan