Scanlon is a writer from Ireland who explores the ambiguity of the Irish about political and other violence. He is an award winning librarian at City College Downtown (www.ccny.cuny.edu/cwe) which has been awarding The City College of New York degrees since 1981.
Recent successes include a Queens Foundation Award for the presentation of the bilingual version of The Long Wet Grass (English/Irish) on September 30, 2023 at the Moore Jackson Community Garden in Woodside, Queens; winning the One Act All Ireland Drama Festival in December 2022 with his play Dancing at Lunacy; inclusion in the Fuel Poverty Anthology (February, 2023), The Flash Fiction Day Anthology (June 2023) and the Bath Flash Fiction Anthology (December 2023). A short film based on his story Wanderlust will be shot in Ireland in Fall 2023. email@example.com
Bruce Lee Lives
I’m in heaven.
I’m standing in the heavy rain outside Galway’s Townhall to see ‘Enter The Dragon’.
Every lithe loose-limbed warrior from Bohermore queues with me.
They look askance at me. And shrug. I have only one eye.
The other I lost to a homemade arrow I fired into the warm cloudless Mervue sky.
When it reached its zenith it turned and fell back.
I watched mesmerized.
It punctured my eye ball.
You made a right fucken hames of that my mother says.
In my head I’m Bruce Lee.
I swallow raw eggs.
I punch concrete blocks to cause hairline fractures so the bone grows back stronger.
In the rain barrel I submerge in the ice cold water on winter mornings.
I buy nunchakus and death stars.
I go to Kung Fu lessons in St. Patrick’s Hall.
The teacher Mr. Savage (real name!) from the Claddagh knocks me out. I am one committed Brucie neophyte.
I practice sit ups, pushups, leg splits, hand stands. I do the pogo until my legs ache. I do flying kicks against the dividing wall of our neighbor’s house. The vibrations cause their knick-knacks to move sedately across the surface of the sideboard until they fall over one by one onto the floor. They move away.
I get my brother Sid to practice bowing every time we meet in the mean narrow corridors in the house. It gets out of hand. To get a break (non-bone) Sid climbs out the upstairs bedroom window to avoid me. We bow when we are getting on the bus or when I regain consciousness after kung fu practice or when I get out of the rain barrel shaking from the cold.
Now he is dead. My beautiful brother. And Bruce Lee.
They live forever inside me - where it counts.
No Man’s Land
The bright Irish sun shone down on Renbrack.
The air was warm and still.
Cattle lay in the river field in the shade.
You could hear the faint rhythm of car tires on the blacktop of the Foxford – Swinford road and the distant soothing noise of the river Moy rushing over jagged rocks.
The child Victor ran through the meadow behind the house.
He carried his uncle’s Luger in his small hand.
He could barely hold it upright.
In his mind World War 1 machine gun pillboxes fired withering bursts across no-man’s-land at him and his fellow the advancing soldiers.
He stumbled now and again but righted himself and kept running onwards into the bullet cascades.
He saw his fellow charging soldiers topple all around him and at last Victor fell heavily as if cut down sprawling headlong onto the grass.
He lay there still, motionless, his uncle’s heavy pistol still clutched in his hand, his blue green eyes wide open and staring ahead as if he was lifeless.
The long grass swayed in the warm August wind.
A dog barked far off across the Moy.
Victor lay there all morning.
Silent. Alone. Content.
I walk along the narrow parapet of the Wolfe Tone bridge.
It is slick with rain. I close my eyes. I hope for the end. The best I mean.
A Taylor’s Hill girl mocked me.
My mother clocked me.
-Do not wear lipstick.
-Do not use mascara. -Do not cry.
-Get out of my sight.
-I will lock the door.
-I will break your back.
-I will burn your face off.
-Do not wear that outfit.
-You think you are special.
-You are adopted.
-You are corrupted.
-You are the quantum of putrefaction.
She was on a roll.
-I knew you were trouble from the get go.
-The doc broke his hand trying to get you to cry out.
-Those baby blue green eyes were empty and just stared back.
-That perfect skin you were given was a warning.
I tried to blank her out in case she said something hurtful
that she couldn't take back.
-I never believed in Satan until you came along.
-The priest went on fire when he saw you.
-He burned the church down when he ran through the sacristy aflame.
Aflame – Jesus that’s a new one.
-Ma, ma - does cherry pink suit me do you think?