Last Wednesday Open Mic: 7 Towers at Cassidy’s, Westmoreland St., Dublin, 26th May.

First up Karl Parkinson, whose been spreading himself around a good deal lately, and why not with the great stuff he has, his ‘City Sonata’ for instance (…the dead smile at me with black roses in their hands…”)

Karl Parkinson

and much more. Oran Ryan read from his novel ‘The Death of Finn’ abuot two-thirds the way through where the character Frank speaks about his doubts about his Faith. He also read a terrific poem by an eight-year-old, though I don’t know if it’s a good thing to stir up envy among your listeners, most of whom are poets! Martin Swords is new to the venue and gave a poem about Bob Dylan which appealed very much to the (ahem!) more senior members of the audience. He had other very good ones too, including one on the (late-lamented) Celtic Tiger. Maggie Gleeson (also, I think, a new face) had some great poems, including one about Iris Robinson and another about getting chalk to play hopscotch on the street. And if you don’t know what ‘hopscotch, is,

Maggie Gleeson

 or was… just go away and don’t be annoying me. Noel O’Brian gave a monologue version of his Aine and Ardan play (published in the first ‘Census’ anthology), delivered without script and with great dramatic power. Ross Hattaway gave us a somewhat reworked version of  ‘Killing my Husband’ and also that audience favourite ‘Lip Reading’ from his collection ‘The Gentle Art of Rotting’. Then a Maori song from 1912. Thank God I wasn’t on next. WhenI did come on I read ‘Bread’, a rather horriying poem about our gangland violance, and then a long meandering thing called ‘Sports Interview’ but which is NOT as long and meandering as the real thing! I also read two poems I liked from Alma Brayden’s great book ‘Prism’ (just launched from Seven Towers) and she also was there to read.

Another new face was Breda, and I didn’t catch her second name. She gave ‘The Woman Who Toasted the Owl’, and some others, all highly original and good. It’s been a while since Frank Cheemore (?) was down and he gave us three poems, of which ‘Colour Cards’ was my pick, based on his time working in his father’s paint shop. Incidentally, Frank introduced his poems with excerpts from songs, as is his usual wont, and is very entertaining. Tony Gilmore is also new to the Wednesday and gave some terrific stuff, particualry the one with so many references to various makes of car. Called, strange to relate, ‘Cars’. Ann Tannam had a bicycle poem which would do as a manifesto for all bikers and Inez Dillon had one about a disturbing experience in which she thought someone had taken ill. Helen Dempsey had a few, and her ‘I will Go to the Mountain’ was heavy with that kind of gospel/biblical language that really gets to the listener. Brendan Nolan told

Oran Ryan

a story, ‘Jimmy’s Swim’, which I could visualise very clearly as it was set around the Liffey weir at Lucan. Brendan has a book out, ‘Barking Mad’, which is a collection of stories subtitled ‘Tales of Liars, Lovers, Loonies and Layabouts’, which is well worth reading. The evening finished with Eileen Sheehan and Phil Lynch and and to anyone I’ve forgotten… apologies. Another great night. Lots of inspiration.

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