Rossnowlagh (Irish:Ros Neamhlach, meaning “heavenly headland”), Co. Donegal, Ireland, 1965

 

moon sailing, hedgerows mad sprites, four young boys,

giddy with drink, greedy for life, ‘stick that in ya bonnet’,

laughing, singing Dylan songs, careening down Rossnowlagh lanes

to the black glass ocean,

 ‘Nah, nah, naaaah, it aint me babe’,

 voices jangling in the pale dark,

‘it aint me you’re lookin’ for babe’

 

stripping on the hard glinty beach, wiry seaweed clothes,

 ‘dont be a fekkin’ mardie, tek’em all off’,

creamy adolescent limbs, wading into the black folding sheets,

‘bet’er not be a big bastard crab in theer’, balls and pricks loose,

too vulnerable, licked by lapping water, a salty tickle,

adrenalin stirring in the midnight breeze, hearts jumping beats

like drunken horses

 

spangly splashes cling to luminous skins,

staccato chatter fading, swimming into the hypnotic swell,

lured by forces they do not know,

brains’ messages curdling in inky voids,

a terrible moon darts through torn purple clouds,

play-acting, teasing, whispering, ‘you dont know who you are,

come out, come out further’,

four young boys, afraid of death, the night is singing the unknown,

‘I’m going back’ yells one boy, ‘I’m out too’, yells another,

‘see ya at the caravan’, instincts grapple the moon’s caresses,

‘Hey let’s go back,’ cries another boy,

arms and legs dangling in the black liquid envelope,

white billiard ball head, spotlighted,

‘I’m just going a bit further,’ replies the last boy, ‘I wont be long’


the world changes in a moment,

a door opens into another world,

what was real is now unreal,

what was unreal is now real

many worlds now opening,

colliding, flipping, connected by passages,

connected by moments, opening to deeper moments,

opening to remoter passages,

layers of bodies, outer bodies, inner bodies, secret bodies,

looping in and out of time and space,

spirits wordlessly talking, motioning

 

for the last boy, there is no reason for reason,

emotions suspended, only arms and legs curling in the waves,

pushing forward in silky arcs,

only the beckoning moon, only the nagging questions,

whether to go back, when to go back,

back to the caravan, to another beer, back to a fag, the bunk and blanket,

nestling of hands cupping warm balls,

doors closing quietly in a foetal dream,

in his nervous system cocktail, a compulsion forms to go on,

to swim further, further out, out from the shadowy protection of the bay,

the horizon scribble and blackness are calling …

throat-blood flushes, twists, coagulates,

a stranded memory cries ‘Nah, nah, naaaah, it aint me babe’ …

slapped from reverie he turns,

heavy, remorseless, the outgoing tide hits his body like a wall,

‘it aint me you’re lookin’ for babe’