Loughshinny Boathouse Residency - Peter O’Neill

Peter O’ Neill is the author of The Dublin Trilogy and The Elm Tree. He is currently the resident writer in the Loughshinny Boathouse for the spring period, thanks to the support of Fingal Arts Office. He is researching into the existence of an ancient Roman trading post, which existed in the environs there. He is also preparing for Donkey Shots 2 – Skerries Second International Avant Garde Poetry Fest which will take place from the 18th of May to the 21st. He plans to launch two new collections at the festival, Divertimento, The Muse is a Dominatrix ( mgv2>publishing, France ) and Sker ( Lapwing, Belfast ). 
Mare Nostrum


Poems written for The Loughshinny Boathouse Project
Peter O’ Neill
Acknowledgements
The poems in this cycle were all written up and during the time of my residency in the Loughshinny Boathouse Project, which was endowed upon me by Fingal Arts Office from the period of 1st March, 2016 until the end of May of the same year. I should like to take this opportunity to thank the Deputy Arts Officer, Sarah O’ Neill, and the County Arts Officer, Rory O’ Byrne, for their time and support in this project, as without it this project would have been simply unrealisable. I also want to thank the artist in residence before me, Thomas Brezing, whose hospitality and consideration for my needs were exemplary.
The brief of my project was to spend my time at the boathouse researching and doing work around the archaeological and historic evidence of an ancient Roman trading post which existed sometime around Juvenal’s time, as he mentions Ireland in his satires – AD 55- 138.
The following poems appeared in issue 43 of A New Ulster : ‘Mare Nostrum’, ‘Sansperata’, ‘2001- At Italo’s’, ‘Democracy & Freedom’, and ‘La petite morte’, 4th  March, 2016.
Page
5 Mare Nostrum
6 Sansperata
7 2001 – At Italo’s
8 Democracy & Freedom
9 La petite morte
10 Scraps
11 Baudelaire’s Albatross
All writing remains with the right of the author
Copyright © Peter O’ Neill, 2016.
CONTENTS
Mare Nostrum
nonne vides etiam guttas in saxa cadentis
umoris longo in spatio pertundera saxa?
                                         Lucretius
Your silence envelopes me like a sea,
particularly when I sit at the kitchen table.
It rushes up against me in currents,
holding me fast to the leather chair.
Hands bound, arms tied, with duct tape on
my mouth, I try to cry out but all I can
manage to hear is the thin sound of graphite,
scripting its way across the sheets.
How long can I thread water like this?
I have no idea. Like stone I endure,
weathering the oncoming waves. Erode.
Our death will be piecemeal. The slow
almost imperceptible annihilation of memory,
like water dripping, down through millennia, upon stone.

Sansperata
After Sciola
Rimbaud called for the systematic
Déréglement de tous les sens – colouring
the vowels, which you read and later heard,
echoing through the stones of the nuragi.
The sonority of granite whispers
to you with all of the tenderness
and softness of the flesh of the peaches
of Sansperata, where I wish to hear again
the stony lament in the basalt of the pips
embedded in the hill of stone structures
echoing above the silence about your lips.
This rock retains walls of sound, its spectre,
just as your hands press inwardly upon
the untraceable braille of your love.

2001 - At Italo’s
In memorium
It was high summer, the Emperor’s month!
the temperature down on the street
was in the mid-thirties. We walked in the shade,
I following carefully your every move.
When we arrived at your father’s apartment
your whole family seemed to be there.
The television was up full volume,
Berlusconi’s beauties flew high on the trapeze.
Old and young alike clamoured.
I took a seat to sit back from it all, the casino.
Count Ugolino’s castle winked at me from its hill.
When your grandmother, almost a centenarian,
approached me with a glass of grappa.
We raised glasses before she said, “Here’s mud in your eye!”

