Saturday, February 14, 2015

Waiting in the car

Rain Street  is probably 80% Main Street, Roscommon  and I'm a child waiting in the car while my mother is 'getting the messages'; 20% some Dublin street back in the 60's.

I've tried to catch the scene a number of times in different poems, but have never succeeded. There are differences between  then and now,  mainly in the lighting. Back then a fairly basic pub might have a bare 100 watt bulb lighting the bar, it gave a tea-coloured glow through the rain, a single customer might be hunched over a pint of Guinness. A barber's might have a neon strip light; through the window you would see the barber clipping away in hard enamel white.

And, of course, most parking was on the street, a street of small shops, so a number of shopkeepers could be watched going through their paces: the butcher in bloodied white, grocer in his  brown coat, the be-suited, hush-puppied draper. 

For a while the rippling reflections of  neon signs and street lights  would  engage a 10 year old, people flashed from doorway to doorway, collars up like Hollywood gangsters; as a local, I knew the cast, I knew the conversations, rain threw them into an altogether new focus. Later, however,  the fogged up windows reduced the view to a peep hole in the condensation, and boredom was never far behind that.

   Rain Street

   Down the street
   rain lights running
   drizzling concrete        
   sizzling lake.
   Flashes red flashes
   running in rivulets
   yachting cartons
   crowd in a grate.
   Umbrella shadows
   with foot halo splashes
   shirt collar drippings
   shoes under siege.
   Gutters play bongos
   for galvanize tappers
   tyres make clashes
   spangling streams.
   And faces in windows
   unravel down panes
   their cigarettes burning
   their signature stains.
   Then squinting bus queue
   like socks on a line
   become runaway legs
         legs like twine

No comments: