poem from the summer solstice, 2017

the hottest day this year
the longest day this year
sun glinting white-simmer off a blue peugeot
sweaty cyclists and women in too-big sunglasses
passing picture windows.
me, wood-surrounded in the dispensary, hide from the warm
resist the sweat, zest, passion, pure swelter
outside reeks wet and heavy, like beijing
or LAX in late spring
when the 747s are all idling at accordion jetwalks
and the tarmac, baking, sends up shimmering hotwaves.

they say the stars have lost siblings
are they theirs and where do they meet
in the rites of afternoon
is it in feet splashing through lido waters
or walking up chalk escarpments
where do they meet
in this verisimilitude

glimmer, twinkle, glimmer, blink
the sunset has its way
houses, chimneys, bricks, grease-worn cafes shutter
glimmer, twinkle, glimmer, blink

the hottest day this year
the longest day this year
rays pinken the streets and their doors
couples swig their pints and get louder
arguing on barstools.
did anyone speak, do we ever? when the sun hits blinds,
resist the pull, zest, passion, pure kismet.
inside, a hi-fi drums some kind way to suffer
or, like rabbits in early summer
whose promises tomorrow are rings of fire
and time seems to be running out, and back in.

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cat shadow

welcome back

for so long and so many reasons, i have been away from this blog. largely, professional writing can strip your creative juices for producing anything personal. i was sharing all of my best and most interesting anecdotes in paid work, leaving little left for this humble space.

then, apple went and deleted mobileme, and so my beloved former website went down with it, leaving me to completely redesign this space. i decided (rightly) to go with wordpress and transform what was formerly my basic gypsytracks blog into a full fledged portfolio and website. and i love it.

a lot has happened since our move to london last year. i got my UK residency. we’ve been on several international trips. i was invited on a weeklong blog adventure to wales last autumn, and fell completely in love with that country. and, i suppose most importantly, i gave up my freelance life and took a position a few months ago as editor of the rather fantastic travel guide hg2 | a hedonist’s guide to. it was a huge transition but i am really loving it. although unfortunately, between my commute (commute!) and many daily tasks, it leaves little time for personal blogging. i hope to change that.

so, for now, please enjoy the photo of the cat shadow, which i snapped at a cozy little pub in reading several months ago.

cat shadow

the daily shoot

i’ve decided to start doing the daily shoot. this is in an effort to practice my photography with a bit more structure and to learn to use the manual settings on my camera to take pointed pictures that revolve around a theme. the above photo was snapped about half an hour ago out my back window. today’s theme is “blue”. that’s it. just take a photo where most of the shot is encompassed in blue. i do realize that taking pictures of the sky is a bit cliche, but also that one of my recurring motifs seems to be sunflares. and i quite like all the busyness of the power lines and clouds that break the picture up. [tweetmeme]

money or life?

it’s 6:47 pm. i am sitting in havana tapas bar on georges st. eating a spanish omlette and dousing myself with a glass of chilean cabernet, my third this evening. i’ve spent the greater part of the afternoon here, drinking wine and working on writing projects and generally pondering my recent decision to do freelance writing full-time. i am too broke to afford this meal; in fact, the mere buying of this meal may actually mean that i can’t pay my rent on october 16, but i am not unhappy.

my latest forays into finding a “real” job in dublin have been unsuccessful three times over. the lowest point of recent times was actually applying as a checkout girl at Lidl. for those unfamiliar, Lidl is the european grocery equivalent of wal-mart – dirty, crowded and cheap with bad, VERY bad lighting. i actually become ill whenever i go into Lidl (which i do a lot recently to buy the cheap bread and €1 frozen pizzas that i’m currently living off of, spanish omlette aside) from the crowds and “ethnic smells” and general mayhem inside. (i can get away with saying “ethnic smells” because i am a degreed interculturalist now). what’s worse? Lidl hasn’t even called me back. i can’t even get hired for Shit-Checkout-at-Bad-Immigrant-Grocery-Store-Job.

i love freelance writing. if i was really honest with myself, that is what i would want to do full-time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (okay maybe 8 hours a day, 5 days a week).

