This is a performance piece – I wave my arms about like a mad banshee with a Dick van Dyke Oirish accent.


Mally rarely takes a shower
In summer heat his rancid goat reek
Often reaches ‘stench mark three’
…or sometimes higher .
“How’s it hanging, me ould segotia?”
I asked as he shambled past
every inch of him an extra
in a zombie horror picture.
He cut me dead,
I grabbed his arm,
He turned and hissed, “Feck arf.”
Patches of beard sprout dotted his face
where he’d made a stab at a proper shave.
His rig out affronted the natural order;
Shoes – no laces, odd socks,
Pinkish blueish jeans (thanks to a dodgy service wash)
A lime green shirt
purple striped tank top with salt ringed armpits
He was not pissed but in some distress,
And the smell of him must have reached to heaven,
Good Lord and saints preserve us!
Talk about noxious,
Cat shit and pus.
“God and you’re pungent, Mally me ould.
A funeral is it you’re goin’? Would that be yer own?”
“Feck off. Buy me a tea or pogue mahone”
He raged at the roadside
Waving his fists
Shouting obscenities
At cars, cyclists,
mobility scooterists,
not neglecting me.
We sat in a café condensation corner
He grabbed and wolfed my bacon roll
Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand
Slurping spilled tea from a saucer
And burping pig loud.
“What’s up, Mally?”’
“Go to feckin’ hell!”
I snatched the remains
of my roll from his hand
“You in trouble, Mal? Summat you did?
You never quite managed this foetid before.”
He sighed,
“I’ve slept in these clothes for a month or so
I’m in a desperate shite situation
I’ve a half ten date with the Inquisition
and ‘Stanislavski method’ acting demented
I’ve found a look that’ll put the fear of god in them
I daren’t feck this up or they’ll stop me dole,
The feckin’ stinkin’ fascist bastards.”
“And that ‘definitive’ novel you’re writing?
“Salad Cream” is it you call it? How’s that panning?”
Mally picked at a clump on his stubble chin,
“”Only Mayonnaise” is coming along nicely –
in a manner of speaking.
Principal areas of character development need a spot of editing.
The plotline is attenuated. Some parts need rewriting.
There’s a lack of clarity in the semiology…
occasional flawed concinnity…
but for a piece of picaresque post-modern magical-realism
incorporating a feminist crypto-Marxist critique…
the dialectic’s not that feckin’ bad…
And the sex is amazin’…”
“So it’s just another fook book eh, Mal?”
Mally wiped a circle in a steamed up mirror
Tugged his hair forward Julius Caesar style
Set his face around a Colonel Kurtz stare
Glared at me then slammed from the café
Shouting incoherently as
He aimed a kick at a pavement beggar and
Berated a teen mother for smoking,
pushing a buggy and sending a textie.
I drank my tea and dug deep for sympathy
for the poor sod with the job
of assessing Mally.
Mally, the stench and the stare.



© coolhermit 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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