The Irish Goodbye.

On the day of my departure, I spotted a corner in her bedroom and thought about what might happen if I stayed there. Lurking, hiding, tugging at the duvet with nimble fingertips… the corner looked so comfortable, so peaceful. Shrouded beneath micro-fibres and cat hairs which always flutter up my nose and make my chest wheeze, I could stay there and not have to go back. The life of an expat isn’t always so rosy when you’re headed for a¬†country you wish you hadn’t ventured to in the first place. And as you feel your body being shoved hard in one direction, you start to dig your heels into the ground and that corner, that tiny, honeycomb crevice of carpet and dead skin suddenly looks so appealing… The same thing happened at Disneyland. I was on my year abroad and hating every second. A moment’s joy came in the form of a weekend break to Disneyland Paris and I found myself staring at another corner (this time in a bathroom) and wondering what would happen if I just stayed there, curled up like a kitten… and never went back to my desk job. Strange, isn’t it? How corners and small spaces seem to offer comfort in dark times, beckoning me in with open arms and clutching me to their simple bosom. Safe spaces are lovely and inviting, but in a similar vein to comfort zones, nothing grows inside them.

Hotel buffet blues 

At the start of every day

I say

I’m going to be a vegetarian. 

But then one sweaty Sunday

A hotel buffet calls,

Rows of striped bacon, fluffy eggs

And spongey sausages which flutter 

Down my gullet…

I saunter up for a third helping

Delights piled high on the plate,

A leaning tower of meaty Pisa.

Let’s stuff ourselves to the brim

More so now than we’ve ever done 

Because it’s free of course,

Gotta get that dollar’s worth

Even though the bacon fat

Will choke our hearts. 

Thirteen glasses of orange juice 

And a bucket of coffee later

I’m nauseatingly full.

With a ketchup-stained mouth

And greasy fingers

I swear not to do it again

Hotel buffets are a blessing and a curse

For those with never-ending stomachs. 

The Gran Canarian heat

The Gran Canarian heat has me sprawled across the stony floor like a starfish.

Pores open, chest red from sunburn,

Three showers a day is a common occurrence.

Deodorant stick runs frighteningly low,

Armpits stagnant after a hard day’s labour,

Teaching the youth of today and tomorrow.

Donning long sleeves to look presentable, more business-like, like I belong,

The fabric only clings to my fruity skin.

Famous for our lack of air conditioning,

Parents implore we purchase more fans to keep their children’s brows free from sweat,

But even when they’re blasting, and kids

With snotty-noses and grotty fingers brush their fingers along the tables,

We’re still roasting like English potatoes.

Happy birthday Mum.

I don’t need a car, a job, a husband, a dog

I just need my mum, she says.

24 and staring at the floor

Kicking my feet like a wannabe Dorothy

Kansas why’d ya leave me sore?

24 and needing a cuddle

Brain is just a jumbo muddle

Curse you, Mum, for being the best

Just look at the monstrous bar you set!

Gimme shelter, said the Stones

Well I agree, I need my home

Nothing bad ever happens there

The kids all dance without a care.

Mum, please carry me in your pocket

Whisk me off to Marks and Sparks

Spend those pennies, park the car

See pensioners fight over frilly bras

Chicken breasts and caviar.

24 and kicking my feet,

You’ll never be rid

Of this big-ass baby.