Tag Archives: Irish

Plastic Paddy’s Wake (and Bake)

(to the tune of “Finnegan’s Wake”)

Plastic Paddy lived on Linden Street,
A mutt with a tinge of Irish blood.
His North Shore accent wicked sweet
and in his life, smoked too much bud.
So he had a sort of a tipplin’ way
With a love for jäger bombs he was born.
And to help him get to class each day:
Sambuca in his Dunkies ev’ry morn.

CHORUS:
Chug, Chug, Chug, bro, let’s do shots
’til you hit the floor and your stomach aches.
Dudebro, it’s a rager here
At Plastic Paddy’s wake and bake!

One night he shotgunned too much beer.
His head felt heavy, which made him shake.
He fell from the second floor balcony
And they gathered around to help him wake.
They moved him to the futon
where they slapped him twice upside the head.
Someone panicked, “Call the cops!”
when they felt for sure that he was dead.

(Repeat Chorus)

His friends assembled in the living room
And Dave O’Reilly called for shots.
Whiskey, cream, and Guinness chugged,
then finished with a rip of pot.
Maggie McDonald flipped her shit:
“I’m so fucked up, but seriously
we should probably call the cops.”
“Yo, that bitch is tweakin’!” yelled Al Giovanni.

(Repeat Chorus)

Then Suzy Kaplan spoke up with haste:
“You’re killing the buzz, so there’s the door.”
Maggie then gave her a slap in the face
And left her sprawling on the floor.
Then the war did soon engage;
‘Twas woman to woman and man to man.
The kegger war broke out in rage
and a violent riot soon began.

(Repeat Chorus)

Then Teddy Davis ducked his head
when someone threw a can of Natty.
It burst beside the futon bed
and the beer exploded all over Paddy.
Paddy revives, see how he rises!
Paddy risin’ from the futon!
Says, “Whoa. Shit. I’m good now, bro.
Let’s do car bombs! Party on!”

(Repeat Chorus)

John Kelley’s Wake

Back in the main room of the pub they were playing “Auld Triangle” on the speakers — The Pogues version, as if there were any other. It was sundown, and in the distance you could just make out a halo around the crown of the Prudential Center. Spires of frosted orange sunlight shone through the bay windows at the far end of the bar, the silhouettes of panes framing all the faces that turned out to say farewell. I wasn’t in much of a mood for talking — Irish funerals also make for massive social events — but looking out at the crowd that had gathered at the bar, it was nice to see the diversity of lives that John had touched over his however-many years.

Before the sun had set, it had been one of those beautifully grey New England days that bugged my knee, so I’d been using my da’s old shillelagh as a crutch to help me walk. A few folks tried to offer me their stools to get me off my feet but I ignored them, not wanting to deal with all the small-talk conversation that would surely come along with it. The more funerals you find yourself at, the less inclined you are to go through that same dance every time:

“What’s good, brotha?”

“Ah, ya know, hangin’ in there. How ya been?”

“Good, good, yeah. Besides, you know.”

“Yeah.”

“Fuckin’ shame, y’know?”

“Yeah, I know.”

“I think he woulda liked this though. It’s a nice way to honor him.”

And so on ’til you puke. “No, he wouldn’t fuckin’ like it,” I always wanted to say, “‘Cause he’d still be fuckin’ dead, and having the corpse of the recently deceased prance around the funeral would really do a number on his loved ones, don’t you think?”

But instead the conversation shifts to some nostalgia, as if you and who you’re talking to have any kind of bond worth catching up on, besides being spat out on the Earth by your mams in or around the same zip code. Of course, it’d be rude to say, “I don’t care where you’re living now, I haven’t seen old-so-and-so, and I don’t care that she’s fat but since you asked I think it’s pretty fuckin’ rude of you to say so won’t you kindly piss off so I can grab another drink and drown the pain.”

It would take me at least another dozen pints until I got that honest.

An Rogaire Dubh

I walked into the pub some 15 minutes later. The light from the street lamps that seeped in through the window was swallowed up by the black-brown wood that furnished the bar, reclaimed from some abandoned church in Tír Chonaill. Even with the candles set around the pub, it managed to be darker inside than out. Still, there was something comforting about the smell of body odor, beer, and musty old wood. Far Derrick sat atop a stool at the far end of the bar, and judging by his volume, he’d been there for a while. I wondered if he climbed up on the stool all by himself or if he had someone to help him. Adam was behind the bar like he always was. We used to go to hardcore shows together at the Cambridge VFW. Technically Grey Ellen was the owner of the bar, but Adam was the only one who ever seemed to work there. He had a Kennedy brother tattooed on the back of either fist so no one liked to bothered him with too many questions. I reached across the bar and shook his hand and said, “Give me a Tully, neat, and a shot of Chartreuse for the small fella down there,” nodding my head towards the end of the bar.

“It’s a little early for a ‘Treusing, don’t you think?” Adam said hesitantly. Chartreuse shots were usually reserved for folks who’d already got too drunk, a parting gift before they got thrown out, at which point they’d usually boot the ‘treuse back on the street. But it was also a holy spirit made by monks, and the Good People weren’t so good at holding that kind of liquor.

He handed me a collins glass with a three-finger pour and I said, “Either way, I’m cutting him off.”

