This post is also available in: polski (Polish)
At magical Kenneys Bookshop & Art Gallery, I had no idea I was walking over to a bookshelf with poetry. I realized it when I pulled a thin publication from the shelf with the interesting title The Elephant in the Corner. The poems it contained reminded me of the taste of every morning coffee I drunk on a graphite sofa or in completely unfamiliar chairs. Aoife Mannix – an Irish poet born in Sweden knows the smell of rented furniture and she does not afraid to present emotions that I am sometimes scared to admit, although they live with me.
I am screaming behind a wall of glass.
I close the shutters in my mind,
chinks of fear spill into the room.
I burn underwater,
drowning in words half understood.
/fragment of the poem The Swimmer/
Yeah .., I feel like an elephant lately, I’m heavy and a little bit lethargic in a too-small space. I would love to move forward, but there’s a lot of porcelain around me and I’ve already broken a few cups. I feel guilty. I need the wings, but will they lift me up?
When you start to suspect you’re becoming invisible (…)
Run naked singing through the streets
get drunk and shout into open doorways,
throw parties and invite strangers you meet on buses,
shave your hair off,
wear purple, go dancing,
draw attention to yourself.
It’s not a crime.
/fragment of the poem “Warning Signs”/
And I smile, almost giggle, I want to do that because the poem has injected dye into my thoughts. For years I have been screwing myself up that this is not right to want someone’s attention.
Okay, I get on my bike and head out into town, then take pictures with painted wings in the center of Galway. One passerby wants also a photo with me, so he stands up, masked, others stop on the sidewalk so as not to enter the frame. – Nice spot! – says some lady.
Meanwhile, the character from the poem repeats her order to the barman for the third time, and he still does not understand everything. He emphasizes that she has such a sweet accent. How do I know it, I refresh in my soul the first visit to a pub in a foreign country.
Although Aoife’s poems touch upon difficult experiences and are like an elephant that nobody wants to talk about, I can see hidden wings in many places. There are so many locations: Dublin, Brussels, Heathrow airport, Leicester Square, Ottawa, Galway, Lincoln Longue, Paris, Stockholm, etc …
Even if I’m waiting for a mirage
I can see your wings,
the film of your life shot on location.
Of course it is mad, no guarantees
but rolling this dice, I bet on your eyes,
and I can see us in the sun
with all our impossibilities come true.
/fragment of the poem The Lincoln Lounge/
So, I found another favorite Irish poet, next to Michele O’Sullivan. And the poetry has given me wings again. As if I was sitting in the waiting room, lost and sick, and poems were already waiting for me hanging on the walls like in a Galway hospital. Some of the lines are quite long, but I eat them like chocolate, I taste the whole piece.
you are coffee
you are warm (…)
you are melted chocolate (…)
you are all the adventures I’ll ever go on (…)
/fragments of the poem And you are/
Look for your wings! Find them even on painted gates, attach them step by step to your shoulders. I thank the poet Aoife Mannix who I could find between a thousand books, someone who led me to her. Could it be to Agnieszka?
Chin up and keep going. You’ll go places eventually 🙂
Thanks. I hope the courage will be with me. 🙂