Monday, June 30, 2008

The Cliff Walk

It was a beautiful day in County Clare for a walk along the cliffs. Though I had my hood up because of the wind, my face got sunburned. Everything here sorta looks like the Shire and though I am surrounded by people in the evenings, I sometimes feel a bit lonely like Frodo.

And for some silly reason, I can't stop weeping. I think I may need to lay off the Neruda. These cliffs mixed with a little Pablo...and my 31st birthday around the corner=weeping. Good weeping, though.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Kelli and I had a great night in Dublin on the 26th and now she is back home safely in Ohio. After sending Kelli on her way, I took a bus (or several) to get back here to my favorite place, Doolin in County Clare.
Jacquie and Greg are wonderful company and the amount of fun I have been having is insane.

I have made a friend who is a chef at a little cafe about a mile from where I am staying. He makes wonderful meals that look like something that should be in a fine dining magazine. I drink coffee, eat hummus and asparagus, do a little writing, gaze through the window at the countryside and pretend I'm never leaving.

The chef also enjoys writing so we have started a notebook that allows us to write back and forth.

I think I could sit in that cafe forever.

Today I am going to walk to the Cliffs of Moher. It will take me a few hours, but Jacquie works at a shop on the top so I will catch a lift back with her. Yesterday a man jumped. It took over twenty men to pull his body from the water. I think that makes four people this month, but I'm not sure.

Despite the sad news of suicide, I am looking forward to a tough climb and one breathtaking view.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Thoughts from the Peninsula

Yes, that says Telemachus. Today is Telemachus' 3rd birthday so even though I am very far away from him, I found it an appropriate time to write his name in the sand somewhere near Slea Head on the Dingle Peninsula.

Happy birthday, Telemachus. I know you can't quite read or even understand why your mother has left you for five weeks, but I love you, love you, love you.

Kelli and I have been having a great time. We have invented two clever games. One of the games is called Quicksand and is pictured above. The object is to see who can sink the deepest without being swallowed. The other game is called Jellyfish. This game requires that you run towards a jellyfish. Whoever gets the closest without getting stung is the winner. Jellyfish is a bit tricky because of the rough waves. You must get as close as possible to the blobs of blue tentacles before a wave thrashes the beast against your Ohio leg.

I have not written much, but I picked up three books yesterday (great way to make the backpack heavier) that are absolute treasures. All of the books are by Blasket Island writers. The Great Blasket is an island where people lived practically untouched from the modern world until 1953 when the remaining 20 people or so were evacuated. The books I picked up were written in Irish around the beginning of the 20th century and translated into English around the middle of the century. One of them (the name escapes me this very moment) is written by the last poet to leave The Great Blasket.

What strikes me as haunting about these books is that when these people were writing them they knew that their way of life was diminishing. Every sentence is smeared with a sense of loss. The sea gave them life yet also imprisoned them in some ways.

I have been trying to take a boat to The Great Blasket Island, but the wind has been too harsh. Tomorrow is my last shot. Wish me luck. I need to see where these people lived.

Friday, June 20, 2008


We're on the piss.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Five days in...

Well, I have to be honest and say that I was dreading the North. Kelli and I drove from Dublin to Derry on Saturday, mostly on the coastal route (at least from Belfast).

The city of Derry holds the best and worst of things for me. It is swollen with the hangover of civil war as am I.

I think some ghosts can rest now. I walked along the wall, visited the coolest club in the entire world-Sandino's, and talked to locals to catch up on the craic.

I also walked the paths I walked four years ago. I pushed my face against the window of The Gweedore, but I couldn't bring myself to have a pint there. Some things I need to leave snuggled in the past.

We are on the West coast now. Last night we stayed in a B & B right down the street from the grave of Yeats. Tonight we are in Clifden.

And for those of you who are wondering, yes, I miss Telemachus like crazy...but this is my time.

Friday, June 13, 2008


I have been to Dublin several times before this week and I have almost never had a good time. Once, when I was in love, I flew to Dublin for 27 hours. It was crazy miserable.

But this time Dublin has been different for me. Endless wandering of streets in search of tucked away pubs, conversation stretched across smooth, meal replacing pints.

The River Liffey is so lovely. It splits the city into two distinct sections and for some reason it seems to organize something inside of me as well.

Today we get a car and head to Northern Ireland. I hope I can reclaim the North just as I have reclaimed Dublin, but I don't know. There are ghosts in the North.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How do you say goodbye to this face?

Telemachus is watching my every move. He knows I'm leaving. Five weeks and two days is a long time to a human, but what about an animal? I'm hoping the vet is telling me the truth when he says that to a dog, five weeks is no different than two weeks.
I never thought I could love a dog this much and even though I am thrilled to be going back to Ireland, the thought of not waking up to this face breaks my heart.

I know he will have a great time with my mother. I already saw the treats she has hidden in her cupboards. I hope she remembers my lectures on "Loving something doesn't mean you stuff it with food."

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008

One week...

...and I will be heading to Eire. It feels like I am going home. Most people think I'm Irish because of my last name, but I'm not.

This is a picture of my Ohio friend Jacquie and me at McDermott's about four years ago. Now Jacquie lives in a cottage behind McDermott's. I can't wait to sit at this very picnic table and write. There is live ceili music every night at McDermott's and the craic is always good.

It's been a rough weekend for my family, but things seem to be improving and I am humbled by the miracles I've witnessed.

On the poetry tip, I had the poem Sitting at Le Cafe la Nuit picked up last week by American Poetry Journal. I couldn't be happier with my recent acceptances, but I also look forward to lounging around the fields of County Clare and writing some new stuff.

I'm looking for some good novels to read on my trip. I have a couple lined up, but I am open to suggestions. If you had all day to read and write (and pub crawl), what would you be reading?