Saturday, February 14, 2009

James Stewart Mulrooney to his Daughter Brigid

My friend Katie Daley wrote a poem about a 15-year-old in Ireland named Brigid Mulrooney, which was so wonderful she's never been able to escape from it entirely: in an odd way a blessing and a curse, I suppose.

In it, Brigid refers to her parents as tubby, or, if you will, "tooby."

I wrote this piece as a response from the perspective of Brigid's father.

If you want to know more about Katie, check out her web site.

You can find there an audio version of her poem about Brigid, which will help a great deal in deciphering the following.

James Stewart Mulrooney to his Daughter Brigid



“...don’t want ta be tooby like me ma

or me da...”

I’ll give the jung missus tubby?

“Paht yer hond on em anywhere”

Paht yer hond anywhere on me

and the next thing outta yer mouth’ll be a

stump speech, I guarantee thot.

Jung missus invitin’ the whole neighborhood to be

paht-in their honds on me.

Blamin’ me “gray whiskers and gray ways”

on me gray food. I got news for ya me darlin’.

There’s nuthin’ fer gray whiskers like a moonth fool a

past-midnights of cholicky screamin’ fer hours, and hours,

and hours on end: thar’s a revolutionary for ye,

snot nosed wailing and screamin and shriekin

from the moment she hit her crib.

And me gray work. Who’s she think poots the

mango orange and champagne booble spangles on her

dinner table? Think it cooms from the Gawd’s honest graces

of Mrs. Thatcher, and Mr. Major, or that free-trade poppinjay

Mr. Blair? There’s nuthin’ in Ireland for an honest Catholic

save work that’s grayer than Cleveland November.

Who exactly is it Brigid, who is it pays for those records by the

Beatles and Stevie “shooby-doooby-do-dah-“ Wonder?

What do you reckon its like for a collier working the graveyard

shift, with a daughter who’ll throw back her head

and unfurl her tongue for every Tom, Dick, and Harry

she mistakes for the second revolutionary coming

of Jaysis? For Charles Stewart Parnell’s sake,

the gair-rel would make luv to a Black and Tan.

No, Bridgy dear, it’s nawt Jaysis, but the where-ld ‘at has

“a tittilatin bit a nuthin draped across its altogether.”

It’s called childhood.

It’s called family.

For all we know, you could be at some trook stop datin’

Osama bin Laden, you could be George W. Bush’s private

circus tutor, and when the hurt cooms

we’d still be here waitin for ye

to pick ye oop,

and hug ye in the softest, toobiest, lovingest arms

this side of Paradise.

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