The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Saturday, July 26, 2008

russian soul in irish cafe

Friday, July 25, 2008

the end of the affair

This in my inbox from the Russian bombshell:

"Hey James,
I've just been reading your website and especially the sitemeter. Here's the information it has recorded about my visit.
Continent: Asia.
Country: Russian Federation.
Region: Moscow City.
City: Moscow.
Latitude/Longitude: 55.7522/37.6156
Language: Russian.
James, do you notice anything strange in that info?

Well bold readers.
What is she trying to tell me?
I immediately texted her on the mobile phone: "Irina, Are we okay?"
She texted back: "What do you mean?"
I texted: "You're not Asian are you?"
She answered: "Tragically, I don't know what to think."
My finely honed instincts (about gorgeous Russian artists) told me there was more to this surrealistic exchange than met the eye.
I checked the stat counter.
It showed what articles she'd been reading.
One of the articles had provoked written comments, which I allowed to be published, from a professorial British academic. The chap was a thoroughly anti-American opponent of the war on terror, based at a College in London.
While rebutting his remarks, I may inadvertently have mentioned Russia once or twice in a less than positive manner.
The original article and comments appear in glorious technicolour below.


An Open Letter To Sky News
Dear Skybollah.
I caught one of your reports tonight from Afghanistan. It was a most intense report. Your journalist was well nigh babbling with excitement. He said: "There's been a spectacular Taliban attack on an American base."
He sounded incredibly enthusiastic.
Is it possible Sky that some of your reporters and editorial staff are actually rooting for the terrorists in this war?
It sounded that way.
Your journalist continued: "In this dramatic attack the Taliban have shown again what they are capable of."
Ah yes.
He was really excited, wasn't he?
Why, it was almost sexual.
So what exactly had happened in Afghanistan?
The Taliban in their spectacular attack had managed to kill nine American soldiers.
It's not exactly the D Day landings, is it Sky?
We lost thousands of heroes on D Day in order to defeat Nazi terror.
I've got to ask you again.
Are you people actually supporting Al Qaeda in this war? In you anxiety to discredit President Bush, have you finally decided to throw in your lot with the Islamists?
That's what it looks like to me.
I would describe your reporting style, not just this evening but over the past seven years, as Cheerleading For The Jihadi's.
You're not alone of course. CNN and NBC and CBS and the BBC and Time Magazine and Newsweek and the abysmal Associated Press and the Nazi channel Al Jazeera do it as well.
But it's still abysmally shameful behaviour.
Nine Americans died today and you people reported the news in tones of self righteous ringing triumph.
For those of us who listened to your Lord Haw Haw report long enough there was eventually some vague muted mention of "heavy" Taliban losses.
The Taliban kill nine soldiers. On the same day they lose hundreds of their own terrorist killers. And you people are ready to surrender to them?
Impeach Bush, eh Sky?
You horrendous traitorous bastards.
Yours faithfully,
James Healy.


Roger Tidy:
You seem to have forgotten that Al Qaeda was originally armed and sponsored by the CIA in order to destabilise and destroy the first decent government that Afghanistan ever had, i.e. one that was dedicated to healthcare, education and progress, including education and equality for women. If America had learnt the lessons of Vietnam and restrained from interfering in Afghanistan, that country would not be in the mess it is in today and there would be no Al Qaeda, no Taliban, and no American troops coming home in coffins.

Heelers replied:
Hey Rodge.
Your points are utterly irrelevant to the point I made about Sky News cheerleading for Islamic terrorists.
Your statement that America armed Al Qaeda is an arrant manipulative falsehood.
Your statement that the Taliban was the first decent government Afghanistan every had is a cretinism.
Your statement that the Taliban were concerned for healthcare, women's equality, and education, is a grotesque lie.
Your reference to the Americans coming home in coffins reads like clapped out 1960's Soviet agit prop. (You like the 1960's, don't you Rodge?)
Your reference to Vietnam ditto.
Americans have come home in coffins from lots of places. Western Europe is free today because of that fact.
As for Vietnam, do you really think Vietnam was better off because the Americans withdrew from it?
How progressive of you.
How utterly enlightened.
How very Channel Four.

Genevieve from Tennesee said:
James. Thanks for posting about this.

