In Search of My Father 2017 Writing Project

In Search of My Father 2017 Writing Project
In Search of My Father, 2017 writing project supported by The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. January 2018, this potential book project is in development.

Monday, 19 February 2018


I’ve had bad days but not as bad as John J. Macreedy’s in Black Rock,
a day for him that began as he stepped off a train and into a world of secrets and lies,
isolated place of menace led by Reno Smith and his heavies, Hector David and Coley Trimble.
Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine got on with their day 
and I went to work in a bleak and miserable period of bad day after bad day after bad day.

We were a ‘respect for the individual’ company, modern American guru claptrap, 
mouthed by old-school bosses who really couldn’t give a toss about changing.
Why change for the sake of change? After all, the old bark and bite ways worked.
“Just bloody well do your job, or else!” 

Big bully boss-boys and, sometimes, girls dressed themselves in the morning 
with a sneer, a grimace, ready to belittle, begrudge, be a bastard or bitch 
because that was their fun, that was ego in top gear. 
“JFDI!” “Just fuckin’ do it! Do you hear me? Do you hear?"

A mantra behind the wafer-thin curtain of culture, a workplace on paper 
that looked like Disney cartoons, wholesome, encouraging, celebratory and proud.
Away from the bullshit, smeared on wall posters, on pocket-size leaflets, on badges 
and message pads, stone-faced business tyrants - Renos, Hectors, Coleys 
- underestimated us Macreedys. “JFDI!” they’d bawl, “JFDI!” LOUD.

Until one of our number, hit back, just like John J. -

“You're not only wrong. You're wrong at the top of your voice.”

Sunday, 18 February 2018


well look at you
at a beach somewhere
with your mates
but it’s you
the only one looking at the camera
better than a movie star
and get those sunglasses
cool in the forties
was he the camera man
was it him
at what stage
and there’s a snap
of the two of you
acting the lig
you in a flared skirt
white blouse
bobby socks
sensible shoes
him in a jerkin
suit trousers
and bicycle clips
must have been
one of your epic jaunts
out to the coast
and one of you flanked
by two girlfriends
I’m reckoning New Lodge Road
O’Kane’s pub window
one on the left looking stern
you and the other one smiling
there are more pics
many more in my head
a forever gallery
without you and him
I wouldn’t be here

especially without you

Friday, 16 February 2018


not long after Granny Rachel died
at 77
from bronchopneumonia
and general debility
her brass candlesticks disappeared
(we’re talking heavy solid brass here)
the ones from either side
of the fireplace
two big
two medium
two small
taken by family members
I could name
but what would be the point
of grassing up relatives
who are also long gone
no dates
no ages
and I wonder what happened
to the candlesticks
after they passed away
taken by other relatives perhaps
sold to an antiques dealer
gathering dust in an attic
what a thought
Granny Rachel always aproned-up
with cloth and Brasso to hand
made those candlesticks gleam
and it occurs to me
as I think back
to Saturday afternoon visits
I never saw a candle in them
candles were for churches
candlesticks ornamented her humble home
by the fireplace
along with a combination set
and her bag of snuff and nose-rags

Thursday, 15 February 2018



the kid got blasted
by Ethan’s furious anger
what do you want me to do
draw you a picture
spell it out
don’t ever ask me
long as you live
don’t ever ask me more‘
and all the kid wanted to know
was did they……
was she……
and Ethan stabbed the ground
with a knife
and stabbed it again
and again
and again
as if murdering the earth
provided closure
after he found the girl
and worse
after he wrapped her in his coat
after he buried her
with his bare hands
his insides twisted by loathing
his heart thumping with rage
his blood pumping with revenge
his head promising a reckoning
so on to find them
ever restless searcher
and on finding them
to kill them
and on killing them
to shoot out their eyes
to deny them sight of the spirit-land
to force their black souls
to wander the afterlife
and ever

and ever