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Life Coaching

Dragging feet on midnight tiles,
The drag of a fag’s last quarter inch,
Eyelids tilt over powder-dry eyes,
Bus doors encapsulate night crowds.

A saturated Luas, saturated with gazers
Penetrating windows with dark open pupils,
Traffic, lopsided, peers at city lights.
My lopsided head on the bus window pane;
Just resting.

Office spaces, vacant but lit, lighting
A river, wide, spanned by bridges,
Two young waiters, stand but sit
Against a riverbank wall, a financial institution.

It’s smoking-lounge weather, warm and fresh.
A breeze to fill lungs, but not to prevent,
The lighting of a smoke
Immortalising mortality.

Lounge bars, red-signed, distinctive,
Expect dawn to shine some light on ambiguity,
Like referendum posters,
Unjustifi’bly certain.

So late crowds swarm, some move,
Some stagnant, smoking-talking,
Business women power walk,
A high-heeled evening work-out;

More crowd the bus, which shakes,
Slightly smoother with each new addition,
Except of the slightly drunk,
Visible in dark, due to banter.

Apartment plainness, surrounds
An advertising billboard,
Makes previously unnoticeable
Hen party perfume, become potent.
Standing-in-bus women aren’t so hot,
Alch’mists of alc’hol and perfume.
They would were they where I am,
Left leg compressed, against the radiator,

How few words could describe my surroundings?
Intangibility, the ether of life,
I make it sound like there’s a lower limit, limits,
Upper and lower, coincide; No number.
Moving out of town, I see a void,
Void of human presence, absence.
Emigration is over for the night,
Bus stops deserted, awaiting local immigrants,
And later, the perching
Of morning’s early-birds.

Traffic lights seem green at night,
The city ruled by taxis.
Some late workers, homecoming,
To loved ones, temporarily dormant.
Meanwhile, they’ve fatigue to fight,
Armed only with mints,
Radio repeats, coffee
Or coke to wash it down.

“The boyfriend’s from Kill”,
A conversation killer
From a girl just behind?
Overenthusiastic responses
From the chap who’s adjacent,
Mentally breathless from a body-blow.
A sustainable conversation,
Without ever, really, taking off.

Final sounds to my ears before sleep.


Rónán Mac Shamhráin


Luas – Dublin’s light urban rail system
Kill – A small town in Kildare, 25 km south-west of Dublin City

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