Heelers replied:
Thanks Gen.
I thought it was worth saying. The main stream media are in denial.
And they are giving succour to the Jihadi's.

Roger Tidy said:
You miss the point, James. It must be because of your lack of knowledge concerning Afghan history.
I was not praising the Taliban as the best government that Afghanistan ever had. You are adding two and two and making five.
What I was pointing out is that America armed and encouraged Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other conservative guerrilla groups to destabilise the PREVIOUS Afghan government, which was a socialist government dedicated to education, the rights of women and social progress.
My only mistake was presuming that you would know enough about Afghan history to be aware that the Taliban came AFTER the socialist government and that, supported by America and the West, it then proceeded to undo all of the previous government's good work, including education and equality for women.
It is a historical fact that Al Qaeda was supported by America when it took up arms against the socialist government of Afghanistan. In so doing, America sowed the wind and reaped a whirlwind.
Finally, my point about Vietnam is correct. If America had learned from its defeat there, it would not have interfered in Afghanistan, it would not have made the mistake of supporting Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and its creature Al Qaeda would not have turned against it with tragic consequences on 9/11.

Heelers replied:
No Rodge.
The point you think I missed, was a point you didn't really make.
You now say you meant to eulogise the Afghan government that came before the Taliban and not to eulogise the Taliban itself.
Right Rodge.
What government was that then?
You're still being a little less than honest in failing to make it clear.
When you refer to an Afghan government dedicated to healthcare, education, and equality for women, surely you can't mean...
Surely not...
Ha, ha, ha.
Let me get this right.
You now wish to extol the virtues of the proxy government installed by the Russians when they invaded Afghanistan in 1979?
Ha, ha, ha.
It's just incredible Rodge.
I've heard many justifications for the Russian communist jackboot.
Many justifications for eighty years of Russian expansionism all over the world.
Rarely has anyone had the neck to justify this Russian mania for conquest in the name of women's rights.
Congratulations Rodge.
A new low.
As for America arming Al Qaeda.
Tom Hanks would be proud of you.
But that's not history.
1960's stuff Rodge.
Like the tosh talk about Vietnam.
Do you know what the glorious socialist freedom fighting North Vietnamese communists did to South Vietnam after the Americans left? Have you bothered to find out?
America didn't get beaten in Vietnam, humanity did.
No really.
And finally Rodge.
America provided some support for the Afghan resistance after the Russians tried to grab that country overnight in 1979.
And the lonely goatherd (Bin Laden) did indeed attach himself to the that resistance. But that surely doesn't invalidate the principle of resistance to Russian communism in itself.
Not for most of us anyway.
Let us recap your most saliently invidious point.
That the Russians invaded Afghanistan in 1979 in the name of women's rights.
You have a neck Rodge.
Long life to you.

Roger Tidy said:
James, I'm afraid your enthusiasm for polemic vastly outshines your ability in the art of political discourse. Nevertheless I'll try and spare a few moments to put you on the right track.
First, it is rather odd for someone who opposes "Russian" (i.e. Soviet) intervention in Afghanistan to support American intervention in Vietnam, which, as President Eisenhower admitted, was designed to ensure that the planned elections to unify the country would not take place (it was widely expected that the communists would win). Have you not heard of the 1954 Geneva Agreement?
And did you know that the war against Americans in Vietnam was fought by native South Vietnamese as much as by their fellow countrymen in the north? The notion, popular American propaganda at the time, that the fighting was due to an invasion from the north is as absurd as that other common theme of the time that the civil rights movement in the South of the USA was caused by 'outside agitators coming down from the universities of the north.'
Second, I did not say I supported Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. I'm against any aggression by one country against another. I'm suprised that you, as an Irishman, appear not to agree with me on that point. The Soviet intervention in Afghanistan was a disaster and should not have taken place. However the Soviets did not set up a socialist government. Such a government was already in existence. Soviet intervention came after a faction of the ruling party staged a coup against another and invited the Soviets in.
Thirdly, I think you are far too cavalier in dismissing such virtues as healthcare, education and female emancipation. The people who opposed such reforms in Afghanistan were the most reactionary and obscurantist elements of that society and, as later events have testified, it was a profound mistake for America to support them.
Finally, your reference to "eighty years of Russian expansionism" is poor history. Have you not heard of the Russian Empire under the Tsar? Were not the Tsars also guilty of expansionism and for much longer than the eighty years you mention.

