The Big Match.

~The Poet’s Poet~

Back in the time of the crackly wireless when I was but a chap and summer was summer.

They gathered in granny’s rose garden to listen to the big matches, lying off, shirt sleeves rolled up to the elbows.

The voice of Michael O’Hehir could be heard crackling in far off meadows.

All Ireland football and hurling final days were great days of celebration.

The excitement and discussion leading up to the ball or sliotar being thrown in was all about who was the best player, who might win and by what score.

It was made all the more exciting if the county colours or that of a neighbouring county was involved and if there was the odd skirmish.

The window in the parlour was propped up by a broken chair leg

The crackly wireless placed on the sill, volume turned up full tilt.

Tea and gur cake was laid out for all at half time, when the excitement of the first half was talked about loudly.

The conversation could go like this, that full back sure he’s built like a brick wall and, God blast that forward anyway he should surely have scored from there, the referee should be wearing that teams jersey. Yes the conversation could get quite heated.

Bottles of stout, they could be swallowed off any time during the game.

As a chap ear wigging, I learned a lot of new choice words, these men really knew their onions grandad told me.

Once the whistle blew for the second half everyone had retaken their place.

The power of prayer was the main topic coming up to the full time whistle.

Pray harder John Joe they would shout at grandad we could do with a draw for another day out.

Electrification and age soon put the kibosh on those happy times.

Once the scattered community got their own wireless they stayed at home.

The only ones who socialised in the old fashioned way visiting for the big matches were bachelors and widow men.

© Chris Black. January 2019 #Poetry #shortstories #amwriting

#I understand this is very parochial and will make sense to very few, it came to mind from an article I was reading about the late great #Michael O’Hehir a famous Irish sports commentator who also covered the funeral of President Kennedy.

It is fiction with a smidgen of fact. Feel free to comment and or ask questions.

At full stretch.

Mr. Parker.

Peace at last, the last drop of ink drained from his body.
In his day he had through his work given great comfort to a multitude of people.
The sombre gathering here tonight to offer respect for this.
There was great discussion about novels he had a hand in.
His involvement both in short story and poetry given high praise.
He and his extended family some long gone, others continue working away tirelessly instrumental in the education of tens of thousands.
Never appearing to take any notice as he was passed from one generation to another
As they made their way in the world signing off official and unofficial documents
At the stroke of a pen.
His classroom or work place etiquette was never in question.
Time was something which never concerned him.
He could be called on to burn the midnight oil then be inked up ready to face a brand new day.
So it is with sadness at this time we bid farewell as we close the lid closed on his coffin shaped box for the last time.
© Chris Black. May 2018

A sombre gathering.

The parlour, had a faded green patterned carpet, its walls hung with a jaded cream fleck wall paper.
The room, scattered with ornaments gathered through years of travel, smelt old.
A wallnut cabinet with stained glass windows housed the best china and beautiful white linen table cloths.
The round table with its eight high backed chairs took centre stage in the room.
A six foot booming grandfather clock with a large gold coloured monocle face stood erect to the left side of a dull marble fire place.
This it would appear had not seen a flame for years, the crows saw to that.
The six inch nail embedded in the right side chimney breast wall, on it hung a black two piece pinstriped suit.
Jacket with wide lapels, trousers wide leg complete with turn-up.
Covered by the jacket a white shirt, its collar now faded, cuffs showing below the jacket sleeves, complete with gold embossed cufflinks.
To one side of this suit hung a shocking pink shirt with its butterfly collar and frilled cuffs, covered in dust and cobwebs.
Heavy red velvet drapes, drawn three quarter way shading any sun from entering the room.
A snapshot in real time of quaintness Jenny said, once she got her breath back.
Turning to me and taking my hand, softly she said, the sun setting and the moon rising were the things that would go on for ever, pain is ephemeral.
The priest said his beads, they placed the lid on the chestnut brown coffin.
In the cold of the night and soft drizzling rain we walked grandma to the church nearby.
Tomorrow following 10:00am mass she was to be buried next to grandad.
To add to the sorrow of the long day, the dimness of the night.
The shrill peal of the church bell, brought the demise of the departed to reality.
(c) Chris Black. March 2018.

Epiphany.

