• The Blue and White Magazine

Measure for Measure, April 2018

Now Open at 6 a.m. on Sundays Now look here fella, The Lord’s Day never gave me any trouble. None at all. I’d be up the there, right above the shop The cars would ebb in and out with the tide, Which I guess makes sense. All we really sell are towels and fishing lines. You see me and Liz sit above the shop there And find real peace in our sips of tea and sleepy decade-old arguments. It was real holy, like the fookin’ temple veil. I don’t know. Maybe in some pathetic way my temple veil will be torn down this Sunday When I disobey the Lord’s example and take up my tools of work. So I can keep the shop. Is that sacrilege? I think my mother would have thought so. Dad wouldn’t’ve given two shites. But he loved my mam far more than he loved the Lord you see? Kian! He’d say. Kian! You haven’t finished your dinner And by God if you disrespect your mam’s cooking like this you’ll feel an almighty wrath! I really believed that man would drag me through the streets of Dublin by my feckin’ ankles Just to sit me back down infront of my dinner. And now here I am fearing the Lord like I feared my father then. It’s madness for sure but my Lord’s day is for Scrabble and movies with Liz, Not the shop. But then there are those fellas I’ve been reading about in Australia right, Aborigine or something, Who never heard of the Lord before. They’ve no clue whatsoever. I bet they don’t quit the work on a Sunday. And now, I’ve been thinking about this a lot; Here I am, grieving over the loss of my holy day of rest and they’re over there Paying no fookin’ attention to this God of mine. They’ll just be living in some other way. They might not even have a name for Sunday. Their weeks might be like 32 days long or something. I can’t explain it, but it really gets to me, you know? And then there’s everything else. Now I know I’m here telling yous that the Lord’s day never gave me any trouble But really what does a few days in my life matter in the whole picture you know? I mean from what I understand things will just keep going when I’m gone. They’ll just keep going. Because time can’t just end, you know? Even if the Lord takes mercy on my soul and gives me heaven, I’ll be there Watching things just go on And probably thinking I should’ve slept in on every bloody Sunday I ever lived. Probably thinking “Christ! What happens now?” Probably preferring a fear of nothingness to a fear of endlessness, I don’t know. But yeah anyway, We’ll be open at 6.a.m on Sunday’s now.

— Frank Baring

Our Appointment We managed to secure a time for Two drinks before our friends arrived. I wanted to see them as well but It was important to me – our appointment. I always enjoyed the way you wouldn’t Let me get away from you for too long, Even at school. I think you noticed an absence of me And decided to correct it. This was no different. You had heard I was back from America from someone And made sure I was there at that bar with you. Tilting our heads back to laugh and drink I felt proud of us old friend. We’d made it out of school, Five years of a twisted marriage, Door to door, wall to wall, lesson to lesson. We’d made it to that table. You said I looked older. You didn’t really care about what America was like You were just happy we could still do this, This precious ritual of ours.

— Frank Baring

Some Kind of

I saw a woman with your hair today – tried to grab it, keep it. Dim the lights, comb my hair, pile up the pillows at the foot of the bed. Rest my feet in your lap. Thinking about hair is confusing – when I was little everyone tried to say that “hair is dead.” It was one of those little-known-widely-known facts that grubby third-graders whipped out on the playground. Thursday I remembered it: I asked a friend “is hair dead?” but this time it was new again, and I was prepared to be stunned. He shrugged. Told me “kind of.” My new room is darker than last year’s. When I pull down the shades it’s kind of hard to see the pillows. They look less lumpy, less fabricated. I place a foot on your lap. The place where your hair should be looks better than ever. Mom told me that when she was pregnant she began to lose hair from the stress. The circle of life is similar to a bald spot or a pregnant belly. Hair is dead kind of and yet it is the easiest trace of life or DNA. The pink sheets on my bed look brown and the floral pillow that forms your head makes no sense. “What’s that, nana?” I ask the foot of my bed. “Your hair looks like a mushroom” he said to you. “You’re just jealous that I have hair.” This is what it means to be a lover, to be loved. To be scrutinized. I wonder if papa piles up his pillows too. In a new room – darker than last year without you. A room you never knew. He told me that he shat the bed last night. He told me that he found a hair of yours in his watchband. It’s hard to make short hair look formal. I forgot to pack a hairbrush, but mom didn’t fuss for once. We all looked like you in that moment as they led us into the room with your casket. I imagined looking in and finding a pile of floral pillows. Papa looked in, lost. They had brushed your hair so straight, so shiny. “That isn’t her,” he said, “that doesn’t look anything like her.” —Bernadette Bridges

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