The publisher had sent my book covers that morning
by email. Final proofs. I sent back that they were good
and bragged about it on the internet. We were in Paris
in a flat on Rue de Belleville, the 11ieme aron and 6 floors walk
up. It was beautiful. From the window to the horizon there was nothing but roof. Fallon had to
spend the day working
but we could walk across the whole town in an hour
and did – even saw a museum and had a glass of wine
beneath the tower.
Give you a dollar if you jump in the Seine.
Bet you can’t touch one of the paintings.
Jack bought some shirts
and I bought a book at Shakespeares
and we all bought wine
and that long bread for cheese sandwiches
and sat about in the evening
watching the sun going red. Fallon had told
us where to meet him later,
though we were already drunk by evening. We had food too – Baker cooked,
I did the clean-up. Me, with a book coming out in a few months
wiping bits of potato out of the pan. Me, my hands
scrubbing up gravy. Boy it was something. We kept drinking wine. Chef’s
privilege – that’s allowed. Plus it was Paris. Hoy! and you throw it back one. Come on,
we’re on holiday.
It’s my first time back in a year.
Aodhain sat on the balcony and sipped whiskey
and ate bags of those little nuts that get everywhere on the floor. I was a published author –
I kept showing the covers to people,
man they must have been sick of me. Anyway
we met Fallon’s friends
around 11 without making the best impression – they don’t drink like us in Paris Fallon had said
they take it easy, over a long time. Well we’d gotten the long time right.
Jack was worst of us
but of course it was still me that went over. Bottle of wine underfoot
and straight down from the top of Montmartre,
face to the pavement for like 14 steps. Woke up in hospital and everything.
Don’t remember the ambulance.
The book came out 3 months later
and even managed to sell a little. I have a copy on the shelf over there
if you want to see. This scar on my forehead though, that’s going to last longer.
3 days in a hospital
and the doctor told me I had to quit drinking. That lasted a month.
I went to AA once in Dublin after
with two black eyes
and my nose still broken, but it made me feel
worse than the hospital. I cut my face badly
and had to get a CAT scan. I wrote a book of poems, though.
It was published. Here, let me top up your glass
and let me show you;
there’s one I think is even quite good.
DS Maolalaí recently returned to Ireland after four years away, now spending his days working dispatch for a medical supply company and his nights drinking wine. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press. He has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.