i do not love being broke. first of all, i am a wine drinker. i need wine to function (that might be a stretch) and my boyfriend is also a wine drinker. a good 13% of our conversations actually revolve around wine, and it’s a good thing he actually has a paying salary because we like to go to wine bars and buy nice bottles of wine. often. being a wine drinker in dublin is not cheap, mind you. ireland is not a wine culture – people here prefer the pints. so, we spend a lot more money on wine than one would in italy or france or napa or even new mexico. but we like our wine.

i am also a traveler. the better part of my writing skill and inspiration come from traveling. being broke does not lend itself to traveling, either. i would kill to be in spain eating an actual spanish omlette right now, rather than the dublin, havana bar version of it (which is actually quite decent), but alas, i am not. at the moment, i could not afford a plane ticket off this rainy island if i wanted to. here again, i am lucky to have a boyfriend with a real salary who will gladly foot the bill to places like brussels, to where we are going in 2 weeks time.

there is also that pesky business of a residence-or-work visa hanging over my head. the other day, i spent nine (count them 9!) hours at the immigration bureau along with loads of africans and indian families with crying babies trying to get my student visa changed into an “i’m a desperate american looking for work” visa. after 9 hours, my number wasn’t even called, so i gave up and went back 2 days later. now i’ve got 6 months until march 19 when i will be unceremoniously kicked to the fuckin’ irish curb, if you get what i’m sayin’.

so, i’m optimistic! these things work out, right? seriously people – if you ever want a reality check and a blow to your dignity (not that you would???), i’ve got one word for ya: emigrate.

leprechaun in alabama?

this really deserves it’s own post.

i’m really not sure what my favourite part of this video was. the “amateur sketch” was certainly a highlight. i had to concur that the lady’s conspiracy theory that the alleged leprechaun was actually just a misguided crackhead was probably pretty accurate, given that the event took place in the hood. but probably the best part was the guy in fatigues showing off his magic flute, passed down through 1000’s of years from his great granddad.

“i want da gold. gimme da gold. i want da gold!”

excellent tv. excellent.

dissertation drain

it’s official. i now know more than anyone else that has ever lived on the subject of irish public discourse about the beijing olympics. i know statistics. i know numbers. i know opinions. i even know media coverage. obviously, i really could not have been happier to watch that thing take its short fall into the project drop box next to the main office in the school of applied languages and intercultural studies at dcu last monday afternoon.

in the week and a half since i submitted my dissertation, i have done several things. the first thing was to begin sorting out the end of my book, which i am still working on with hopes of having it to my publisher by the end of the month. if i haven’t yet blogged about getting a publisher, apologies. like i said… dissertation drain, and all that.

the second thing i did was drink heavily, which was really no change from any given day during the writing of the dissertation except that the small nagging feeling of procrastinatory guilt had finally disappeared. it was replaced by pure emptiness, which was both relieving and slightly disconcerting.

the third thing i did was commence the inevitable freak out over being 27, jobless, penniless and threatened with deportation if i don’t somehow come up with a brilliant, all-encompassing plan that will earn me at least enough money to pay my rent, buy bill dinner and a pint for …well… everything, and last but not least, allow me to stay in this country. no small feat, let me tell you.

what have i done to try and counter this unending feeling of total fear and despair, you ask? hm. well, first i drank heavily and did that a few more times and kept doing it all the way up until, well, now. i also sent out about 3,486 CVs to just about any job i could see listed and several that weren’t (so if i end up frying cod in the chipper or peddling chewing gum at the local SPAR, don’t be surprised). i also had several very good sob sessions with just about anyone that would listen, including a very scared nigerian man on a bus in glasnevin. finally, just to edge up my confidence once more, i emailed “please take me under your wing” schpeels to at least 6 different phd programmes in the hopes that one might take pity on the poor yankee girl and let her stay.

where does all of this leave me? …. i have no bloody clue! if anyone knows of a job opening or possible phd programme or a pyramid scheme i might undertake or a militia i could join, just email me at desperatepostgraduate@noprospects.ie

to sum up: it is pouring down rain on this southside dublin day – a day in which bill and myself had planned to drive to the “sunny” southeast for a day of beach ‘n’ beer in waterford. shaping up to be more like brolly ‘n’ bed with wine at the guesthouse, instead.