Here are three entries of Erica’s from In the District, documenting life in County Tipperary. Erica Van Horn has a remarkable, dry, and moving way of documenting her life and presence in Ireland.
See bottom for link to her highly recommended Living Locally diary. We are extremely pleased to be able to bring you these entries/ excerpts.
In the District pt. 1
Several places locally have signs out front advertising Dental Repairs. These are often houses in the middle of the countryside. I presume there is a workshop in a shed or in a spare room. If the sign reads WHILE U WAIT, there must be a waiting area where the person in need of repair can sit quietly while they wait for their dentures to be fixed. Maybe some people drop off their teeth and return later to collect them. Maybe they have a spare, older set at home or maybe they are happy to spend the day toothless.
I never see one these repair places without thinking of an arranged meeting with elderly friends at a pub some years ago. They wanted to buy us a meal to thank us for something we had done. They thought it would be more special if we ate out somewhere. Mostly, I think the woman was longing to be somewhere other than at her own table for a change. She was longing to eat some food which she had not prepared herself.
The food was the usual sort of out to lunch on a Sunday fare, except of course it was called dinner, not lunch. It is only myself who would call it lunch. Here, lunch is dinner, and dinner is tea. There was some kind of roast meat and roast potatoes and boiled potatoes and mashed potatoes, along with a selection of overcooked vegetables.
While I sat stunned, looking at the enormous mound of food on my plate, the wife nudged me. She wanted to explain why she was removing her teeth and placing them in her handbag. She wanted to explain before the teeth were out of her mouth. She said that the local man who did dental repairs charged too much, so her son had done her repairs for her. He had used Super Glue, which I am sure was never intended to be inside a human mouth. Her son did a thorough job. She was delighted with the repairs and the money saved, even though she now had to take her teeth out before she could eat anything at all.
Continue reading ~ Erica Van Horn – In the District →
Two new poems and three pieces of art – a Retort exclusive by poet, translator & artist Mark Terrill
The Man from Monterey
Bonjour Monsieur Sartre
People who love people who hate other people
often look up and see the woman in the moon.
They think that with the right cameras and mirrors
they might begin to discover who they really are,
perhaps understand the furtive semblance
toward which they cleave in their rented rooms
in the nouvelle régime. People who love people
who hate Sartre might not know that he liked to dine
at Maître Albert, Les Marronniers, Le Balzar
and the Brasserie Demory. Only people who have
actually been there know that the
temperature of the sidewalk is only of significance
when your face is being pressed down against it by
some asshole in a black leather jacket
who thinks he knows the true meaning of freedom.
Continue reading ~ Art & Poetry by Mark Terrill →
Literature, Short Stories
SOMEDAY MY PRINCE WILL COME
I had been in Douglas Psychiatric Center for several weeks, and it was during the October crisis in 1970. My friend Alex Duarte had gotten a day pass to take me out for a walk. It was a few weeks after the actual crisis and Alex took me out that morning to see all the Canadian soldiers occupying the city. The sky was gray, there was a cold breeze, and no one on the streets. We went near Montreal city hall, and there were troops stationed with machine guns all around the building. They were in uniform, wearing battle gear but there was no battle. It was what Trudeau called an ‘‘apprehended insurrection,’’ and the province of Quebec was under arrest, under the War Measures Act. At every government building, there were soldiers standing erect, at attention position.
It was a Sunday morning, and behind city hall, near the metro station, we were walking around thinking over what had transpired. I was all screwed up on largactyl, on a massive dose of neuroleptic medication, when we bumped into a few comrades of mine from the Front de libération du Québec, girls and guys, maybe four or five of them, whom I had met that fall while going to demonstrations and riots and attending cell meetings. They were perhaps twenty years old. I was twenty-one, and when they saw how frozen I looked from the shoulders on up, one of the ladies said to me, ‘‘Y t’ont pas manqué, hein?’’ which would translate as ‘‘they really nailed you to a cross, eh?’’ I was telling them that I was a patient in the College and was out on a day pass. I could barely talk. Society was brainwashing me. If the doctors couldn’t give me a lobotomy, they reached the same effect of total compliance by injecting me with massive doses of medication. There was no apprehended insurrection in sight, only soldiers paranoid as hell and expecting a jack-in-the-box to spring out of the sidewalks.
Continue reading ~ SOMEDAY MY PRINCE WILL COME by Robert M Smith →
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