Heelers replied:
(Old Bean.)
My enthusiasm for polemic and my Irishness notwithstanding...
If you think putting the word "intervention"after an American action, and putting the word "intervention" after a Russian soviet era communist action, if you think merely using the word "intervention" to describe both of them makes them both the same, if you seriously think the word itself puts the American actions in liberating Europe from the Nazis, liberating Iraq from the Saddam family murderocracy, and liberating Afghanistan from the hideous Arab playboy juvenile delinquents of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, if you think using the same word puts essentially heroic American actions on a similar plain to sundry Russian interventions in exporting communist bastardies to Eastern Europe, South America, Africa and Asia, if you think writing "intervention" to describe America's liberation of countries reduces such liberation to the level of Russia's pissant peasant communist fetish for usurpation, conquest and impoverishment, if you really think that, Roger... I cannot help you.
If you truly think the people of South Vietnam wanted to be ruled by their North Vietnamese invaders and by the Chinese and Russian communist dictatorships who sponsored those invaders, if you really think this, if you honestly believe the South Vietnamese themselves fought the Americans, Roger... I cannot help you.
And if you genuinely think my rejection of the Russians' attempted piracy against the independent nation of Afghanistan in 1979 is tantamount to rejecting education, healthcare and women's rights, not only can I not help you, but I suspect gentle Roger... you are beyond help.
PS: The correspondence regarding Sky News' quisling internecine propaganda in favour of the Taliban and Al Qaeda is now closed.


Epic stuff eh folks?
Of course I chickened out at the end.
The Brit academic really had me rattled.
You could tell I was scared.
That old Times of London gag: "The correspondence is closed."
That's me chickening out.
It's the internet equivalent of: "I'm taking my ball and going home."
(Taking my blog and going home, surely? - Ed note.)
Looking for a technical knock out.
The debate is over.
Therefore I won!
In many ways, gentle readers, I am a small man.
And the Russian bombshell had read the whole thing.
Do you think she might have taken my light hearted asides on Russian communism to heart?
Surely she knows I say those sorts of things to all the appeasers.
My pro-American stylings are not to be taken seriously.
Not when weighed against her lissom loveliness and luminescent golden hair.
Her very existence, bold readers, her very existence must have been called forth on a day when God had decided to show just how far he could go in creating pure beauty.
Well you know.

Before bed tonight I emailed her.

Not one of my sublimely argued opinions, not one of my magnificent intellectual insights, not one of my glorious ringing elucidations of genesis and catastrophe in the fate of nations, not one of them I say, is as important to me as my vague acquaintanceship with you.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

sense and sensibility

The Hopkins poetry festival is underway in a nearby town.
It has attracted the usual international coterie of students and university professors to our rural abode.
Among the visitors is my old friend the Rose of the Orient.
Today I am walking with her through the Hill Wood in Monasterevin.
Rose is China's leading professor of 19th century English poetry.
She has a stern forbidding intellect.
But the rest of her is very nice indeed.
So nice in fact, that every inebriate in the Republic of Ireland seems to want to latch on.
At academic parties the more decrepit the Paddy Whack professors, the more likely are their hands to go accidentally a roving over the fine topographical contours of the Rose of the Orient.
I have never gone out with a really pretty girl before so I find this behaviour most unedifying.
I am developing a mathematical theory to describe it.
The theory goes: The sexually delusional behviour of the squares on the hypoteneuse is directly proportional to the sum of the opposite angles on my girlfriend's gajungas.
The equation has some flaws but it's basically sound.
So here we are lost in the woods.
No really we are.
I parked the car.
We rambled.
And now we're lost.
She doesn't know it yet and is enjoying the stroll, because I am still insisting I know precisely where we are.
Which is sort of true.
I know we're lost in the woods.
The talk turns to one of those decrepit Irish professors I mentioned earlier.
"Ronnie Fothergill has offered to help me with my thesis on Yeats," the Rose informs me.
I look briefly aghast.
Ronnie Fothergill is professor of English at some odious five hundred year old college in the west country.
The college is nearly as old as he is.
"He's going to help you with your thesis," I murmur bitterly. "Is that what he calls it? No doubt his ulterior motives will soon become apparent to you, poor innocent girl that you are."
"It's not like that," says Rose.
I stand stock still beneath the flowering greenwode tree.
"Helping with the thesis is an Irish ephemism for sex," I proclaim bluntly. "We say it at parties. We say it at dances. We say it in the streets. It has only one possible meaning. And it's got nothing to do with helping with your thesis."
She shakes her intellectual head.
"No," she says, "he's very genuine. What you don't realise James is that he only has a year to live."
"I think you'll find he feels better in the morning," I reply darkly.
"He is a good man," avers the Rose.
This is too much.
"Ronnie Fothergill is a limb of Satan," I cry. "No. He's not a limb. He's not as important as a limb. He's a toe. Ronnie Fothergill is Satan's big toe."
"You really think he's insincere?" wonders Rose.
The leaves are shimmering all around us.
"Oh come on Rose," sez I, "we've all used that line. I won't live another year,but just one night of love with you e're I die..."
We wander off through the woods.
Along the sun dappled walkways of this leaf fringed heaven, I can see no shadow of another parting.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

