New Poem – Concrete Putty

Concrete Putty
by John O’Brien, Jr.

I see your angry eyes
and other things too
I see you walking down the hall,
single file
shadow your shadow
feet shuffling, eyes down
you won’t look right at me
but the defiance still rides on your back
weighing you down
a malignant cancer
eating away at the opportunity
that is life
I see your angry eyes
3D
against the brightly lit clean walls
so dead
those painted concrete walls, the same color your jumpsuit
Putty manifested in symbolism? necessity?
Coincidences are really machinations
and the concrete reflects the heat
I see your angry eyes
not reflected in the too cool shuffle
as your high bouncing shoulders
sharply contrast
with your shackle forced tiny steps
I see your angry eyes
the whispered anger comes from more than your shuffling feet
Insolent, sleepy, intentional or ingrained?
Are you even aware of it?
From behind, I feel those eyes again,
Disdainfully sweep over me
Yet when I turn, a half smile, a nod
can’t disinfect the disdain still in the air
I see your angry eyes
and I reach out my hand

Announcing the 2007 Festival Lineup:

Cleveland’s Irish Cultural Festival

Tommy Makem
Cherish the Ladies
Tommy Fleming
Liz Carroll & John Doyle
Johnny McEvoy

Jimmy Carton
John McDermott
Seven Nations
The Prodigals
Gaelic Storm

James Kilbane
Dermot Henry
Dublin City Ramblers
Brigid’s Cross
New Barleycorn

Brace Yourself Bridget
Brendan Shine
Michael O’Brien & Philomena McGovern
Dennis Doyle
Pete Kelly Ceili Band
Bruno’s Boys
The Kilroys
Mossy Moran

These are confirmed bookings to date, check the website, www.clevelandirish.org, for updates

Band Aid ’06

The Harp, a Cleveland area fixture known for great Irish food, music and craic, hosted Band Aid ’06, on December 16th, in benefit of staff member Sinead [Shin naid] Elbert, who was recently diagnosed with Stage III cervical cancer and faces a tough battle to overcome the disease and all the accompanying troubles the treatment brings. Although Sinead’s physician has given her a positive prognosis, she is facing a lengthy recovery time during which she is unable to work. This poses a real financial burden for Sinead, her husband, Seamus, and their four young children.

The proceeds Band Aid ’06 generated will help to defer some of the costs of medical expenses not covered by health insurance, childcare assistance and general household costs while she is unable to work. There was a silent auction featuring some great holiday gifts, sports memorabilia and tickets, gift certificates to shows, restaurants and vacations, jewelry and art, as well as a bounty of door prizes. In addition, some of The Harp’s favorite musical artists performed. Chris Allen, Walkin’ Cane, Tom Prebish, The Boys from County Hell, The Porter Sharks and Pitch the Peat kindly donated their time and talent, playing to an absolutely packed house.  The Harp also donated a percentage of beverage sales that night.  It was a fantastic night of fun, heartfelt prayers and active support for Sinead, but she is not yet out of the woods. If you would like to join those supporting Sinead and her family, please send all well wishes and financial donations (checks made out to Sinead) to:

Sinead Elbert
c/o The Harp
4408 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113

All our thoughts and prayers are with you Sinead, for strength, courage and a full recovery.  Your Cleveland family is here for you every step of the way.

A funny – You couldn’t make this stuff up

Subject: FW: ships passing in the night

You’ve Gotta Love the Irish! This is the  transcription of the ACTUAL radio conversation between the British and the Irish off the coast of Kerry, October 1998. Radio conversation released by the Chief of Naval Operations 10-10-98.

IRISH: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.
BRITISH: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.
IRISH: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.
BRITISH: This is the Captain of a British Navy Ship. I say again. Divert YOUR course.
IRISH: Negative. I say again, you will have to divert YOUR course. BRITISH: THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER H.M.S. BRITANNIA! THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE BRITISH ATLANTIC FLEET. WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY THREE DESTROYERS, THREE CRUISERS AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT VESSELS. I DEMAND YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES NORTH. I SAY AGAIN, THAT IS 15 DEGREES NORTH OR COUNTER MEASURES
WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS SHIP.
IRISH: We are a lighthouse……………….Your call.

Shake the Bones

Shake the Bones
by John O’Brien, Jr.

Christmas smells and sounds drift through the house.
The sun is shining brightly.  There is no snow
But the cold and wind shake the bones, the panes
Shudder and stress.  Sticks against the racing clouds
On the beautiful blue canvas of the half clear sky
Cinnamon and pine and the green, red and gold
Brightly tantalize the nose and the eyes.
Ave Maria, O Holy Night.  Tynan in my ears
Praise and wonder in my mind.
Regret not the confusion, the chaos and the urgency
Of preparation. Of Thanksgiving. Of Christmas.
Anything that can make people gather, exchange hugs,
kisses and handshakes, without an agenda.
That draws people together across miles, continents and anger
Is worth celebrating itself, let alone for the miracle that spawned it
Contact, in cards and letters and pictures sent, seeing old friends
Reunions, the healing power of hugs
The healing power of God
And they say they don’t see God at work in our world today.