Democracy and Freedom
Power is fluid, such is Foucault.
The body being politicised;
the zones of contention are highly
eroticised: the anus, phallus…
and the clitoris, and breasts.
Such are the hotspots, the fleshy fields
of Armageddon. We stand together
at the frontier, our guns in hand.
The tension is fraught with possibility.
Submission and domination,
who gets to rule and be ruled?
Hence our obsession with role play.
Power is fluid, the body being politicised.
Your clitoris and breasts, the keys to my deliverance.

La petite morte

The resolution of violence
is a preoccupying theme,
dictating as it must issues such as
sex, love and the many forms of death.
These days you think more often than not
of la petite morte, or the little deaths
upon climaxing; the head goes limp
only to nestle upon your shoulder.
Nature’s ergonomics. Vitruvius
In extensor! Designer living.
The perfect symmetrical fits.
Yet, such a death should be imbued
with the whole struggle to realise it;
body and soul being exhausted with the effort.

Scraps
For Thomas Brezing

A cheap notebook and a pencil,
such are the tools for this craft.
A formal impoverishment , yet
Rimbaud’s eternity flashes in the blade.
Here the sweet music of infinity lies,
hauling its cargo of radioactivity
upon a dying yet vibrant sea;
fish and bird being plastified.
Baudelaire’s albatross having
returned from the taxidermist,
his entrails now made in China.
“It has being found again.” What?
“Eternity!  It is the cut away
filet of fish with plastic chips.

Baudelaire’s Albatross

In medio ramos annosaque brancchia pandit
ulmus opaca, ingens, quam sedem Somnia vulgo
vana tenere ferunt, foliisque sub omnibus haerent. 
Virgil
Impeding wings take flight,
setting out upon the perilous road to
Loughshinny, there in the boathouse,
seated before the spectacle of the
sun-dancing on the sea’s luminous
shield, pooling there in the bay before
the rumours of the ancient Roman
trading post, in the first century AD.
Caesar, Juvenal and Tacitus
all give credence to the historical
evidence, yet here there is no mention of it!
A story shrouded in mutism and laid
out like a mummy for sheer conjecture.
Let the giants lie sleeping in the isle of Lambay.
  
The Mountain

Your profile appears, all head and hair,
Looming before me like a mountain.
Five thousand meters above sea level,
Such is the natural limit of man.
Rising any further you take your life
Into your own hands, it’s suicidal.
Mountaineers call it the death zone.
Everest is littered with poor souls.
That is where your eyes inhabit,
Engaging with mine in a deathly
Game. Temperatures rise and plummet.
The silence too is glacial.
I live or die by a look or a word,
Hanging on for dear life at the summit.

Désordre et volupté

La bohème plays intermittently
In the café, recalling the image
Of you and the promise of youth, and
Days which are made up of one hundred sheets.
Days as gentle as cotton on the skin.
The cooling fabric of our lush lives,
Lying together with the silken touch,
And the warm flesh we get lost in.
The image of your clothes hung on a chair.
Love’s iconography, their installation;
Your shirt and tights are Readymades.
The sound of your voice then and your laughter,
Exploding in the room. Both of us
Happy, fervent and promiscuous.

French Roast
The espresso cups arrive, balancing
precariously on their miniscule
shields, spoons aligned beside them
like sword. Images of weaponry
occult the mind , for the stuff is poison.
One sip being good enough to kill.
A cup of treacly muck. You want to hurl
it far from you, send it hurtling across the floor.
Instead, you sit on it, looking down on it.
The foul brew. And it makes you think of
Paris, and the other 100 000 cups like it,
which you had served up to you at some
time there. And, with attitude too.
And here they go trying to replicate it….
In medio ramos annosaque bracchia pandit
ulmus opaca, ingens, quam sedem Somnia vulgo
vana tenere ferunt, foliisque sub omnibus haerent.
multaque praeterea variorum monstra ferarum,
Centauri in foribus stabulant Scyllaeque biformes
et centumgeminus Briareus ac belua Lernae,
horrendum stridens, flammisque armata Chimaera,
Gorgones Harp