eve of the war

franny and pip
sitting in a tree
kay eye ess ess eye en jee

the children are mocking two
who toy with mysteries
in shadow and in light
the day saffrons into darkness
the darkness into night
and the night prophesies
a thousand sunsets in the desert

my last hope
caught in the downflow
of starlight into sky
only this
frances and philip
and their kiss

Monday, July 21, 2008

i've got to get back to bahrain tonight

Evening at the Chateau de Healy.
I am sitting in the front room watching the goggle box.
(Heelers means the television. - Ed note.)
MC Hamster is at the bars of her cage doing her Prisoner Cell Block H routine.
That is to say she's clutching the bars with her little hamster hands and staring at me fixedly.
"No way hamster," I tell her. "I'm not buying it. If I take you out of that cage, you'll just start scrambling all over the place, and there'll be bites, and holes in jumpers, and it's just not happening. I'm watching Mother Angelica Live Classics."
Mother Angelica is an insane nun on the Catholic channel EWTN.
I like to watch her programme as it encourages me to question the nature of reality.
The main question being: If we live in a finite universe of logical laws and boundaries, how the hell did this woman end up on television?
I've been exploring my boundaries with Mother Angelica for ten years.
The fascination shows no sign of waning.
MC Hamster doesn't stir during my heartfelt speech from the armchair rejecting her appeal for early release.
She just keeps looking at me with that poignant accusatory hamster stare.
It's most unsettling.
Paddy Pup is at my feet.
No one else is present.
The other members of the Healy family are attending a glittering soiree at the ducal palace.
I experience a brief feeling of peace perfect peace.
Except for the nagging guilt about keeping Hammikins incarcerated, I am as relaxed a greatest poet of a generation as you are ever likely to find.
Abruptly Paddy Pup runs to the door and starts barking.
Enter my priesting brother Pete stage left.
He's just arrived on a flying visit from his parish in Dublin.
He plonks down in an armchair.
I am happy to see him as there's something I want to discuss.
We begin one of those great brotherly chats.
In discrete confidential tones I tell him about my new career plans.
"I'm going to become a courier," sez I.
"What, you mean like those guys on the motor bikes?" sez Pete struggling to control his eye brows.
I shake my handsome acneed ulcerated head.
"No," I explain. "I was thinking more of the sort of courier who brings a bag of diamonds from Geneva to New York. Imagine the life style I'd have. After making the delivery, I'd spend two weeks in New York before flying on to Tokyo, maybe with a case of banking documents. I'd deliver that and then have a little holiday in Tokyo, before flying back to London to deliver a few gold ingots or something. Wouldn't it be great?"
Padre Peter looks at me sagely.
"Good luck with that," sez he with an air of pontifical finality.
The brotherly counsel is over.
We turn our attention to Mother Angelica.
Mother Angelica is musing aloud almost absent mindedly:
"Many people come to me all upset. They say: It's not the sin I find so hard to accept. I wouldn't mind if someone else had done it. I know I could forgive them. It's just that I did it myself. I still can't believe I could commit such a sin. I just can't understand how I would do such a thing. And I tell them, look, you did it..."
These words struck most keenly upon the heart of the mighty Heelers.
Well, well, well.
It seems Mother Angelica has been greatly misunderstood.
Mainly by me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

