Tulaigh Ua Thiomain (November 8 1987)

I revised this for me new book  – it’s in tanka format.

Angels keep watch over children,
madmen, and drunks.
We were two of three – pretty good – all in all.
Wandering Ireland
with Carolyn in her
beat up transit van.
We were hanging far too loose
and headed nowhere special,
smoking five skinners
of Afghan black, drinking Rum
crossing the border
when booze and munchies ran low.
Driving slow and staying cool.
Fermanagh? Scenic.
Enniskillen?  Half-awake.
Remembrance Sunday.
A massive parade planned
so Carolyn and I split.
We had no taste for
sashes, flutes and bowler hats.
So drove through Belcoo,
Sligo, into Donegal –
stashed the hash near Pettigo.
Around a corner,
soldiers and a barricade –
oil drums, bollards.
Soldiers shouting, I recall,
“Hands up! Out that fucking van!”
Was that hands up first
and then open the van door?
Guns cocked. I was yanked
out and thrown against a wall.
They spread our gear on the road.
Dogs set to sniffing –
Cazzie’s ‘smalls’ received thorough
“You won’t find no bombs in that lot.”
“What do you know about bombs?”
‘Chill, man. Smoke a bong.’
“Fuck off, you fuckin’ hippies.” 
Poppies were out in  
Tullyhommon. A large crowd
cheering at those parading.
Also present were
soldiers, girl guides, boy scouts, cops,
and a massive bomb
that somehow did not explode.
A damp squib planted right
where Caz and I stood
Stoned. Glassy eyed and giggling
like madmen. Wildly
waving the red white and blue  
at everyone passing by. 
Why no explosion?
Aborted by order from
Whitehall? The Provies?
Maybe a tractor ran over,
or cattle munched through, the wire?
The miracle of
a massacre averted,
was kept under wraps.  
A middle page ‘News in Brief’  
where very few would see it.
Angels kept us safe,
or we’d have been blown to bits.
Like Shakespeare’s Caesar
we came, we saw… we moseyed
on out of town taking white  
chocolate buttons
(Carolyn’s munchies of choice)
bottles of Black Bush
a tank full of red diesel
a clenched fist of memories.

© coolhermit 2023
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Never been to Drumkeeran but you can park your tankas on our lawns any time! I used to visit the North during the Troubles, Had an Armalite pointed at my head by knock-kneed spit (from one of the Highland Regiments I think), An Orange bouncer half-strangling me for saying goodnight in Welsh in Bangor then apologising for thinking me a ‘Fenian barstard’ by making me share a bottle of Black Bush with him, Fire bombs going off in stores and drinking poteen that glowed in the dark in Donachadee…. ah, the slightly fuzzy memories. IF you didn’t mention the Troubles,… Read more »

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