I stood back and watched as Adam brought the shot to Derrick. Adam looked over at me and pointed but Far Derrick clearly didn’t care who’d bought him the drink. He tossed the shot straight back and as soon as the sweet green syrup hit his tongue he spit it right back out and started coughing violently. Smoke poured from his skin and he gasped for air between the chokes. Fortunately An Rogaire Dubh was one of those bars where no one seemed to care about the other customers. He slammed the rest of his beer back to wash away the taste. “Awright, who the fuck was that?” he said as he wiped the back of his arm across his mouth. He turned his head to the left to identify the mysterious benefactor that he’d previously chosen to disregard. I brought the whiskey the lips as I raised my other hand, waggling my fingers in  a mocking wave.

Far Derrick let out a deep heavy sigh and turned back to face the bar. He knew that he’d been caught. He coughed again, then motioned to the bartender and said, “Bud Heavy and a shot of Jack. And fuck the both of yous.”

The Good People

“They took my kid and they replaced him with a fuckin’ stick!”

“A stick.”

“A fuckin’ stick!”

“Who did?”

“The Good People.”

“The Good People kidnapped your son and replaced him with a stick.”

“That’s what I’m sayin’!”

“Okay.” Mike Fionn rubbed his left hand through the ashen fuzz of his head, following the curve of the back of his skull and and brought his fingers around to feel the gauge on his ear. He’d been trying to ease himself off coffee for the last six weeks, and the motion helped to ease the headaches. Still Margie’s nasal voice only amplified the pain as it echoed through his head. He needed whiskey. But he knew he shouldn’t drink before 10am so he poured himself a finger’s worth of Tully anyway. He could feel the eyes of his receptionist Ari boring through him from the other side of the office window, but he figured if he didn’t turn around to face her then they couldn’t hurt him too much.

“Well? Ahe ya gunna help?” Margie intoned as Mike drew the glass to his lips. He wished for once he’d get a normal case but then of course he’d never work. Most PIs these days made their bank from security work or internet snooping, and he’d  already hired The Creep to handle that side of the business. A job like this at least meant that he’d get out into the field. Over the last year or so, Mike had managed to make himself the go-to for these kinds of gigs. Sometimes he’d get a trophy wife from Chestnut Hill saying that her husband Senator McIrishfuck was sleeping with a siryn, but mostly it was folks like Margie from the old hood whose kids got turned into sticks or replaced with sticks or whatever the fuck she was talking about.

It’s Your Funeral

Not sure what compelled me, but I went and found me ass in church th’ other day. Hadn’t been stepped in one for years, since I moved out on me own. Not by choice, anyway. Few times went for visiting to Ma, on the holidays, and she’d be dragging me there, would I let her. Depending on the mood — didn’t always like to be startin’ a thing, as it were. Some days it’d be, “Ma, but you don’t agree with what they says like, then you ain’t a Catholic. Simple as that,” and she’d say, “It doesn’t matter what’s been your thoughts, lad, just as long as you’ve the faith. It’s important, that.”

The Ma’am were somethin’ nuts, she were.

This time, I’d off to service on me own. First time in a while I’d been woken early on a Sunday. Weren’t by choice again, just felt like a thing to do. Found an Irish Mass somewhere in the neighborhood—never seen the place before, but heard they sang their hymns in the Old Language and thought it might be nice to have for a listen.

But the fat colleen what sang sharper than the bean sídhe, and I thought perhaps I’d been mistook with my decision. Still, her awful wail weren’t enough to keep from hearing me own name uttered during Father Liam’s dedicated moment for the service, unmistakeable in his soft Leitrim lilt. He’d spoke a prayer out for the names of those who’d recently been passed, a short list that sounded like he’d kept a bowl of names below the altar — one of given, one of family — and drew each name at random, as if for God’s luck to choose the death. “William…Healey,” he spoke. “Padraig…Sullivan. Niamh…O’Rourke…

Brian…McGackin,” and I felt dry in me mouth, the kick drum echo of a beating heart inside. Following, a moment of silence, filled only with the swell of air.

“We pray to the Lord,” the Father spoke.

“Lord hear our prayer,” they responded. I heard the fat colleen squeal again. “Dochas Linn Naomh P´draig / Aspal mór na hÉireann / Ainm orirc glégeal / Sól´s mó an tsaoil é,” and I waited for the true bean sídhe’s wail.

This is why I woke this mornin’. This is why I’m here, like. I held for my last breathe when I heard that awful howl, and clenched me eyes to closed. I opened up the right one with a caution when I realized it was nothing but the awful woman’s tone, but wondered if the Dullahan had traded in his steed for a V8 engine, revving in his cóiste bodhar as he’s waiting for to find me in the parking lot.

And that mornin’—oh, aye, that mornin’—that Communion never tasted quite as sweet as I had found.

Saline Caoineadh

South by sound, she sailed along
where oceans moan and spread their wings.
A siryn’s call in canyon’s lost;
she cried a ghost to answer me
“I’m waiting. I’m wading.”

Her hellfire eyes parted waves;
a lighthouse lost in fog to die.
The crashing foam swallowed footsteps on the trail,
eroding echoed memories,
soft and fading past Connemara
where Cliffs can’t break her fall.

The morning sky creeps up the ledge,
running red with virgin blood.
Her tattered mast falls to driftwood on the sea,
a star bored keel-haul tragedy
wading in salt for water.