inn of the seventh happiness

Woke this morning with the jaw more swollen than ever.
A fascinating array of mouth ulcers on my tongue.
Six at least.
Another actually balancing itself on my lip.
Also a smattering of acne on my cheeks and chin.
Teenage acne at the age of 42.
What a merry awakening.
I wondered briefly what could be the cause of these symptoms.
Maybe the drugs Doctor Barn has put me on for the jaw have produced a side effect with the ulcers.
And the acne might be the result of worrying to much.
But what on earth have I got to worry about?
Aside from my jaw and mouth ulcers.
Of course.
I was due to meet the Rose of the Orient at the airport in a couple of hours.
I have no romantic designs on her.
At least none that I know about.
On the other hand I haven't seen her in two years and if I'm subconsciously worrying about the reunion, then bingo, that would explain the acne.
It seemed clear as I struggled out of bed that whatever romantic designs the Rose of the Orient might still have on me, would evaporate as soon as she walked through the Arrivals door.
Let me put it this way.
My handsome preraphaelite features were not at their best.
Vanity thy name is James.
Still as long as she didn't actually recoil in horror, what did I care.
I wandered up to the kitchen muttering "the bells, the bells," to myself.
Paddy Pup joined me for breakfast.
"You've had your last kiss from me dog," I told him accusingly. "You and that bloody hamster. Look at the pimples you've given me. You've no hygiene, that's your problem."
The great jungle beast thumped his tail and prodded me with his snout for a biscuit.
I gave him one.
It's always nice when he pays me the compliment of asking first before scarfing food off the table.
Robin arrived at the window, seeking and finding madeira cake crumbs.
My spirits rose slowly as dawn flooded the garden.
And lo bold readers.
Within an hour I was standing cheery, dapper, and ulcerated, in the Arrivals hall at Dublin airport.
You should know this.
Dublin airport is a most Irish airport.
It's a ten time winner of the annual Salvador Dali award for Surrealism in Transport Management.
It is the home of absolute Paddy Whackery.
When I got there on Saturday, every computer in the place had shut down.
There was no information on the screens to tell you what planes had landed or departed.
Busy airport staff strode up and down on vital incomprehensible errands.
I asked a member of staff how I'd find out if my friend's plane had landed.
"There's no information," she said, "because all the planes have crashed."
I turned white as a sheet.
My swollen jaw dropped.
She left me there.
It was another full minute before I realised she'd said "screens," not "planes."
Then the lights went out.
I kid you not.
The terminal building was plunged into darkness.
Okay, okay.
Not quite darkness.
There was still some wan luminescence from the chocolate bar dispensing machines.
When the lights came back on, five minutes later, I was face to face with the Rose of the Orient.
She'd just come through the Arrivals door.
I need not have worried.
It was a glad reunion.
Like something out of a multi cultural Wuthering Heights.
My physical state caused her no apparent discombobulation at all.
We spent the day together.
Bliss was it, etc etc.
But I ask you gentle travellers of the internet.
Are all modern girls only interested in one thing?
Talking about the war on terror.
She was insatiable.
Non stop for five hours.
Accusing Mr Bush of this, America of that, and Great Britain of the other.
She's lovely but for crying out loud...
As far as I can make out, the only people she thinks aren't resonsible for Nine Eleven are Osama Bin Laden and those jolly old murdering Arab scum of Al Qaeda.
Blah, blah, blah.
I'm telling you folks.
This war has been hard on all of us.
In recent times I've been thrown out of Sarah Brebion's apartment for accusing France of kowtowing to Islamic fascism. I've been verbally eviscerated by little Alejandra Sanchez in a Starbucks in downtown Madrid for suggesting Zapatero is the Spanish word for coward. (Memo to Self: No more debates with Spanish people about anything.) And I've lost a day of my life crossing swords with the Rose of the Orient on similar matters as described above.
Whatever the CIA is paying me, it ain't enough.
Yes the Rose of the Orient was interested in one thing alright.
But surely there are women out there with broader interests.
A bit of slap and tickle would be nice to begin with.
Just for a change.