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Thursday night 1st. March 2018 it arrived with a vengence.
The Beast from the East, “Altai” we christened it on account of its Siberian bite.
There was no muzzeling this animal.
Digging in, it pervades more than our lives.
The eerie feeling that afternoon, as we waited for it to make landfall was bizarre.
It was most disarming watching on in the dark of night.
There was a total different framed picture next morning peering out through the curtained window as dawn broke.
The sheer volume of snow which accumulated over night was blinding in it whiteness.
The Beast was telling us in no uncertain manner that it was insuring our isolation from the outside world.
The Beast was now the central figure and topic of conversation, fodder for the news hounds, as if nothing else on planet earth existed.
March many weathers the Beast roared, as the country succumbed to cabin fever.
Bad enough its arrival in the first place but did it have to rub our noses in it to this extent?
The cold was not cold until you put your nose outside the door.
The pain of it, the body is not ready to comply with what “Altai” is hurtling our way.
You could feel the brush of wilderness against your face, the one part of the body that could not be fully shielded. (One has to venture out?)
“Altai the Beast” once he howled, the invisible became one of lifes nightmares.
Mounds of snow rising like the Rock of Gibralter.
Standing, gazing at this site expecting a St. Bernard to appear out of the swirling snow storm bearing a golden gift. While birds were on the look out for the ghost of Noah.
Nothing only wind making guttural sounds. The blue cold of the day leaves us with nothing but the traces of empty.
Searching the distances of stars and moon at the fall of dark.
The sky hangs like a canopy, as we stand in the porchlight.
(c) Chris Black. March 2nd. 2018.

No pipe and slippers.

Sitting on his worn down perch at the bottom of his vegetable garden he supped his long cool beer. The view of the nearby mountain continued to fascinate him though he had lived under its shadow most of his lifetime.

Vanish his trusty Border Collie lay at his feet, both content in each others company.

The dog as was his want went missing for a couple of days every so often, he is gone about a little business his master would tell Marmalade his sooty black tabby.

From his seated position, his beloved garden had a lasagne look about it, fashioned in three layers.

He kept the local market supplied all year round with the freshest fruits and vegetable.

Every morning six days he would stock up and be market side by 6:00am.

He never classed himself as overly religious yet always followed the edict – on the Sabbath day you rested.

Vanish was away on his mission this particular Sunday when trouble raised its ugly head.

The remoteness of where he lived held no fear for him, so when he had afternoon callers which he did have on occasion enquiring if they could purchase some of his fresh produce he would promptly show them in.

Vanish returned later in the evening, blessed he couldn’t comprehend what had gone on in his absence.

Sniffing around his dishevelled master, finding no sign of life he lay himself down by his side.

Monday morning arrived, the masters favourite companion rose and made the long journey alone to the market.

Those who first encountered Vanish were shocked at his condition. His always immaculate coat matted with the blood of his master.

(c) Chris Black. November 2017.

Also on Soundcloud @ Chris Black 36

Youtube @ chris-black-poetry-spoken word

Spit and polish.

Take your place in the queue he said, we should not be very long. The car had to be washed and valeted.

3:00 pm in the afternoon the summer shower that began two hours previous had now turned into a mini typhoon.

Even though the crew managing the service were on duty until 6:00 pm I doubt they were in any form to face another car.

Between the humidity and the incessant rain fall and more cars joining the queue each person was met with a friendly greeting.

Perhaps behind that mask they were spitting fire?

The sign at the entrance said all business welcome in brackets it might well have read (give us a break lads its bucketing down rain).

But as man can’t live on bread alone unless it comes in the shape of 20 euro notes they carried on regardless.

N.B. just as it came my turn in the queue the sun burst through the clouds, I over heard one of the crew remark – now wait for a deluge of cars…

I was glad of the sunshine blast, taking my seat outside with a large mug of coffee I concluded my story of my visit to the car wash and valet experience.

(c) Chris Black 2017.

I’m addled.

Barging into the office, steam emitting from my ears. I’ll give him whats what I muttered to myself, before coming to an abrupt halt in the middle of the office floor.

Mr ‘Grumblefellow’ as the boss had been christened was slumped across the large mahogany table, drawing a deep breath I ventured closer, lifted the bosses left hand in search of a pulse.

‘Grumblefellow’ was still warm.

