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New Year’s Eve

A quiet night
at the fag-end of the year
as ghost estates pile misery
on a half-dead country.
The roads are blocked;
speculators’ placards
sit in clumps of nettles
on Main Street, Anywhere.
We listen to a broadcast
about carnage on the roads,
about negative equity,
foreign-sounding executives
riding over the hill
to bail out corrupt bankers
and punish the rest of us
for their sins.
Meanwhile the snow falls down
on roads that are impassable,
pipes cracking under the sudden thaw
as Mrs McCarthy drags herself
to a shopping mall
that may or may not be open,
three shivering children in tow.

I am sitting at a party
in Ballsbridge, boring a hole
in the ear of a bore
who used to know me
from a previous incarnation
when things like books,
or pathetic fallacies –
‘Look! The snow is in sympathy
with our plight!’
meant something to me.
His wife makes sheep’s eyes
at me, at a hip flask
of brandy that I hide
with half-guilt and half-glee
as I continue to apologise
for an indulgence
that is necessary
to get me through
this purgatorial night.

The fireworks start up
as witching hour descends
and we hug near-strangers
reluctantly
and sing out of tune
and dance
out of step.
We gaze out
at the frozen landscape
and listen to a voice telling us
the snow will continue
a voice telling us
another drug death has taken place
another road death
another case of sexual abuse
another teenage suicide
because nobody believes
in values anymore
or gods or priests
or even newsreaders
and more snow is promised
and the houses look bereft
as they squat beneath the ghost
of last week’s chill

and the rain hints.

Aubrey Malone

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One response »

  1. Blimey. Glad you weren’t at my new year’s eve party! I prescribe a course of naked dancing, to be performed vigorously every morning for 15 minutes in front of the mirror. Finish with a loud cry of ‘Hello World’ and then set about the day.

    Reply

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