Seamus Scanlon is the librarian at City College Downtown (www.ccny.cuny.edu/cwe). He is a working class writer who examines our ambiguity towards violence. His Fish flash fiction winner The Long Wet Grass, (2011) based on The Disappeared in Northern Ireland,found resonance with many people. Drama versions followed with performances in
New York, Galway, Hastings (UK) and the Japanese language version in Tokyo (www.mcgowantrilogy.com) in 2018.
Recent achievements include Beauty Curse in the 2022 Fish Anthology; the bilingual performance of The Long Wet Grass in the Green Oasis Garden, NYC (2021); Waiting for the Sea in Cry of the Poor (Culture Matters, 2021), the radio play version of The Long Wet Grass production (cell theater, 2021) [www.seamusscanlon.com]
I remember you drove in your bare feet.
I watched you holding the clutch steady.
Then releasing it.
The sinews in your ankle and foot pulsed slowly under the skin.
I scanned your face when you watched for oncoming traffic.
The smell of the car seats on those hot August days was like a drug.
It lingers still.
You had your right hand out the open window tapping on the door.
You flicked your long blue black hair out of the way so you could
see the approach roads clearly.
Your eyes were so bright.
When you looked to the left your eyes scanned mine.
Inside I was so happy.
And so bereft.
On a full moon night,
Winnie Battle died in the river field.
She waited there all night for someone.
At dawn, the flooding waters lifted her
From her resting place.
And the Moy river carried her away from Renbrack
All the way to Ballina.
And out into the deep Atlantic.
Where she lies deep now.
Among black eels and Coelacanths.
Far from pain and the river field.
Where It Counts
In school he was brave, bombastic, hyperkinetic.
He was Mensa material.
He soaked up quadratic equations, recoil free fractions, prime numbers.
He wore an ankle bracelet.
He had blue green eyes.
He had high cheek bones.
A girl magnet.
A boot boy target.
Their steel toe capped boots never landed.
Their long-leashed German Shepherds fell back.
He was a balletic street fighting king.
He laid them down on the wet Galway streets.
He delivered round house kicks.
He slashed cheeks.
He broke bones.
He was a black eagle falling through a flock of doves.
He broke girl’s hearts.
Their pale white Irish skins vibrating with untold sins.
They swopped bracelets.
They swopped breaths.
At dusk, on a long languid summer evening in August, he walked across the roof ridge of Moon’s in Shop Street.
Five stories high above the rough cobbles.
Cars stopped and their occupants got out and looked up.
Cyclists coming from Salthill dismounted and looked up.
All was calm.
All was quite.
The crowd gasped.
He righted himself.
But gradually he began to slide down the steep pale blue slates, slick from mist rising off the Corrib.
He fell out into the warm Galway night.
He did not cry out.
I did not look away.
His pelvis shattered.
The noise was incredible.
Leg bones pancaked.
The ragged stems of femurs jutted through his beautiful skin.
The broken eagle.
Surgeons worked on him for days without end. Amen.
For months I stayed beside his bed in Merlin Park.
He cried on the long nights.
I cried myself but inside where it counts.