That instant there was a knock on the office door, stepping away quickly before getting a chance to find a pulse in stepped Ms. ‘Bedfellow’,  stone faced she stuttered what on earth has happened.

I found him in this position on arrival I informed her. I had been summoned to his office a short time earlier – his tone was very abrupt.

I had intended to let him know how I felt about his tone over the phone. Now it’s my conscious that’s at me. So it should be replied Ms. ‘Bedfellow’, you see he wished to speak with you in relation to elevating you to a higher position in the company and discuss remuneration figures with you.

The eccentric pair had gone way over the top in relation to this promotion I thought silently to myself.

Just then ‘Grumblefellow’ sat bolt upright from the table, enthusing – we wanted to see how you would react in a time of crisis. Glad to say you passed with flying colours.

I shook both their hands,  asked may I have a few moments to consider your offer?

Returned promptly to my office where I quickly wrote my letter of resignation.

(c) Chris Black 2017.

Pooch.

He sits in a shaft of sunlight that warms his favourite after breakfast corner

contented, awaiting his masters call “walkies time”

The house is quieter than usual “pooch” didn’t question why his master had not fed him this morning

As the sun began to move he followed the rays, regularly getting up looking through the stain glass front door window

It was past his time for “walkies” people were being ushered through in small numbers, patting him as they passed

You are a good dog, there is a clever dog, taking in the heat of the sun, that’s what I call contentment – these comments and many more were passed as people trouped through the house

They had come to pay their final respects, “pooch” would have to wait some time longer for today’s “walkies”

(c) Chris Black 2017.

#There was a lull.

She turned on her heel and stormed out, long black leather coat flapping. I gave the barman a beck and he duly went to the measure. I sat content nursing my ball of malt.

The fellow sitting two stools up from me continued scratching and shaking his head following the walk out. I sat there minding my own business, perusing the Red Top someone had left behind earlier. But I had overheard the heated conversation. She was refusing point blank to do his dirty work for him. Telling him in no uncertain manner that if he wanted the exchange to go through he was ‘big and ugly enough to do it himself.’

He ordered a double brandy, removed his phone from the inside pocket of his well-tailored jacket. Making the call, he appeared not bothered if the sparsely populated bar could overhear the conversation he was having. Jack, she just stormed out a few minutes ago. You expected me to follow her? Well, you’re talking to the wrong guy then, I have no intention of putting my neck on the line for that sort of money.

I’m sitting here sipping my brandy, I have no intention of moving. Shortly after concluding the phone conversation, he had company. He ordered a gin and tonic for his companion. The conversation was muted, although there was much head shaking and gesticulation. The barman appeared edgy for some reason. Perhaps he overheard something he was not supposed to hear? The bar was now beginning to fill up with the arrival of evening revellers. This was my cue to head off home, but curiosity got the better of me.

An hour or so passed. I was just finishing up my drink and pulling on my overcoat when she arrived back at the bar. She unzipped her handbag and produced a hand gun. He never got the chance to enjoy that second brandy.

(c) Chris Black 2017.

#A story taken from my recently published book of Poetry and Short Stories, Same Train, Different Track.

Shifting through the gears.

Don’t do it she screamed as he accelerated in ‘dangerous bend’

Why did you turn down my proposal he asked calmly? it wasn’t a life or death decision.

This however is a life or death decision.

He took his foot off the throttle, the car then began to slow down.

It was too late for her, as projectile vomit covered her, the dashboard and windscreen of the car.

If you were too blind before to notice how that temper of yours affects me she shouted – this evil act of yours should drive it home hard.

This is not the time or place to bring up a subject of this kind he viciously replied.

I am in control of this situation so you will do as I say.

The car had come to a standstill at this point.

He kept the engine ticking over, I’m getting out to take a short walk and hopefully clear my head maybe you should do the same?

No she firmly replied, it is best you are on your own for a period, I’ll stay here and try and clean this mess up and sort out my own head.

Life had been a living hell for the past two years, she was only in the country a couple of months at the time she met him.

Soon after that he had her on the game – her illegal status lead her into this way of life.

His proposal was for his benefit only to enhance his bank balance by dangerously involving her in further illegal practices.

Her mind was scrambled as she sat in behind the wheel of the car – her life was to get further complicated by this action…

(c) Chris Black 2017.